tommo: (Default)
[personal profile] tommo
I'm trying to come up with a list of "Stream Headings" for the different types of panels and presentations you tend to see at a SwanCon. I'm hoping this will lead to some thought and discussion about how people think a full convention's worth of panel-slots (say ~140) should be divided amongst them for ideal balance. Here's what I have so far...

Non-medium-specific General SF&F (aka the "[topic] in SF&F" catch-all)
Fantasy Lit
SF Lit
TV
Film
Comics
Horror (thanks [livejournal.com profile] angriest)
Anime
Academic
Gaming
Video Gaming
Meta-Fandom
Science & Technology
Speculation/Futurism (thanks [livejournal.com profile] _fustian)
Art
Writing
Publishing
Child-Friendly (thanks [livejournal.com profile] mynxii)
Entertainment/Performance ("Martial Arts" would come under this, plus other applicable categories)
Off-Topic/Other

Those last two are a bit vague, but I think most of the non-genre stuff we do probably fits into one or the other of them. Anyway, are there any categories I've forgotten?

Date: 2009-04-16 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] justadecoy.livejournal.com
What do you mean by Meta-Fandom?
I've heard people using the term but never asked what they mean.

Date: 2009-04-16 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
Fans talking about being fans, more or less.

Date: 2009-04-16 06:14 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-16 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
Ooh, good one. Ta.

Date: 2009-04-16 06:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angriest.livejournal.com
Also there are usually:

- specific lit panels
- specific media panels (TV/film/etc)
- genre-based panels that cover SF in multiple media (representations of the apocalypse in films and books, for example)

Date: 2009-04-16 06:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
I'm not sure what you mean by the first two. Are you referring to panels about a particular book/film/show? Because I'd just lump them in under the SF Lit, Fantasy Lit, TV and Film headings. For the purposes of programme balance, I think that makes sense.

Your last one refers to panels that fit into multiple categories, which is fine, as long as the categories are all in the list. Otherwise it starts getting tricky.

Date: 2009-04-16 06:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angriest.livejournal.com
I suppose I mean there's a split between genre-based panels where the medium doesn't matter, and media-based panels where it does.

Date: 2009-04-16 06:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
In terms of accurate and comprehensive categorisation, you're absolutely right. For the purposes of tracking programme balance I think it'll just make things too complicated :)

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Date: 2009-04-16 06:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_fustian/
  • Futurism/Speculation (ie. all the "End of the World" and "What would happen if" type panels)
  • Guest Speeches
  • Book Launches
Also, how is "Martial Arts" not included under "Off Topic/Other" or "Entertainment/Activity"?

Date: 2009-04-16 06:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
Guest speeches are enough of a standard that I wouldn't include them (same reason I haven't put masquerade, opening/closing ceremony, auction, etc). The other two are good, though. Cheers.

In my opinion, martial arts probably should be included under off-topic, but it's become popular enough and has enough overlap with genre stuff that I caved and put it in the main list (albeit at the bottom). I could very easily be convinced to do otherwise ;)

Date: 2009-04-16 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_fustian/
Guest speeches are enough of a standard that I wouldn't include them (same reason I haven't put masquerade, opening/closing ceremony, auction, etc)

Fair enough. But shouldn't there be a "standard stuff" category, then?

In my opinion, martial arts probably should be included under off-topic, but it's become popular enough and has enough overlap with genre stuff that I caved and put it in the main list (albeit at the bottom). I could very easily be convinced to do otherwise ;)

fwiw, here's my vote to do otherwise. :)

Date: 2009-04-16 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
Not really, as that category wouldn't factor into the final calculations of programme balance. Those items will always be there - it's the rest of the programme we want to examine :)

Date: 2009-04-16 06:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mynxii.livejournal.com
I don't think you can actually call the MA off topic - it was on topic but instead of sitting around talking about stuff, it was a performance piece that was completely genre based.

The other major panel was a comparison of real world vs fantasy weapons and fighting styles - again, on topic just a different execution.

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Date: 2009-04-16 06:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
Actually, I won't add book launches at this stage, as those are something that will be in numbers according to demand from authors, rather than something that should represent a certain percent of the programme each year. You can only have as many book launches as there are books being launched!

Date: 2009-04-16 06:46 am (UTC)
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
From: [personal profile] alias_sqbr
HMM. I think the problem with this sort of thing is that some sorts of panels fall into lots of categories, and yet have a somewhat niche appeal within each.

For example: How would you classify fanfic/fanvids/fanart?

Still, I like the idea of making sure these subgenres get enough attention.

