As I said on Con or Bust's site:
In March, Con or Bust’s Board of Directors will be electing up to four members to the Board, for terms of up to three years. Anyone can be a candidate; if you are interested, or if you want to encourage someone else to run, please read on for more information.
Please see the link for more details and spread the word!
I have a paid job posting up for a small modification to the WordPress plugin Gravity Forms; if you know anyone who might be good at this, please point them there—I'd really like to get some responses that actually show they've read the whole thing, understand what I want, and have a plan.
I announced this earlier in the week, but forgot to mention it here:

Con or Bust's annual online auction, which is its principal source of funds to help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons, is now accepting items for auction. Bidding will begin on Monday, April 20, and run for just under two weeks. You can get more details at the announcement post, which is also a good thing to link to! (I've been swamped this week but will be sending emails to various people who've donated items in the past, but you don't have to wait for that!)
1. Con or Bust is currently auctioning a signed maunscript of Mary Robinette Kowal's forthcoming (April 2015) conclusion to the Glamourist Histories series, along with signed hardcovers of all the books in the series, thanks to the author & the Ada Initiative (which I have just about trained myself out of writing as ADA, because Americans with Disabilities Act).

2. This Friday, the first substantive post in my reread of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell goes up at Tor.com (covering chapters 1-4 and clocking in at a hefty 4500 words); here's the series index for bookmarking.

Should one or both of these be relevant to your interests, I hope you will take a look or spread the word!
Despite making it a four-panel day, I asked to be added to this because it specifically mentions Con or Bust and it sounded really interesting. And it was!

Description:

Fan Activism takes many forms: campaigning for wider representation for people of colour in media (racebending.com); performing charitable acts inspired by celebrities (Misha Collins's therandomact.org); pushing for films to be made (Dredd 2, Serenity 2, Xena: The Warrior Princess), organising charitable funds to enable fans to travel to conventions (TAFF, GUFF, Con or Bust), expressing political discontent (Anon/V for Vendetta, The Hunger Games salute in Thailand). The different kinds of fan activities and how the activism is undertaken varies depending upon the community and desired outcome. In this session people experienced in and knowledgeable about fan activism share their practices with anyone who is interested whether for curiosity's sake or because they wish to be an activist.

Crystal Huff, Eylul Dogruel, Kate Nepveu

Crystal does lots of con-running stuff, including chairing Readercon during this and working on Helsinki's bid for the 2017 WorldCon. Eylul was involved in the Gezi protests in Turkey. I run Con or Bust and am on the Readercon safety committee that was formed as a result of the above link.

I am giving myself half an hour to do this before I get lunch before my next panel, so this will be short. I always welcome corrections and additions, but particularly here since I will be specifically referencing personal experiences described by the other panelists.

Eylul talked about how pre-existing fannish skills were employed in the Gezi protests, particularly by two sets of fans: football fans, who used their skills both in mobilizing and coordinating large groups of people and in, uh, being hooligans and resisting the police; and media fans, who raised Western awareness and sympathy by reshaping the narrative on Twitter with gifs and jokes and so forth. (Yes, Eylul acknowledged the uncomfortableness of having to use Western media properties like _LotR_ in this endeavor.) The media fannish stuff also extended to cosplayers at the protests and graffiti and so forth, which also helped keep people's morale up in scary times. The mass protests also improved people's awareness of and respect for each other: football fans stopped shouting slurs that involving denigrating prostitutes, the next year's Pride was the biggest ever, things like that.

Crystal talked about doing activism with cons: how it was important for crafting the Readercon statement linked above to give people time to express their feelings and clear the air so that they could turn to the details of the statement; how cons need to take visible action to support their principles, like the Helsinki bid sending a group to march in Pride there and heavily promoting it on Twitter; how cons need transparency about their workings and decisions and to stay on top of public relations and announcements in social media.

I talked about how you have to know your strengths and weaknesses and how you can be an activist without mass protests or running conventions (not that I think the other panelists disagree!). I would be terrible at conrunning because meetings, but I knew I could do Con or Bust because I'd done a very much smaller-scale thing before and I had models of online auctions from other people in my online fannish community. I also talked about transparency, especially since I was receiving and distributing money, and how people are often very glad to help out . . . if you just ask. ("Just," I know.) I mentioned knowing the landscape so you don't unknowingly overlap existing efforts.

