help wanted: test commenting speed (again) (TEST site)

Hi all,

You’re at this post because you’re willing to help test the latest iteration in the ongoing saga of Con or Bust’s Commenting Times. Thanks so much! I really appreciate the data.

The post you are on right now is Con or Bust’s TESTING site. You’ve come here from Con or Bust’s original site and already posted a comment there, taking note of the time it took the comment to post.

Now, please also post a comment here, similarly taking note of the time it takes to post. Then, please fill out this poll:

(Or, if the embedded poll isn’t working, use this link).

Thank you very much for the help!


a poll on auction commenting response times

Dear all,

I would like your feedback on how fast comments to Con or Bust’s website are publishing for you. On my end, despite substantial efforts at optimization, it still takes a considerable amount of time after I hit “submit” to have the comment load. I’m very grateful to everyone who’s commented so far! But I worry that this will be a serious problem when we get to the last days and hours of the auction.

There is one more thing I haven’t tried yet, which is upgrading our server temporarily. But before I do that, I’d like to hear how the commenting response times have been for you—maybe I’m just stunningly unlucky in when I comment.

Therefore, here is a link to an extremely short SurveyMonkey poll. It will close tomorrow, Sunday April 30, at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Feel free to leave a test comment on this post before taking the poll, in case you haven’t commented yet (or recently) and are thinking you might depending on how bidding goes!

Finally, if you are a WordPress guru and would like to volunteer an hour or so of time to chat about what I’ve already done and see if I’ve overlooked something (I’ve worked really hard on this, but I am not remotely an expert), please email me.

Thanks, and please spread the word!

Bidding is now CLOSED on all items. Here's what to do next.


reminder: auction items are intended for personal use

Dear all,

Just a quick reminder that, as it says on the auction page,

publishers, authors, and other donors have generally donated books and other items on the understanding that they will be bid on by fans for their personal use, and not by resellers. Please respect this so that people will feel comfortable continuing to donate to the auction.

That’s not to say that if, for instance, a few years from now you are moving and need to reduce the size of your library, you can’t include your Con or Bust winnings in the stack of books you bring to any local used bookstore that still exists; but please go into bidding with your personal use and enjoyment as the goal.

Thanks very much for your understanding, and let me know if you have any questions.

Bidding is now CLOSED on all items. Here's what to do next.


Con or Bust Newsletter for April 27, 2017

[Crossposted from Tinyletter. Get future newsletters delivered to your inbox by subscribing.]

Dear all,

Welcome back to the Con or Bust newsletter, which, approximately twice a month, updates you on Con or Bust events and deadlines and brings you news related to diversity in SFF fandom (scholarships, workshops, calls for submissions, awards, and the like). Your email address will always be kept private and you can unsubscribe at any time, at the bottom of the email.

Con or Bust News

Upcoming Deadlines

  • ASAP: request a last-minute free membership to StokerCon, April 27-30, 2017, Long Beach, CA, USA.
  • May 3, 2017: request free membership to MISTI-Con, May 18-22, 2017, Laconia, NH, USA.
  • now through May 7, 2017: bid on the auction!
  • May 15-25, 2017: request assistance to attend upcoming cons.

New Conventions

Memberships are newly available to the following cons:

Here is the full list of conventions to which memberships are available, and here is how to request a membership.

Upcoming Conventions

The following cons donated memberships to Con or Bust (or, occasionally, an individual donated memberships), and are happening now or soon, in case you’re looking for last-minute plans. Unless otherwise noted, memberships are notavailable to these cons.

  • StokerCon, April 27-30, 2017, Long Beach, CA, USA (one membership available).
  • Ice & Fire Con, April 28-30, 2017, Pembroke, VA, USA
  • MISTI-Con, May 18-22, 2017, Laconia, NH, USA (two memberships available).
  • WisCon, May 26-29, 2017, Madison, WI, USA.

Fandom News

  • The Writing in the Margins Mentor Program pairs an emerging author from a marginalized social group with an experienced editor or traditionally published author in order to work closely on preparing an unpublished manuscript to submit for publication. This program is free of charge to the emerging author. Applications open twice a year, and are currently being taken through May 1 at the program’s website.
  • The Speculative Literature Foundation is currently raising funds for the next five years of its Diverse Worlds & Diverse Writers Grants.

And finally, here is a hypnotic animated gif of an armadillo curling up (source).

Thanks for reading! See you in a couple of weeks.

Kate Nepveu


free memberships to Worldcon 75 available now

Fans of color/non-white fans: the following free memberships are available now, first-come first-served:

Worldcon 75, 9-13 August, 2017, Helsinki, Finland. Worldcon 75 is the annual World Science Fiction Convention for 2017. Its Guests of Honor are John-Henri Holmberg, Nalo Hopkinson, Johanna Sinisalo, Claire Wendling, and Walter Jon Williams.

