The surprising message boards

It had been eight years since I had attended a General Assembly in person, and even though I have been careful to watch streamed video and keep up with GA in social media, I knew there would be some surprises. Or more accurately, I expected to be surprised by some things.

The one thing I didn’t expect was how much the message boards — standing bulletin boards, divided alphabetically, where people would leave and collect messages — were diminished. In the pre-mobile-phone age, it is was how individuals and groups connected over the convention; accordingly, it was an important landmark for meetings. Today, not so much. I even heard from a friend how he missed an alumni event because it was only so announced.

But it does still have two important functions. Since it will still be some time before a General Assembly is likely to have good wifi — the costs and technical demands are still too much for a large convention; can you imagine having to supply connections for 6,000 computers and mobile devices on a GA budget? — the message boards will be useful for people arranging ride shares. (A map of the U.S. or the immediate region would be helpful here, so people could post their requests and offers directly to the destination. One college I attended did this, ages ago.)

And then others have made a social experiment/art project of the boards.

A note to "you"
Inside, an invitation to smile


A note for "Bad Wolf"
Confirmation that there are Doctor Who fans at GA

I liked this very much, and there were others I didn’t photograph. Fun.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Does this signify the end of the Universe, or maybe the end of the Universalists? (As a Universalist, non-theistic as a I am, I hope not.)

  2. I loved pulling a paper message off the board. There is still that little thrill. When I gave our colleague one that I found for him he said, “OOOh, I’m popular!”

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