Tag Archives: wisconline

A WisCon Guide to Discord

This page gives a very general overview of how Discord words, and how the WisCon Discord server in particular will be organized during the convention. Some of the topics covered here also appear in the #how-to channel on Discord, but this document starts at a more basic level (like: “what is a channel?!”).

Table of Contents:

For a technical how-to on downloading the Discord app, creating an account, and joining servers, you may find it useful to start with Discord’s own Getting Started guide.

Kestrell has written a guide to Discord for screen-reader users, posted on Dreamwidth: https://kestrell.dreamwidth.org/320040.html

Context: why a WisCon-specific guide?

We inhabit and present different facets of ourselves in different social spaces. This can be as simple as using a childhood nickname only with close family, or speaking in one way or about one set of topics with coworkers, and in another way or about other topics with friends.

For many of us, fandom represents a particularly sharp divide in how we present our identity to others. This is true of in-person fandom spaces, where people have long gone by something other than their “wallet name”, but especially true of online fandom, where stable pseudonymity—using a name that is not connected with your offline identity, but that is the same across platforms—is the default.

Many people participate in WisCon using their “wallet name”, but interact with fellow fans online using a pseudonym. As WisCon has increasingly featured online conversations in parallel with the in-person convention—seen for example in the increasing use of panel hashtags over the years—this has raised questions for me (and I assume for others!) about how to participate in both conversations without compromising online pseudonymity.

With WisCon 44 moving entirely online, the question of how to manage online and offline identities is particularly pressing. In particular, some WisCon members may be using Discord—the platform we have chosen for text communication during the convention—for the first time, while others may have used it previously for professional or otherwise non-fannish interactions.

Here, therefore, is a very basic introduction to Discord, beginning from the perspective of managing online identities.

Joining the WisCONline Discord Server

Discord resembles other services like Slack, in that you have a single account that can access multiple groups—on Discord these groups are called servers.

Some servers are public while others require an invitation; the WisCon Discord server requires an invitation to join. Invitations will be (or have been) sent to the email address that you gave when you registered for GrowTix.

When you click the invitation link, you will have the option of logging into an existing Discord account, or creating a new account. By default, a new account would be associated with the email address that the invitation was sent to.

If you have multiple Discord accounts, or if you are creating a new Discord account, pause to make sure that you’re joining with the account you intend to use for WisCon! If you need the Discord invitation re-sent, email registration@wiscon.net.

Identities: Usernames vs. Nicknames

Your Discord account is associated with an email address and with a username. The username is a text string (case-sensitive), followed by a hashmark and a 4-digit number. The text string can be changed, but the 4-digit number cannot be.

When you join a server, you can optionally set a server-specific nickname. This can be changed at any point (much like Twitter display names). For the purposes of WisCon, it may be useful to think of this as being like your badge name; if you like, you could add information like your location or your pronouns (you can also set your pronouns as a custom status; instructions on how to do this can be found in the #how-to channel on Discord).

Your username (but not your email) is visible to everyone on servers you belong to, even if you set a different nickname. If you have an existing Discord username that includes a name that you do not want to share in fannish spaces, you may wish to create a new Discord account for the purposes of participating in WisCon.

You can access Discord via the web interface, but there are also free desktop and mobile apps. It is unfortunately not currently possible to log into Discord with more than one account simultaneously in any of these (though there are some workarounds available via paid third-party apps).

You can add other users as friends on Discord; this is independent of whether you belong to any of the same channels. This allows you to send direct messages to one another.

Navigating the WisCon Discord

Discord servers are organized into a number of channels. Certain channels are accessible to everyone who belongs to the server; others are private, and restricted only to people with certain roles. You might be able to view a channel even though you don’t have permission to post to it—if you think you should have access to a channel that you don’t, message someone with the @moderator role.

The WisCon Discord has the following roles:

  • @admin: The WisCon Co-Chairs and the members of our Online Con department
  • @moderator: People managing the Discord, can create new channels, change people’s roles, and ban people from the server (among other permissions).
  • @con com: Members of the WisCon organizing committee, people with this role create or manage channels, and temporarily kick someone from the server (among other permissions).
  • @safety volunteer: Anyone with this role is currently on shift as a Safety volunteer, the first point of contact for issues that arise during WisCon.

