How to host an online community night

As part of our annual meet-up, the CorrelCon, which of course took place online this year, we didn’t want to miss our community night, despite general zoom fatigue. You can read about our experiences and tips for a successful community night in this blog post.

2020-11-17 | Daniel and Isabel

How to host an online community night

Organizing an online community night

In the time of zoom-fatigue and more than half a year with pure online events, our annual meeting, the CorrelCon, also fell into this period. It soon became clear to us that we wanted to make this event as creative and varied as possible, and at the same time integrate all the components of an offline event as smoothly as possible. Part of a good conference, at least in our opinion, should also be a format where you can come together, have fun, and meet the community you belong to.

Since this year’s CorrelCon was held online, we had to be a little creative. Unfortunately, remotely organized events that aim to be fun and entertaining, especially after the more formal part, often fail to meet their expectations. Even if you prepare a drink and make yourself comfortable, it still doesn’t feel the same as being in a bar together or participating in a board game evening.

To counteract these challenges a little, we had the idea of organizing an online pub quiz and a “board game table” with the idea in mind that everything should be playable without the need to register or make a huge download. With these two options, we also wanted to give our participants the choice of how much time they wanted to spend on the informal community part of the conference.

Two game options: independent board games and the CorrelPub Quiz

  1. Board Games Why? The idea behind the board game option was to let people freely assign themselves and select their favourite game or the group of people they want to play with. It also meant that they could leave at any time without any problems and mingle with different people during the evening.

How? For the board game table we looked for different games and collected them in a small link list (see below). In the end we planned several areas for the different games where people could freely gather and play together.

  1. CorrelPub Quiz Why? With the PubQuiz, we also wanted to offer a more moderated community meeting where people play in fixed teams and are guided through the evening.

How? To imitate the individual tables in a pub quiz, we wanted to divide the participants into groups of three to four people. To work this way, we needed a way for the groups to exchange ideas and discuss possible answers. Otherwise, they would probably have pondered forever about the name of Bibi Blocksberg’s broomstick. We also needed a way to present the questions and moderate everything.

The tool we used: Wonder.me

A possibility that promised to meet all these conditions is “wonder.me”. Firstly, you can move around freely (with an avatar) in a room to approach different people and groups. If you are close to someone (or a group of people), it will automatically start a video call with them. Secondly, there is also a “Broadcasting mode” which provided us a good way to present the questions to everyone before they all returned automatically to their individual video calls. The broadcasting mode (host rights required) interrupts all individual video conversations and allows you to share your screen with all participants. This way, we were able to present the Pub Quiz questions to all teams at the same time. We used a simple google slide deck for this purpose. Feel free to take a look and copy or adjust.

An additional benefit of wonder.me was the option to customize your room to create a nice and enjoyable atmosphere. Apart from one of the moderators, nobody needs to register and everyone can easily join the room via a link. “wonder.me” is free. However, you need to keep in mind that after registering it takes 48 hours until you receive the link to your room. The broadcasting feature is also not available when using safari. We would recommend using Chrome. This browser worked best among all participants.

Conclusion

In the end we created two rooms for our community night. One for the Pub Quiz and one for the boardgames. Timewise, we had planned one hour for the Pub Quiz, although it took us slightly longer - about two hours. People liked how flexible wonder works: of course you are still sitting in front of your computer, but this tool makes you feel like you are walking around, running into people (quite literally) and chatting either in groups or 1-to-1 - a little bit like at a real event venue.

We decided to host the quiz on the first evening out of two, this way we had a nice opener for the second conference day with the announcement of the winner team. All in all, we received positive feedback afterwards. Even though that’s of course mainly due to the good data science jokes made, it seems like the format itself worked really well and might be a good possibility to remotely spend a nice evening together.

List of links:

Puzzle together as the name already reveals, you puzzle together as a team.

Scatergorries customize your categories and find out who fills them in fastest.

pictionary draw the computer generated terms as good and fast as possible.

Snake oil Be creative to sell your wacky products to crazy customers. Who will be the best seller?

Codenames Guess which codenames in a set are related to a hint-word given by your team-mate. rules

Taboo explain certain terms to your team mates without using the term itself.

Some more ideas

“Fictionary” for a given word from a dictionary everyone has to write a definition, they get collected and published together with the official definition and everyone has to guess which one is the real one; 1P for guessing correct and 1P if someone guessed your fake definition).

“Werewolf” should be possible to do it remotely, if the game master can write individual messages or has control over moving/visiting different rooms; the instructions can be found online.

“Draw the picture” someone describes a picture, everyone draws what they hear and share it in the end; requires a camera

“PowerPoint Karaoke” groups are given slides they haven’t seen before and must give a PowerPoint presentation; requires quite some preparation

“Pub crawling with websites” show each other beautiful designs, useful, weird or funny websites, etc.

Daniel and Isabel

Daniel and Isabel

Isabel works as Head of Community Management for CorrelAid. Daniel mainly volunteers for CorrelAid as part of the organizer team of CorrelAidX Munich, but he also joined the organizing team of CorrelCon.