We have decided to change CONvergence to a four day convention, effective for 2009 and going forward. I am going to discuss this change in this post. We have spent a lot of time evaluating the ups and downs of a four day convention. We assert that the potential benefits outweigh the potential harms, by a significant margin. We have learned so many lessons about running this convention effectively in the last 10 years! And in one convention, many of those lessons have been markedly revitalized by the revelation of a four day's potential for greatness.
Since this isn't an official organ of the Society, I want to talk about a four day convention from several personal
perspectives. That I am a board member of the Society lends a certain amount of weight to what I'm saying, but not everything I'm saying represents the board as a whole. You will have to take that into consideration.
I am confident that the final conclusions in this post reflect
the deliberations of the community and the board. They are strongly colored by personal experience. I want to assert my personal experiences because I have picked up a number of lessons from them. I have a lot to say, and I've reduced it down to the post you see before you. However, you can also click the cuts to read much more in depth. Be warned, behind the cuts is a lot of text, more than you've heard from me in any kind of public way about any of these topics. ( I remember Minicon. )
I didn't like their changes, but they found a way eleven years later to continue to exist as they desired to. I believe we have a better idea. I believe we have the right idea for this convention.
We have a tremendous opportunity to extend and preserve the culture of CONvergence from a position of strength, instead of conducting emergency surgery in the midst of a fracturing process. We have a chance to uphold the best of our community, and make it more open and more sustainable
, with a simple decision.
We move to four days. We do it now and we do it permanently. ( Come away, O human child )
It comes down to the future leaders of this community. You will decide whether or not you want to engage, volunteer, and lead. Each step on that journey your decisions are informed by our convention experience. Will you experience the hostility of a fried subhead who didn't take care of themselves, as I did in my story? Will you find yourself relaxing along with hundreds, indeed thousands, of others and securing long term friendships and opening possibilities?
When we open up, arms unfolding , they rush in, sprites amid the seafoam, fresh spirits of change eager to dance. When the wave rolls back out, will they come with us and crash again at the shore next go-round? Or if they meet a hollow and drowned man among the waves, glowering amid the Great and Terrible Burden He Alone Must Bear, they will flinch and draw back. ( I am not asking you to trust me. )
I am asking you to join us and lead with us. We are determined to see this through and set everyone up for success, not failure. (Joy, not misery!) I don't want you to follow
into some real or metaphorical breach. I want you to come along and help lead.
Right now. You, right there. Especially you
. We have a lot of work to do. We need to position all members of our community to be included and to succeed. We need to succeed at sustaining this event and the Society. We have a lot of changes to undertake and new levels of challenge to uncover. ( When you join us, people will be there waiting to support you. )
That's what I want. That's not too much
to expect from this change to a four day convention. Because dude, you ain't seen nothin
! You have not seen a thing
if you think this is just about a four day CONvergence. When our volunteers and organizers and attendees experience a relaxed, comfortable, exciting atmosphere instead of a cramped, anxious, crumbling one, they will be drawn further in. When they are connected like that, they will want more.
This convention is ready to be a bridge
. When participants at all levels come looking for more, we'll be ready. We can steward a new kind of growth, one that opens up the Society to new opportunities. With a strong sustained convention, we open up a strong, sustained Society. Moreover, we can work toward a convention as a celebration
of our cultures and accomplishments. When that happens, we can move the Society into new places and new ways of fundraising, new ways of operating, and new engagement with the non-convention community.
I am excited to help lead this change. Please join me.