You can ping everyone who has a certain role by typing ‘@’ followed by the name of the role. It is possible to ping everyone on a server by typing @everyone, but we have restricted the ability to do this to certain roles on the WisCon server.

We have set up both general discussion channels, and channels specific to individual programming items.

  • Information: #welcome-and-rules, #how-to, and #bulletin-board are where to go for general information on WisCon’s code of conduct, how the server works, and convention-wide announcements. Moderators and ConCom members can post to the bulletin board, if you want something announced on your behalf. #links-to-streams is a dedicated channel that gathers together all links to YouTube streams. #peer-to-peer-tech-help is a place to ask other WisCon members for help with tech issues.
  • Community Text Channels: For general off-topic conversation, we invite you to join #lobby-con or #the-bar#the-bar even has a bot that will serve you a range of (virtual) themed WisCon menu items! Everyone who joins the server will be announced in #new-arrivals. The #meetups channel is available for organizing meetups on other platforms—want to hold a video conference with other attendees? Post here!
  • Events: Each streamed event has a dedicated channel, arranged in chronological order.
  • Gathering: The Gathering is the traditional opening event for in-person WisCon conventions, with a variety of activities spread out around the hotel ballroom. The channels in this section are intended to play a similar role, providing a space to gather at the beginning of the convention, immediately after the Opening Ceremonies.
  • Panels, Readings, and Academic: Each panel has a dedicated channel for discussion during and after its slot, using the same hashtag that appears in the program. You can use these channels for discussion, as well as for asking questions or making comments to the panel (which the Online Chat Moderator will pass along to the panel’s Technical Producer). There are general channels for both Readings and Academic Programming, which will be used for all program items.
  • Play A Game: Each game taking place during WisCon has a channel here. Sign up for games in #sign-ups-and-troubleshooting
  • Safer Spaces: The safer spaces have channels in this section, though they may also (or instead) be organizing spaces outside the WisCon server. Please do not visit these channels unless you belong to the relevant subset of WisCon attendees.
  • Spontaneous Programming: The #spontaneity channel is for announcing or planning upcoming Spontaneous Programming items; the other channels are pre-made spaces to hold spontaneous discussions within the Discord. These can be used without reserving them on the Spontaneous Programming Google Doc (linked in Discord), but priority should be given to someone who did reserve a specific channel there.
  • Birds of a Feather: Want to talk about something a bit more focused than #lobby-con? The channels in this section are for more focused discussion; we’ve pre-created some very general topics, but you can create new ones on as specific a topic as you want! To create a new channel, message someone with the @con com role.

Links to YouTube streams will be posted in #links-to-streams and in the specific channel for the programming item. They will also be sent out to registered members by email.

In general, all channels on the WisCon Discord are text-only; you cannot request that a new voice channel be created. There is exactly one voice channel: #floomp-dj-sets will be used for the virtual Floomp dance party on Saturday night!

A few channels, specifically #lobby-con and the panel-specific channels, have slowmode enabled. This means that you can only post once per a certain time interval—we’ve done this to try to ensure that everyone gets an equal chance to post questions and comments for the audience.


While it’s easy to get excited about your favorite new media that have just dropped (we’re looking at you, She-Ra!), please be mindful when sharing possible spoilers. Fortunately, Discord has two ways to mark a section of text as a spoiler:

  1. 1. After you’ve typed your message but before you send it, select the text that’s spoiler-y, right click, and choose the Eyeball icon.
  2. or

  3. 2. Type two vertical lines (pipe characters: ||) before and after the text that’s the spoiler in the chat box, such as: Can you believe the protagonist’s fridge is taken over by ||sentient mold||!

When you’ve marked text as a spoiler, using either method, it will appear as a greyed-out box. When another person clicks the box, it will show your original text. You can’ t un-see a spoiler, although if you leave a channel and come back, all of the grayed-out boxes will reappear.

Moderation and Safety

Throughout scheduled portions of the program, there will be Safety volunteers available on Discord. If you have concerns about something happening, whether in a WisCon space or elsewhere, please feel free to contact them, either by pinging @safety volunteer or by sending the current Safety volunteers a direct message (the current Safety volunteers will be announced in the #safety channel).

