Introduction to Discord
During Octocon 2023, we will be hosting a Discord server for Octocon members to enjoy. For privacy reasons, we will delete the entire server after the closing date. You do not need to use a camera or microphone on Discord if you do not wish to.
Discord is available in web browsers, as desktop software, and as a mobile app. You can use whichever works for you, and it will sync across platforms. You will need to register an account. Please note that Discord has a minimum age requirement of 13 years old. We will not put young children’s programming on Discord, but guardians can create an account in order to keep informed of the schedule and announcements.
To register an account:
- Go to https://discord.com/register
- Fill in the information requested. Remember that other Discord users can see the username you choose. If you decide you want a different username later, you can change it.
- Complete the Captcha.
- Check the e-mail account you registered with to verify your account. You do not have to do phone verification nor add a phone number to your account. However, do not use a proxy or VPN to sign-up, as this will trigger a flag on the account to require phone verification.
Please keep screen readers in mind when creating a Discord username and server display name. Emotes, punctuation, and unicode fonts and special characters will potentially all be read to visually impaired Discord users, or not read at all. For example, even a simple name like “+Rose ❤️” could be read out as “plus rose red heart” or “rose red heart” or “plus rose red heart emoticon”, depending on the screen reader. Try reading the name aloud to yourself including all the characters and unicode you have used, reading anything in special unicode fonts with the actual labels and not just as visually presented. If you use the Unicode italic font rather than italic markdown or tags, none of the characters in that font will be read at all.
To join a Discord voice programme item:
- Left-click the “User Settings” cogwheel icon in the bottom left of your Discord window.
- Left-click “voice and video” in the left side bar.
- Run the Mic test and check your settings. If everything is working correctly, left-click the “X” in the top right corner, or type “Esc”.
- Left-click on the voice channel for the programme item.
- You may be asked to grant Discord additional permissions. Agree to give it these permissions.
- If you don’t wish to speak, left-click the microphone icon in the bottom left to mute yourself.
Introduction to Zoom
Panelists and some volunteers will be using Zoom, and some chats and workshops will take place on Zoom rather than being live streamed on YouTube or Discord. You do not need an account to use Zoom, unless you want to customize your profile (this includes options to set pronouns or change profile image). Note that you do not need to go on camera to use Zoom even if you are on a panel. Please also note that despite hiding names, Zoom often makes them reappear, so make sure the name you are using on Zoom is one you are comfortable having appear online.
Registering for Workshops & Guest Chats
Fan chats, talks, and readings are open to all registered members of Octocon, and the Zoom links to attend will be available in Discord. Workshops and guest chats will require prior sign-up. The links to the Google forms or Zoom registration form will be available in the Discord server in the their post in the #online-talks forum channel, as well as on the corresponding event item in #schedule. You can also ask for the links in #help-desk.
To join a Zoom call:
- In a web browser, simply left-click the provided link from Discord or your e-mail. You may be asked permission to use your microphone and camera. You do not have to download Zoom when asked.
- In the desktop client, you can either left-click the provided link from Discord or your e-mail. This will open the link in your browser with a prompt to open it in the Zoom client. Agree to do so. You may then be asked permission to use your microphone and camera.
- In the app, tap the provided link in Discord or e-mail. This will open the Zoom app automatically, and request your name (if not logged into an account) and permissions for camera and microphone. Please agree to these, and the app will take you to the meeting.
- There’s also a video tutorial available from Zoom Support if you prefer.
- If you are a participant, you may receive both a link and a meeting ID via e-mail. You can of course choose to go to Zoom on any platform, left-click or tap “Join”, and input the meeting ID.
If you have a weak connection or older device:
We recommend participants who are unsure of their internet connection, or find that their device is providing a laggy or low quality result, to use https://speedtest.org to test their connection speed. This site works on any device with a web browser, and there are also Android and iOS apps available if you prefer. If your results are a download speed below 10 mb/s or an upload speed below 3 mb/s, or you’re simply dissatisfied with your quality, you may want to try the following:
Poor connection speed options
- If the speedtest result is significantly different from your expectations based on the tier of service you’re paying for, reset your router. If that doesn’t sort the problem, you may want to call your internet provider to yell at them, but if it’s already the convention weekend, you’ll probably just want to go down the rest of the list instead.
