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michaeld

Virtual resources during COVID-19 - your suggestions needed!

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michaeld

[Thanks everyone for offering suggestions! Please post any follow-ups here.]

 

Hi all,

I hope you are all keeping well during the COVID-19 outbreak. This is obviously a very difficult time for everyone. Many in our community are vulnerable and need support, and this is all the more difficult now that social isolation measures are in place in many areas across the world.

 

Due to the restrictions, virtual meetup spaces and resources have become all the more important. Many are already in operation - with in-person meetups being cancelled and going virtual on various platforms. Thank you to everyone who has already been setting these up, or any other support mechanisms for our community in these difficult times.

 

We would like to start collecting what resources are out there, and get a sense of what is missing and that we may provide. As AVEN's new chat isn't here yet, I'd like to set up an unofficial[*] AVEN chat room where people can text and (if they like) cam. One possibility for this is Discord, though camming seems quite awkward on this platform. In the past we've used Tinychat but that seems quite buggy these days. If anyone has any other suggestions please let me know.

 

[*] Unofficial meaning it will not be moderated in the same way AVEN is (unlike the official chat) and it's possible non-members could join.

 

There's also an opportunity for online vis-ed work; now many are stuck at home, it's a very good time to be making leaflets, pamphlets and maybe even videos about asexuality.

 

So here are my questions to you.

 

(1) Do you have any virtual resources - whether social, support or vis-ed related - you'd like us to add to our masterlist (to be made)?

 

Note: it's fine to include local meetup groups that have gone virtual, but please indicate in this case: they may not want people from outside the area to join, to keep numbers reasonable.

 

(2) What platforms work best for virtual meetings - for those of you who have experience?

 

(3) What kind of spaces would you like to see made? Maybe chat/support rooms on a particular theme, like arts or crafts, or ace vis/ed? Maybe movie nights where we can try and stream a film with a shared chat room for watchers? We'd be happy to look into any of these if there's interest though we can’t promise anything in advance.

 

(4) Can you volunteer? We can always use more volunteers to help support others, or maybe moderate chat rooms if we end up making several. I'd like to get a group together working on vis/ed resources or make videos. The email-based answering team also needs more help. There's a lot of ways of getting involved!

 

Most of all, please keep safe and stay well, and hopefully we'll be through this before too long!

 

Best,

Michael

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the great acescape

My therapist sent me some resources that might be helpful. I'll see if I can compile any relevant ones for this thread.

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the great acescape

There's a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party, which allows you to stream and watch a movie or TV show with your friends. I guess it's the same sort of principle as Twitch, except if you stream a movie on Twitch you're constantly under the threat of having your account banned for breaking copyright.

 

If you're looking into taking free online classes, Coursera is always an option. 

 

YMCA has apparently created a free online community app called YMCA 360 that streams exercise classes. My understanding is that you don't have to have a Y membership in order to participate. 

 

If anyone likes yoga or meditation, the Yoga with Adriene youtube channel is really good. Her dog makes guest appearances and he's a total sweetie.

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OptimisticPessimist

AVEN acknowledges the importance of the safety and well-being of its members--particularly, in relation to meetups and any gatherings stemming from AVEN in the wake of current global health concerns. We have posted our recommendations and potential resources, accordingly, in the following linked threads, and hope that they are of benefit to all who choose to use them. Do feel free to input with any other resources. 

 

We encourage you to follow any safety/security measures that your local authority has in place.

 

https://www.who.int/

 

 

https://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/115166-meetup-safety-guide/

 

 

Places for meetups (these are not monitored by AVEN and anyone could join) 

 

https://discordapp.com/

 

https://www.skype.com/en/

 

https://products.office.com/en-gb/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software

 

https://zoom.us/

 

https://duo.google.com/about/

 

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-hangouts/nckgahadagoaajjgafhacjanaoiihapd?hl=en

 

https://www.freeconference.com/

 

https://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect.html

 

https://www.webex.com/

 

https://www.gotomeeting.com/en-gb

 

https://www.techsmith.com/video-review.htm

 

Support info resources 

 

https://www.scarleteen.com/article/bodies_quickies_etc/coping_during_covid19

 

https://www.them.us/story/coronavirus-anxiety-spiral#intcid=recommendations_default-popular_0471ef6a-05fa-4292-93e8-e907d0b1c929_popular4-1

 

https://themighty.com/2020/03/coronavirus-ocd-anxiety-advice/?utm_source=newsletter_mighty_brief&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_mighty_brief_2020-03-16&$deep_link=true
 

http://wiki.asexuality.org/Support_Helplines_and_Websites?title=Support_Helplines_and_Websites 