You can also choose to mute or block other members of the server. You do this by right clicking on their name, and selecting either ‘mute’ or ‘block’ from the dropdown list.

Anyone who is found to violate our Anti-Harassment Policy or the WisCon Statement of Principles may be removed from the Discord server by Safety or by others in the Moderation role, either temporarily or for the remainder of the con.

WisCONline Update: Platforms + Volunteers

The excitement is intensifying for WisCon 44 next weekend! We’re looking forward to seeing you all there, whether you’re new to WisCon entirely or just new to WisCONline (as we all are).

The ‘How To’s of WisCONline

We’ve gotten some questions about how you’ll access virtual WisCon 44 programming.

Invitations to the WisCon Discord server will be sent out to the email you gave when you registered, on the evening of Wednesday May 20 (after registration closes at 7PM). If you don’t receive an invitation that evening, please check your spam filter, and then contact registration@wiscon.net and we can send you a new link!

Most of WisCon’s programming will be streamed to YouTube, but available only via direct link (it will not show up on the WisCon channel or via searches). The links to specific program items will be sent out by email each morning, and also posted in the Discord server. (If you do not plan to join the Discord server, it is therefore particularly important that you make sure that you are able to receive emails we send out!)

Some of the WisCon special events—the Otherwise auction, the Vid Party, and the Floomp—may use other platforms. Information on joining these events will be sent out in the same emails as the links for watching streams on YouTube, and will also be posted to Discord.

More information on how the platforms and specific program items will work for WisCon 44 are available on our website; we’ll continue to update and expand what’s posted there between now and the convention.

WisCONline is looking for volunteers!

To make the convention happen every year, WisCon depends on its many volunteers. The virtual convention is no exception, even though the volunteer roles we’re looking to fill are different than they would be in person.

Technical Producers will coordinate the backend of program items, whether for live Panels or for pre-recorded Readings or Academic Programming items. If you’re comfortable with technical tools, and especially if you have experience with YouTube Studio, this is a great way to get involved!

Online Chat Moderators will monitor the conversation for live panels on Discord, and pass comments and questions onto the panelists via the Technical Producer.

Social Media Monitors will keep an eye on other web platforms for any issues arising in the current panel’s hashtag, and will escalate them to Safety if necessary.

And as at in-person conventions, Safety Volunteers will be available during programming hours, as a first point of contact for concerns or issues as they arise.

There’s no volunteer rebate or gift this year, but anyone who signs up for a volunteer shift by 5PM Central on Tuesday will receive an early invitation to the Discord server!

Full descriptions of all these roles can be found on our At-Con Volunteers page, or you can head directly to SignUp.com to sign up for specific shifts. If you have questions, or have any issues using the SignUp interface, you can also email volunteers@wiscon.net.

WisCONline: Programming & Events

Just as with in-person WisCon conventions, WisCon 44 will feature a variety of different programming types and events. This page gives information on how to access and participate in our various event types.

For the full schedule of programming during WisCon 44, see the full schedule grid or the list of program items with full descriptions.

Most video content for WisCONline will be available via YouTube. Links to YouTube streams and videos will be sent by email to all registered members, as well as posted to the WisCon Discord server. If you are registered and don’t receive the links, check your spam folder! If you still can’t find them, contact onlinecon@wiscon.net.


Live Panels will be streamed to the WisCon YouTube channel, but the panel itself will take place via private videoconference using the platform Jitsi; this video conference. (Each Jitsi room will also include a technical producer and someone providing captions, in case you’re wondering why there seem to be two silent participants on each panel!)

For each panel there will also be a dedicated channel on the WisCon Discord server (identified by the official panel hashtag). Discord will be the only forum in which you can ask questions during live panels; both comments and live chat on the YouTube streams have been disabled.

The Discord channel for each panel will be a space for parallel audience discussion, as well as a space to ask questions and submit comments. There will be an Online Chat Moderator who will relay questions from the Discord channel to the panel’s technical producer. The panel-specific channels will open for discussion shortly before the panel begins; the Online Chat Moderator will announce when questions and comments for the panel are open. If a stream fails or is unavailable, the panelists will congregate in the Discord channel for a live discussion in the chat.

