Descriptions are provided below for program items we are considering. The program survey lists only one item per page, so this page is intended to offer a way to preview the possible items all at once so you know what to expect. If you would like to volunteer to be on program, please click to fill out the form.

21st Century program ideasWhat are panel topics that may appeal to 21st Century audiences. What are currently popular panel ideas other than Isaac Asimov’s latest novel, etc? What interests younger fans?
Accessibility with hybrid needs in mindHow do you preserve privacy and intellectual property while still supporting accessibility? What about accessibility issues with various platforms, hybrid social spaces, and so on? Just because your con will be hybrid doesn’t mean you can stop providing in-person accessibility and best universal design practices. Let’s talk about conflicting room set-up needs between equipment and space for mobility devices. Also remote platforms and how they interact with captions and screen readers.
Are Art Shows failing or shrinking?What can we, or should we, do about it? Talk about Art Show issues including how to make attendance worthwhile for professional artists. Can hybrid art shows work?
Are SF Clubs dying/shrinking? Should we be doing something about it?Should we be doing something about it? And how is this affecting conventions? Why have a con at all? Where are all the Worldcon and Smofcon bids?
Children’s activities with hybrid needs in mindWhat are some Children’s activities that conventions could have that would work with both in person and remote attendees? What about remote only attendees?
Convention EventsEvents have become bigger, more elaborate, more complicated, especially at Worldcons. Let’s discuss the various aspects, including getting the right people, and how to manage expectations of ‘the usual’.
Convention website designConventions include websites as part of their online publicity, often instead of printed flyers or progress reports. A good website is necessary for fully or partially Hybrid conventions. What are required components for the basic website (besides convention name, dates, location, rates, Guests of Honor, etc.)? What is required for Hybrid Portals including avoiding common UI speedbumps.
Creating convention social spaces with hybrid needs in mind.Social spaces are hard in the best of circumstances, but how do we make them work in a hybrid environment? How do we make both in person and remote attendees feel included?
Credit Card ProcessingCredit cards are no longer optional for most conventions. While twenty years ago a convention got by with a swipe box and account on one of the few big vendors (Elavon, Paymenttech, etc), today there are a plethora of other options including Square, PayPal, Venmo, Stripe, and others. Integration with portable devices or web payments are increasingly important. How does your convention do CC processing? What vendors, hardware, software, etc, are best for conventions? How does a convention get started with CC processing? Do you have any tips to share?
Current and Future SmofconsThis Smofcon has a strong theme of hybrid conventions. As well as making every program item (and most of the social space) available to Remote members. Is this working? What can we fix this weekend? What should future Smofcons be doing? And what subjects should be their focus/theme?
Dealer rooms and Exhibits with hybrid needs in mindIs there a way to replicate the best parts of the dealer’s room for dealers and members not physically at the convention? Can we still stumble upon the wonderful item we never knew existed that we just have to have? Is it reasonable for dealers to expect there to be enough browsers and buyers to justify staffing their “table” throughout the convention? Do conventions have a role in facilitating sales transactions (or even transfers of purchased merchandise)?
Dealing with systemic structures of oppression as a conventionShould we be boycotting places, including countries, known for human rights violations? How do we run events in spaces of oppression? Should we?
DocumentationMaking it happen AND keeping it kind of current
Expanding the Convention Outside the HotelWe’re no longer limited to the space and time where the convention is being held! We can visit an artist’s studio, tour the historic site featured in an author’s new novel, get a report on exciting scientific developments directly from the lab working on them, or speak with real astronauts in space. Now that it’s so much easier to bring convention members to places to distant, small, or otherwise inconvenient for our members to attend, how should we be doing it? Should we be emphasizing live visits that allow the attendees to interact with our distant speakers? Should we pre-record portions of the session to allow demonstrations that would take too long for a panel slot (e.g., letting us see the creation of a piece of art from start to finish)? What technology is best for bringing the remote presentation into the convention and letting the convention interact with the presenters?
Fan Table KitTalk about how to assemble and ship a Fan Table Kit for your convention (not just the bid book, but all the other gear as well).
Gaming in hybrid/remote settings.Talk about how to have in person and remote collaboration (LAN parties?), online-only gaming experiences (like Arisia ’21 space cats), and the various online tabletop gaming platforms available.
Great new things your convention is doingWhat made you decide to try it? Why is it working? In what way is it new?
HospitalityWhat does hospitality mean to your convention? How to we do hospitality better? Let’s talk about location, Covid-related concerns, and hotel policies surrounding food and beverage.
How do we create 24/7 program schedules for time zones around the worldMost will tell you time zones are evil, but why? And how do we work with them? How do we make sure that we have volunteers and staff and participants and audience able to partake of our conventions during their own waking hours when some are on opposite sides of the planet?
How should conventions respond to author/writer/actor strikes?Science fiction fandom celebrates authors, screenwriters, actors, animators, and many other people who work in our genre. One way that we can support those people is to make sure that they have the right to organize and demand fair payment for their work. We can help them in their fight against having their work stolen to power AI. How should a convention respond and support those who may be on strike and unable to promote their work? Can we reach out to unions and help amplify their voices?
[Keynote] Converging Realms: The Future of Hybrid ConventionsTalk about staffing and equipment needs for a hybrid con. What about the challenges of chat rooms? How do we make both sides of the screen feel included? What does it mean to be a Hybrid convention, the impact on both attendees and the convention itself. When is it appropriate to attempt Hybrid and when is it contra-indicated.
