Updated Nov. 3, 2022

The Basics

The ACA will be holding a DISTRIBUTED convention in 2023. A distributed convention means that the in-person gatherings will be distributed amongst the Krewe—whether it be a single person in their home, a pair of local friends meeting at a coffee house, or a member opening up their home for local guests. It’s our hope that the first distributed convention will allow for maximum participation, a combination of learning and socialization, and the flexibility to try new things. This convention structure will balance multiple needs—in-person meetups, developing our capacity to effectively collaborate in-person, and being sensitive to the capabilities of all of our members.

The convention will be FREE to all ACA members!

How You Can Host a Convention Satellite Location

If you’d like to host a convention satellite location, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A location to host a small group during the convention. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be comfortable and suitable for viewing the presentations and talking amongst yourselves.
  • Reliable internet access. 5MB/s service or better is the minimum requirement, which most in-home high-speed internet services offer.
  • A computer with webcam, speakers, microphone, and a large screen to share on. Powered external speakers and a separate microphone are recommended. A webcam is nice but not required; it will help if you can occasionally share what’s going on in your site with the rest of the convention! Finally, a screen large enough for your audience to see from all points of the room will be useful. Most modern TVs actually serve pretty well for this purpose – you’ll just need the appropriate cable to connect your computer to the TV.
  • Supplies to help with the cipher contest: a box of pencils, a pad of graph paper, and a table to work from will suffice.
  • A plan for refreshments. You can be as fancy or as simple as you like! You can order snacks and food, or ask the satellite attendees to bring dishes to share.

If you are interested, the signups for satellite hosting will go live here on January 1, 2023!

How You Can Find a Convention Satellite Location

Starting in January 2023, we’ll post satellite locations that are open to join on the ACA web site. If you are interested, you can reach out to the satellite host and ask to join their site; the host will then provide you with location and other details. Of course, there will also be an option to attend solo if you like.

How You Can Help

We’ll be looking for speakers, online coordinators, cipher contest constructors, and other help! If you are interested, please reach out to convention2023@cryptogram.org to let us know. We’re looking for speakers with a wide range of perspectives and ability levels to make this convention appealing to a wide range of ACA members.

The Road to the Convention

  • JF2023 Cm: Convention dates announced; Convention Satellite Finder goes online
  • MA2023 Cm: Keynote Speaker Announced
  • JA2023 Cm: Registration Opens
  • August 2023: Agenda and Presenters Announced

FAQs

Q: Why not in-person this year?
A: In the past few years (COVID notwithstanding), an in-person convention only serves about 5% of our membership – those who have the time, financial ability, and physical health to attend. One of the lessons learned from our hybrid 2022 convention was that the online participants weren’t well-served by our setup yet. By hosting a distributed event this year, we allow more time for our Online Convention Committee to do their work and set the groundwork for a 2024 convention that will serve more of our membership.
Q: I miss meeting up with my friends—what can you offer to make that work?
A: That’s always been one of the objectives of the convention – to allow members of the Krewe to meet up in person and put faces to the NOMs and reconnect with old friends. We encourage as many members as possible find a local distributed hosting site for the convention! If there isn’t one nearby, perhaps you’d like to host? We’re also planning to structure the event schedule to allow plenty of time for socialization and collaboration – both within and across the satellite sites.
Q: Won’t sitting in front of a computer screen for a whole weekend be kind of a drag?
A: We’re planning to structure this event to have plenty of away-from-screen opportunities – time to practice skills you’ve seen demonstrated by a speaker, for example, or time to work and talk with the folks in your satellite location or with other people online. It won’t be a long unbroken block of talks!
Q: How can I participate? I’ve never used Zoom before.
A: Zoom is very user friendly—and if you haven’t used it before, we’re happy to help you get started! We’ll run some practice events ahead of time to allow any one who’s nervous about Zoom to try it out before the “main event.”
Q: How can I protect my privacy in an online convention?
A: You will have many tools at your disposal to protect your privacy:

  • Only registered ACA members (and our invited speakers and guests) will have credentials to attend the convention.
  • You may use your ACA NOM as your screen name, rather than your legal name, on Zoom.
  • Webcam usage, while encouraged, is optional.
  • Screen recording will be restricted to the convention administrator, who will only record the presentation material.
  • Your email address will be used solely by the hosts to distribute convention materials and will not be shared with other attendees.
  • You’ll have control of what information gets shared – both on the website as we advertise location hosts, and what gets broadcast on the Zoom from your site.
Q: Will I be able to see the presentations if I can’t attend the entire convention?
A: We will post materials (handouts and recorded videos) on the ACA website members area after the convention (subject to presenter permission).
Q: How will we get handouts?
A: Handouts will be distributed digitally (PDF) in advance of the event to the satellite hosts and solo attendees.
Q: Will we have the cipher contest?
A: Yes!