There are a lot of reasons to try to make virtual conferences work. They are much less expensive to attend and thus much more inclusive. They are much better for the environment. And they have the potential to save a lot of travel time. One does not have to think there are no drawbacks to virtual conferences compared to the real thing to think they are very much worth exploring. And what better time to give it a try than when we have no other option?

2 Replies to “Isn’t now a good time to try to make virtual conferencing work?

  1. One issue I find tricky, when thinking about virtual conferences, is working out their advantages over other forms of online discussion (e.g. blog posts!). Back in the days of the “Online Philosophy Conference” (is that still a thing?), I found that I didn’t have a lot of patience for video-recorded presentations. It’s much more efficient to just read text. Of course, you could run a text-based online conference, but then it more or less is just a blog, only with much longer (and less readable) posts!

    I don’t mean to be a downer on the idea. I’d be very happy for there to be more substantive philosophical discussion happening online. I guess what I find a bit mystifying is why more philosophers don’t blog, already. If the co-ordinated event of a “conference” got this to happen more, that’d be all to the good.

    But I am curious: *are* there distinctive advantages to online conferences over regular blogging? And why *don’t* more people already engage in the latter?

  2. So, I just attended a zoom workshop last night. Zoom seems like a fairly versatile tool for lessons and shows significant promise for conferences. The participant management and chat functions are a great way to manage the subsequent Q&A. About the only thing that can’t be done is the conference dinner and the mixers. But during the covid situation, these aspects are precisely what we need to avoid.

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