For many geek-themed groups and organizers from Down In Front to Raks Geek, creating and executing online events is a challenge. We’ve been holding online meetups for some time, and it’s a challenge for both us (as organizers) and for attendees. (We’ve also attended online meetups; it’s a good experience for us to understand how our membership feels). We’ve put together a short guide to guide you when you attend any online meetup.
Stay Positive and Treat Each Other with Respect: For many of us on the organizing side, this is our chance to get out and have a pleasant experience. We’re all looking for escape, and it’s easy to focus on what’s wrong, or argue with our fellow Doctor Who fans. (This also applies to how you treat organizers, but we’ll speak to that later.)
Our main rule: other people matter. Treat your fellow attendees with consideration and respect. If someone chooses not to participate, that's OK.
Treating others with respect also means avoiding gatekeeping behavior whenever possible. There’s no “wrong” way to be a Doctor Who fan – if you watch and enjoy the show, you’re a fan. That’s it. We ask that people avoid dominating conversation, being the first to answer questions (this isn’t a classroom), and declaring their past “fan cred.” Meetups and events are about people coming together and finding common differences, not ensuring that any one person is the “smartest fan in the room.”
Always Review the Code of Conduct: Many organizations (like our meetup) have a code of conduct outlining guidelines for member behavior. (We link to the Chicago Doctor Who Meetup Code of Conduct in every event notice). Organizers work to provide a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for all attendees. Having a code of conduct ensures that the same principles are applied to everyone who attends and sets appropriate boundaries.
(To answer your question – yes, we have removed and banned members for disruptive and inappropriate behavior)
Have Realistic Expectations & Expect Glitches: Many meetup organizers are facing the challenge of providing unique experiences within adopting new technology. In short, there will be the occasional glitch, or the organizer may need a little extra time to prepare...so we ask for your patience and understanding. We’re willing to take suggestions, but our decisions have to impact all of our attendees.
(To paraphrase one of our favorite movies, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few)
And as far as expectations go…
Organizers Are Not Your Employees: It’s easy to forget that many event/Meetup organizers are not doing this as part of their day job; it’s an activity that allows us some respite from the outside world. So we ask that you have some consideration: don’t show up too early to an online event. Running an event takes effort, so reaching out about personal business during the event may not be immediately addressed. When an organizer confronts you about your behavior and/or asks you to leave, the only logical, mature response is complying and avoiding a public or private argument.
Online organizers do our best, and our meetup’s guide is meant to be the “latest, but not last” word. Like our other nerdy organizers, Chicago Doctor Who Meetup always strives to organize events that are affordable, inclusive, and accessible to those who enjoy the show.
If you have questions, please contact us via email.
Thanks for reading!