Philosofur Panel Suggesstion
This is an idea which I had forwarded in the previous year to no success.
The aim of this panel would be to provide a moderated space where we aim to satisfy the desire for engaging conversation and mental challenge. Topics would be drawn from those attending the panel, or else follow a survey of historical exerpts selected by the moderator. Discussion would occur between those attending, rather than in a question and answer format with the moderator. The moderator's role would simply be to ensure the discussion remained open and friendly towards allthose involved, as well as answering any particular historical questions regarding the exerpts that they provided. If possible, and in fine philosophical tradition, tea would be served, along with some small snack-line foods (I find it hard to think on an empty stomach... and it makes me grumpy).
Philosophy is admittedly not the first thing thought of when someone considers the Furry fandom, but I see no reason why it should not be one of the things thouught of. Philosophy can be as mundane as deciding the price of a commission, and as lofty as considering the ideal of the fandom. It is certain that we all take part in it at all times, but, from personal experience, it can be frustrating to find a group of individuals who are willing to engage in a serious and civil discussion of those topics that might interest us, or make us curious or desire a deeper understanding.
I understand that there are risks involved. Anthrocon does not want to appear to endorse a view point by giving a moderator an official space and time slot to push it. There is reasonable concern that individuals attending the panel may become angry, with the moderator in the best circumstances, and with one another in the worst. It might give someone a chance to steal the platform, hurt the feelings of others, and even rally support behind a movement which is detrimental to those present, the convention at large, or the fandom as a whole. These risks are ones which can only be mitigated by good leadership in the panel itself, and an untested moderator like myself is a poor choice for the job.
However, I do not know of anyone else whose time I can volunteer, and so I'd also like to put out a call, to anyone reading this who might be interested in seeing this panel become a reality, if you have any experience or history that might commend you to the post of moderator, please submit this idea and recommend yourself well to the Anthrocon planning committee. Further, anyone who has any suggestions, or courses of action that I ought to take to shore up weaknesses in my proposal, or refine the idea, please let me know.
Thank you for your time.
A general open-ended discussion with little direction could be interesting. It reminds me of a day in high school where I walked into the classroom and the desks were set up in a circle instead of their normal setup.
The teacher said, "Today you all get to talk about basically whatever you want. Just make sure that anyone who wants to speak has a chance to be heard."
At first everything was awkward and silent. The silence was broken when someone mentioned a recent event in the news. That topic led to a multitude of other topics. People started asking for advice with problems they were having. Others shared some accomplishments. Forty minutes of undirected discussion led to some great topics.
I don't remember hearing about such a panel at Anthrocon before.
A general open-ended discussion with little direction could be interesting...
I do believe that this is one of the major functions served by The Zoo.
It could be, but there's something to be said for having a room, a moderator, and a listing in the AC schedule book. Plus, and maybe this is a problem unique to me, but it seems to be difficult and unfair to try holding this kind of discussion with someone who was unprepared for it, or never intended to engage in it. I think it's for similar reasons that most of the meet-up panels exist, though I've never attended one, and could not say if they had more or less structure than what I'm envisioning.
Though, if the suggestion is to do a sort of dry run in the Zoo, or else use it as a proving grounds for both interest and my own compotence, I think that would be a wonderful idea! So long as it would be agreeable with AC staff; I always thought it would be against some rule to simply sit myself down somewhere with a sign and start talking shop about anything.
I'm not staff, so please don't interpret this as permission to use convention space.
People hold unofficial meet 'n greets every year: I can think of the Annual (21+) Wine Tasting, Breakfast with Mr. Rogers, my own annual get-out-and-exercise meetup, and many others you'll see advertised on these forums as the convention weekend approaches. Breakfast with Mr. Rogers has been going on for years, but was in the official schedule for the first time just this past year.
There is a big difference between organizing something in Convention Space and Public Space. The Anthrocon Board and Staff like to know what's happening in their space. If you organize something in a restaurant or in a public space, you're now dealing with rules of the restaurant and local ordinances that determine how public space can and cannot be used.
In any case, obtaining explicit permission is the route you want to take. And in the case of public spaces, that permission may have already been given depending on city ordinances about use of public spaces.
You can organize just about any type of get-together, so long as convention staff are okay with you using their space in such a fashion, and also okay with you using the Anthrocon forums to advertise such an event.
Of course, I am not using this forum to solicit permission for any activities. I just want to put forward the idea, and see whether there is interest, and what I can do to improve or realize it. As such, I'm simply noting things that I can look into, such as hosting something informal in the Zoo.
I would vastly prefer holding any event, whether formal or informal, within Anthrocon spaces, since I both want and need the event to be as exposed to the public as possible. It will help to both get new ideas into the discussion, as well as advertise the idea. As such, I may write to AC staff soon, inquiring about what I can do without being registered as a panel. Plus, I'd be anxious approaching anywhere else, since I don't presently have people waiting to attend the event, nor any experience hosting it, nor any money to afford renting space.
Though, never the less thank you! The input is appreciated, as always.
I've also considered doing something online, via Skype or Discord or some similar tool, with regular meetings and topics to help keep discussion focused, though these too have never amounted to much owing to a lack of interest. You'd think it would discourage me, but I've somehow managed to just disbelieve that people actually aren't interested.
So just to chime in - I know I am a little late.
Please submit your panel via our panel submission too:
What I will tell you is that if your panel is approved - you will have to abandon the idea of tea and snacks at your panel.
...you will have to abandon the idea of tea and snacks...
I figured that'd be the final ruling. Understood.
It's actually part of the contract that Anthrocon signs with the hotels and convention center. No outside food or drink.
Yeah. Even Uncke Kage (after years of "sneaking under the radar") was recently finally forced to contract with the DLCC to supply the wine for his Story Hours.
No. At the DLCC/Westin, you can't serve so much as a single Jelly Baby, Jammie Dodger, or fish finger dipped in custard, at a Dr. Who panel, unless you contract with the Con-center to provide them for you.
At last year's Zootopia panel, which I helped produce, I was sorely tempted to bring a small basket of blueberrys, and put them on the table in the front. They would have been props only. Me and Highwing would have put a big sign behind them, reading something to the effect of: "DANGER! NIGHT HOWLER TOXIN PELLETS! CONTACT CAUSES ALL ANIMALS TO TURN FERAL! (ESPECIALLY PREDATORS!)" But, knowing the con-center's rules, I decided that, even as a joke-prop, I probably shouldn't.
PS. A while after the above-mentioned Dr. Who episode aired, I did indeed whip up a batch of fish fingers, and ate them dipped in custard.
They're actually very tasty!
Though I find a fondness for a real place to gather and have everyone discuss the philosphies of the fandom... This does seem like it is a bit similar to *any* meet-n-greet held by lots of friends, though as stated such rich conversations aren't always held too long and a place to be sure they would could be quite nice. -- And a place where they simply would be sustained
At any rate, I know I'd want to drop in.