Category Archives: Official Announcements

Vacancies on the Communications & Personnel Teams

We’ve got a variety of exciting roles that we’re looking for help with in our Communications & Personnel Committees. Unlike most of the Convention Committee (ConCom) roles, these tasks are spread over several months or are year-round, but because they are not all ramping up to a convention weekend, they are a LOT more chilled out. 🙂

Communications: Bloggers (up to three volunteers – one spot filled already)

WisCon’s blog is our primary method for communication with our community. It’s the main way that we recruit volunteers, share news that impacts the convention, fundraise, and keep conversations going. Our blog is published on our website, wiscon.net, and is collected into a newsletter format once a month for most of the year, becoming weekly in April & May. We’re looking for at least one and up to three volunteers who would like to help us tell people what’s up! Is that you? We’ll share a draft schedule of blog topics that will include some that we know we need, but you’ll be encouraged to write on any relevant topic — dig into WisCon’s history, to connect with our sibling organizations, and to spotlight our past guests of honor, attendees, and volunteers. You’ll also crosspost blog posts and newsletters to our social media, including Twitter & Facebook, in collaboration with the volunteers managing those accounts.

Commitment: 2-3 hours per month, increasing to 5 hours per month in April & May.

 

Communications: Facebook Wrangler (one volunteer)

Are you on Facebook? This role can be as big or small as you’d like it to be! Our Facebook content has generally been limited to cross-posts from our blog and some advertisements — so at minimum, we’d like you to respond to comments & messages there, as well as helping us run a few advertisements per year. At maximum? The sky’s the limit, as long as you keep it related to our mission & values.

Commitment: 1-2 hours per month.

 

Communications: Ads, Marketing, & Sponsorships (up to three volunteers)

This year, we’ll mainly be looking for sponsorships — businesses and individuals who would be willing to make a gift to support part of WisCon in exchange for our public thanks and a banner in that space. In the past, we’ve had sponsors for the Gathering and for various other events. In the past, this job has included selling advertisements in the Souvenir Program Book as well — we’re not sure what that will look like yet this year. This role is about reaching out to people and organizations that you believe WisCon’s community would love to hear about, and bringing them together!

Commitment: 1-2 hours per month October-May.

 

Personnel: Team Member (up to three volunteers)

You’ll follow a checklist to give new members of our committees or board access to the tools they need to make WisCon and all our other projects happen! You’ll also assist ConCom departments with documenting their roles, collaborate with the Communications Committee to write recruitment blog posts, and orient people to the tools they need (these include Google Docs, Gmail, and Basecamp).

Commitment: 1-3 hours per month.       

Please email personnel@sf3.org to volunteer!

Organized? Responsible? WE NEED YOU!!

We’re seeking folks to Chair two of the committees that support WisCon!

What does a “Chair” do, though? And what’s all this about “Committees”?

Well, our Committee Chairs are primarily project managers — they make sure that the necessary tasks get done in order to carry out that committee’s purpose. When needed, they make the decision to cancel tasks that can’t be successful due to a lack of time, resources, volunteers, or all three. They are appointed by the board president of SF3, which is the nonprofit that provides oversight for WisCon.

You can think of our committees as workgroups, each of which has a clear purpose and purview.

There are currently three peer committees, and all are necessary for each others’ success:

  • The ConCom (Convention Committee), whose purpose is to carry out WisCon.
  • The Communications Committee, whose purpose is to maintain a flow of information between all of our projects (including WisCon!) and our community.
  • The Personnel Committee, whose purpose is to recruit, equip, and support all of our volunteers.

We need a chair for Communications, and a chair for Personnel. We have some volunteers ready to go to do the work in each of those committees, but we need you to step in! We’re also happy to help you find someone with whom you can co-chair, if you don’t want to go it alone.

Interested? Please contact president@sf3.org to express interest, or with any questions.

(Interested, but not in being a chair? Hold tight, we’ll have a post soon with information on volunteering for communications, for personnel, and for the ConCom! But we need to fill these two spots first, so tell your organized pals to reach out!)

SF3 Anti-Racism Statement

The board of SF3, WisCon’s parent organization, has posted the following statement on their blog. Please visit that post to comment.

