Category Archives: WisCon

Seeking — the word-savvy, the cat herders

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

A mid-20th century typewriter with a scrap of paper in it; the paper reads "WisCon, WisCon, do you read?"Do you word?  Do you know your way around an editorial calendar?  Can you herd cats?  The SF3 Communications Committee — which handles all of WisCon’s external communications — is expanding the team and currently has openings for managing editors and writers.

We are also signal-boosting an editor role in WisCon’s Publications department.  Skip to the bottom if you’re interested in that job!  Note: For any of these positions, you absolutely do not need to be a Madison local.  I, for instance, live in Seattle.

The SF3 Communications Committee’s responsibility, first and foremost, is to WisCon and SF3’s communities.  We are here to communicate about WisCon/SF3 to you — our fellow convention attendees, our supporters, our panelists and audience members, our friends.  Our goal is to make WisCon more transparent, within the bounds of respecting individuals’ privacy and the few concom matters that must remain confidential.  I mean, we’re not going to crack and tell you who upcoming guests of honor are going to be even one second before they’re announced at the Dessert Salon, no matter how much you bribe us.

We are, basically, here to to make the inexplicable a bit more explicable.  We’re not here to confuse and obfuscate with spin.

If you’re interested in any of our editor positions below, please write an email to introduce yourself:

  • Do you have any experience as an editor, or as a managing editor in particular?  Tell us a little about the publication you worked for — what you did, what you liked about it, how you dealt with the challenge of having to nag people sometimes.
  • Do you have experience that fits the duties we need to fill, but that doesn’t come with the ~right~ title?  Tell us about that.  What have you done that suits you for managing a publication schedule?  For tweaking someone else’s writing?  For chasing after late submissions?

If you’re interested in being one of our writers, when you email to introduce yourself please include a few samples of public-facing writing, especially writing you did for an organization — send us links to blog posts, tweets, et cetera.

For all of the positions on the SF3 Communications Committee, our secret hope is to find people with some experience in external communications, because speaking as one person for a many-voiced organization like a convention-planning committee can be a challenge and we don’t want to throw you into the fire without proper gear. But, y’know, if you don’t have any background with this sort of communication, don’t sweat it. We’d rather hear from you than not hear from you — talk to us about what you’re interested in and let us know how you think you’re suited for it.

Some knowledge of WisCon will likely be helpful, but it is absolutely not a requirement to have ever attended WisCon!  Although please know in advance that being a member of the committee does not come with a comped WisCon membership.  No member of the WisCon concom, the SF3 board, or other SF3 committees receives a comped membership, although assistance is available through the WisCon Member Assistance Fund.

In particular, we do invite queries from individuals from traditionally underrepresented/marginalized groups — people of color, trans/nonbinary individuals, women, gay/lesbian/bi/queer/&c. individuals, individuals with disability.

We also do not care one iota if you don’t have a fancy college education.  I’m chair of the Communications Committee, and while I’ve spent my fair share of time in college (thank you, Pell Grants!), I still don’t have a college degree — in fact, I entirely flunked out of one college.  If you think you have the chops but are at all worried your class background disqualifies you in some way,  please write to me.

So, what exactly do we have open right now?

Blog Editor

The WisCon blog is where we put news and updates as they happen — announcements for upcoming deadlines, calls for submissions for panel ideas or articles for the Souvenir Book, and so forth.  The Blog Editor will handle requests when a department needs a post (making sure it gets written by someone, working with the department on the content and in making sure it’s ready on time, then doing a light edit and scheduling it for publication).  We are also developing a few regularly-occurring blog series, which the Blog Editor will be responsible for overseeing.  The editor would also have discretion to post non-WisCon items of interest to the WisCon community.

This position will be somewhat busy October-December mostly with planning.  Blog content ramps up significantly January-April when we start hitting deadlines.  After the convention in May, things drop off sharply. It’s really quite hard to give an estimate of what the weekly time commitment is since this is a new position, but we’ll work together to make sure you have a manageable workload. It will be necessary to keep in touch with the committee as a whole on a regular basis — checking in with the team 2-3 times a week via our online communication platform. We are also planning monthly team meetings, to possibly be held via a service such as GChat or Skype.

Skills: It will be useful to have a basic knowledge of how to post in WordPress.    Having an understanding of how to work with taxonomies, custom menus, and other WP features will be helpful but isn’t strictly necessary.  WisCon has its own style guide, so you won’t need deep knowledge of another (e.g., Chicago or AP).

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org

Website Editor

The Website Editor will be the one in charge of maintaining all the static information on the WisCon website (basically everything non-blog).  This will mean working with each department every year to make sure all information is up-to-date (deadlines, any changes to procedures, et cetera).  The Website Editor will also make sure everything is edited to be clear, concise, and appropriate for the web.  If a department’s request seems more appropriate for the blog, then the Website Editor will connect the department and the Blog Editor.

The position will be quite busy October-December because we plan to overhaul the WisCon website.  Things should quiet down significantly after this major update, although we do receive website update requests throughout the year.  In April there will be a short burst of activity as the Website Editor coordinates with the Pocket Program Book Editor and the WisSched App Developer to make sure all content for the latter two is also correct on the website.  In early May there’s another sprint as we prepare sections of the website for the next convention.  After the convention in May, things drop off until it’s time to start making deadline updates, usually around September.

