Tropical Ecology Blog

How not to name a conference: remembering Trop Con 2020

Robin Hayward

A year ago today, we named a conference ‘TropCon’. It was a unique name for a unique conference. Combining the subjects of the Trop(ical) and Con(servation) special interest groups of the British Ecological Society, we set out to create two exciting days of scientific tweets and idea sharing online. It turned out, however, that there was a reason the name of our conference had never been used before.

Waking up the morning after we put the name online, we discovered our conference announcement was trending in France!

‘Trop con’ was the French for ‘too stupid’ and the irony of tweeting academic research under #TropCon20 had not been lost on the francophones of the world.

There’s a saying that all publicity is good publicity and, on balance, I would retrospectively agree. For that one day however, it seemed like the whole conference might fall apart. We needed to do some damage…

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