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.

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    $\begingroup$ Good idea! In the unfortunate even that we do not get any funding or this is not possible in the remaining time, we could encourage OR.SE members (and their friends/colleagues/PhD-students...) to promote the site within their talks (just post a link on the last slide of the talk - QR-Code makes it even easier for people to directly visit the site). $\endgroup$
    – JakobS
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ @JakobS agreed, and in fact we should do this even if we do get funding from SE. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps INFORMS will provide some support as it was supporting OR-Exchange (R.I.P.) not very long ago (it's barely mentioned in the resource center page of INOFRMS website, available from here). $\endgroup$
    – Ehsan
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 7:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Ehsan any idea how to approach informs about that? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure how got their support in the first place, but I think the credit might be due to @michael-trick. $\endgroup$
    – Ehsan
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ I think it is a good idea to contact SE rather sooner than later (although I suspect Robert Cartaino will reply soon anyway, so no pressure). Especially since the swag distribution has been on halt since February (they are switching vendors) and while obtaining SE branded swag to distribute at a conference will probably be possible, it likely requires additional coordination. Also, you should consider that SE will not be able to provide OR.SE branded swag, so it might be worthwhile to create flyers/leaflets/calling-cards for OR.SE in particular on your own. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 7:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Discretelizard good suggestion. Will SE want to see more consensus on this post before I contact them or do you think it’s OK now? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ @LarrySnyder610 I'd say this post already shows there is serious support from the community for this plan. I have no idea how much or what manner of support SE is willing to offer, so I'd keep an open mind, but it never hurts to ask. So yes, I think you should contact them now. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ Any progress on this in the past week or so? $\endgroup$
    – David M.
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidM. No word from SE. I will push a little harder... $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 22:12

2 Answers 2


I am so interested and excited in OR.SE (and I think it's obvious from my activities) so actually a while ago, the idea comes to my mind that we (as the members of OR.SE) can have some kind of gathering in the INFORMS conference, which indeed is a great activity to inform participants of INFORMS that we are here as a community of practitioners and researchers ( I don't mean myself because I am still learning...). I totally agree with @LarrySynder610 that we can advertise OR.SE (Last check: # of members is 997) in the INFORMS meeting to reach more people.

Hereby, I am mentioning my willingness to take responsibility to do any voluntary task for OR.SE community.

Please consider me as a volunteer staff.


Larry, if you invite a Stack Overflow employee to attend then you can ask if you can offer a silver badge at the . The Not a Robot badge would be one way to meet people and increase the exposure of our site and the network.

Previously it was allowed at JSM2018 (Statistics).

The tag wiki states one of its usages is: "Feature requests to request removal of, additions to, or modifications of the criteria required to earn the badge.". So if by chance we do not meet some criteria we could ask if we could be allowed by a feature request.

Previously it has been allowed, for (apparently) the purpose of promotion: How did the Community bot earn the "Not a Robot" badge on Stack Overflow?

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    $\begingroup$ I like this idea. Let's see if we can get support from SE first, then we'll try to work out the [not-a-robot] badge idea. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2019 at 1:35

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