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Blogging Kalamazoo 2021: The Bingo Squares

Saturday, May 15, 2021 - 19:48

The conference is over, save for the sessions I've marked for viewing when they come out in video in a couple of days. (So there may be a few more blogs on those over the next week.) As a wrap-up for this, the first virtual 'Zoo, I present to you the collated, edited, and organized...

Unofficial ICMS Bingo Squares

(also applicable to other conferences)

There are 35 squares, sorted into 6 categories. This allows for randomization in individual bingo cards. It is recommended that squares be drawn from each category for good coverage. I've attempted to edit and generalize the squares to avoid poking fun at any particular demographic. Feedback on this point is appreciated. These are taken from a private chat channel I participated in with some friends during the conference, and believe me there were things that needed to be edited before appearing in public!


  • Speaker’s cat appears and becomes very affectionate
  • Unfortunate Object is visible in speaker’s zoom background
  • Barking dog, sirens, or other background noise
  • Speaker’s phone goes off during paper

Technology glitches

  • Speaker is unable to open key files
  • Speaker can’t connect
  • Speaker’s sound is muffled/poor quality
  • Speaker loses internet connection mid-talk
  • Speaker’s connection freezes

Generic Zoom Things

  • Previous speaker forgets to mute and has background conversation during paper
  • Speaker has lost track of the zoom window
  • Speaker is on mute [suggested “free square”]
  • Speaker announces, “I’m going to share my screen now” [suggested “free square”]
  • Moderator has to ask audience member to mute due to feedback/background noise
  • Closed-captioning misinterprets word in amusing or embarrassing way

It Could Happen at Any Conference

  • Moderator complains that panel discussion is not covering intended subject
  • Speaker you most wanted to hear didn’t show up
  • Speaker is missing a page of their paper and improvises
  • "This isn’t so much a question as a comment"
  • None of the panel discussion members have prepared remarks and all stare at each other in silence
  • More than one paper withdrawn from session / speaker not able to appear
  • Speaker admits to writing paper the night before
  • Paper topic is entirely different from what was originally proposed

Presiders/Presenters Behaving Badly

  • Moderator mangles presenter name or paper title
  • Moderator/respondent compliments papers with gendered language (e.g., “lovely paper” for a female speaker vs. “wonderful paper” for a male speaker)
  • Speaker boasts about and shows off library
  • Pre-session chatter among speakers is a bit more candid than is wise for a 'hot mic'
  • Speaker engages in egregious name-dropping
  • Speaker brings in personal skill/interest unrelated to topic of paper and it overwhelms the content
  • Moderator turns off video and is AWOL when speaker finishes

Zoom-Conference Interface

  • Speaker’s household member appears in background
  • Speaker emails slides to moderator in real-time due to being unable to screen-share
  • Speaker requires real-time troubleshooting for technology problems
  • Academics of a Certain Age discuss learning the ins and outs of zoom and other technologies
  • Speaker is unable to present PowerPoint and see paper text simultaneously
Major category: