Should Stack Exchange support an OR.SE presence at INFORMS Seattle this fall?
I think having a presence at INFORMS will go a long way toward increasing awareness of OR.SE among the OR community, and therefore driving more traffic. INFORMS is attended by 5000+ researchers and practitioners, most of whom have some interest in OR.
Stack Exchange provides funds to support community conferences (or at least they used to; I haven't found a more recent update than that 2011 blog post). In some cases they will even support travel to the conference, though I don't think we need to ask for that.
At the very least, I think we could ask Stack Exchange to provide swag that we can hand out at the conference. From the blog post:
Of course there are Stack Exchange t-shirts, stickers, hoodies, bags, and lots of other awesome goodies in the Stack Exchange store — and we’re happy to provide any Stack Exchange swag you need for the right event.
But maybe we should also investigate whether Stack Exchange would sponsor a table in the exhibition hall? I have no idea how much this costs, whether the deadline has already passed, or whether the cost of a table is commensurate with the cost that SE is usually willing to pay. But we could look into it. (If we don't have a table at the exhibition hall, we would need to figure out some way to hand out the swag.)
Going even further, we could consider seeing whether SE would sponsor some sort of meet-up, e.g., a reception at a local restaurant or bar.
What do you think about this idea? The first step is to discuss this here on Meta. Then we would make a formal request from SE. And eventually we'd need to figure out who will take charge of getting the swag, who will staff the exhibition hall table, etc.
UPDATE July 29: I emailed the SE community team about this. I'll keep you posted here.
UPDATE August 4: No reply from SE yet...
UPDATE August 15: I chatted briefly online with an SE Community Manager about this. Our request is on their radar but there hasn't been much movement. Apparently SE is switching swag vendors, which is putting a wrench in lots of things, which everyone seems to find kind of ridiculous. In any case, the CM assured me she'd look into it and get back to me. It seems unlikely that SE would sponsor an exhibitor's table, in which case we need to figure out a different way to distribute the swag, if we get it—I'll post a separate Meta post about this once things are a little clearer.