After the panel livestream ends, we hope conversations will continue in text on the Discord server! Panelist are likely to join this discussion as well (assuming they weren’t already on Discord during the scheduled panel).

If you aren’t able to attend the panel at the scheduled time (or if you want to re-watch any of a panel that you did view live), it will be available to view on the WisCon YouTube channel until the end of the convention weekend (11:59 PM Central Time, Monday May 25).

For more information on audience participation in live panels, see our WisCon Guide to Discord.

Academic and Readings

Academic Programming and Readings at WisCon 44 will also be streamed on YouTube, but instead of streaming live they have all been pre-recorded. As with live panels, there will be dedicated discussion channels on Discord; presenters and authors will be available during the scheduled time for their presentation for live discussion and questions.

As with panels, these items will remain available to view until the end of the convention weekend (11:59 PM Central Time, Monday May 25).


A number of Games have been scheduled for WisCONline. Details of the games available can be found in the convention program grid; signups will take place via the #sign-ups-and-troubleshooting channel on the WisCon Discord.

Virtual Reception (Thursday)
Opening Ceremonies (Friday)
& GOH Speech (Sunday)

Like Panels, Academic programming, and Readings, these events will all be available to watch via the WisCon YouTube channel. Links will be sent out by email to all registered members, as well as posted to Discord.

Gathering (Friday)

The Gathering at an in-person WisCon is an event at the beginning of the convention, where WisCon members come together in the hotel ballroom for a number of in-person activities.

For the online convention, a virtual Gathering will take place on Discord immediately after the Opening Ceremonies, across a number of activity-themed channels. Stop by to explore the Discord server and check in with both new and old WisCon friends!

If this is your first WisCon, check out the #first-time-at-wiscon channel on Discord during the Gathering to help get you oriented!

Otherwise Auction (Saturday)

The Otherwise Auction will take place online this year, hosted by auctioneer Sumana Harihareswara and live-captioned via CART. The auction will be streamed via YouTube, and you’ll be able to bid and converse using the live Discord chat.  Donations to WisCon can be made here. Content warning: a few jokes about the pandemic (facemasks & distancing).

The format of the auction will be slightly different this year. The Otherwise Motherboard has decided to use pass-the-hat challenges this year to raise money for the Carl Brandon Society and for WisCon, instead of raising money for Otherwise. For more information on the items available for auction, and the auction format, visit the Otherwise Award website.

Vid Party (Friday)

Details to be announced Friday!

Floomp Dance Party (Saturday)

The theme for this year’s Floomp dance party is ROBOTS, and it’s taking place this year in an all-new virtual format! It will take place across two virtual rooms: the Dance Floor and the Chill Space. Room links will be posted to the #floomp channel on the WisCon Discord server. There will be DJ sets streamed to YouTube during the party (links posted to #floomp), as well as a VJ set streamed for the duration of the party. For more information, see the public information sheet on Google Docs.

Spontaneous Programming + Meetups

What makes WisCon is its members. We hope that you will all find other ways to create spaces for discussion and community during the convention. The #meetups channel on the WisCon Discord is available to post invitations and notices for discussions on other platforms, whether these are purely social or are for spontaneous panels or roundtables. If you would like to set up a video call you are welcome to use any platform, but we have instructions on setting up a private room on Jitsi (the open-source and secure video conferencing system we are using for live panels at WisCONline).

There will be a Spontaneous Programming schedule posted as a Google Spreadsheet, linked on Discord, where you’re invited to share your plans for spontaneous panels, roundtables, or other events. You can use the channel #spontaneity to announce Spontaneous Programming items.

Safer Spaces

When we meet in person, WisCon maintains a designated space at the convention for people of color to dialogue freely and openly, known as the Safer Space for People of Color. In recent years it has been joined by two more safer spaces, one for people with disabilities, and one for trans and genderqueer members.

During the virtual WisCONline convention, we can’t replicate these physically closed spaces, but each Safer Space is developing plans for virtual alternatives and the Safer Spaces may run programming accessible only to their members.

For more information you can contact the Safer Spaces coordinators directly:

For more information about any of our programming items or events, you can contact the relevant WisCon department. For general inquiries about the online platforms and infrastructure, contact onlinecon@wiscon.net