- Ethernet (plugged in) is always faster and more stable than any other connection. If that’s not an option, wi-fi is generally better than a mobile (cell) network, although there are exceptions depending on your local carriers. Likewise, a Bluetooth connection will generally have significant lag on video conferencing. If your webcam and/or mic have wired options, these will be preferable to wireless, and if you must use wireless, a wi-fi connection will usually be a bit faster than Bluetooth.
- If you are on wi-fi, change rooms to get a stronger connection to your router.
- Make sure no other devices are using your network at the same time. Turn off or disconnect other laptops, cell phones, video game consoles, smart home devices, etc.
- Turn off other software or apps that use the internet on your device, including automatic cloud backups and updates. For Windows 10 users, you may need to tell Windows that your connection is metered (even if it isn’t).
- Set Zoom to SD video rather than HD.
- Turn off any virtual backgrounds and filters in Zoom.
- Make sure the chat box is closed in Zoom (unless you are the moderator or host!)
- You may wish to mute yourself when not speaking, as Zoom will dedicate bandwidth to the audio upload even if you’re not speaking. However, this is not ideal as you might then forget to unmute yourself, especially on a high energy panel. Use your best judgment!
- As a last resort, turn off your webcam entirely. We have a guide for panelists who are not using webcams, and it has many options for panelists with very poor internet connections.
If your connection is good, but you are still seeing quality or lag issues, try the following:
Older device options
- If your device is older, turn off most or all other software or apps even if they do not use the internet.
- Before joining a programme item, restart your device to ensure it does not have any running memory stolen by a long since closed program. More powerful machines often can push through RAM leaks, but your device may not have enough RAM to just chug along merrily.
- Don’t use virtual backgrounds or filters.
- Turn off noise suppression in the Zoom settings under the Audio tab.
- The less visual interest behind you in the video, the less work for your device. Boring as it is, a plain cloth covering the field of view behind you will minimize memory usage. If you choose a bright, solid green or blue for a recorded panel, contact to see if we can fancy it up in post-production for YouTube.
Introduction to Twitch
You do not need a Twitch account to view our panels. However, if you want to join the live chat during a panel, you will need a Twitch account.
To watch our Octocon Presents:
- Go to our channel at https://twitch.tv/OctoConIRL OR https://twitch.tv/OctoconIRL2 depending on which panel you want to watch. That’s it!
- If you want to chat, make sure you are logged in to a Twitch account and left-click the arrow icon to “Expand” the chat panel in the top right corner of the video.
- If you want Closed Captions, left-click the “CC” button in the bottom right of the video or type “c”. To change the appearance of closed captions, left-click the “Settings” cogwheel in the bottom right corner and left-click “Closed Captions Options”.
- If you are having buffering issues, left-click the Settings cogwheel in the bottom right corner, then left-click “Quality” to see if there are lower quality options. You can also left-click on “Advanced” and toggle “Low Latency” to off (gray color, circle on the left side, no check mark).
To make an account:
- Go to https://Twitch.tv in your browser.
- Left-click on “Sign Up” in the top right of the page.
- Fill out the required information. Remember that your username is site-wide and not just for Octocon.
- Complete the Captcha.
- Check the e-mail account you registered with for a verification e-mail and verify your account.
- You’re all set to start chatting!
- Install the Twitch app from the Google Play or Apple App store.
- Launch the Twitch app and tap “Sign Up”.
- Fill out the requested information. You do not have to sign up with a phone number.
- If you signed up with a phone number, you should receive a verification code via SMS. Input that into the field on the Twitch app.
- If you signed up with e-mail, check that e-mail account for a verification e-mail with a verification code to input on the Twitch app.
- You’re all set to start chatting!
Twitch also has apps for a number of other devices, if you want to watch our panels on a big screen television.