WisCon 2022: Online Components

We are planning an in-person convention for WisCon 2022, with a lower membership cap and various changes to make gathering physically as safe as possible for our members. (See COVID-19 and WisCon 2022 for more information about our COVID safety policies.) But alongside our traditional in-person events we are also organizing an online component to the convention. This page describes how online aspects of the convention will work in 2022.

We realize that there are many reasons why you may not be able to join us in person this year, and so we are committed to offering virtual access to WisCon. While we wish we could make the entire convention accessible both in-person and online, financial and logistical constraints mean that most tracks of programming and some events will be available in-person only.

What will be available online?

The following aspects of the convention will definitely be accessible online:

  • Opening Ceremonies
  • Otherwise Auction
  • Guest of Honor speeches
  • At least two full tracks of all-online programming
  • Some (not all) sessions on the Readings track
  • Some (not all) panels on the Academic track

There will also once again be a WisCon Discord server, which all members will have access to.

All online programming appears on this year’s program in numbered “Ansible” rooms.

This is the minimum content that will be available to anyone with an Online Membership. (Anyone with an In-Person Membership will also have access to all online content.)

Will any in-person panels be broadcast to online members?

While the in-person Guest of Honor speech will be broadcast, we have no definite plans to broadcast any in-person panels. This is due to logistical constraints: every online panel needs a volunteer who will monitor the technical side of the Zoom call, and we can’t commit to broadcasting in-person panels unless we’re sure we have all online panels covered.

But we do hope that we will have enough volunteers that we can not only cover all planned online panels but also expand to stream at least some in-person panels!

If you would like to help make that a reality, you can volunteer as a Production Assistant! If you have ever hosted a Zoom call (or a call on any other virtual platform), you have the skills needed for this role; we’ll also be running training sessions for all production assistants in advance of the con. To learn more about upcoming training sessions for this role, email onlinecon@wiscon.net.

How will I access online content?

Online content will be available in three forms:

  • the WisCon Discord server
  • video-based conference calls (via Zoom)
  • streaming video (via YouTube)

We do not plan to make use of the Kumospace platform that was used for the Visioning WisCon event organized over Memorial Day in 2021.

Live virtual panels will be held as video conference calls, with both the panelists and the audience present on the call. Virtual panelists will need to have access to a working webcam, but audience members can participate with video turned off or unavailable. These panels will also be streamed to a video service for those audience members who can’t or don’t wish to join on Zoom.

Larger events, including the Opening Ceremonies and the Guest of Honor speeches, will be available as streaming video, as will any pre-recorded content (for example, potentially some readings).

We are not currently planning to record online content for viewing after the convention, aside from the Guest of Honor speeches (which we have recorded in the past, with the permission of the guest of honor themselves). However, the YouTube streams of panels will remain available through the end of the convention.

YouTube streams will be available only via direct link, and links will only be shared with members registered for the convention.

Accessing virtual panels or pre-recorded video content will require reasonably robust internet access, while accessing Discord is less bandwidth intensive.

You can purchase either an In-Person or Online Membership; Online Memberships can later be upgraded to attend In-Person, by paying the difference in cost. To lear more, see: Register for WisCon.

Is captioning (CART) or ASL interpretation available?

CART will be provided during the Opening Ceremonies, at the Otherwise Auction, and for the Guest of Honor speeches. To request request captioning and/or ASL interpretation for other programming (either in-person or online), please use this Google form.

If you have any questions about the virtual aspects of WisCon 2022, you can email onlinecon@wiscon.net.