We all said to ask other people who are doing stuff you admire! Odds are extremely good that they'd be delighted to offer suggestions and there's no need to reinvent the wheel. And, as always, it's important to accept criticism thoughtfully, to be prepared to adjust how you do things in response to actual reality, be aware of intersectionality, and be aware of your own resources and whether existing organizations are fixable or need to be abandoned.

And now my self-imposed time is up. I always love comments and questions, but I particularly welcome them here--at any time!--or in email, knepveu@steelypips.org .
Con or Bust's annual fundraising auction will run from Monday, February 10, through Sunday, February 23, this year, and the website is now open for auction offers (actually, a few got posted this weekend when alert folks noticed I'd put up a post just to make sure things were working).

You can learn more about submitting items for auction, or go straight to the submit an auction page: all you need is an email address. And if you're not in a position to offer something, it would also be incredibly helpful if you'd spread the word! Thanks.

(Did I mention here that from now on, people can request assistance for any forthcoming SFF cons, not just ones in the next calendar quarter? There's even a handy list of upcoming cons for which specific assistance has been donated for your information.)

(Also, if anyone's interested in helping with boring auction administrative stuff a few times a day, as your schedule permits, let me know either in comments here or in email, knepveu@steelypips.org ? Enticing, I know, but it would be a big help. Thanks.)

(Okay, I'm done now. What, I slept for three and a half hours last night, this is stunningly coherent under the circumstances.)
So, Con or Bust. Last year's auction had many, many tags—the only thing I use tags for is the auction.

This year's auction will be next month (more soon!). Me, I think it would be annoying to have the 2013 posts tagged with the same tags as the 2014 tags, because it would make it harder to find the new things—"ooh, a book by X! . . . no, comments are closed, it must be from last year."

Should I just delete all the tags? Is there any value in keeping the old tags around somehow for archival/browsing purposes? (There is a spreadsheet index, which is less finely-grained.)

It's possible in the future I may run each auction on its own subdomain, but not this year, didn't start in enough time. (Hmmm, I could move just the 2013 auction posts off to their own blog/subdomain and then redirect links, but it appears that might be a bit tedious? I haven't experimented with this yet at all.)

Anyway: thoughts?

(Bed, OMG, I knew I had a lot to do but I didn't think it was that much, and that's only the start . . . )

Edit morning: thanks for feedback, and feel free to keep it coming. I think I will strongly consider moving 2013 so I can keep tags and not make the overall tag list incredibly unwieldy as we get more years. I just wish I had planned ahead better and won't have to do this with 2014 later (assuming that it's not possible to run completely separate installs of WP in both a domain's root and a subdirectory, that is, which I'm presuming is the case). Edit 2: apparently not the case! Options, I has them. Thanks, all.

I wanted to post this here earlier, but it was very hard to be under five years old tonight in Chateau Steelypips. So:

As you know, dear readers, I run Con or Bust, which helps fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons. Since the start of 2012, Con or Bust has helped forty fans of color attend SFF cons, many for the very first time.

Today, for (ahem) absolutely no reason at all, the wonderful Arachne Jericho is matching donations to Con or Bust, up to $500. You can donate with either a credit card or a PayPal account:

We currently stand at $413. Since we're so close, and since it's late at least here on the East Coast, this is what I'm going to do:

I will match the next $500 in donations received, for either today or tomorrow. There's two assistance periods left before Con or Bust's next auction, and an extra thousand dollars or more will make a big difference in how many people we can help attend SFF cons; let's keep the momentum going!

Thanks, and please spread the word.

I just mailed the Con or Bust T-shirts to the Wiscon hotel (V-neck fitted shirts, back in stock, look for them at the Aqueduct table in the dealers' room!), but somehow I managed to forget just how small the Priority flat-rate boxes are, so my clever plan to prepay my postage for the leftover shirts and have the hotel ship them is foiled.

Are any of you local to Madison or going to be staying at Wiscon until Tuesday for some reason? If so, would you be willing to ship (at most) 2 boxes, about a foot cubed in size, to me? Con or Bust will reimburse you the postage, of course.

Thanks.

