This is impossibly long, so, broken up by theme!
. . . I need to not let these pile up so much next time, huh? (To be crossposted in relevant part to mcugen.)
It's Memorial Day here in the U.S. [*], which means I'm off work. The kids are with Chad's parents until mid-afternoon, and Chad's already gone off to be productive, so I'm going to link-dump here, then walk the dog, exercise, shower, and enjoy the rest of my solo day.
[*] I overheard SteelyKid saying yesterday that it's "when the armies fought so we could be free!... from... the Pharaoh!" Ah, unexpected side effects of sending her to the local Jewish Community Center for daycare.
Some of these links were previously posted to G+ as I came across them. I have roughly sorted some obviously-related ones, but not applied a comprehensive scheme.
(Suddenly I feel probably-not-psychosomatically unwell. Ugh. Well, the dog needs walking anyway, and if I revise my plans for my solo day to "lie on the couch and catch up on Elementary," that's valid too. Anyway. Best wishes for your Monday, DW.)
My philosophy of panel moderation is that I'm facilitating and directing a conversation among as many people as possible. The panelists are people who, if programming has done its job, have already demonstrated that they have something interesting to say on the topic. So through the panelists, we can get a concentrated burst of focused discussion out there. Then the audience will extend that in their questions—et voilà!, we've just had a conversation about something we're all interested in, with more people than would be practical if we were just sitting around in a bar.
This philosophy means I take a pretty active role as a moderator. I don't enforce a "now each person answer this question down the line" style, because I find that stultifying, but I direct traffic a lot:
Ahead of time, I confer with the other panelists about what they'd like to talk about. Then I sketch out the main topics that we're going to cover, possibly with a preferred order, and I keep that visible in front of me, crossing things off as I go. We may not cover every thing or in the order I planned, but having a plan helps me keep things moving and cover as much ground as useful.
For instance, I ask panelists to follow-up on something they've just said that seems to raise obvious questions or demand elaboration, while promising another panelist who's indicated they've got something to say that they're next (and then make sure to follow through). Or I ask panelists who've not spoken yet on a particular topic if they have anything to add. (This is why I like to sit at the end of the table, so I can see all the other panelists at once.)
I do this in two major ways. First, I usually take audience questions at the close of major topics (not waiting until the end but not jumping in during the middle of a topic either). Second, I prioritize audience questions from people who haven't spoken yet.
(I say both of those up front, because I like transparency and find it useful. And I'm explicit when I take audience questions too: "I see you, I just want to see if anyone who hasn't spoken has something to add"; or, "Okay, in the front in the green shirt, then the second row in the red hat, then across the aisle with the dragon, then we need to move on because we're running out of time: go.")
Once I was doing a panel with a very similar description to another I'd done, and it went in entirely different directions, so I threw out my plans and tried to fall back on "make sure everyone gets heard, make note of follow-up directions and try to use them to keep discussion going when it seems like one topic is exhausted." Another, my structure turned out to be too ambitious because a lot of people wanted to express, in very heartfelt ways, personal responses to the first part of my three-part structure, and it seemed obviously important to let that conversation happen without cutting it off too abruptly.
tl;dr: moderating panels is about making the conversation be the best it can. There are different ways to make that happen; these are mine.
What are yours?
(Also: no, I am not at WisCon this year. We are going to the UK for the Worldcon and I don't have enough vacation time. Alas. I hope those of you who are there have a great time.)
Doubtless someone else has, but re: the most recent in the wave of federal district court decisions striking down state same-sex marriage bans (summary, link to decision at SCOTUSblog)—
I saw it noted on Twitter that "Most federal judges are ex-prosecutors in their 50s, i.e. cultural conservatives. If they're overwhelmingly rejecting SSM bans, it's over." That was right below a screenshot of the end of the decision, which I will quote at a little more length:
. . . in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.
We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.
So I went looking for information about the judge who'd been the most recent to be moved to eloquence on this subject. (Though, I confess, I would have said "onto.") And indeed: John E. Jones III is a Republican appointed by George W. Bush who will be 59 next month. (Though he was a part-time public defender rather than a prosecutor.) He was also the judge on the intelligent design trial, wow, over a decade ago now, how time does fly.
I have no energy to go looking up the rest of the judges now, but, data point.
So I figured I should make another rec post, because I can feel my tolerance for scrolling past a million indistinguishable angst-ridden ship fics on the AO3 RSS feed diminishing rapidly [*], and because this week is going to be overwhelming, meaning I don't know whether I'll keep up with new fic for a while.
Crossposted, in part, to mcugen.
And outside the cut, because it seems likely to have broader appeal (but still has movie spoilers): a pastiche, inspired by fanart, of Frozen's "Do You Want to Build A Snowman?", which is absurdly cute.