Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_styles() expected to be a reference, value given in /usr/home/sfsfcinc/public_html/smofcon/smofcon28/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 601

Warning: Parameter 1 to wp_default_scripts() expected to be a reference, value given in /usr/home/sfsfcinc/public_html/smofcon/smofcon28/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 601
SMOFcon 28 header image

SMOFcon 28 - December 3-5, 2010 - San Jose, California


This is the outline of when and where things will be happening. See the schedule of specific program items during the convention determined during the Open Space Programming mixer on Friday evening for more details.

Thursday, December 2

  • 2 PM – 7 PM: St. George’s Distillery Tour (Meet in Lobby at 1:45 prior to departure)
  • 7 PM – ?: Hospitality Suite open (Grand Suite, 6th floor)
  • 7 PM – 10 PM: Registration Open in the Hospitality Suite

Friday, December 3

  • 9 AM – ?: Hospitality Suite open (Grand Suite, 6th floor)
  • 9 AM – 5 PM and 7 PM – 10 PM: Registration open (Hotel Lobby)
  • 10 AM – 1 PM: Bid Trail Boot Camp (Sainte Claire Room)
  • 7 PM – 8 PM: Informal Reception with food prior to the Open Space Programming/Mixer (Fireplace Lounge/Palm Room)
  • 8 PM – 10 PM: Open Space Programming: Plan the SMOFCon 28 Program (Fireplace Lounge/Palm Room)

Saturday, December 4

  • 8 AM – 7:30 PM and 10:30 PM – ?: Hospitality Suite open (Grand Suite, 6th floor)
  • 8 AM – 5 PM: Registration open (Hotel Lobby)
  • 10 AM – Noon and 2 PM – 5 PM: Main Programming (Grand Ballroom, Sainte Claire Room, Santa Vesta Room)
  • 12:55 PM – 1:55 PM: Convention Center Tour (meet in hotel lobby)
  • 8 PM – 10 PM: SMOFCon 29 Site Selection & “Fannish Inquisition” (San José McEnery Convention Center, Room K (ground floor, Market Street entrance)
  • Sometime after Inquisition: Probability & Statistics Seminar; separate sign-up required (Santa Vesta Room)

Sunday, December 5

  • 8 AM – ?: Hospitality Suite open (Grand Suite, 6th floor)
  • 10 AM – Noon and 2 PM – 4 PM: Main Programming (Grand Ballroom, Sainte Claire Room)
  • 4 PM: Feedback Session and Look Ahead to SMOFCon 29 (Grand Ballroom)

We plan to have 2-hour lunch breaks on Saturday and Sunday based on the feedback we received last year at SMOFCon 27 in Austin that one hour was too short.

Where Things Are

All function rooms except Room K are in the Sainte Claire Hotel

  • The Grand Ballroom (daytime programming) and the Fireplace Lounge (Palm Room) (Friday mixer) are on the ground floor of the Sainte Claire Hotel
  • The Sainte Claire Room (Bid Trail Boot Camp, daytime programming) and Santa Vesta Room (daytime round-table programming, informal evening programming) and Boardroom (Small private meetings and break-out sessions) are on the second floor of the Sainte Claire Hotel
  • The Grande Suite (Hospitality) is on the sixth floor of the Sainte Claire Hotel
  • Room K (Fannish Inquisition) is on the lower level of the San José McEnery Convention Center, across Market Street from the Sainte Claire, near the Market Street entrances on the “Marriott” end of the building. Click here for a walking map from the front door of the Sainte Claire to the Convention Center Market Street entrance.

Data Projector Available

We will have one data projector and a screen available for use in Programming if desired.


21 Comments so far ↓

  • Bob

    As a thought, you might consider having stickers at the sticker stage with numbers or other characters on them with each person getting a “sheet” of the same. Not for personal identification (hand them out “randomly” or whatever), but to help with the overlap problem up front. Someone can glance at the stickers for each pair of program items that will be placed opposite and if there are lots of dual-stick numbers, you’re helped to not schedule them together.

    You may, of course, have something already that works or it might not be a big issue.

  • Linda Ross-Mansfield

    I agree with Bob that unless each person has some sort of anonymous (or not so anonymous, depending upon the feelings of the majority) but individualized sticker the difficulty of ‘double’ or ‘triple’ booking people into overlapped items might be difficult.
    Of course, considering how easy it is to get side-tracked at SMOFCon anyway, attendance can still get easily messed up.

    Also if there are weather delays for a large number of incoming attendees, I don’t see that this would be as representable an initially thought.

  • Tom Whitmore

    That’s not a bad idea — fairly easy to do, and we wouldn’t really need to have people be uniquely identifiable from this; a plethora of similar spot-sets would indicate that there *might* be a problem, and we can address it quickly. Thanks for the suggestion, and I’ll noodle about how to implement it smoothly. In other groups, the “minimizing conflicts” either gets ignored (when it’s done badly) or takes a noticeable part of the time I’d mentioned seeing the whole process take.

  • Geri Sullivan

    Interesting. I’ll be curious to hear how it turns out. My primary concern at first glance is that an Open Space Technology program created at the icebreaker appears to cut out any workshops or other program sessions that require advance (pre-con) preparation.

  • Chris Kuivenhoven

    +1! Like Geri, I very much look forward to seeing how this turns out! Kudos for giving it a shot!

    Responding to Geri’s comment — it might be possible to gain sufficient advance support to make it a shoe-in for inclusion… and worst to worst.. no reason why someone couldn’t elect to do something anyways with those folks that were interested — it’d just be on them to find a time/location that works for the interested parties. Think of it as an extended BOF session.

    One of the nice things about SMOFcon is that some sessions, and the audience, are somewhat predictable — especially with a California location — it is a very accessible location. This is not meant as a slight — only to say that there will be new conrunners there, so we may anticipate certain sessions that will attract them. Ditto for Worldcon/Hugo Awards, specialized/niche topics of consistent interest like negotiating hotel contracts, etc…

  • Tom Whitmore

    Yes, it’s certainly possible for people to come up with some ideas in advance; and in these days of portable computers and cloud-storage of data, it’s very likely that people could come up with useful handouts on the fly. There’s no guarantee that items come up with in advance will be held; it’s certainly possible to game the system, but it’s less likely (I think) that we’ll end up with a program that people just avoid than the current system. Because people generally have a bit more investment in something they’ve helped create.

  • Tom Whitmore

    Given that we’re intending to use this method to set the program for Saturday and Sunday as an icebreaker on Friday night, we’re considering doing a “boot camp” similar to the one that was done last year on budgeting. And in the spirit of Open Space programming, I’d like to get some idea of what people would like the boot camp to help folks boot up. Any suggestions or thoughts? Post them here. I’ll also announce this over on the SMOFCon mailing list, soon, but I’m giving the folks who read here a chance to weigh in first.

  • Elspeth Kovar

    Chris, I’ve been thinking about issues involving newcomers for a while. It’s been pretty much proven that there’s a sharp divide between people who’ve been doing this for a long time — especially that most of them have worked on Worldcons — and people who haven’t.

    Unfortunately thus far nothing has worked. The long-term people don’t think a problem exists or are interested in other things, while the newer people have given up. Perhaps a couple of hours when all slots are filled with things that would attract both? Anyone have other ideas?

  • Bob

    After looking at the comments accumulated, I can see a potential issue to consider. The “new” people who don’t know enough to know what they most need to talk about by Friday night, or if they do, their idea is overwhelmed by experienced runners who don’t want to talk about that any more.

    Keeping an eye out for that (and maybe other) biases in the program, and the ability for someone (maybe a vote of three program-runners?) to nudge an item in is at least worth thinking about.

    I’m not suggesting the ability to override a 1 to 50 difference, but to to nudge a 40-50 type split if there seems good reason.