WisCon’s parent organization, SF3, has been thinking deeply about the recurring racism and white supremacy culture within the convention and within our committees (the Convention Committee aka “ConCom”, the Communications Committee, and the Personnel Committee). The presence of racism and of white supremacist culture, which impacts and injures people with any marginalized identities, are parts of our culture that we must address.

SF3 rejects white supremacy, racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and ableism. The SF3 Board expects the same of our membership and has no tolerance for racist acts or statements.

We recognize that racism has led to conflicts at WisCon every year. This is unsustainable and wrong, and these are not isolated or unrelated instances — they are part of structural and historical problems. We also recognize that it is the SF3 Board’s responsibility to solve this problem, and the solution is not and cannot be asking BIPOC members of the community to fix the organization.

Further, we want to acknowledge that over the history of WisCon, many BIPOC community members have volunteered in good faith for the ConCom, the SF3 Board, and other projects. Those volunteering situations were hostile, and this organization failed to keep those volunteers safe or to enable their success. Those situations were also not isolated incidents, and are part of a larger pattern and organizational culture.

It is the SF3 Board’s obligation, in engagement with the WisCon community and all current and past volunteers, to address and fix systemic racism and other problems within our organization and its spaces. Being a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable organization cannot be achieved without honesty with ourselves and with others.

We recognize that white supremacy is baked into the social and cultural landscape of the US. Members of SF3/WisCon must recognize and work to counter this; it is work that white people in particular must undertake in order to live up to WisCon’s values and purpose.

The SF3 Board, within their purview over nonprofit governance, is reexamining our organizational mission with the intent to eliminate white supremacy, and will be working to revise organizational bylaws and foundational documents to restructure a racist power system and ensure BIPOC empowerment. The Board has created interim versions of a mission statement, organizational vision, and a clear statement of our community values which center inclusivity and explicitly reject racism and white supremacy. These documents are intended for use over the next year, and will be shared in this space later this week.

Following that step, we will be undertaking a strategic planning process specifically focused on inclusion — in particular, on eliminating racism and empowering BIPOC members. We will be inviting everyone in our community to take part in strategic planning, which will create a permanent new mission, vision, and values for our organization and all of our projects, including WisCon.

We recognize that this is not a goal we can reach in a single year. Our strategic planning process will involve mapping out our goals for the next five years, along with broadly stated tasks for achieving those goals. We ask the full community to hold the SF3 Board accountable in this work.

We commit to sharing a monthly update on our progress, our goals, and what we have learned.

Within the next 30 days, we will be proceeding according to this schedule:

  • September 30, 2021: Share interim Mission, Vision, and Values

  • Early October (no later than October 14): Send out meeting agenda and information packet in advance of SF3 Annual Member Meeting.

  • October 11, 2021: Share overview and initial steps of strategic planning process and invite volunteers to join a committee established to carry out that process. The strategic planning process will include a plan for soliciting input, experiences, and feedback from BIPOC members of our community in particular. There will be a clear process for this; in order to treat feedback seriously and with care, we will not solicit that information before a system is created by the strategic planning committee, equipped with the resources they need to succeed.

  • October 18, 2021: Blog post outlining plans for the next month of work on these goals, with dates. This post will also include reports of the work accomplished so far.

  • October 24, 2021: SF3 Annual Member Meeting (details forthcoming)

Updates on WisCon in 2022

We would like to again thank everyone who participated in Visioning WisCon in May. Visioning WisCon was not intended to replace a full online con and was organized differently from our usual structure.  We’re glad that our community was engaged that weekend across a variety of virtual spaces, and we’re grateful for all of the feedback we’ve received on the event. We’re working to incorporate the lessons we’ve learned as we look towards WisCon in 2022. Speaking of which…

We have some exciting news about our next in-person WisCon in 2022!

