NarraScope 2022

Registration is open: https://narrascope.org/

The event will be on the Gather platform this year.

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Exciting! My weekends tend to be pretty chockablock with child care these days but I’m hoping to be able to attend some of this.

This is a very nitpicky comment, but it looks like there’s a mismatch between the description on the Narrascope.org page, which says it’s a free conference, and registration seeming to entail a modest payment of like $5 for those on a limited budget (plus the option for those able to pay more to do so to subsidize others, which is great)? I definitely don’t begrudge the IFTF the fee, and from reading carefully I think the way it works is that the registration is only needed if you want to attend the pre-conference workshops, but it might be helpful to spell things out a little more explicitly so that folks for whom the cost might be a barrier get a clearer sense of how they can participate.

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How comes a “free” event costs $3. Or am i missing something?

NarraScope 2022 is a free, online-only event that supports interactive narrative, adventure games, and interactive fiction

edit: Sorry, missied @DeusIrae comment. What he said.

Sorry about that. The line saying “free” on the web site was just a mistake – it never got updated from 2020.

Gather is a paid platform. The cost for an event per user isn’t high, but there is a cost.

We hope to have all the talks available for free streaming after the event. (Given the speakers’ permission, of course.)

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Somewhat concerned to hear that Gather is being used. I’ve known people attending conventions in recent years find it very problematic. I’m also concerned about how well I could use it for various disability reasons.

I’ll probably rely on catchup after, rather than fight this software I’m afraid.

I wish everyone well and hope things go fine!

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Previous Narrascope entrant here.

Do you mind expanding a little (to the degree you are comfortable) as to what the nature of the problem is? I find the term problematic to be very subjective.

Don’t want to put you on the spot, but could you give an indication of what to be aware of?

Sure I’ll just paste what I wrote on the NarraScope discord if that’s ok. Message incoming!

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As posted on the NarraScope Discord …

I’m going to give a summarised feedback now, because I’m likely to be too knocked out to write more. I also have some references on user experiences with Gather, mainly for the Eastercon UK 2021 scifi con that I will post links to after. One congoer there cites seeing up to 169 people online at Gather at a time. I read many accounts of Eastercon people who found the Gather interface unintuitive and often plain not working. Sound cutting out or not playing for long periods. Resource hogs on machines. Bandwidth/connection problems. Many people in the UK like me don’t have the very speediest home Internet! Many people found the Gather interface overwhelming and too active. Back then it couldn’t be used except on a desktop or laptop computer, and mobile wasn’t supported. It is a bit better re mobile now, but still not optimal, especially re bandwidth. The user interface can be problematic for reduced sight folks. Rosefinchie has mentioned the captioning problem. My biggest concern about using Gather is my very poor hand control, which means I would struggle to physically control it on either iPad or desktop. Its bandwidth requirements also mean I would probably have connection/disconnection problems trying to access it on my iPad from bed - I am severely disabled, and would be tuning in while lying down, camera off! I’m also concerned about its accessibility for people who struggle with too busy or active an interface. And for people with reduced vision. Anyway those are some concerns. As I say its use at Eastercon 2021 was very problematic, though I wasn’t attending, and just glad I hadn’t signed up and paid for it! I heard far too many reports though. I will post some experience links in a mo.

Very detailed review from an Eastercon 2021 attendee re Gather pros and cons ConFusion 2021 Eastercon Report | File 770

Another Eastercon review inc Gather comments ConFusion: Eastercon 2021 | Secret Panda

A 2020 con who apologised in advance for the accessibility problems of Gather Accessibility Statement – UbiComp 2020

Another very detailed critique of Gather for Eastercon. There may be some tips the NarraScope organisers could pick up from here re signage etc. ConFusion: Farah Mendlesohn

One last review link, again from Eastercon 2021 Liz Williams Reports on Eastercon 2021 | milfordsfwriters

Incidentally Gather does have accessibility advice for organisers, though this is somewhat limited in how many issues it will address. But it is a step in a better direction. Design a More Accessible Space

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That may have been a bit long :wink: But hopefully helps! Not all the linked things go into Gather in the same detail. I also read many other bad reports a year ago about this, but these are the ones I’ve been able to dig up now.

I don’t expect the NarraScope organisers to change software now. But maybe it will help to be aware of some issues. And there are at least some things that can be done to mitigate some of the issues in terms of how the interface space is designed, with good signage etc.

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Thanks for clarifying that. It’s important for those of us without major disability issues to get even a glimpse of what it’s like for those who have. I am wishing I could help somehow :slightly_smiling_face:.

I hope your comments get picked up and that there will soon be an improvement in the accessibility of the platform. :+1:

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(I also replied on Discord, but for those that arent on that server:)
Definitely lots of food for thought for us (the Narrascope committee)! We had taken some steps as a committee to address/improve accessibility, but we appreciate this perspective and the resources and pointers (I certainly wasn’t aware of the experience at EasterCon!).
We have flagged this in our committee chat and are currently discussing all of this and looking at what additional measures we could take to mitigate issues. When we have a more comprehensive plan in place, we’ll probably make a blog post to recap the measures we are taking, to communicate that to everyone. (And before that, we might reach out, including on this forum, for more feedback, too!)
Thank you for your patience, and thanks again for your comments viv!

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Just saw that the event schedule has gone up, so figured I’d post that here:

Lots of fun stuff here!

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