This year TRAC2023 will take place for 3 days (27-29th April) the first two of which will be on gather. This is an exciting virtual conference platform, where the Local Organising Committee can prepare in advance a detailed environment, including a virtual museum and a virtual poster room, as well as have separate session rooms. Some of you may already have some familiarity with gather, as it has been used in the last few years as a separate poster session venue by multiple conferences. These guidelines are adapted from the BABAO 2022 conference.
There are 5 rooms, all connected to a central lobby where you will initially enter the venue. Rooms A, B and C are all designed for sessions. There will also be a separate Poster room and a RAMM Digital Museum room to explore and interact with.
What you need:
• A desktop/laptop with a mic and camera.
• A web browser (Chrome or Firefox recommended).
• We strongly recommend using headphones to help prevent feedback.
• That’s it! There’s nothing to install, no software to download.
Log in/Log out
You will need an email address to log in. If already signed in with your Google gather will automatically log you in. If you prefer using other email addresses you will need to input a 6 digit code Gather will email you. The email address used here needs to be the same one you used to buy the conference ticket.
If this is the first time you will be using Gather, you will be asked to create a profile and Avatar. Your avatar is completely customisable, but we would like to ask you to create an avatar that closely approximates your actual appearance. Feel free to accessorize!
•If you already have a profile, but you would like to change your avatar you can do this on the home page.
•If you are already in the space, you can still change the looks of your avatar by clicking your name in the bottom left of the screen and then select ‘change character’.
•For more details on the ‘Quiet’ mode and ’Ghost’ mode please see here.
How it works:
Gather is a video chat platform that has avatars move around a map. As you get close to other avatars, your videos will pop up and you will be able to chat.
•Move around the space using the arrow keys (or alternatively WASD).
•By moving your avatar around you can have spontaneous conversations with those around you. These can be either one-on-one or small groups depending on how many people are around your avatar.
•Across the conference site are ‘Private Areas’. When you are in these areas (marked by a slightly darker floor and the text that pops up when you walk in) only the other people in that specific Private Area can see and hear you.
•When your avatar moves closer to an interactable object, it will glow yellow and there will be a notification that shows up saying ‘Press x to interact with -object-’. This can range from informational flyers, digital museum exhibits, posters, and more!
Important! To avoid any issues where members are being seen and heard when they do not wish to be we recommend the following:
• We would encourage everyone to have their microphones off as default until in a situation where they are happy to be heard.
• We would encourage everyone to have their video on, but this is of course absolutely your choice, please do whatever you feel comfortable with.
• Please be aware of where you are standing when you are interacting with other members o If forming a social cluster, please be mindful that you are not too close in proximity to posters or other ‘interactive’ items (as denoted by a square area of colour change on the floor near said item) as to avoid ‘cross-talk’ (generally the activation area will be 2-3 paces away from the object).
Interaction within Gather will be subject to the same TRAC Code of Conduct as other online TRAC events. Although much of the site is customisable, we would request that you use your usual name. This will help other delegates find you if they want to chat and means that newer TRAC members can find other academics with ease. It’s much like a name badge!
Here are some things you might find useful but aren’t immediately obvious.
• There is a messaging feature that allows you to message people in four ways:
1. Individually by clicking on their name in the participant panel,
2. In the entire conference room (Room)
3. Locally to the people you are video chatting with. (“Nearby”)
• There is a locate feature to find others by clicking their name in the participant panel. There is also a follow feature to automatically move your avatar to follow another user. The participant panel is the bottom-most option in your toolbar on the left.
• Want to full screen someone else’s video? Just click on their video.
• Talking to a group of people? Click the box with two white arrows to the right of the video carousel to open the grid view.
- Gather Logo = Will open settings and allow you to go to the home page
- Avatar = When your camera is on you can pin or full-screen yourself
- Name = Personal menu: allows you to change your avatar, set a status, turn on quiet mode, and respawn
- Mic = turn mic on or off and change settings
- Camera = turn mic on or off and change settings
- Smiley face = Emotes that appear above your avatar
- Computer screen = Screen sharing ability
- Info board= Messages distributed by the TRAC organisers
- Calendar= It will show you the scheduled talks
- Participants= shows you the list of active users in the conference
Map and Rooms
- The points where delegates will enter the gather space are in the lobby. Here you can find further information points about gather.town and access one of the other rooms. We will have 3 such rooms (A, B, C ) dedicated to sessions (as indicated in the conference program) and a separate Poster Room and a digital museum Room of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM).
- To enter or exit a room simply move towards and through the door.
- The digital museum will feature interactable objects where you can read more about a selection of fascinating artefacts from RAMM’s collection, as well as videos with the curatorial team and supporting staff. We highly encourage a visit!
- The rooms dedicated for sessions will have a front desk with seats for the session organisers and presenters. Each of those seats will be ‘spotlighted’, meaning that the avatars occupying them will broadcast to the entire room. When ‘spotlighting’ a bullhorn sign appears next to your avatar’s name and a message appear on the bottom of your screen. Please make sure you are sitting on the square with the podium and not in front or next to it as you will not be heard.
- There will be a separate ‘Question corner’ with the same ‘spotlight’ ability where participants can move their avatars to address a question following a presentation. Alternatively, questions can be written as individual messages directed to the session organisers (SOs) and they can then ask the questions.
When on a seat, you will be able to listen to the main presentation whilst chatting with the people in your row, set up as a private area.
- If you want to quit watching a presenter press ESC twice and the video feed will revert to the small carousel, allowing you to see where you can move your avatar next.
• Refreshing the page will fix most things!
• If that doesn’t work, try muting and unmuting your mic and camera in Gather.
• Check if your browser permitted camera and mic access
• Additional troubleshooting at https://gather.town/video-issues
For any further issues or training please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help troubleshoot or set up a practice session prior to the conference.