So I'm thinking of additional ways to raise money for Con or Bust, because the auction is going well but not smashingly (ends tonight! Check it out!), and one thing that occurred to me was a raffle at WisCon (and maybe Readercon, but first things first). So I've just sent in a request for a dealer's table. We'll see if there's space left and if a raffle is okay. Assuming both are good--

I think I have a decent idea about most of the logistics [*] except kind of the most important one, which is getting stuff to raffle.

Because so many people fly to WisCon, the enormous baskets that Operation Hammond was raffling at Arisia don't seem like a good idea. Ideally we're talking small but shiny. But I don't want to impose on people who've already donated stuff to the auction and I don't know how you approach big companies for stuff. I'm going to see if Tempest can talk, but anyone else have experience?

My wish list, based on thinking over spare moments during the last few days:

  • Tablets. iPad, iPad mini, Nexus 10, Nexus 7. This is the most pie-in-the-sky item, because they're expensive and almost certainly would have to come from big companies, but boy would they be a draw.
  • eReaders. Nook, Kindle (Sony, Kobo?). Same as above.
  • Gift certificates. Books: local bookstore Room of One's Own, Book View Cafe, Amazon, B&N. Food (Omaha Steaks? What other fancy places do mail order?)? Zappo's (shoes)?
  • Small packages of quality candy (local?).
  • Jewelry? Maybe not, there will be a lot of that already there.
  • . . . what else?

Anyway. What am I overlooking, is this a horrible idea, does anyone have suggestions? (Please don't contact anyone yet, because if there's no table space then it's a moot point, but I want to get ready to move in case there is.)

[*] I'll bring the netbook and have a spreadsheet set up ahead of time with ticket numbers, and put people's phone #s on the spreadsheet, so there's no question about handwriting, and also ask them if they'll be around Sunday night for the GoH speeches, which is when I'll do the drawing and hand stuff out after. When I've got programming I'll see if a friend can cover the table; I'll also bring the whole shebang to the Carl Brandon party. I'll also have T-shirts for sale. I don't think I can take credit cards, or that the CBS can, but I can have people open up private browsing tabs for PayPal right there, or ask them to use their own computer, include a note, and then come get their tickets/T-shirts.

Bidding is open! I cheat and quote myself:

Bidding is now live on Con or Bust's annual online auction, which raises funds to help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons. All you have to do is leave a comment on the auction offer you're interested in before bidding closes, on Sunday, February 24 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. (You may also want to subscribe to comments so you'll know if you are outbid.)

There are already lots of great offers; you can search the site over in the sidebar, or browse the auction tags or the filterable Google Docs index. And there will be more offers posted, so keep checking back. Right now I have about 20 offers to post on behalf of others, and people have promised many more.

Which is to say: it's not too late to offer things for auction, so please do! Last year we raised about $11,500 from the auction, which funded 28 different trips to cons over twelve months. To keep that going, we need all the auction offers we can get! You can submit an auction offer through a simple web form—no login required—and I'll even host your pictures for you if necessary.

Learn more about Con or Bust, or leave a comment with questions. Thanks, and please spread the word!

. . . I was going to say something else, but I forgot what, in all the bustle of administrative stuff. Anyway. Stay warm, those of you in winter climes (we got about 8", less than forecasted, but enough SteelyKid and Chad to go on an epic sledding adventure today), and come check it out!

As you all overwhelmingly suggested, Con or Bust now has its own accounts on Twitter and Tumblr, which will automagically be updated with new post notifications (as will the old [livejournal.com profile] con_or_bust). Handy follow links: follow Con or Bust on Twitter or follow Con or Bust on Tumblr.

Reminders: Con or Bust's annual online fundraising auction starts taking bids on February 9, but you can submit things to be auctioned now or check out the current offerings! More information about the auction. And Con or Bust will be taking requests for assistance to attend cons in April, May, and June from February 15-25; how to request assistance.

Thanks, and please spread the word!

(Also, I'm fascinated that for a while SteelyKid & the Pip were neck-and-neck with an Arisia social justice panel report for the next thing I write. That poll is still open, though as work has gotten worse than I expected, don't hold your breath. (Wah.))

PS: I find Tumblr kind of baffling (you have no idea how long it took me to figure out how to change the page title from "Untitled"), so if I've done something weird or wrong of suboptimal, do please let me know.

Some poll questions for you. First, as I struggle to find time to publicize Con or Bust:

This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 22


Con or Bust should have its own Twitter and Tumblr accounts.

