Zoom Barcon Guidelines

Here’s a quick guideline for Zoom events hosted by Benjamin C. Kinney – including Void Birthday Parties, Barcons, Escape Artists Virtual Meal. Thanks to SFWA and Mary Robinette Kowal for figuring out most of these procedures.

  1. Before you join, make sure your Zoom name matches something the host should recognize.
  2. When you arrive, you’ll be in the “entryway” with the host and other recent arrivals.
    • You can stay here if it’s not too crowded.
    • Note for Zoom newbies: I recommend clicking “Gallery view” in the upper right.
    • If no host is here to help you, please be patient, you’ll be found soon. Feel free to ping them through your favorite communication method.
  3. The host will enable you to move among the breakout rooms via a two-step process:
    • Giving you “Co-Host” power
    • Assigning you to an initial breakout room
  4. When you are in the “entryway”, the “Breakout Room” button (bottom row, right of center) will take you to your assigned room. However, once you’re in a breakout room, the same button will let you move freely between rooms.
  5. To move between rooms: click “breakout rooms” on the bottom row, and “join” any of them.
    • If you want to return to the entryway, click “Leave breakout room.”
  6. Think of each breakout room as a small conversational group, not a room. They work best when they have no more than ~6 people.
    • Remember to think of the “entryway” (no breakout room, sometimes labeled “main session”) as another place to hang out. You don’t need to leave right away.

Etiquette and conduct

Do not take screenshots or make recordings without explicit permission from everyone involved.

Some people feel awkward leaving an online conversation because we’re used to using this technology meetings, or because farewells sometimes require butting into the conversation, or whatever else. Please err on the side of leaving/moving, rather than worrying about protocol! Recommended methods include:

  • Say goodbye in the chat, rather than aloud
  • Just leave without announcing anything

Circulate often, just like you might at a regular party. Zoom conversations get challenging if you have more than 6 people together. Spend time in different breakout rooms and the entryway! And if there aren’t enough, ask your host to create more.