  • Our wonderful host hotel, Madison’s Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, has opened room reservations! We have a group discounted rate that is available from now through April 26, 2022. Please show your support by making your reservation today.
  • Guest of Honor nominations for WisCon in 2023 are open! Anyone is welcome to nominate someone to be a Guest of Honor (GoH) by sending an email with the nominee’s name to gohnoms@wiscon.net. (If you already nominated someone any time during/after WisCONline in 2020, we have your nominations and will include them for 2023. Thanks!)
  • We have Co-Chairs! WisCon is organized by a group of volunteers called the Convention Committee (or ConCom, for short). For 2022, Aileen Wall (she/her), Ira Alexandre (they/them), and Kit Stubbs, Ph.D. (they/them) are co-chairing the ConCom. Aileen is a previous WisCon co-chair who has also served as our Hotel Liaison with the Concourse for the past six years. Ira and Kit co-chaired WisCONline in 2020 and continued volunteering as chairs of the Personnel Committee and the Communications Committee, respectively, throughout 2020 and 2021.While Aileen, Ira, and Kit are all awesome people, they need more volunteers to join the ConCom to help organize the con. If you’re interested in finding out more information about volunteering on the ConCom please let us know (signing up is not a commitment, just a request for info!) Look forward to role descriptions and an online information session coming soon.
We’ll continue to post updates about how con planning is going on our blog and email newsletter.

NFTs are destructive horrors. Buy real stuff at our virtual con.

Is anyone else SUPER distressed over the revelation that carbon credits may have been manipulated to such a degree for profit that they may have amplified ecological harm rather than reduced it?

TIL if you start a blog post in a super-depressing way, it’s hard to regain your momentum.

One of the many many ways that you can help ameliorate the harms of capitalism on communities and the planet is through careful, thoughtful purchasing. Local helps, and independent helps, and supporting each others’ creativity can be incredibly nourishing.

We know that WisCon isn’t a single community, and is in no way homogeneous, but rather is a web of interconnections between many different communities, individuals, and groups. As a whole, we have some practices, relationships, values, and ideas in common, even though we may not be able to see those connections so clearly on an individual level. There are reasons we come to WisCon, and the reasons are in those broad commonalities.

Supporting each other — buying or otherwise appreciating the writing, artwork, craftwork, skills, and services of folks you have attended panels with, sat next to in the Con Suite, split a cab to the airport with, to whom you’ve handed out a nametag, or with whom you laughed over a speech — that’s a small act of mutual support, of strengthening the whole. We need that strength.

We don’t have an Art Show this year, and we don’t have a Dealers’ Room, and we aren’t able to stroll down to Room of One’s Own to be at the Guest of Honor reception that usually kicks off the convention Thursday night. But we can gesture powerfully toward those things by supporting the vendors, artists, and businesses that we love to see at WisCon, so that they can join us again in person in 2022.

You can access a list of vendors and artists who would love to sell you things at this link, which is a google sheet.

You can also find many of these folks by using the hashtags #WisCon, #VWisConDealers, #WisConDealers, #WisConArtShow, and #VWisconArtShow on Twitter and (possibly) Instagram. Happy shopping. 🙂

Are you an artist or vendor? Want to be added to the spreadsheet? Please leave a comment on that sheet and we will add you. Want to show off your wares? Consider signing up for Show & Tell!

In the meantime…Register here to join us TODAY AND TOMORROW May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

How do I find the virtual door?

Good question! Apologies to all of you people who like to plan ahead. I am not one of you, but I admire your ways and regret any distress that the tardiness of this post has caused.

Our spaces for Visioning WisCon use Kumospace, a group video-chat platform that does not require any software beyond a browser.

We strongly recommend that you use Chrome browser to attend if possible, and that you take a moment to enable captioning within your own Chrome settings. Here are google’s own instructions on how to do that.

The first time you visit our Kumospace-hosted spaces, you will need to create an account, which requires only an email address. You can also use a Google/Gmail account as your login, if you are signed in to that account in Chrome.

You will have access to two different spaces. You can think of the first space as analogous to most of the convention space at the Madison Concourse Hotel (including the bar, the pool, the party suites, and the conference rooms). We’re calling this the Convention Space. The convention space allows you to hang out with other attendees, chat, and participate in spontaneous programming.You can think of the second space as analogous to the big ballroom where the Gathering, Dessert Salon, Vid Party, and SignOut happen. We’re referring to this as the Event Space. The event space allows you to hang out with other attendees, chat, and watch/participate in the scheduled events.

