We’re Planning An Online WisCon!

As we mentioned in our post announcing the cancellation of WisCon 44 as an in-person convention, we are rapidly pivoting to an online format!

We anticipate holding a number of traditional WisCon events on Memorial Day weekend itself, and we’re coming up with online alternatives for many traditional events and pieces of programming, such as online versions of games and showcasing our artists’ and vendors’ websites. Further details on online programming will be coming as soon as we marshal the necessary resources and planning, but we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments to this post.

We also know that we have people in the WisCon community who have expertise in online events — want to help? Email personnel@sf3.org and tell us what you can help with. We particularly want to make certain that the online version of WisCon is accessible, inclusive, and welcoming.

We tentatively plan to make participation in online programming for WisCon 44 available on a sliding scale starting at $5 or less per attendee. We need the money we were going to use for the regular WisCon 44 so that we can put on WisCon 45 in 2021, so we don’t have much to spare without your help.

You can donate to support WisCon at https://paypal.me/WisCon — thank you for any amount you can chip in!

14 thoughts on “We’re Planning An Online WisCon!”

  1. Please keep in mind that not all people who are online use social media. When Facebook started up in the dim dark past
    I took a look and when the site wouldn’t even let you see a sample page unless you signed up for a “free” account I thought, right, you give them your information for free so they can sell it wherever they please.

    Under no circumstances will I let Facebook or its ilk get their claws on me. I hope you will be able to find a host for the virtual programming that can simply be visited, or at least that is minimally intrusive if one must sign up. I have seen references to sites the users consider ethical, but would like to have more information about any choice you make.

    I want very much to participate in whatever is arranged, and hope it can be made openly available, but the task you are facing is immense and I hope to be kept updated about anything non-specialists can do. I have squeezed out a small donation for a start.

    Take care of yourselves.

    Amanda Bankier

    1. Hi Amanda! We absolutely understand. While we’re still evaluating platforms, I can say with confidence that due to numerous security and privacy concerns about Facebook, we will not be using Facebook or any other platform owned by Facebook (Instagram, WhatsApp). We will make sure that our members are informed about any possible concerns with whatever platform(s) we do adopt. Thank you so much for your donation and for your ongoing support! – Kit

  2. Should we still reply to the panel-track-interest survey, will it help shape the online programming?

    1. Thanks for asking! To be honest, I can’t guarantee right now how many online panels will happen. If we do end up having the person-power available to do online panels, we will be using the survey to guide us in terms of what to prioritize. I hope this helps! – Kit

  3. I paid for a membership to the convention, and will see whether the prices of the flight and hostel may be retrievable; could some of the fees go toward attendance of the virtual convention

    1. Hi Louisa! So unfortunately, we can’t convert in-person W44 memberships to attending the virtual con. Contact registration@wiscon.net and let them know that you’d like a refund before April 15, 2021, otherwise your membership will automatically convert to W45. Online memberships will be available for separate purchase. Thanks for your patience! – Kit

  4. Hi, thank you for trying to put together an on-line con at this challenging time. I would like to attend and maybe even be on some panels. I am a little confused: to show interest in programming tracks: should I register for 44 (I haven’t yet) Will you roll out a new registration and programming link for the on-line version. Or should I try to get on the programming sign-up if it’s still open?

    Thank you again!

    1. Hi Alex! We’re still working on getting new registration and programming links available, so please don’t try to register for W44 using the current link. We’re going to use the current programming sign-up survey to help us plan our online programming. Log into your WisCon.net account and complete that survey before April 15 if you’d like to participate in programming. Thanks for your patience! – Kit

  5. I just wanted to ask if you planned to cap the number of registrants at online Wiscon or to prioritize previous attendees? I have heard generally delightful things about your convention, but have not had the opportunity to attend before. Attending online seems like a great opportunity to see if I would enjoy myself enough to actually go to Wisconsin, and I’m probably not the only person to think that.

    1. Thanks for writing! I don’t think we know yet whether or not we will have to cap the number of registrants (and if so, at how many). I can say when we do open registration it will be open to everyone, first-come-first-served, which is the way Registration has always worked. We’ve never really done anything online before, so I can’t guarantee how well the in-person experience will translate. That said, you’ll be more than welcome to join us! – Kit

  6. Has anyone considered Twitch? It’s far easier to set up than some other system. There’s no way to pay gate watching content but it would allow a lot of people to virtually watch programming.

    Otherwise, how will you charge for an online, virtual convention? This is a perfect opportunity to bring WisCon to folks who would love to attend but can’t due to financial difficulties.

    1. Thanks for writing! We’re still working on selecting specific platforms, but at this point it’s looking like most activities will be available as view-only streams accessible to anyone. Questions and chat will be facilitated through a membership-only chat server. We expect memberships will be priced on a sliding scale starting at $5, with vouchers available if this cost would be a barrier to participation. We’re extremely excited to have lots of free and low-cost ways that people can check out WisCon this year! – Kit

  7. An accessibility concern. I have been reduced from a ten-fingered typist to a very slow one-fingered one by a neurological condition. For non-real-time writing, such as e-mail, I use a voice recognition system, but most chat systems I have encountered do not play well with it. I imagine that other people may have similar problems, and I wonder if some sort of testing protocol could be put into place to try to make the system as responsive as possible. The ones I have encountered vary quite a lot from being impossible to use to being no worse than slow and irritating – it’s possible to adapt to the latter. I’d be happy to take part in any testing you decide to do. With WisCon’s history of providing accessibility it would seem a little odd to be able only to watch and not to participate in activities where participation is going on.

    1. Hi Amanda! Yes, we would be grateful for your help testing out chat systems. Thanks so much for writing! I’ll follow up with you over email. – Kit

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