Hybrid with remote musiciansDuring the pandemic, the New England Folk Festival (NEFFA) used software to ‘align’ two remote participants so that an online music panel with, say, a musician and dance caller, was possible. We’ll talk about how they did it, and how well it worked.
Let’s Talk About ItWe have learned that some things people thought were okay to say 10/15/20+ years ago are not acceptable now. But how do we know what they are? Put anonymous questions in the box at Program Ops (or into an anonymous form) all through Friday and Saturday. On Sunday morning in this panel we will answer questions, discuss the topics submitted, and work on getting everyone onto the same page. (No genuine question will incur CoC violation reports or the like.)
Negotiating Hotel Contracts with Hybrid needs in mind.Talk about negotiating hotel contracts, for both one-offs and recurring events and for both large and small events, as there’s quite a variance in negotiating power depending on those conditions. We will emphasize hybrid needs (internet, etc.), pandemic attrition clauses, hospitality restrictions, and more.
NFP (Not for Profit Hosting) demosFor over a year various members of the convention technical community have been discussing combining our efforts at hosting the software and systems for the conventions. This discussion will potentially show demos and discuss what would be available and what would be a future project.
Online etiquette, especially cross-generationalHow do we mitigate the bad habits people have when communicating? Are talking over others in zoom, multiple line returns that generate repeated notifications insurmountable barriers? What form of communication is best to use with someone else?
Panelists, Moderators, and the Code of ConductIs it now the job of the Panel Moderator to be the one mindful of the CoC as the panel unfolds? What do/should moderators and panelists (and audience members) do when a misstep occurs?
Publications for 21st Century ConventionsThe use of paper publications at conventions has changed drastically in the last twenty years. Fewer attendees are using them (if they pick them up at all). Some cons have eliminated paper documents altogether; others are publishing online only. How have publications changed? What is the need for publications in the 21st century? For those still remaining, what tools, techniques, and processes do you use to improve quality, reduce costs, and improve efficiency? What other changes for publications will occur in the next decade?
Publicity, PR and Social MediaTalk about doing it right. How do you unravel disasters? Talk about both design and what information should be included. What different social media platforms/other publications should you use?
Recruiting StaffOne of the most outstanding characteristic of fans is that they do their thing — conventions, fanzines, clubs, and blogs — as a gift to fandom or for egoboo. Paying it forward at a convention may include designing badges, maintaining a website, etc. But also volunteering time at a Registration desk, Office desk, running Tech equipment, checking for badges for the dealers room, etc. Sometimes a carrot is needed to recruit staff and have them return in future years. Is providing a comp or refunded membership and a place to get something to eat becoming more common? What about crash space? Can conventions that don’t do those things survive?
Remote Participants and Guests of HonorThere are various customary perks for in-person GOHs, special guests, and program participants. What are we doing for our remote participants? How can we improve their experiences so they feel part of the con community and mitigate last minute drop-out issues?
Running inclusive and diverse conventionsWhat does that mean? Why is it important? How do you accomplish it? Share thoughts, solutions, and good (and bad) strategies. Can you satisfy everyone? How about anyone?
So you want to bid a traveling convention?Talk about the requirements for Worldcon, World Fantasy, NASFiC, Costume-Con, Smofcon, and Westercon. We’ll also cover suggestions on how to run a successful bid and bid committees.
So, This is Your First SmofconWhat to do, what to expect, and a short history of Smofcons.
So, you want to chair a convention?The prestige! The power! The responsibilities! The time! The anxiety! The need to fire a friend?! Why? Who should be the bid chair? What about Worldcon? How about co-chairing? Talk about things you wish you knew before you took the job.
Video Conferencing software we all love to hateWhat is out there? Zoom, Airmeet, Google Meet, Discord, Slack, MS Teams, Webex, GoToMeeting, Gather Town. Includes demos/discussion of various platforms.
What can we learn from Chengdu?The Chengdu Worldcon was a very unusual Worldcon in many ways (and that’s an understatement). Many of the things they did – like build an entire convention center for the event – are out of reach for most Worldcons. But what positive lessons should conrunners in the rest of the world take away?
What do program-runners want in a program-running/building software application?Round table discussion of what folks in various convention roles need. What is missing from what they are currently using? WHAT are they currently using? And other topics.
Writing new If I ran the Con/Zoo Game scenarios based on pandemic and hybrid issues((We are looking for one or two people to lead a group in creating new scenarios for the If I Ran the Con/Zoo game))

The following will be Program items, but we are not currently looking for leaders.

Friday Evening Ice BreakerSpeed Smoffing
Hybrid Build 101 Workshop (Lab to follow the Hybrid [Keynote] panel)Workshop to learn what it takes to setup tech for a hybrid program item or social space. Learn what equipment is needed and the right way to setup the room. Also, special warning for what not to do! If there is time, things to remember to remember about striking the room.
(Smofcon 40 Tech crew will control who is leading this workshop. In-person attendance may be limited)
Learn to play Mahjong.Teach others how to play!
Probability & Statistics SeminarLearn new ways to bluff while wearing a mask.
Seattle Worldcon 2025 PlanningThe Seattle Worldcon 2025 committee would love to host a small group discussion for Seattle Worldcon 2025. The idea is that it would be a place where potential volunteers could get information about what is needed, what current plans are, and to talk with the Chair. (Seattle Worldcon 2025 will control who is leading this discussion.)
Worldcon Q and APresentations from Current Worldcons and upcoming bids.
Zambia and Planorama demonstrations with Q and A.2 half-hour slots, one for Zambia and one for Planorama. 20 min demo, 10 min Q&A