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On Jokes and Hoaxes - RonO's Ramblings

Apr. 1st, 2009 03:01 pm On Jokes and Hoaxes

As today has already proven, the best hoaxes and April Fool jokes are the ones that have a grain of truth, or at least plausibility.

For example, on one mailing list I'm on, there was a serious discussion started by The Guardian's joke about going to an all Twitter electronic format. While I don't know if anyone in the discussion was actually taken in, the combination of traditional newspapers going to all electronic formats (q.v. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and people preferring "newsbites" to real news, this story seemed plausible enough to discuss. kevin_standlee points out here that someone's joke about Bay Area transportation improvements had some better suggestions than some of what is actually being discussed.

However, there is a danger hoaxes that sound good, and this danger is higher on the other 364.25 days of the year. That danger is that people will fall for the hoax and be upset when they learn that it was a hoax, and not just because they were hoaxed.

Several years ago, the list of programs for Capricon was published with the "Lake Wobegon" room track -- originally the "Phineas Taylor B" room track, or so I've been told. One of the panels listed there, but without a room yet, was a discussion on Cordwainer Smith and his work that sounded very interesting. Both robot_grrl and I were considering going to it until we got the program with rooms and found that it was in Lake Wobegon, which disappointed both of us.

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Comments:

From:shsilver
Date:April 1st, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
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Also several years ago, there was a panel in that track about kinship in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. We had multiple very disappointed people who came to the convention specifically because of that panel and the fact that in their mind it meant that Bujold would be in attendance. No where was any claim made that Bujold would be at the con (and in fact, the panel should not have been listed on the website).
From:beamjockey
Date:April 1st, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
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It is not unknown for Phineas Taylor B Room panels to be so intriguing that they are actually held in a non-hoax room in a subsequent year.

I would encourage you to try. Though I suppose you're not working on Chicago-area cons any more!

Who would be good on a Cordwainer Smith panel?
From:billroper
Date:April 1st, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC)
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In fact, WindyCon ran the formerly fictitious Bujold panel, as I recall. :)
From:shsilver
Date:April 2nd, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
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We did. And when Gretchen brought Lois to a subsequent Capricon, I believe they ran it again.
From:shsilver
Date:April 2nd, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
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A real panel or a PTB panel. For the latter, you'd need to have Paul Linebarger. For the former, Fred would be a shoe in.
From:rono_60103
Date:April 2nd, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
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Though I suppose you're not working on Chicago-area cons any more!

No I'm still the DucKon registrar -- I'll only be the member of the ConCom (past or present) who lived the second furthest from the con location. madtechie2718 was the second for Ops last year. I'm hoping that after a year to two I'll be able to concentrate mostly on database and pre-con registration. Since I've offered my services to ConDor and Conjecture, it will be nice to not have too much to do for DucKon.

I'm also still part of the Chicago in 2012 bid.
From:beamjockey
Date:April 2nd, 2009 05:16 am (UTC)
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I salute you for all the service you have given fandom!