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Scott1989
  • The Scottish Ace Meet up group just started using discord due to covid-19. It's free (with some paid subscription options for fancier stuff like animated emojis). It can be used for text and voice chat, and some streaming can be done too, so could work if playing Drawful 2 (free on Steam just now, hint hint for a virtual games night) that 1 person can stream and others join in and play. Can be really good if implemented well, as  you can split up text and voice chats into different  groupings (e.g. a general chat, positive chat, meme chat, sensitive topics chat), etc etc. You can also use roles to colour coordinate users (we are doing it based on pronouns to make accidental misgendering harder). Plus think you can link bots in to make life easier. Multiple voice chats and streams can run co-currently so life is easier that way

    We are planning to try a full scale games night soon, but looks like it could be a good answer for local meet up groups for now. A big plus for us is that although they were part of the Secret Triangle, the Aberdeen and Dundee parts seemed a bit more separate before due to distance, and discord has helped bridge that gap a wee bit.  Plus someone who stopped being active in the group (due to many constraints) is now more active again as discord means they can join in more again despite the constraints.
  • Some interesting games ideas:
    • TableTop Simulator and Tabletopia (both available on Steam). Tabletop Simulator costs (1 off pay plus dlc which aren't needed) but the Steam workshop for it offers loads of free games too (like Cluedo, Uno, Secret Hitler, Exploding Kittens, Codenames, Red Flags, Cards Against Humanity, etc etc) so can be really fun way to play games (plus you can still flip a table in anger in it when losing!) Tabletopia seems to be a free or subscription based system that has some games on it, but it's a bit more limited on controls\feeling.
    • Jackbox Party Pack games are great, as only 1 person needs to own it and stream. The other players just need to watch the stream on 1 device (recommend a PC or laptop) and use a separate device like a phone or tablet to join in act like a controller. Has some great games like "You Don't Know Jack" "Fibbage", "Drawful" and throughout 6 packs, many more (did I mention the standalone Drawful 2 made by the same people is free just now until 10th April?).
    • Free Cards Against Humanity game: https://pyx-1.pretendyoure.xyz/zy/game.jsp
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michaeld
2 hours ago, the great acescape said:

There's a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party, which allows you to stream and watch a movie or TV show with your friends. I guess it's the same sort of principle as Twitch, except if you stream a movie on Twitch you're constantly under the threat of having your account banned for breaking copyright.

 

If you're looking into taking free online classes, Coursera is always an option. 

 

YMCA has apparently created a free online community app called YMCA 360 that streams exercise classes. My understanding is that you don't have to have a Y membership in order to participate. 

 

If anyone likes yoga or meditation, the Yoga with Adriene youtube channel is really good. Her dog makes guest appearances and he's a total sweetie.

Thanks @the great acescape for those suggestions! I'll look into especially the Netflix Party extension you mentioned.

 

@OptimisticPessimist thanks so much for posting those. Regarding the platforms Opti mentioned...

 

1 hour ago, OptimisticPessimist said:

... does anyone have experience with these? I've used skype (a lot!) and Discord and Zoom only a little bit. I think the others are new to me.

 

1 hour ago, Scott1989 said:
  • The Scottish Ace Meet up group just started using it due to covid-19. It's free (with some paid subscription options for fancier stuff like animated emojis). It can be used for text and voice chat, and some streaming can be done too, so could work if playing Drawful 2 (free on Steam just now, hint hint for a virtual games night) that 1 person can stream and others join in and play. Can be really good if implemented well, as  you can split up text and voice chats into different  groupings (e.g. a general chat, positive chat, meme chat, sensitive topics chat), etc etc. You can also use roles to colour coordinate users (we are doing it based on pronouns to make accidental misgendering harder). Plus think you can link bots in to make life easier. Multiple voice chats and streams can run co-currently so life is easier that way

    We are planning to try a full scale games night soon, but looks like it could be a good answer for local meet up groups for now. A big plus for us is that although they were part of the Secret Triangle, the Aberdeen and Dundee parts seemed a bit more separate before due to distance, and discord has helped bridge that gap a wee bit.  Plus someone who stopped being active in the group (due to many constraints) is now more active again as discord means they can join in more again despite the constraints.

Thanks @Scott1989! Just to clarify, the "it" you are referring to in your first sentence is Discord? I like the idea of a Drawing / Games night (though it wouldn't necessarily be my thing but I know lots of others here who would enjoy it).

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Scott1989
11 minutes ago, michaeld said:

Thanks @Scott1989! Just to clarify, the "it" you are referring to in your first sentence is Discord? I like the idea of a Drawing / Games night (though it wouldn't necessarily be my thing but I know lots of others here who would enjoy it).

Yeah, I had rewritten the post like 5 times, and forgot to change that "it" to "discord" 🤣 Fixed now.

Drawful is great cause it sorta expects really bad art (I mean how would you draw "guy that wants a hug" without being able to erase, and with only 1 colour int he 1st game, or 2 in the second game!) Not a drawing game fan myself but Drawful is great cause it also involves trickery too!

