I may write up a convention report but I haven’t yet. I’m posting here to open up the discussion about how this past weekend went as an IF-folks-getting-together event, what we should do next year, and what we want out of such an event.
My view: NoShowConf was a lot of fun. I got to hang out with a bunch of out-of-town IF regulars: Iain, Lucea, Deirdra, Emily (who decided to fly in at roughly the last minute), plus many Boston folks (insert name list here) (did I forget anybody from the out-of-town list?). I went to some good talks and presentations, I got to see some interesting works-in-progress.
The IF crowd was smaller than at the past couple of PAXes. None of the talks and presentations were IF-specific. Some of the works-in-progress being shown off were IF or IF-related; more were not. The lunch was copious and the evening everybody-goes-out-for-dinner sessions were exceptionally enjoyable.
There was not a visible division between “IF folks” and “everybody else” at the event. The very first thing that happened when I walked in the door was somebody asked an Inform 7 question – and it wasn’t one of the “IF regulars” I listed above. It was somebody who had never heard my name, in fact. There were at least two IF or IF-related projects shown off by people who I did not know at all.
Post-weekend, there was a lot of IFMud discussion about how it went. If I may offer a probably-over-broad concensus statement, I’d say it sums up to: “That was a success, but not as IF-focussed or IF-energizing as previous years, and we don’t want to lose that.”
Obvious factors: NoShowConf was tiny and pricier than PAX. I have word from the organizers (well, from Darius, who was not the organizer but who knows the score) that next year’s NoShowConf will have lower membership rates and more space. (Not just more floor space, but a larger number of smaller rooms, to allow multiple tracks and more focussed events.) So, it will be larger next year. It will not be PAX-sized, but I’m pretty sure that nobody wants to grow that fast.
Unlike in previous years, I made no attempt to organize IF-specific events, other than saying “Let’s meet up for dinner on Friday evening!” There was in fact plenty of IF-related discussion, among us folks sitting around the conference – and (as I noted) it wasn’t just among the folks who I knew personally. But there was no galvanizing event of “let us get together and discuss what’s going on in our IF lives.” Emily commented that she missed that focus, and I agree.
The above is written in the descriptive mode. Now I will switch to what I want.
To make plans for next year, we must have a notion of what we want out of an IF gathering. I invite you all to chime in on this.
What I want – and some of this is inspired by other people’s statements, but don’t take it as a consensus, it’s just me:
- An event which motivatates IF fans to show up from all around the world.
- An event to which we can plausibly invite famous IF names who are not part of our regular community (Infocom emeriti, etc).
- A space which we can claim as IF territory, where interested newcomers and IF fans who don’t know us personally can meet up. Community nurturing space.
- A time where we can show off our IF projects and discuss where we’re going with them. (Since so much of the IF world consists of people building off each others’ projects, technologies, and idea.)
- A deadline for showing off our IF projects, to motivate us to keep plugging away at them over the course of the year.
Given those goals, it’s easy for me to go on to “what should I do next year”. (Plan another IF room/suite; stake out at least one time slot for IF state-of-the-union.) But probably we should mull goals rather than plans at this stage.