Monday, August 21, 2006

More Con-version Thoughts

I am trying to focus on the positive reports from Con-version, although there are many detractors.

A fan run science fiction convention is put on by fans, for fans. The concom is a small group of volunteers who decided to help out. All of us on the concom gave up lots of personal time and money to throw a party for the other members. We made a lot of mistakes, mostly due to inexperience. Other than the Treasurer, everyone was in his or her position for the first time.

To add to this, we had several people dropout. Some due to illness, some due to family issues, some for personal reasons. As people stopped coming to planning meetings, more and more responsibility became shouldered on the remaining volunteers. The vocal detractors seem to think we sit on the right hand of God, making decrees that get followed to the letter. The reality is we have limited resources that we have to manage so that everyone who wants something at the event gets it.

The video programming was cut this year because no one showed up to planning meetings to do it. That is a personnel resource. Due to renovations at the hotel we did not have a good place for one. That is a space resource. If there was a room available, we did not have money in the budget to pay for it. That is a financial resource. These are the tools we have to work with, and these are the deciding factors.

"The dealers room was too small." - It was oversold by the previous dealers room coordinator. I guess we could have talked to the architect about making the room bigger.

"There was no food in the consuite" - A lot of food was bought, but those people running it failed to put it out.

"There was too many people in the consuite"/"The consuite was empty every time I went there" - Fuck me.

"The big panel was in the little room and the little panel was in the big room" - The panel application form had a spot to fill out saying how many people were expected to attend. This was not filled out on most forms leaving me to guess. Sorry if I can't read the membership's mind.

"Too much [insert genre] and not enough [insert other genre]" - The programming ran on a "call for papers" format. Meaning you tell me what you want to have a panel on, and I will find space for it. If you want [blank] consider putting some panels together.

"It sucks, we had to shut down at 1 am" - That's what the liquor licence said. Deal with it.

If you went to someone's house for a party and made these kinds of complaints, you would be considered rude. I don't see why a volunteer committee of a non-profit society who plays host for a get-together of the membership should be treated any differently than any other friend who invites a group together for a party. The membership paid to come? So did the concom.

Here are some positive quotes about the event so I don't lose focus:
"the [lightsaber] demo was conducted by a martial arts instructor who had devised/adapted sword and stage fighting technique and adapted it to lightsabers. it was extremely cool and i wanna play too once i'm healed. patsy came out of it with a greater appretiation of the star wars movies and martial arts in general." - Sledene
"Well I think I'm safe in saying that ConVersion 22 was the best time I've had this summer. The panels were neat, I didn't spend any money in the dealers room and the costume contest and slave auction were a blast." - Lemonferret
Thank you.

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Legless_Marine said...

I won't BS - Some of the first things I noticed were the things that were missing. But that momentary thanklessness was quickly replaced with a deep feeling of gratitude to those unseen and unknown people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring us a con that I quite enjoyed.

It is a special time of every year for me.

I can't imagine the work that was put in. While most of us were picking our noses or playing with bugs, you folks were in planning meetings trying to figure out how you were going to make it all happen. You have brought much joy to many people.

Those who bitch should either put up or shut up.

Shuffledog said...

Those comments are not unusual. Same sort of comments come up every year. That what you can from then and move on. Ignore the rest.

iRob said...

There are people who are only happy when they have something to complain about, and events like Con are their time to shine, or at least bob at the surface for a while.

Do to a lack of time/resources/energy I decided not to take an active role this year, and simply went to pay my admission and be entertained. I am fully aware of exactly how much right to complain that buys me. Somewhere south of 'Jack All'.

Anyone with a negative opinion who did not volunteer their time/money/energy has not earned the right.

Mad Props to the Planners.

Drhaggis said...

Thanks guys. There have been ultimately more compliments than complaints. But some of the complaits hit hard.