Panel Scheduling

CONvergence Programming aims to provide an interesting and engaging experience for all CONvergence members. We do everything we can to schedule new, interesting panels and special events in addition to fresh iterations of old favorites. Just because we’ve done something in the past, does not mean we do it every year. That would get boring!

Scheduling Process

In October or November of each year, CONvergence Programming holds a brainstorming meeting that is open to the public. It is at this meeting that we begin to collect panel ideas and suggestions for consideration. We continue to collect panel suggestions via email and the panel suggestion form until mid-February. During February, we invite the CONvergence membership to sign up to be a panelist via an online form.

The best way for a panel to get on the schedule is to get three or four volunteers to sign up to be panelists right away. CONvergence Programming also works directly with this year’s Guests of Honor, Former Guests of Honor, and Invited Participants to identify and prioritize the panels in which they would like to participate.

Why a Panel is Not on the Schedule

We get over twice as many panel suggestions annually as there are available panel slots. It would be impossible to include all of them. Typical reasons for a panel not making it onto the final schedule include:

  • We received the panel suggestion late. We need the ideas by early January; anything past mid-February is almost guaranteed to not make it.
  • Too few people signed up to be on the panel.
  • It duplicated (or appeared to duplicate) another panel suggestion. Of course, this means that the panel did make it, just under another title/description.
  • We couldn’t figure out what the panel was about.
  • The panel wasn’t appropriate for CONvergence.
  • We just did that panel last year. While we do host a few recurring panels at CONvergence, the vast majority are new each year. For recurring panels, we try to keep them fresh from year-to-year. If you were on (or attended) a panel last year and you want it at the convention again, try to suggest it with a fresh twist.
  • It just didn’t make it into the mix this year. We balance many factors and try to come up with a diverse and representative selection of panels so that there is something to appeal to everyone. Sometimes that means sacrificing one panel suggestion to make room for another.

Other Scheduling Considerations

Events likely to be of an adult nature are not scheduled before 10:00pm. The nature of such events should be clear from their descriptions.

Panelist Selection

While we try to get everyone on the panels they request, we can’t always manage to do so. Reasons for this include:

  • The panel never made it to the schedule. See the previous section.
  • The panel made the cut, but you didn’t.

The latter can happen because…

  • There were already enough panelists. We try hard to keep it to no more than four.
  • You would have been double-booked at that time. We try to move things around, but can’t always do so.
  • Panels are filled in this order:

We aim for gender parity and diversity among panelists, but not at the expense of other considerations. We also take into account which other panels prospective panelists have volunteered for.

The order in which volunteers sign up for panels is not considered; we put everyone into the same pool of potential panelists.

Unlike many other conventions, CONvergence does not give priority to individuals who suggest panel ideas because we often get the same idea from multiple sources.

If you have panelists lined up in advance for your panel suggestion, please let us know as soon as possible. We may still add or adjust panelists to conform to our policies above. Please note that lining up your own panelists does not guarantee a panel will get on the schedule.

Scheduling Dates and Deadlines

You should be aware of the following dates and deadlines.

  • October or November: Programming brainstorming meeting.
  • February: Panelist sign-ups open.
  • Mid-February: Deadline for panel suggestions.
  • March 31st: Deadline for panel and Garden Court requests.
  • May 1st: Deadline for changes to panel names, descriptions, and panelists to be listed in printed materials.
  • May 15th: Sign-up opens for Programming General Hosts.
  • Wednesday, 8 days before CONvergence begins: Deadline for changes to printed table tents (nametags), room signs, etc.
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