What is the purpose of this thing? What are our aspirations for this?

note: this site has just been migrated to a new host. As you can see it’s not going that good. Murphy’s law meets Dunning Kruger. Should be fixed in a few days.

Focus is on supporting people who are putting on virtual conventions at a grassroots level. For example a scifi con that had 600 people attend in 2018 is now trying to do the same thing virtually or possibly as a hybrid. Or a small academic conference with a dozen posters and 6 papers.

My aspiration for this thing is that someone who wants to create a low budget convention can come here to avoid the morass of google searches biased by commercial marketing, to learn what they didn’t know they didn’t know. They will be able to access the various support mechanisms which will help them avoid common pitfalls, and guide them to best practices so that everyone, staff and attendees, can have more fun at their con.

Support Mechanisms

This website is to be a free hub of information.

For users, this means no paywall, no teasing with partial info and a charge for the full presentation. For vendors that means no “pay for position” nor free items for a good review.

“information wants to be free” – complete quote

“On the one hand you have — the point you’re making Woz — is that information sort of wants to be expensive because it is so valuable — the right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information almost wants to be free because the costs of getting it out is getting lower and lower all of the time. So you have these two things fighting against each other.” – quote from Stewart Brand

TANSTAAFL* – Finances of this thing

I don’t want to have the info here biased by the vendors, whether by advertising or vendor donations. Given the minimal expenses incurred so far, I’ve done this all out of pocket. Going forward I may put out a tip jar, or something. Would love to discuss on the mailing list. *There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch

Asynchronous and Synchronous Communication

For asynchronous the main mechanism is the mailing list. While this site has groups with forums, photo and document sharing, it seems to to have more user friction than the mailing list, so those features may not be viable for now. People who want to do a talk but have scheduling issues can arrange to pre-record something.

For synchronous there will be a biweekly live video conference for about an hour. These will be recorded and posted with the youtube generated transcript. There is a persistent Hi Fidelity and Wonder.me room established, so anytime you want to video chat or audio chat with one person, or a group, you can use those. Like the initial 1 day convention, there could be future full day formal conventions.

Networking and Community and Fun

Part of the reason this was set up as a social membership site (using BuddyBoss) was to make it easy to find people. Members can use it to message others. So if someone on the recorded biweekly meeting mentions they are looking for a SpecialSoftwareGizmo, and you have written one that you need beta testers for, you can get in contact, hopefully easily.

My main reason for creating this is that I had fun attending and volunteering at some virtual cons, and want to attend more, with a better experience. Having seen some of the pain points, and the gap in resources for non-corporate virtual event producers, I thought a thing like this would be useful. I’d be really happy to support other similar sites and orgs.

Possibilities For You

Everyone can read what’s on the site, and watch previous meetings and events. You can read the archive of the mailing list. Register on the list and you can participate. Register on this website and you can join the live meetings, receive email reminders, and contact other members who registered. And of course, you can use the social media share buttons on all the pages to spread the word about this.

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