As with the Blog Editor, it’s really quite hard to give an estimate of what the weekly time commitment is since this is a new position, but we’ll work together to make sure you have a manageable workload. It will be necessary to keep in touch with the committee as a whole on a regular basis — checking in with the team 2-3 times a week via our online communication platform. We are also planning monthly team meetings, to possibly be held via a service such as GChat or Skype.

Skills: It will be useful to have a basic knowledge of how to post in WordPress.    Having an understanding of how to work with taxonomies, custom menus, and other WP features will be helpful but isn’t strictly necessary.  WisCon has its own style guide, so you won’t need deep knowledge of another (e.g., Chicago or AP).

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org

Community Sites Manager (aka, Virtual Panel Moderator)

The Community Sites Manager will handle moderating comments on our blog, assist with curating WisCon’s Facebook and Twitter, and manage the flow of content to the WisCon Talk Google Group and to the fan-run WisCon communities on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth (consulting with the admins of the LJ/DWth communities as necessary). The Community Sites Manager will consult with the Anti-Abuse Team with any concerns about harassment or abuse in WisCon spaces.

Again, it’s really quite hard to give an estimate of what the weekly time commitment is since this is a new position, but we’ll work together to make sure you have a manageable workload. It will be necessary to keep in touch with the committee as a whole on a regular basis — checking in with the team 2-3 times a week via our online communication platform. We are also planning monthly team meetings, to possibly be held via a service such as GChat or Skype.

Skills: It will be useful to have good familiarity with all of the above platforms — WordPress (for our blog), Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and Google Groups.

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org

Writer(s)

Our blog could use a writer or two to help out with posts that fall outside of departmental announcements (which concom departments typically write themselves) — such as official announcements (either from WisCon or SF3), general updates, et cetera. Joining us as a writer is also a great place to start if you’re interested in stepping up to an editor position some day but would like to get some experience under your belt.

Time commitment for writers will depend somewhat on how many writers we have. We’ll work together as a team to make sure no one is overburdened. It will be necessary to keep in touch with the committee as a whole on a regular basis — checking in with the team 2-3 times a week via our online communication platform. We are also planning monthly team meetings, to possibly be held via a service such as GChat or Skype.

Skills: Clear, snappy writing! (See the notes in the section just above the job description about sending samples.) WisCon has its own style guide, so you won’t need deep knowledge of another (e.g., Chicago or AP).

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org


And now a word from our friends in WisCon’s Publications Department….

While we’re recruiting for editors, our compatriots over in Pubs (they handle all of WisCon’s printed materials, such as the Pocket Program Book and the Souvenir Book) are also looking for an editor to handle the Souvenir Book.

Souvenir Book Editor

The editor of the Souvenir Book will put out a call for materials, decide which articles go into the book, edit them, and help streamline the proofreading process. Publications experience is of course helpful, but totally not necessary. The first call for materials should go out in December, with work ramping up in March and April. You should be done long before WisCon actually happens! You’ll have lots of help from the Publications head, as well as folks who have done the book in past years. Please let us know if you are interested or have questions!

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org

WisCon Continues to Welcome People of Color

Welcoming people of color to WisCon is a central value of the entire WisCon convention committee, and has been so for over a decade.

We are aware that our efforts in this area have been incomplete and sometimes unsuccessful and we are committed to doing better.

To that end, we continue to welcome suggestions for how to improve. The more constructive and specific those suggestions are, the more likely it is that the all-volunteer WisCon committee will be able to implement them. WisCon’s history shows that change happens best when spearheaded by a champion or a group of champions who bring additional energy along with their ideas. However, we care enough about this issue that many current committee members are ready to commit additional time and energy to improving our track record.

To that end, we are proud that WisCon 33 will host the first Cultural Appropriation 101 class that we’re aware of in the science fiction world, as suggested and created by the Carl Brandon Society. The class will take place on Friday afternoon and (again at the request of the Carl Brandon Society) will be clearly delineated as “highly recommended” for anyone who wishes to attend any programming on these topics. In addition, moderators of panels related to this topic will be provided with class materials well before the convention.

We are currently about 2 months away from the convention. We’re looking for additional ideas that we can implement in that time frame, as well as ideas for WisCons to come. Because WisCon is a physical space with many tendrils extending into the virtual world, one of the things we can best provide is space for face-to-face networking and problem-solving. To that end, we’re planning to set aside a room during the convention for discussion of moving-forward strategies and potential improvements. We will work closely with people of color to ensure that this does not become a space in which the offenses recycle.

We’ve extended our guest of honor nomination process for an additional 3 weeks specifically to encourage nominations of potential GoHs of color. To nominate a GoH for next year, send an e-mail to gohnoms@wiscon.net by Sunday, March 22 describing why you think they would be a good guests of honor.

One WisCon member, Kate Nepveu, is organizing scholarships to bring people of color to WisCon: more info on this at her LJ community, Fight Derailing .

These issues are not just important for people of color; they are important for all of us. The more we can do to improve in this area, the better WisCon will be. We ask for your help and guidance in achieving this goal: contact chair@wiscon.net with your ideas.