Date: 2009-04-16 06:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
I think eventually you have to start putting items under the category (or categories) which is the closest fit.

So, I guess, fanfic would come under Writing, fanvids would come under TV/Film/Anime and fanart would come under art. It's not exact, but it'll help when determining how well balanced a programme is. There's always going to be stuff that doesn't fit neatly.

Even if 80% of the items in the programme match up with a category, that'll go a long way to giving some idea of how well balanced the programme is.

Of course, the next step would be to figure out how many panel-slots each of these categories should be getting :)

Date: 2009-04-16 01:46 pm (UTC)
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
From: [personal profile] alias_sqbr
Ahhh. See I was replying on the assumption we were using these categories to make neatly divided streams a la your last post. If it's just for a rule of thumb "Do we have enough of everything?" test that's different.

In that case I definitely think transformative works (fanfic/fanart etc) really is a category of it's own which needs to be measured separately, there's both people who will go to pretty much any transformative works panel regardless of medium, and plenty of others who will *avoid* them all regardless of if it's otherwise a topic they like :)

Nice Facet Analysis

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Re: Nice Facet Analysis

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Date: 2009-04-16 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mynxii.livejournal.com
Children's focused programming (ie, not excluding adults, but focused on appealing to children)

Date: 2009-04-16 07:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
This one is tricky. The "children's programme" won't really play into the balance of the con - it should just be there regardless. Items in the general programme that are "child friendly", but suited for all ages, will probably be more suited to being under one of the other categories.

Perhaps a good goal with regards to child friendly items in the main programme is to simply aim to have a certain number of panels per day which are child friendly? Rather than having it reflected in what I'm examining here (the overall balance). I just can't see it fitting properly, as it's kind of a separate aspect.

Date: 2009-04-16 07:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mynxii.livejournal.com
And yet if it's not there, it's invisible - part of the idea of this entire thing is include parents and their kids in their own right. Also, while having panels that are child friendly are good, having an actual children's scheme which doesn't even make a nod to being directed to adults is important too, like the craft activities and such that was organised this year as part of the fan creche.

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Date: 2009-04-16 08:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangedave.livejournal.com
Fanzine fandom would be a topic that would appear on many conventions lists, but seldom Swancon.

I'm not quite sure what area copyright etc panels fit into. It isn't fandom specific (but is relevant to fandom), it is more about the present than the future, it isn't specific to writers or publishers etc. It fits into Off-Topic/Other, of course, but there were enough panels on this specific area that it seems like it should be a bit bigger.

Fan history is often a category on its own, rather than just part of meta-fandom, at many cons, but oddly not really much in evidence at swancon despite its long history.

I'd add one overall caveat on the list - these categories obviously aren't mutually exclusive, one panel can fit into several categories.

Date: 2009-04-16 08:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tommmo.livejournal.com
Yep, one panel can definitely fit multiple categories. And you're going to get panels that don't end up really fitting any particularly well (copyright stuff also struck me as one of those). Hopefully there'll be only a few of the latter, so that the list of categories is still a useful tool overall.

Date: 2009-04-16 08:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] callistra.livejournal.com
So maybe we need 2 lists...

One for champions, and one for streams.

Things what need champions:

- Writing and Publishing
- Anime
- Academic
- Kiddie Stream and Creche
- Art and Artshow
- Gaming

and maybe the rest are more topic streams?

Date: 2009-04-16 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] utopos.livejournal.com
I've argued that horror needs championing.

There may be just an element of genre blindness amongst the general fan population that prevents certain genres/mediums being programmed effectively. I'd argue that the level of analysis presented by almost every well prepared specific lit/fandom discussion panel outstrips the occasional uninformed dross I've seen in Academic streams of days past (a paper reading presenting a particularly facile analysis of Buffy springs to mind) Determining the difference between a monologue or talk delivered by a sole speaker on a narrow topic within the main program with a similarly prepared soapbox rant in a small room labelled "academic stream" seems to be completely arbitrary.
(That said I'd love Swancon to run an outreach/community education program targeted at whoever is running SF-text-centric units at the Arts/Communications faculties at UWA and Murdoch every year).

I consider the provision of a creche essential enough on the basis of equity alone to be in support of an amendment to WASFF's funding criteria to make childcare provision a compulsory prerequisite for WASFF funding of cons intended to be of a particular size or targeting appropriate demographics. *prepares for a chorus of condemnation from usual suspects*

Date: 2009-04-17 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] callistra.livejournal.com
Chesh and I were also talking about furries needing championing too. We don't like the negative trends people have in regards to the furries, and think maybe a good strong stream could raise some awareness about furries and furry stuff.

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