[act-ma] 7/25 to 8/2 Hope Conference Update

Charlie Welch cwelch at tecschange.org
Sat May 30 07:25:11 PDT 2020

Hope is an amazing "Hacker" conference that usually happens every 2 
years in NYC.   The conference focuses on the "Social Implications of 
Technology".    The people that organize the conference do a radio show 
on WBAI in NY.  Below is a link to the latest show.


You can also find links to other weekly shows among the items on



Update on the Hope Conference.

While we all want things to go back to normal, the science just doesn't 
make that possible. July and August may still seem far away, but there 
simply is no way the COVID-19 crisis will be over by then, even in the 
best-case scenario. We had planned on waiting until June to make a final 
decision, but it's become clear that planning an in-person conference 
simply wouldn't be the responsible thing to do. Nothing matters more 
than the health and safety of our attendees. Yes, this will be a 
financial kick in the teeth for us. But it's one we'll willingly take as 
the mere possibility of putting any of you at risk is unconscionable.

We want to be clear on one important point. Apart from the obvious 
disappointment of not being able to host this historic event at a new 
venue we were so looking forward to, we want everyone to come out of 
this not feeling dissatisfaction beyond that. More on that later.

This is what we're now looking at:

We are NOT canceling HOPE. Instead, we are changing what this year's 
HOPE will be.

HOPE 2020 will now be a NINE DAY EVENT, beginning on Saturday, July 25th 
and running until Sunday, August 2nd, 2020. Why did we add an entire 
week? Because we want some good to come out of this and we believe our 
community is in a position to do just that. We all know what we WON'T 
have without a physical conference, but let's now focus on what we CAN 
have with some imagination and collaboration. That's what the hacker 
community is all about.

We intend to have around the same number of talks as we normally do, but 
spread out over a much longer period and available for viewing on a high 
capacity stream. Those of you who bought tickets will have exclusive 
access to the presenters so you can ask questions, participate in 
workshops, and interact with other conference attendees. In addition, 
you will also receive a conference t-shirt and badge that won't ever be 
made available to anyone else.

We plan on having NINE keynote speakers, again with exclusive Q&A access 
for our attendees.

Participation in HOPE will no longer be bound by visas and worries of 
arrest by certain controversial types. So expect a dynamic and varied 
cast of characters. It wouldn't be HOPE without that, but now we can 
REALLY remove some barriers.

In addition to ongoing talks and panels, we'll also have workshops for 
the duration of the nine day event. Expect everything from lockpicking 
to soldering instruction to our infamous ham radio exams.

For the overnight hours, we're planning on having concerts, DJs, and 
other fun stuff. HOPE will remain a 24 hour event, but for nine days!

All of this has been - and will continue to be - a daunting task. The 
COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us in varying ways. The continued 
survival of 2600 was quickly put into doubt as our distributors stopped 
paying us, bookstores with our issues in them shut down, and new issues 
were left in loading zones. We've lost more than half a year's income at 
last count and have had to stop getting paid in order to continue to 
survive. Making this year's HOPE a success is really the only way we can 
come through this.

As mentioned above, we don't want anyone to feel extra unhappy because 
of this. If you want a refund, we will give you one. But with all of the 
losses we've already suffered, we won't be able to continue existing if 
we have to issue very many of those. That's why we're hoping we can put 
together the best event possible and make this the highlight of our 
summer despite all that's happened.

We are in the process of accepting talk and workshop proposals that have 
already been submitted. We will be providing technical support so that 
presenters will be able to participate smoothly in a virtual 
environment. We are now opening up the submission process to include 
many more participants from all around the globe, something we never 
really had the ability to do before. We hope to have talks, workshops, 
and musical presentations from a truly international community, no 
longer bound by a physical presence.

While we have a dedicated team of volunteers already working on making 
this happen, we can definitely use many more, especially as the event 
draws closer and becomes bigger. Email volunteers at hope.net 
<mailto:volunteers at hope.net> and let us know how you think you can help. 
We're looking for people with experience setting up and producing live 
online broadcasts. We are also looking for emcees, moderators for online 
forums, and people to fulfill other behind-the-scenes roles.

If we get through all of this, we fully intend to hold a physical HOPE 
in 2021 (the first odd-year HOPE since 1997). This will also enable us 
to continue publishing once bookstores start opening again. All of this 
depends on our hacker spirit getting us through the toughest times we 
ever could have imagined. And if you share our enthusiasm over what this 
new incarnation of HOPE will mean, this summer will indeed be one to 
look forward to.

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