(This was originally published at Tanya’s blog. She’s graciously allowed us to reprint it here. Thanks, Tanya!)
Hello all you lovely WisCon folks out there! I am beyond happy to announce that the final schedule for WisCon 39 is now live on the WisCon website!
Handy info for moderators and panelists is below. You should also have received emails from firstname.lastname@example.org if you are scheduled to moderate and/or participate on panels:
- If you are scheduled for programming and do not recieve an email, please send a note to us at email@example.com
- If you are moderating panels as well as being on a panel(s), then you will only get the moderator email.
- If you are only participating on panels and not moderating anything, then you will get the panelist email.
Tanya D. aka Cypheroftyr (programming demon, er deputy)
If you are a moderator!
What do we expect from our moderators?
Prepare. Contact your panelists before WisCon. When? Now would be good. How? Click on the links for panelists below your moderating assignment.
In that email, please:
1. Introduce yourself.
2. Suggest or solicit panel structure: how much time for each
panelist, if/how to solicit and handle audience participation.
3. Describe your understanding of the panel description and ensure
that the panelists agree.
4. Ask the panelists about their interest in the panel topic.
5. Determine if you and/or the panelists are going to cite specific resources.
6. Elicit 2-3 points that each panelist deems crucial.
Ten minutes before your panel, meet your panelists in the green room and get the name tents. Go to the assigned room. Start the session on time. Introduce the panel topic and allow the panelists to introduce themselves and explain their interest in the topic. Introduce yourself as the moderator and explain your ground rules (if, how and when the audience can participate, timing for the session).
Make sure all the panelists have a chance to speak, manage how audience members are included in the discussion, and keep track of the time and the arc of the discussion for wrap-up. You will probably not speak as much as your panelists.
Part of your job as moderator is to ensure equitable participation. Gender, race, class, and ability are some factors that influence participation styles. Be aware of power dynamics and intervene as necessary when panelists or audience members exercise privilege to dominate the conversation. You may need to cut off a panelist who has hijacked the discussion. You may need to cut off an audience member who has raised their hand to ask a question and then tried to deliver a twenty-minute “This is more of a comment than a question…”. You may need to encourage shy panel members to share their thoughts.
When microphones are present, use them, and make sure all the panelists do, too. Some of us do not hear well enough to participate without microphones, and you can’t tell by looking who we are. Remind your panelists not to cover their mouths when they speak; some of us depend on lipreading to participate.
If you require A/V for your panel, you MUST request it no later than May 11th so your request can accommodated. A/V includes: projector, screens, microphones, pc speakers.
How do I get more information for this gig?
1. For tips on moderating, go to: http://wiscon.net/tipsformods.php
2. For tips for your panelists: http://wiscon.net/tipsforpanelists.php
3. Panels that might interest you: “Join the Mod Squad: Enhance Your Moderation Skills” Friday from 4:00 p.m.-5:15 p.m in Conference 4.
4. Questions? Ask us via firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a panelist!
Preparing for the convention
–Your moderator should contact you before WisCon. Please respond to your moderator’s email. This is your chance to define the format, structure, and scope of the panel. Be pro-active: if you haven’t heard from your mod, you can contact the panel by clicking on the link below the program item description.
–Re-read the panel description and raise questions about anything that’s not clear.
–Formulate the things you’d like to convey during the allotted time (you’ll be sharing 70 minutes with other panelists and the audience). Keep this list simple. You may want to keep the sub-topics to no more than three.
–Do your homework. Gather the names of the works and authors you want to discuss. People in the audience will ask for specifics. Read, view, listen to relevant materials. Prepare notes and/or spend time thinking about the topic. You may do this on your own and in emails with the other panelists, depending on how the group decides to interact before the convention.
At the Con
–Meet up in the Green Room 10 minutes before the panel start time if at all possible; if not, make sure to tell your moderator that you’ll be meeting up with the rest of the panel in the room.
–Start on time! If unavoidably late, quietly enter the room, take a place at the table and wait for your mod to fold you into the panel-already-in-progress. Don’t apologize for being late. The audience is paying attention to the ongoing discussion, not to you.
–Share the time with other panelists and the audience. WisCon audiences want to get into the discussion as soon as possible. Prepare to answer lots of audience questions. The moderator will let the audience know how soon s/he will start taking questions, while setting up the panel. Defer to the moderator as s/he directs the conversation.
–Bring something to write on. Discussion moves very quickly and it can help to take notes of what you want to cover when the moderator gets back to you.
–Look at the audience. Resist the temptation to address your comments solely to a fellow panelist, even when responding to a specific point.
–Speak one at a time. Use the mic, when provided. Some of us cannot understand your words without amplification. If you refuse to use the mic, you are preventing us from participating.
–Don’t hold your hand in front of your mouth when you are speaking. Some of us cannot understand your words if we can’t read your lips.
–Refrain from whispering with other panelists.
–Respect the moderator’s awesome powers.
And remember to have fun!
More information about being a panelist at WisCon is available at