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charlessailor

First off, thanks for doing this!

4 hours ago, michaeld said:

 

(1) Do you have any virtual resources - whether social, support or vis-ed related - you'd like us to add to our masterlist (to be made)?

 

Note: it's fine to include local meetup groups that have gone virtual, but please indicate in this case: they may not want people from outside the area to join, to keep numbers reasonable.

 

(2) What platforms work best for virtual meetings - for those of you who have experience?

 

(3) What kind of spaces would you like to see made? Maybe chat/support rooms on a particular theme, like arts or crafts, or ace vis/ed? Maybe movie nights where we can try and stream a film with a shared chat room for watchers? We'd be happy to look into any of these if there's interest though we can’t promise anything in advance.

 

(4) Can you volunteer? We can always use more volunteers to help support others, or maybe moderate chat rooms if we end up making several. I'd like to get a group together working on vis/ed resources or make videos. The email-based answering team also needs more help. There's a lot of ways of getting involved!

For (2) I'll strongly recommend Zoom. I know it is already on the list, but I've been using it for classes these past weeks and I find it preferable to any other videoconferencing software I have used (my experience is primarily with Google Hangouts and Facetime; zoom is better than either of those, I think)

 

For (3) I really like the idea of ace vis/ed stuff. 

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Janus DarkFox
1 hour ago, charlessailor said:

First off, thanks for doing this!

For (2) I'll strongly recommend Zoom. I know it is already on the list, but I've been using it for classes these past weeks and I find it preferable to any other videoconferencing software I have used (my experience is primarily with Google Hangouts and Facetime; zoom is better than either of those, I think)

 

For (3) I really like the idea of ace vis/ed stuff. 

Zoom I’ve heard the UK Parliament is using to keep in touch with MPs.  So it has to be pretty secure unless such the decision wasn’t chosen in due haste from non technical perspectives.

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michaeld

Thanks @charlessailor and @Janus DarkFox.

 

My impression is that zoom is best for well defined meetings (which is also useful), rather than general social hangouts. Is that accurate?

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Janus DarkFox
12 minutes ago, michaeld said:

Thanks @charlessailor and @Janus DarkFox.

 

My impression is that zoom is best for well defined meetings (which is also useful), rather than general social hangouts. Is that accurate?

Reading further into Zoom, it’s Video Conferencing on a business scale.  Packed with features for small businesses with subscription based models for any extras.  A little too much for a general social hangout I’d say.  Useful for keeping in touch with a small number of staff, not quite the potential hundreds of social users.

 

To me Skype and Discord is more mainstream and better known.

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elizabeth17

to get more members into a zoom group (anything upwards of 100) I think you need a subscription. Are you all asking for specific covid-19 support resources? there are a lot of cities that have been compiling community resources. these are helpful especially in the US where the federal government hasn't responded to the pandemic in any way aside from restricting travel

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elizabeth17

however i think ace visibility and education stuff seems like a super great idea for people who may feel more isolated now than ever before. 

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michaeld
1 minute ago, elizabeth17 said:

to get more members into a zoom group (anything upwards of 100) I think you need a subscription. Are you all asking for specific covid-19 support resources? there are a lot of cities that have been compiling community resources. these are helpful especially in the US where the federal government hasn't responded to the pandemic in any way aside from restricting travel

We're focussing mostly on those useful to the ace community, e.g. places to hang out with others from the community while isolated. Links to more general resources are certainly welcome too though we'd probably want to summarise these more briefly, or just link to other sites that cover these in detail. Thanks for your comment!

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elizabeth17
1 minute ago, michaeld said:

We're focussing mostly on those useful to the ace community, e.g. places to hang out with others from the community while isolated. Links to more general resources are certainly welcome too though we'd probably want to summarise these more briefly, or just link to other sites that cover these in detail. Thanks for your comment!

gotcha that makes sense. i'm pretty bad with technology so im probably not the most helpful 

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michaeld

From the sound of things, Discord is the leading candidate for the "main" unofficial AVEN chat room we will set up. (Of course we can create other spaces for specific things as well.)

 

As mentioned earlier, my one reservation about Discord is how easy it is to cam. One of the nice things about the old Tinychat setup we used to use is that people could go on and off cam as they liked (or just voice if they didn't want to share their image), and text as well. People communicated by a mixture of cam-voice and text. I think being on cam and being able to see and talk to people is a very useful thing to have in a situation like this. Being able to voice without sharing an image is OK but not nearly as good imo.

 

So again, anyone who's used Discord a lot - does it have this kind of capability? If not, do any other platforms? (We could try TC again but it seems a lot more buggy these days...)

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Una Salus Victus

I've been using Google Hangouts lately, as TinyChat is longer viable. That works fine, however if you use your real name for your google services that will be visible to others.

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