Tiger Spot (tiger_spot) wrote,
Tiger Spot
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FOGcon is coming!

So FOGcon is coming right up, March 30 - April 1. You should go!

You should especially go because, in a fit of enthusiasm, I volunteered for things and am going to be moderating two panels! My panels are both on Saturday, so if you are local and just want to buy a day pass that is the day to aim for if you want to come heckle support me. They are:

Best Alien Ever
10:30 a.m. Salon A
Some aliens are just humans with funny foreheads. But sometimes an author creates an alien that stretches your mind or makes you see ordinary humans in a whole different light. What makes for an alien species worth reading about? What are the most extraordinary aliens authors have successfully portrayed?
Moderator: Theresa Mecklenborg
Panelists: Chaz Brenchley, Juliette Wade, Ann Wilkes

Did Everyone Fail High School Biology?
1:30 p.m. Salon A
From stupid stunts with DNA to implausible ecologies, lots of science fiction just gets biology wrong. Why is this? What are examples of books, movies, or TV that gets it right?
Moderator: Theresa Mecklenborg
Panelists: Tari, Wendy Shaffer, Cassie Alexander, Pat Murphy

(I am having some serious sad about things that are scheduled across from one another. Too many cool things, cannot be at all of them at once, oh woe.)

My job as moderator, as I see it:
* Ask interesting questions.
* Make sure all the panelists get chances to talk about the particular relevant things they would like to talk about.
* Interrupt/redirect as necessary to keep discussion flowing and the conversation ball moving between people.
* Keep an eye on the time.
* Summarize statements or rephrase questions as is helpful to aid general understanding.
* Track who gets to talk next.

The part of this I am least practiced at is the part where there's a panel/audience separation -- I've moderated a discussion or two, but they've all been sort of roundtable things, without that division. Anybody have any tips about audiences? I'm thinking save 15-20 minutes at the end for audience questions, maybe move that a bit earlier if the panelists seem to be running out of self-generated steam or the audience is all bouncing up and down waving their hands in the air. Does that sound like enough time? (These are all hour and fifteen minute panels.)

I have sent out pre-planning e-mails with a dozen or twenty possible interesting questions, so the panelists can tell me which of them sound most interesting and whether there are other directions they would like to explore, and then when I get that feedback I will make up a further list of slightly more tailored interesting questions to print out and keep in front of me in case interesting questions do not present themselves naturally in the discussion as it happens. If I can pick out the bits they'll argue about I'll put stars next to those questions and make double extra sure they get asked.

And that is my moderating plan! People who do this sort of thing more often: Good plan? Bad plan? Am I leaving out any important bits?
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