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Borrow My Topic

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An experiment, by Jeff Madsen, Miguel Piedrafita, Wilbur Powery, and Christopher Pitt.

Who this is for

This site is for creators and presenters. It's for people who have learned about a topic; spoken or written about it. It's for people who want to speak at conferences or blog; but don't quite know what or how to go about it. It's for conference organisers and publishers to find topics they're interested in, and the people willing to produce them.

How it works

If you have a topic to share, click on "Submit a topic". You'll be asked to create an account. You can use your Twitter login, or create a new login from scratch. Then, you'll be able to give details of the topic: what it's about, where you've presented it before, and the terms of user for other presenters.

Those terms could include that you're willing to mentor new speakers or that you're willing for conference organisers to contact you about your topics. Don't worry! Your email address won't be shared with anyone, and you don't need to mentor anyone. You can simply add topics and require that other presentors follow ground-rules you define.

Ground rules

We're still trying to work out what these should be. We feel a good first-step is requiring that presenters use the name and/or Twitter handle of the creator whose topic they are using; as well as the words "borrow my topic" within the first 5 slides/paragraphs/minutes of their presentation.

You may want others, and we're open to hearing what those are and suggesting the most common and/or popular ones when new topics are submitted. We're also open to the idea of allowing you free text entry for your ground-rules.

We can't really enforce those rules, and we're not even sure we should. Presentors should respect the wishes of creators; and we need to be able to trust each other. If people want to break that trust, or plagiarize topics, that's going to happen whether we want it to or not. You need to make the decision as to whether you want to list your topic, and accept the risk that someone might abuse that decision.

We will do our best to help you to report when someone has taken your work and passed it off as their own.

Also, publishers and organisers

We recognize that it can be difficult to find the right speakers and topics for your conference, or the right topics for your magazine. To that end, we want to help organisers and publishers to find the right people; whether a combination of creator and presentor or just a creator who is willing to reuse their topic at your event.

You can click on "Request this topic" from any topic's page; and the creator will be emailed. If they're unwilling to presentthe topic themselves, they can elect to have the topic enter a "topics that have been requested and are seeking a presenter" list.

Being inclusive

We know it's difficult to be accepted to speak at conferences. This is especially true if you're from a group that hasn't typically been chosen to present things, for whatever reason. If you are in such a group, we want to provide a way for you to signal that you are from that group, and optional specify what that means.

Perhaps you'd like to specify which group you're from, or why it would be in the best interest of publishers to select you. That's entirely optional, but we can see why some folks might find it desirable to explain and to have themselves discovered.