View Answers

Yes.
17 (77.3%)

No, keep using your own Twitter account and make a Tumblr account.
2 (9.1%)

My feelings are too complex to fall into a radio-button choice so I am commenting below (no, really, I mean it).
3 (13.6%)

Next, I really want to squeeze out time to make at least one post for myself over the next week; what would you like to see out of this long-ish list?

Kate should next write a post about: )

And, of course, the traditional Ticky? poll, which got long as well:

Ticky? )

I'm very excited to tell you all that Con or Bust now has its own domain, the imaginatively-named con-or-bust.org! LiveJournal was a good home, but between the downtimes and spam, and the ability to conduct the annual auction without needing people to login, it was time to move.

I will still post major announcements on LJ, but if you want to auction things off, come on over now—all you need is an email address. This year's auction will run from Saturday, February 9, 2013, at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time to Sunday, February 24, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, and again, you may submit auctions now. If you bid, you'll also be able to receive email notifications of new bids—and you won't have to worry about bidding in the right thread. =>

Thanks to the community, my intrepid beta-testers, and Philip Weiss for all your help, and I look forward to seeing you at the new site!

feature unlocked! )

Auction will be February 9-24 this year; I'm moving it to its own domain (no more logins, just email addresses for everything!) which isn't ready yet, but start thinking about what to offer—or what you'd like to see! More info next week.

(Also, if anyone would like to volunteer to be asked really basic WordPress questions, I would be super-grateful.)

And of course, requests for April-June cons will be taken February 15-25.

Please feel free to link to the announcement!

Have some Internet things:

One: The guys on an ESPN football show apparently decided to work in as many Princess Bride quotes as they could into a half-hour. Hilarity ensues, by which I mean, I hurt myself laughing at this 1:38 clip video pulling out all the references.

embedded video )

Two: I've started re-reading The Hobbit chapter-by-chapter over on Tor.com; here's the Chapter 1 post. Do stop by, it should be fun.

Three: SteelyKid has started sending email. No, I'm serious, she hunt-and-pecks the letters, sometimes asking us for spelling but not always, and then we click "send" together. She's visiting Chad's parents right now and behind the cut I have the very best email chain ever.

emails from SteelyKid )

I'd send her back a smiley-face but I'm not sure she's understand. Gosh I love that kid.

Four: [livejournal.com profile] con_or_bust is now taking requests for assistance from non-white fans/fans of color to attend SFF cons in January, February, and March 2012—including Arisia, FOGCon, and EightSquaredCon (the 2013 Eastercon), which have all donated to support Con or Bust. See this post for information on how to request assistance.


Things I am grateful for (or that, depending on the phrasing), daily during November.

past days, for my own reference )

  1. Gotta go with the Internet today, for all kinds of things, not just the above.

Anyone selling memberships to this year's World Fantasy Con? Please contact me in a commment or at knepveu@steelypips.org ; I'm looking to buy two. Thanks.

I'm looking for two memberships to this year's World Fantasy Con (which has hit its membership cap) for Con or Bust, either to be donated (US tax deduction!) or to be purchased. Anyone have one or two, or know of anyone who might? Thanks.

Con or Bust is now taking requests for assistance from non-white fans/fans of color [*] who are interested in attending SFF cons in October, November, or December 2012. These include World Fantasy Con (November 1-4, Toronto), which has donated two memberships, each accompanied by two hotel nights, and Gaylaxicon (October 5-7, Minneapolis), which has donated two memberships. These donated memberships may be used by new registrants or to provide refunds to existing members.

The request period runs through August 25. Here's how to request assistance.

[*] Con or Bust defines "fan" broadly as "someone who wants to go to an SFF con"; this set does not exclude "is published or wants to be."

Please spread the word!

I am sadly late on this one, but [community profile] help_for_ephemere is a a fundraiser to benefit [personal profile] ephemere, with the aim of supporting her in the wake of her losing her job, home, and good relations with her family due to homophobia; it's being run by her friends and with her permission. Bidding on auction items ends Saturday; here are some auctions with no bids or one bid, and the FAQ. *peruses*

Also, Con or Bust will be taking requests for assistance to attend SFF cons in October, November, or December from non-white fans/fans of color during August 15-25; please plan accordingly! More information.

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