Why two spaces? Because everyone in every part of the event space will hear and see the events, as they are “broadcast” throughout all of the rooms in the space. Separate spaces allow us to have spontaneous programs happen simultaneously with the events, which would be difficult otherwise. Can you be in both spaces at once? If you have two computers, sure, why not. Please beware of weird audio double-echoes, though. Also beware of evil clones.

Speaking of evil clones…let’s talk safety.

Safety folks have Safety Stars on their names.

We ask that anyone who comes into these spaces register for Visioning WisCon, so that they have access to the information we are sharing via Eventbrite. We ask that you avoid sharing the links to the spaces.

Everyone who enters the spaces is subject to our Code of Conduct. If you have any concerns about behavior that you witness or are subjected to within the convention or events spaces during the hours that Visioning WisCon is underway, please direct message anyone with a star next to their name in the “people” list at the bottom of your Kumospace window. These folks are Safety staff, have admin powers, and can remove any attendee from the space.

There will be no Safety on duty prior to 4pm or after 11pm Central time.
We will not close the space after hours and you are welcome to continue to use it as a social space, but please be aware that there will not be anyone enforcing the Code of Conduct.

Bad actors who are removed from the convention or event spaces will not be able to re-enter. Removals are permanent. Removal from Visioning WisCon may have lasting impact when we return to in-person conventions.

BUT WHERE ARE THE LINKS TO THESE PLACES???? At 4pm Central, please proceed in an orderly fashion to the Eventbrite page, where you will see a button with the text “Access the Event”. Ta da!

Feeling impulsive? Wanna hold a panel?

Technically, the “spontaneous” in WisCon’s “Spontaneous Programming” doesn’t mean that those programs are the result of stray or surprising impulses. It just means that the ideas didn’t make it into the regular program schedule, or that one of the regular panels or workshops or papers provoked enough discussion — tangential or otherwise — that it sprouted a part 2 that same weekend.

Or maybe someone woke up that morning and realized they’d had an epiphany about how Riker is symbolic of the textually un-examined specter of extractive colonialism in Star Trek: The Next Generation and they had to panel about it right away. In which case it is the result of a stray or surprising impulse. And that’s also valid.

So this weekend’s virtual spontaneous programs are sort of both of the above and sort of neither. Creating WisCon’s program schedule — including Readings, Gaming, Workshops, Panels, and Parties — is a massive undertaking that involves a small army of volunteers, several software platforms, lots of proofreading, surveys, reminders, data entry, and weeks of tweaks until it all fits together and is ready to happen.

We wanted to keep Visioning WisCon as an easy-entry, accessible, low stress event. Our (virtual) doors open at 4pm Central TODAY (Saturday), and you can either show up with an idea for a discussion — panel, presentation, demonstration, reading, roundtable — and people to have it with, or you can gather participants from among other attendees on the spot. We’ll have a schedule available for you to reserve a slot and promote your topic in one of our spontaneous programming rooms.

You know you don’t want to wait ANOTHER year before you talk through your feelings about Bill & Ted Face the Music, or Star Trek: Picard, or Lovecraft Country, or…how is time even real it’s making my brain feel funny. You get the drift.

Signups for spontaneous slots will open up today (Saturday) at 4pm Central, and will continue all weekend.

Register here to join us THIS WEEKEND May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

I can’t think of anything clever to say beyond DANCE PARTY

Yeah, that’s right. We’ve got a swank, exclusive dance hall ready for you, where the music is always exactly the volume you like, the lighting is perfect, and the cover charge is waived because you are SO WELL TURNED OUT.

On account of it’s your kitchen. Or living room. Or possibly (dare I say) your bedroom.

Oh yeah. When the Otherwise Auction winds down, we roll out the bass boosters and crank up the strobe light. Figuratively speaking. We’ve got a dance mix full of Karaoke Kid favorites and disco throwbacks and…pop punk, and we’re ready to hit shuffle and throw down from whenever Sumana says we can start until 11pm Central time.

11pm Central is when the con ends tonight! We’ll see you again starting at 4pm central tomorrow (Sunday).

Register here to join us THIS WEEKEND May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

I know what you did last summer…

I mean “I want to know what you did last summer.” Or what you’ve been reading. Or all about your new puppy, partner, baby, knitting skills, ability to keep a succulent alive, musical find, craving, checkers strategy, crush, artworks, tattoo, poetry, haircut…

So how? How are you going to share all of those things? HOW?