  • Tom Whitmore

    One of the things that happens with OST is that similar ideas tend to get conflated. This is done with the consent of the folks interested, as much as possible. With that, there generally shows up a fairly clean break between “stuff enough people are interested in” and “stuff that isn’t what we want to talk about this time.” (Actually, there are usually pretty clear quartile-like categories: the stuff most people want to talk about, the stuff a significant number of people want to talk about, the stuff a few people want to talk about, and the stuff that’s only interesting to the person who proposed it. If something’s borderline, it’s generally pretty easy to find something closely related to it to roll it into that’s not so big that the smaller topic gets lost.)

  • Cathy "Nolly" Mullican

    Roughly what time will this occur? I’m contemplating whether to drive, take the train, or what, and timing info would help.

  • Kevin


    The Program/Icebreaker is Friday evening, so presumably around 7-8 PM, although we haven’t set the exact time just yet. It’s not an afternoon function.

  • Kent Pollard

    Has anyone explored running the Open space ahead of time (maybe in the form of a Wiki or mind-map) where we can get a feel for what people are going to want in the way of panels that need some prep?

  • Tom Whitmore

    We hadn’t looked at that possibility for this year, in part because I don’t have experience with working in those ways. This might be a very good idea for another year — I’d certainly support anyone who suggested it.

    The basic difference here is that we *know* the people who create the program are there for the convention when we’re doing it. A Wiki or mind-map has a very good chance of having people involved who aren’t going to show up. OST programming is based around the people who actually have shown up, which gives it an immediacy which the other forms you suggest might not have.

    Great question!

  • MKK

    Tom — Do you have an idea for what the hours of scheduled programming will be? I’m trying to figure out when to schedule a small jewelry party. Thanks

  • Kevin

    MKK: We have added an outline schedule of events at the top of this page. Daytime programming on Saturday will run roughly 10 AM -5 PM and on Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM with the wrap-up session at 4 PM.

  • Tom Whitmore

    SMOFCon is almost upon us! We’ve had several people indicate that they’re pulling together some items to suggest we talk about them at the con — I’m excited about them, and I want to remind everyone that doing advance planning if you want to present something is encouraged. Not everything may appeal to enough people to have us talk about it officially, but I’d bet that there will be some people who want to talk with you about whatever excites you; if you tell them, they’re more likely to do so. That’s one type of item that shows up at this sort of program.

    The other major type is the “questions I always wanted to ask, but couldn’t find someone to answer” item. It’s okay to suggest an item that you don’t want to lead; it helps if you can suggest people who might want to lead it. They can say “No!” if they want, of course.

    See you all next weekend!

  • Tom Whitmore

    Well, we’ve had the frenzy, creating the program. Today and tomorrow are about implementing it.

    Open Space Program proceeds from a few assumptions. One is that people are interested in discussing topics that they’ve helped to pick. Another is that people know about both talking and listening. A third is that everyone who would come to a convention like SMOFCon has something to contribute. I hope that the discussions today and tomorrow will show that I’m right in these assumptions.

  • Tom Whitmore

    I’ll be making more of a report later, when the con is over, about what I think worked and what didn’t. For now, I think it’s working fairly well, and it’s been a good experiment.

    I’ll be posting all the suggested program items, clumped as to how many votes they got, after the con is over and I’ve got some time to do it: this will probably be linked from the top of this page, and from the front page of the site.

  • Kent Pollard

    I’ve been thinking about the long lunch breaks, and wonder if it would be possible to schedule lunch programming.Have a panel that carries a preregistration cost of $10 or whatever, and includes access to buffet catered by the hotel. It would need to be a known-in-advance subject, and need to be booked ahead of the con, with payment at the time of registration. Attending $50, Attending with xxx panel (including buffet) $60. Give us 30-40 minutes to eat in the room, then launch right back into the program.

  • Tom Whitmore

    Interesting idea, Kent — hope the folks in Amsterdam see it!

Leave a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.