Tag Archives: wisconline

Discord for WisCon 2023

This page gives a very general overview of how Discord works, and how the WisCon Discord server in particular will be organized. 

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.

Joining the WisCon 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. You can access Discord via the web interface (https://discord.com/), but there are also free desktop and mobile apps.

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 the convention.

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 onlinecon@wiscon.net. (It is not currently possible to log into Discord with more than one account simultaneously without a paid third-party app.)

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. (Note that Discord username formats are changing in the near future, but this information is current as of May 2023.)

When you join a server, you can optionally set a server-specific nickname. This can be changed at any point. For the purposes of WisCon, it may be useful to think of this as being like your badge name. For example, you could set a nickname of Name (pronouns).

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.

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, send a message to ModMail to speak to moderators.

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

  • Information: #welcome-and-rules and #bulletin-board are where to go for general information on WisCon’s code of conduct and convention-wide announcements. Moderators and concom members can post to the bulletin board, if you want something announced on your behalf.  #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. 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 and Workshops: Each panel has a dedicated channel for discussion during and after its slot, organized by day. You can use these channels for discussion, during and after the panels.
  • Safer Spaces: The safer spaces have channels in this section. To gain access to these channels, visit #requesting-access-to-safer-spaces in the Information section.
  • Spontaneous Programming: The #spontaneous-coordination channel is for announcing or planning upcoming Spontaneous Programming items.
  • Birds of a Feather (BOAF): The channels in this section are for more focused discussion; we’ve pre-created some very general topics, but you can suggest new ones on any topic you want! To create a new channel, message someone with the @concom role.
  • There are channels for other types of programming and events at WisCon! Visit the Discord server and see the full list.

Links to Zoom meetings and YouTube streams will be posted in #links-to-streams. They will also be sent out to registered members by email.

Channels on the WisCon Discord are text-only; you cannot request that a new voice channel be created.

Some channels, including #lobby-con, 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.


Discord servers allow people to be associated with multiple roles. When you first join the server, you will be asked to acknowledge the Code of Conduct, which grants the @member role and will reveal other channels in the server.

If you encounter a problem, you might want to contact one of the following roles:

  • @admin: Members of our Online Con department
  • @co-chair: The co-chairs of the WisCon convention committee (concom)
  • @moderator: Discord Moderators manage the Discord server, can create new channels, change people’s roles, and ban people from the server (among other permissions). You can think of them as being the online equivalent of WisCon safety volunteers.
  • @concom: Members of the WisCon organizing committee.
  • @covid team: Members of the COVID-19 committee, who you can contact if you have questions about our policies or need support after a positive test

If a public message in a channel is appropriate, you can ping everyone who has a certain role by typing ‘@’ followed by the name of the role. The ability to ping @everyone is restricted on the WisCon server.

To allow members to easily contact anyone with certain roles via private direct message, we are using ModMail this year. Instructions are included in the ModMail section below!


While it’s easy to get excited about your favorite new media that have just dropped, please be mindful when sharing possible spoilers. Fortunately, Discord has two ways to mark a section of text as a spoiler:

  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.


  1. 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, unless you leave a channel and come back.

Moderation and Safety

Throughout scheduled portions of the program, there will be Discord Moderators 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 publicly pinging @moderator or by sending a direct message to ModMail.

You can also contact Safety anytime, by email (safety@wiscon.net), phone (608-618-0063), or the Safety reporting form (wiscon.net/report/).

On a personal level, you may also choose to mute or block other members of the server. To do this right click on their name, and select 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 Moderator role, either temporarily or for the remainder of the con, and may also be asked to leave the in-person con if attending there as well.

Using ModMail

ModMail works as a way to privately contact moderators in Discord. If you prefer, you can always contact WisCon departments by email or (in the case of Safety) phone! All conversations with ModMail are logged and viewable by Online Con Discord moderators. 

To contact ModMail:

  1. Go to the left hand user sidebar in the WisCon Discord and locate ModMail under users.
  2. Click on ModMail to bring up a popup window and type your message into the “Message @ModMail” field at the bottom.
    • If you haven’t interacted with ModMail before, the ModMail bot will ask you to allow it access to your Discord account.
    • If you are on multiple servers that use ModMail, it will prompt you to select the server—follow the instructions it provides!
  3. Send your message. Someone from the WisCon staff (probably a Discord Moderator) will reply asking if you have a Discord tech question, a Safety issue, or a COVID-19 issue. Depending on your response, a different member of WisCon staff will take over responding. Responses will come to you as direct messages (DMs).

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