How can we combine author readings, speeches, the Gathering, parties, panelist bios, the Dealers’ Room, and the Art Show, squish it all down into 5-8 minute chunks, and make it virtual?

Kindergarten style, of course.

We’re kicking off the convention weekend with Show & Tell.

Details on how to snag a sharing slot will be revealed starting at 4pm Central today (Saturday) via Eventbrite for anyone who has registered, and we will start at 5pm and run until we’re out of people who want to share, or Sumana tells us we have to stop. Come find out what your pals have been doing, listen to their brilliance, and tell them about yours.

Register here to join us THIS WEEKEND May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

BREAKING NEWS: There’s Room at Visioning WisCon

Get it? It’s a pun, because we have a lot of room due to being virtual, and because (here’s the news part) Gretchen from Room of One’s Own Bookstore will be joining us for a live Ask-the-Bookseller event at 5pm Central on Sunday (5/30)!

What would I ask a bookseller, you say? WHAT WOULDN’T YOU ASK A BOOKSELLER. I mean, I know Gretchen, and they know a lot of stuff. Including but not limited to upcoming books, the impact local businesses can have on their community, what media is best for working in a closed-to-the-public bookstore, what it’s like when you find out you have to find a new store location and move during a pandemic, and more more more!!!

Also they hinted that they might have giveaways. Maybe.

But wait, there’s more!

Gretchen dropped everything and made us a fantastic list of book recommendations! And it’s not just one list — it’s FIVE lists in a very large overcoat pretending to be one list. CHECK IT OUT. AND they shout out all of your fave indie presses that we usually get to visit in the Dealers’ Room. AND they gave us all a sweet sweet sweeeeeeeet discount code, which you will see in the page text when you visit the recommendations lists. (It’s in allcaps and is easy to find, I promise.)

The events schedule is filling up! Tomorrow: news about another event! After tomorrow and before Friday: announcements about everything else.

Register here to join us May 29 & 30 at Visioning WisCon!

Concourse Hotel Weekend Information

First of all, there are still PLENTY of discounted rooms available for our weekend meetup at the Concourse Hotel! Click here to make a reservation.

The hotel has set up a meeting space for us in the Madison Ballroom (better known to WisCon members as the Dealers Room) on the second floor. We will have a big screen for viewing this weekend’s Visioning WisCon online content, as well as tables and chairs for holding our own spontaneous conversations. The room will be open starting at noon on Friday and will be available through Sunday night.

Masks are required in the meeting space and 6-foot distancing should be practiced wherever possible. Please avoid bringing in food or drink.

Lastly, Madison locals, day trippers, and friends & family are all welcome to come! The in-person meetup is not an official WisCon event and there is no registration. If you will be participating in Visioning WisCon, we ask you to please register separately (see our other posts for more details).

We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible!

The Otherwise Auction? In MY Visioning WisCon?

It’s more likely than you think.

Unless you knew already that the Otherwise Award was born at a WisCon, lo those many years ago! (In 1991, which is thirty, more or less! Don’t come for my math.) In that case, maybe it’s more of a happy reveal than an actual surprise.

The Otherwise Auction supports the Otherwise Award, and it’s always a good time — famed Otherwise auctioneer Sumana Harihareswara will be reprising her role. As Otherwise Award Motherboard member Pat Murphy says:

Last year, Sumana’s online auction was amazing, compelling, and impossible to describe. I’m a science fiction writer; I should be able to describe just about anything. But somehow Sumana managed to auction off things that didn’t actually exist but were (despite that) real. It was one of those “you had to be there” events — even though none of us were actually there.

This year Sumana promises that there will actually be some physical things that people can buy and possess — along with a custom crossword puzzle with Otherwise-related clues. Just a few tangible objects and a lot of intangible fun — which seems appropriate as we slowly ease back into the physical world.

Unlike last year, we’ll be using actual money for this auction. (If you have no idea what we’re talking about, ignore this whole paragraph! You never saw us, we were never here.)

The auction will start at 7pm Central on Saturday night (5/29), and will end when Sumana says it’s over. We’re really excited to have a chance to support the Otherwise Award, even without an in-person convention this year, and to have fun doing it!