Currently (20th - 23rd May 2019) EUROCRYPT 2019 is on-going. It has been confirmed that at least 4 of our more well-known members are there as well as several hundred other participants. Many of whom probably have seen our site, but probably didn't consider answering / asking themselves.

Now, we probably want to give them some reasons why the would maybe want to ask / answer questions (occasionally).

So, my question is:
What tips / standard phrases / jokes / memes would you suggest / use when trying to promote active participation on Crypto.SE at a crypto conference, e.g. in casual conversation or as part of a rump / lightning session talk?

The idea of this question is to accumulate standard advice and rump / lightning talk concepts to help users more easily promote this site. Of course we can also collect guidelines on acquiring promotional material from SE here. Also if mod-rights are needed for any ideas (eg creating a hidden chat room for a given conference, inviting people and purging clearnames afterwards), this can also be arranged.

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    $\begingroup$ I know that (at least as far as I'm aware) all of the StackEx merchandise stores were killed off but I'm wondering, how about some merge perhaps even just stickers to give out or something? Everyone likes free stuff and it usually get's people to at least check out what you're advertising along with it, at least; in my opinion it does. $\endgroup$ – J is 12 years old. May 21 '19 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ @J.J I'll go ahead and ask SE (in a mod-only place, posting a summary of the answer here). $\endgroup$ – SEJPM May 21 '19 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ You could wear the T-shirt maybe? $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes May 22 '19 at 3:20
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    $\begingroup$ It appears that SE currently doesn't have a policy on stuff to give away as they are apparently changing their vendor or something... $\endgroup$ – SEJPM May 22 '19 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm... Okay, that sounds a little... Hah. $\endgroup$ – J is 12 years old. May 22 '19 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ A preliminary answer I got is that people should contact support at least a month in advance and tell them, then they will go from there. Of course apparently things will change with the new system (but I probably shouldn't spoil the details). Also see this older Meta.SE Q&A $\endgroup$ – SEJPM May 23 '19 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ A comment which does not answer your specific question, but addresses the more general concern of attracting more researchers on crypto.SE: something which you will find a lot on cstheory.SE, for example, are research questions by PhD students / researchers, who use the website as a way to discuss research questions which have no clear answer in the literature, but for which the right specialist might find an answer quite quickly. These research level questions are very rare on crypto.SE, while being the core reason why researchers would want to come here in the first place. $\endgroup$ – Geoffroy Couteau May 27 '19 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ Hence, I believe that a question of strong interest would be: how to encourage the use of crypto.SE also as a platform for researchers to exchange on research-level questions (or even, do we want this to be the case)? The general hope is that if researchers want to come to get in touch with other specialists, they are more likely to stay and help other non-specialists. The issue is that the scope of crypto is narrow compared to, e.g., math or TCS; hence, in this area, it is often the case that a researcher will just know who is the expert to contact, and send him a mail. $\endgroup$ – Geoffroy Couteau May 27 '19 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ Currently, the researchers on this website seem to be here for the sole pleasure of spreading knowledge on their research topics, to help a broader audience understanding the questions and state of the art in some subfields of crypto. It seems to me that if this stays the only motivation for researchers to be on crypto.SE, then the website is unlikely to strongly expand it's researcher-user base. $\endgroup$ – Geoffroy Couteau May 27 '19 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ A last remark on this point: a side effect of using the website for research-level questions is that the website gets credited in the paper. I myself credited math.SE and cstheory.SE on some papers, for the help I had got their with some specific research-level questions. In turn, this credit in papers adds visibility to the website in the research community. I'm also currently working on a paper where one of the initial motivations stems from a question asked on crypto.SE - more of the kind would probably enhance visibility a lot. $\endgroup$ – Geoffroy Couteau May 27 '19 at 19:02
  • $\begingroup$ If only 4 out of 100s use crypto.se, what does everyone else do? Is this simply an issue of perception/brand management? $\endgroup$ – Paul Uszak Jun 3 '19 at 6:06
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry for the very late reply, but I am now CEO of my startup and so haven't really got much time to continue here. I will try to get back... I strongly think that this site should be promoted at rump sessions at crypto conferences. One could explain the motivation and what researchers can get out of it. First, there are many really interesting questions. Second, with a bit of time (not too much needed) it's possible to help people who really want to learn. There is something very nice about that. $\endgroup$ – Yehuda Lindell Jun 18 '19 at 5:14

Wear the shirt

Wear a cryptography stackexchange t-shirt, if you have one.

It wasn't a conference, but I wore mine at the LCS35 time capsule ceremony at MIT. Three people made remarks, including asking where I got it from. It was a perfect opportunity to mention crypto.stackexchange.

Credit to Maarten for first suggesting this in a comment

Where to get a shirt

One way to get a shirt is to be elected as a moderator. Stackexchange offers to send you SE swag after you are elected.

I think that reaching 100k reputation causes SE to send you a congratulatory email with an offer to send you swag. But apparently this is temporarily not the case as SE is changing their swag vendor.

Unfortunately, neither of these two options are easy to achieve (we're still waiting on our highest rep user to hit 100k). If someone else knows of an easier way to obtain a t-shirt, then feel free to mention it.

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    $\begingroup$ Ella, I must get one! I have a hoodie but it's a little geek-ish cus I made it myself. :p $\endgroup$ – J is 12 years old. May 22 '19 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ Could you mention where to get one? $\endgroup$ – Ruben De Smet Jun 6 '19 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ @RubenDeSmet I edited the answer to include the best answers I have to that question. They are the best answers that I have, but they still may not be very helpful... It may be easiest to do what J.J did and make one yourself (assuming that doesn't have any legal issues with copyright/etc) $\endgroup$ – Ella Rose Jun 6 '19 at 14:50

If talks are being live tweeted, responding to items or questions raised in the talk with crypto.SE links is a nice way to use the event hashtag to drive a bit of traffic this way.

We did this successfully at various conferences for sec.se

Additionally, and this isn't likely to work until SE sign up a new merch vendor, I aimed to give sec.se t-shirts, stickers and pens to speakers, people who asked interesting questions, students, bloggers etc., and with the last two BSides events in Scotland, a T-shirt to every attendee.


I did the promotion of Crypto.SE at the following events:

The way I did it was:

  1. Target the rump session/lightning talks
  2. Wearing the Crypto.SE T-shirt helps
  3. Get involved with groups from companies and also other students from universities.
  4. Give away Crypto.SE stickers
  5. Ask our famous users (e.g. @yehuda-lindell ) if they agree to be mentioned by you to give credit to the website i.e. it is not just a small website about crypto.

Notice that for point 2 and 4 you need to think about it in advance. I personally wrote a mail to StackExchange, mentioning I was really close to the top 72 user of the group and that I will be doing the promotion of Crypto.SE at Real World Crypto 2016. They asked me how much people I intended to touch. RWC was about 600 visitors. I told them I aimed for 10%. Thus kindly asked for 60 stickers... After giving them my address, I got a shipment (took about 2 months to arrive). In the end, I got the T-shirt and about 150 stickers (which I don't have anymore because I did give them all away :p ).

So my best advice is ... prepare your promotion at least 3 months in advance. :D


Mention questions from the site

You might be able to tempt people into using the site if you can grab their attention with an interesting question that is relevant to their expertise.

Something like:

There is a question X on crypto.stackexchange that asks Y; You work with field Z, what do you think about that?

You would need a good background knowledge of interesting but unanswered questions.


Often people have questions about a paper after a talk. Sometimes there are more of these questions than the Q&A time has time for. You could tell people that if they have additional questions, they can ask them on crypto.SE, use your @username to notify you and you'll answer their question on the forum.


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