My Panelist Rule
Again, done mainly to save time when talking to conference organisers etc.
I do a lot of events, conferences and such. These are fun, and, honestly, they also help me get my face out there and meet cool people in the industry. I do talks if I have something worth talking about, but I love panels. It’s an awesome environment to discuss ideas and answer questions. They rock.
But there is a problem with them.
They tend to be filled with the same people. You know them, I know them.. a pool of reasonably sort of heard of devs, mostly white men, who have a ton of panels under their belt. Heck, for some of them, panels are their primary job.
And I realised I was fast becoming a mainstay of this pool, in the UK at least.
So I have a choice, either I sidle into this group, and have lots of onstage conversations with other white men about games, or I try and use this modicum of influence to change things. Which is a pretty self aggrandising way to say I have one rule:
I won’t ever agree to another panel which is made up entirely of folk like me.
If you ask me to be on your panel, we’ll discuss this early in our conversations, and I’m happy to offer suggestions of devs, journos and youtubers who have interesting points of view and fit with this objective. I know you’re not always going to be able to do a fair split, and my goal is not to force that, but if you concede a chair (even if it’s mine) to someone off the roster, I promise your discussion will be more interesting and varied.
Up until now, no conference organiser has had a problem with this stipulation of my involvement. In all cases where it has come up, they’ve been embarrassed to not have already considered it. Organisers are in the whole awesome people who aren’t intentionally trying to hold anyone back, it just sometimes doesn’t occur to them until prompted.
I look forward to all the interesting panels I have yet to take part in :)
(and if you’re another regular panelist, I’d encourage you to consider a similar rule for your agreement to panels :D)