News

BiCon websites

The 'World Wide Web' was created in 1991. By the start of 1994, there were around a thousand of the new 'web sites' available (all those image-laden pages would surely never catch on!) and only around ten thousand by the end of the year.

Unsurprisingly, 1994's BiCon 12 didn't have one.

Jon Harley, one of the organisers of BiCon 13 in 1995, worked at Information Services for the University of Birmingham and used his account on one of their machines to have a page for the event at sun1.bham.ac.uk/j.w.harley/bi/bicon.html, but sadly it looks like no-one has a copy of that.

The somewhat more memorably named bi.org was registered by Nick Smith about a fortnight before BiCon 96. A notice at the event offered free space to bisexual groups and projects, and it became the main bisexual 'portal' site for things outside the USA. bi.org had a page with the final report for BiCon 96, then hosted the websites of 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and at least the start of 2004's.

1996.bicon.org.uk now has that year's report. It's possible that there was a 'before' page somewhere – the person most likely to know wonders if it was on GeoCities but I have been unable to find it.

1997.bicon.org.uk has the two(!) pages of what was probably the first BiCon website hosted on another bi community domain.

1998.bicon.org.uk has that year's site, complete with the "we hope to have a written report with financial statement up on these pages soon" statement. I don't think that ever happened or, if it did, archive.org doesn't seem to have noticed. Note the option of having the registration form with or without HTML tables for people with browsers that didn't support those.

1999.bicon.org.uk now has the events 'way before' page, the main 'before' site and the 'after' site, complete with a couple of corrections to the HTML of the accounts page so the table displays correctly. It's missing the t-shirt photos (but I do have one of the t-shirts!) and the prices for those + assorted off site accommodation.

Thanks to Google still knowing about the original 'about' page rather than just the 'it's over' page, 2000.bicon.org.uk has a composite of the history of the site. Because the 'before' version was last changed between advance registrations ending and the event itself, there's no booking form or prices, and the reason that the 'getting to' page is called art.html is very probably that it was first a call for submissions for the Line By Line art exhibition that Gina did.

Jon Harley registered bicon.org.uk the day after BiCon 98. It hosted the websites of 2001 and 2002.

2001.bicon.org.uk now has a composite of that site: when a page changed significantly, that's now reflected in a single page. It was the only BiCon site to have a 'splash screen', showing an image and getting visitors to click to see the real content. Some of the photos are missing from archive.org sadly, but it does mean we see the originally hidden comments for Atilla the Stockbroker starting ('The ever popular Atilla the stock broker (sic)') and finishing ('The no longer quite as popular Atilla the stock broker') his set that was unfortunately scheduled in the middle of the Sunday disco đŸ™‚

The website for BiCon 2002, originally hosted at www.2002.bicon.org.uk, is now (fx: drumroll) at 2002.bicon.org.uk again! (Although the www.2002.etc address still works.)

In 2003, teams started a habit of using their own domain for their websites. Unfortunately, most of them were not renewed when the registration expired after the events and most of them were then 'squatted' by people wanting to take advantage of the existing links to the domain name. Fortunately, web.archive.org has most of the original content.

So 2003.bicon.org.uk has the www.bicon2003.org.uk site of BiCon 2003. Sadly, it is missing about half of the pictures. The 'what sort of bisexual are you' quiz was particularly wonderful and re-used next year. There were ten possible picture answers – whatever one it came up with would also say you should go to BiCon! – but only two of them are on archive.org.

2004.bicon.org.uk has that site. The original page was at manchester.bi.org/2004, but it soon moved to www.bicon2004.org.uk. Its FAQ says that the venue doesn't have its own internet access, but there was an 'Easy Everything' – an internet access shop from the same group as EasyJet – near by. This might make it the last BiCon not to have internet access on site.

BiCon 2005 was the first team to use a 'content management system', TextPattern, to make maintaining the site easier. Unfortunately, this makes duplicating its look much harder: even with the right CMS software (and sometimes only the right version of that) having the original source used to create the site would be needed to do it without lots of work. But 2005.bicon.org.uk uses another CMS, WordPress, to host the content of the original site.

(As an example of the squatting, after attempting to promote lesbian dating sites, the new owners of bicon2005.org.uk went on to pretend it was the website for the 'Building Industry Conference 2005' – yeah, right, a 2005 conference getting a 2005-name domain in 2010… – as part of boosting the Google ranking of related sites.)

BiCon 2006 used Plone, another CMS, to manage its www.bicon2006.org.uk site. While people are looking for a better copy, most of its content is at 2006.bicon.org.uk, with no attempt to recreate its three column 'menu on the left' appearance.

www.bicon2007.org.uk also used Plone. Again the recreation at 2007.bicon.org.uk uses two columns rather than three and none of the images in the original site have been found. Archive.org is sadly missing several sub-pages of the site and all the downloadable files too, including the booking form and programme booklet.

bicon2008.org.uk was the last site to be created 'by hand' rather than using a CMS. (As one of those responsible for it, I can't remember why it didn't use WordPress!) The domain still points to the site, but now does so by redirecting to 2008.bicon.org.uk for consistency with the others.

BiCon 2009 used Textpattern again. Because of how it works the dates of some of the news posts at its new home of 2009.bicon.org.uk are approximate and archive.org is sadly missing all the pictures and other files too, including the booking form and programme booklet.

The first year to use WordPress was BiCon 2010 on bicon2010.org.uk. Fortunately, archive.org's coverage of the site is not as patchy as it first appeared, so almost all of it is now at 2010.bicon.org.uk. There are some pictures and files missing, and despite finding the files for the original's look, a couple of differences in that.

All of the BiCons since then have used WordPress and their data has been passed on, which means that 2011.bicon.org.uk, 2012.bicon.org.uk, 2013.bicon.org.uk and 2014.bicon.org.uk have the relevant sites, exactly as the original, apart from the change in URLs and the banners for promoting the next BiCon.

BiCon 2015 went back to using bicon.org.uk as its host, so has remained unchanged at 2015.bicon.org.uk, and the latest site is of course at 2016.bicon.org.uk!