Newly donated by individuals are two first-time attendee and three regular attending memberships. Previously claimed: 25 attending memberships and 25 hotel room nights donated by Worldcon 75; and five memberships donated by individuals.

To learn how to request assistance, see the Request Assistance page. For the most up-to-date list of cons to which assistance is available, see the Upcoming Cons page.

Thanks, and please spread the word!


last-minute free membership: StokerCon, April 27-30, CA, USA

Fans of color/non-white fans: the following free membership is available now, first-come first-served:

StokerCon, April 27-30, 2017, Long Beach, CA, USA. StokerCon is the annual convention of The Horror Writers Association (HWA), the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy. This will be its second annual convention and will be held aboard the legendary (and haunted) Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. The Bram Stoker Awards (R) Banquet takes place on the evening of Saturday, April 29th. Guests of Honor include George R.R. Martin, Elizabeth Hand, Chuck Wendig, Peter Crowther, Bill Bridges, Tananarive Due, Gretchen McNeil, Becky Spratford, Stephen Graham Jones and Toastmaster Nancy Holder.

Currently available is one membership donated by an individual. Previously, StokerCon donated six memberships to Con or Bust; four were claimed by the deadline of March 15, 2017.

To learn how to request assistance, see the Request Assistance page. For the most up-to-date list of cons to which assistance is available, see the Upcoming Cons page.

Thanks, and please spread the word!


improvements to auction comments (and action needed on email subscriptions)

Dear all,

The site is loading much faster than it did when the auction first went live! That’s the good news.

The bad news is that even after all my efforts, it was taking me well over 20 seconds to post test comments: which is flatly ridiculous. (I’m very grateful to all of you who have been commenting anyway! But obviously this is suboptimal, even though the ending of bidding is a more leisurely affair with the automatic time extension (see the footer for an explanation).)

Therefore, I have changed the commenting system, and while comment speeds are still not blazing, they are considerably improved from before. I have ideas for further improvements, but they will take more time and testing.

Unfortunately, this means that your subscriptions to new comments on this year’s auction almost certainly no longer work–the very slow system we were using won’t even let me see comment subscriptions, so I can’t test this, or migrate your subscriptions for you.

I’m very sorry about this. Here’s what I’ll do: leave a comment to this post, or email me, and at your request, I’ll either find everywhere you’ve commented on this year’s auction and re-subscribe you, or I’ll email you a list of where you commented so you can decide what to re-subscribe to on your own. This is my error in trusting that particular comment system, and you shouldn’t have to do extra work on account of it.

Thanks, everyone, and go forth and bid!

Bidding is now CLOSED on all items. Here's what to do next.

{ 1 Comment }

Bidding now open for Con or Bust’s annual auction!

Bidding is now open for Con or Bust’s annual auction, which is the main way that we raise funds for the entire next twelve months to help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons. Bidding will end Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. (time zone conversionscountdown), EXCEPT that last-minute bidding on an item will extend the bidding for that item (details).

Find things to bid by browsing all 2017 auction posts, looking at the 2017 auction tags, or sorting/filtering the Google Docs index. (Later in the bidding period, I’ll update the spreadsheet with the current high bids and number of bids, to make it easier to find overlooked bargains; I’ll also eventually flag items I feel aren’t getting enough love.)

Once you find something you’d like to bid on, just leave a comment with a working email address (edit: in the email field; you don’t also have to put it in the comment text) and a bid in U.S. dollars that is higher than any previous bid. You can also subscribe to comments to get notified of later bids.

If there’s nothing that catches your eye, but you’d still like to support Con or Bust, there are several ways you can. Here’s the full list, and here is a handy PayPal donation button for your convenience (requires a PayPal account, but using this means that PayPal covers all the fees).

(If you need to use a credit card, there’s a button on the Support page; also a handy form for a recurring PayPal donation and an Amazon Smile link, among other things.)

Finally, the auction submission form is now closed; please email me to discuss if you’d like to offer, because we have only a very limited ability to add items after bidding has started.

Thanks, and please spread the word!

Bidding is now CLOSED on all items. Here's what to do next.


Custom Aromatherapy Massage Oil

Item Name and Description:

You get two 4oz bottle of masssge oil. They may be the same scent or 2 different ones. For aching muscles, to restore serenity, de-stress, create an aura of sensuality. Whatever purpose you like. After the auction we’ll confer about your skin type (to determine proper carrier oil) and desired effects (to determine proper essential oils). I’ll make them and send them to you. When possible I use organic products & all my essential oils are 100% natural oils. Price is for both bottles not for each.

Starting Bid: $10.00

Shipping: Shipping in this galaxy only.

Other Notes: I don’t see why it should take longer than a month. If I have to special order an oil that might hold things up s bit, otherwise within s month.

Bidding is now CLOSED on all items. Here's what to do next.