[ACML] First Year Jitters
mpyson at netaxs.com
Tue Feb 1 21:40:35 EST 2005
> Scary stuff really, I mean I'm just trying to run a little con in AZ and
> already we've been labeled at the "Ghetto Con", or that we're not
> professional, and we have been accused of being too "Fan Girl Friendly".
Honestly, I've never heard the terms Ghetto Con or Too Fangirl Friendly
before... those might actually be good things. ;-)
> I'm just nervous that no matter what we do
> people aren't going to think it's good enough.
Well, one thing you can do is realize that no matter what you do people
aren't going to think it's good enough, so you can relax and stop being
nervous about it.
Okay, that's impossible. :-/
The serious questions you need to ask yourself when faced with complaints
are A) how bad the complaint is, and B) how many people does the problem
Typically most complaints will not involve anything remotely requiring the
summoning of local emergency services personnel, so that's reassuring to
keep in mind.
Anyway... there are three types of feedback you can get from other people:
1. People who thought everything was great (even if it wasn't)
2. People who thought everything was awful (even if it wasn't)
3. Some people who thought some specific things were bad (and they were)
The first two groups you can't really do too much about because the people
in group #1 don't exist, and the people in group #2 wouldn't give you an
honest compliment even if the world were ending.
Fortunately, the people in group #3 are by far the largest of the three
groups, and the good thing about them is that they'll give you the benefit
of the doubt about a lot of stuff (like that you're a decent guy who's
trying to do his best), and only complain about stuff that affected them
Mostly they have concrete things to give feedback on: flat-out mistakes
(badge name says "Sailor Plushy" instead of "Death-Kami", video schedule
says anime Sailor Moon instead of live-action Sailor Moon), long delays
(reg took three hours, cosplay started two hours late), and un-met
expectations (tough to quantify, and tough to fix).
> I've even seem some posts on
> forums of people wondering why Amano would go to such a small con that's
> doomed to suck.
Those are probably people from group #2. Unless they have specific,
factual issues that can be addressed there's not much point in listening
> How much flack do you guys take?
There's always flack. It's sort of like listening to AM radio -- there's
always static. What you worry about is big spikes in it. Big spikes are
often due to actual problems, not just people making themselves feel
better by denigrating others.
The things that I take seriously are complaints from the people from group
#3. When they point out that something's not going smoothly enough, or
quickly enough, or isn't fulfilling their expectations then I have to ask
myself whether a little more time/money/effort would dispel their
Sometimes everything that can be done is being done, and sometimes the
resources (staff, money, time, space) to do things differently just aren't
there, but it's always good to exhaust the possibilities and do the
> I must say I've had urges
> to reply to the flame wars and defend my staff but I know that's not the
> thing to do.
Don't get emotional at flamers, it's a losing game. They're usually not
too bright, so winning "arguments" is typically impossible. The level of
discourse typically boils down to:
Flamer: "that was teh worse cosplay ive evar seen!! and ive been 2
millions of cosplays. my friend said her dogg could have done it better
The fact is the con staff are idots and HATES all fans and were too busy
smoking crak to give a rat's ass about the csoplay."
Staffer: "We do not hate fandom, or smoke crack. We devoted 143.7
man-hours, and $937.22 to preparing for the cosplay. Many of our staff are
Flamer: "U LY! UR CON SUX!! U SUK GOTES!!1!!"
Most of these people consider a "fact" to be "any statement which supports
me being a million percent right, forever". Presumption of moral
superiority and assertations of hypocrisy are common. Bogus, but common.
Since you're just not going to win these people over, any responses you
make should be non-emotional, factual ("factual" meaning verifiable by
objective non-partisans), and put forth primarily to educate the large
numbers of minimally-involved people who just want to hear both sides of
the "debate" to see if there's anything but BS flying back and forth.
If you have to respond to a flamer, quit once you've put out the facts of
the situation. Your only goal is education. Don't be defensive, or think
you'll win by flaming the other guy worse than he's done to you. Even if
you "win" the flamewar, the only prize at the end is being a bigger jerk
than someone you already know is a jerk.
Matt Pyson * Otakon 2004 Anime Fan Parody Screenings Contact
http://www.otakon.com * The Convention of Otaku Generation *
* "Is that fire in your eyes, or just the glow of machines?"
More information about the animecons