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When thinking about conference promotion ideas in order to reach out to academic experts, I thought the following might be really cool:

Integrated conference Q&A Site: See if cogsci.se can be linked to a conference similar to the way that some conferences use Twitter and hashtags; i.e., participants could be encouraged to post questions in real time during the conference related to conference material (we might even permit temporary inclusion of a a conference tag for the duration of the conference, so that people could filter on that).

Benefits of such a strategy:

  • gets people at the conference using the site and seeing its many benefits
  • gets people talking about the site at the conference
  • facilitates the aims of the conference to foster connections between attendees and encourage academic debate
  • facilitates exposure of the conference to the broader cogsci / psychology community

Questions

  • Has this ever been done before?
  • Do you think it would be effective?
  • What would it take to implement effectively?
  • I remember this being discussed over at cstheory, but it was not implemented. – Artem Kaznatcheev Feb 8 '12 at 1:39
  • Awesome idea! I'll definitely have a crack at defining a possible solution to this later on. – Steven Jeuris Feb 10 '12 at 1:02
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Has this ever been done before?

I participated in something similar last year with Programmers and the RallyON conference as part of an experiment.

I and a moderator from Project Management attended the conference, handed out stickers, hosted a couple impromptu panels, and talked to anyone who would listen about Stack Exchange and our respective sites.

Do you think it would be effective?

It was an interesting experience. I don't know if PM saw an increase in traffic, but we didn't notice much on Programmers. That was at least in part due to the fact that the audience of the conference was much more on the project management side and less about actual programming.

That said, people we talked to were quite excited about Stack Exchange as a concept. In a more focused/academic community like cognitive sciences, I imagine you'd have more luck getting people to at least check out the site. I can go into more detail on what we said/did, talking points, etc. if needed.

What would it take to implement effectively?

My particular experience was set up as a direct partnership between Stack Exchange and conference organizers. I don't think we necessarily need to go that far (I've also "promoted" Programmers as a conference attendee without the additional agenda), but it certainly helps to have the conference staff on your side if you want to do anything more than just talk to people about SE in the hallways.

Beyond going to a conference to talk about SE, you can just go to a conference! :) We have a conference sponsorship grant program for speakers and attendees. You can see sample sponsorship requests here and here.

While at the conference, you may gain new knowledge that can be turned into answers to older questions or have new questions that can be posted on the site. You might also be able to introduce people to the site by finding a question that answers a question they have and showing it to them.

So there's definitely a lot of room for promoting this site at conferences, and we can help you out where needed.

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