Apparently, they weren't sure that there would be a con until a few
months prior to ICON. As a result, they couldn't get the usual
locations. The previous year's ICON had lost a lot of money.
The programming at ICON was always very varied. There was something
for absolutely every interest. This year, the programming was much
more limited and there was much more confusion as to what was going
on. IMHO the science tracks suffered disproportionately.
In addition, there was a massive price increase (for people associated
with SUNY at Stony Brook). The price increase was on the order of
What makes a good con?
Obviously, if you had a great time, it was a good con. But what is it
about cons that make them good or bad?
What is the ideal con?
On the down side, what makes a con a bad one?
I'm looking forward to hearing from people.
> While we're on the subject on con reports, I thought I would start a
> related discussion thread.
This group IS slow, isn't it? OK, I'll reply, since no-one else seems
to have yet (having said that, there'll probably by 500 messages next
time I look <g>).
> What makes a good con?
1) People. No, really! A lot of the atmosphere of a con depends so
much on who I'm with and who I meet. Since I tend to spend most of my
time at cons wandering round and talking to people, that's not
2) Facilities. I don't just mean whether the panels have microphones
(although that helps!), but the overall setting. Are there enough bars
/ food places? Are there quiet places for those that want them? Are
there places where filkers can make noise without being jumped on
(important for me). How far is it back to the room to get the programme
that I left behind when I crawled to breakfast (or when I'm crawling
back to bed)?
3) Events. Well, I guess these do have an effect <g>. Are they
interesting to a sufficient number? That number depends on the event -
filking can be fun with 2 or 3 people, but too many and not everyone can
do their thing, whereas a dance with less than (say) 20 people is
somewhat futile. Are they 'sit down and listen' items (a lot of panels
are like this) or do they encourage participation? Personally, I prefer
the latter - I find 'panel quiz' (game show type things) very boring, as
I'm not interested in seeing other people make fools of themselves by
admitting how much they don't know (nor am I interested in making a fool
4) Alternatives. Films, showings of (for instance) ST Next Gen, items
running concurrently. You have to be careful here - if there are too
many simultaneous things then people are going to get upset because they
can't do everything they want to because they clash. (an example - at
the last EasterCon (UK) the Masquerade was scheduled at the same time as
a showing of 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'. The number of people who
complained about that! They could have got a video out at home if they
were that desperate to see it!).
5) Guests. This very much depends on the size of the con and who the
guests are. If it's too big, you won't meet them anyway, so it doesn't
really matter. At the smaller cons (< 200 people) it can make a big
difference. At FourPlay (the British filk con this year) we had as
visiting guests Dr. Jane Robinson and Cynthia McQuillan. 'Who?', I
hear non-filk-fen ask. Folks, if you haven't met them, you're missing
out! They mixed right in, and 'made' the con for me - otherwise it
would have been just 'another con'. (Before he feels left out, the
British GOH, Colin Fine, is very nice too - but we see him at other
cons, so it's not so special).
> On the down side, what makes a con a bad one?
Er, the opposite of the above?
OK, the rest of you - feel free to disagree with me, this is supposed to
be a discussion <g>.
* ch...@keris.demon.co.uk * *
* chr...@cix.compulink.co.uk * FIAWOL (Filking Is A Way Of Life) *
* 10001...@compuserve.com * *
Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own, and are definitely
also supported by Keristor Systems (unless otherwise stated) since it is
me! Permission is granted to use any material in this message under the
terms of the GNU General Licence as published by the Free Software
Foundation. Copies of this can be obtained from the FSF or from me.
=================<<< < < < *Punk Walrus* > > > >>>=================
[ \||/ | --------------------------------------- | \||/ ]
[ (o-) | "It might be in the || wal...@bessel.umd.edu | (o-) ]
[ /\ | basement, I'll go up- || Punk Walrus on the | /\ ]
[ Punkus | stairs and check..." || FanTek BBS 301-203-9582 | It's ]
[ Walrus | -- M.C. Escher -- || SF&F Author Extrordinare| Punkie!]
Official EveCon 10 Representative for the InterNet Entertainment System.
>What makes a good con?
A good con is a Con where there are interesting people to meet, bizarre
things happening just around the corner, and always far too many
interesting theings to do.
>What is the ideal con?
The ideal con is a good con (see definition above) which SOMEONE ELSE is
running. Only half :)
>On the down side, what makes a con a bad one?
It's really sad to see a lot of someone-else's effort (or even my own)
go down the tube due to
a) the EVIL old-guard (I'm almost one now myself he he he he...) putting a
dampener on things
b) circumstances beyond anyone's control (ie the convention centre
burning down or blowing up - but hey! theat's what insurance is for ...)
c) general apathy amongst members and guests.
After all, what else can go wrong? ;-)
email: com...@uniwa.uwa.edu.au snail: Peter Cooper, box 22
fax: +61 9 380 1041 Guild of Undergraduates
phone: +61 9 380 3929 University of Western Australia
"It was the banana that did it!" - Julia Marley
What makes a good con a good con? The people. I've seen a couple of
conventions that are a lot of fun because people are willing to shove
politics aside for the weekend. I've also seen a few conventions go
into the tubes because the people who attend them enjoy the politicking
and seeing the destruction of another person's good name.
A sad thing to say, but accurate from what I've witnessed.
Krikket ! kri...@meltdown.chi.il.us ! USnail:3 Danada Square E.
a.k.a Doug Krick ! Team Star Charter Member ! Suite 246
Data ph# 708/665-9732 ! #include<std.disclaimers> ! Wheaton, Il 60187
Mistletoe is deadly if you eat it - a kiss is twice as deadly if you mean it
One thing that makes a con good is a well-stocked, well-run con suite
that is not difficult to get to. Last Castlecon had a nice-enough
con suite, but the sucker was so far away, I spend more time in the
staff suite, which was much closer. On the one hand, it didn't have
the wierd video and puzzles and lite-brite, but on the other, it had
nicer food, and was closer to get to.
The people are a necessary condition for a good con, but it tends to more
be the people you run into than the people in general.
As for programming, I tend not to go to too many things on the schedule,
but things that will draw me are interesting movies/videos, and definately
some kind of anime programming. It's something I really enjoy watching at
a con, because you're more likely to see new things.
Which reminds me, another good thing for a con, in my mind, is a nice
variety of parties that's well-advertised. One of the many reasons
Balticon is one of my favorite conventions has to do with the many
parties there, and the central board set up to advirtise parties at.
And, finally, although they're not necessary, two things that make a con
for me is large and varied dealer's and art rooms.
Just me thots.
"No, you fool! Other side of the neck! NET! NET!"
jf...@andrew.cmu.edu -- a freudian slip by yours truely
a) One, and only one track of programming, with only the best of the
material that you could have programmed.
b) For those who don't want to go to the current session, relaxacon
facilities, meeting areas and activities.
I don't want a con that has so much good programming that I want to
be in sessions all the time. I want there to be some periods where
I am not interested and I roam the halls and talk to fans etc.
Brad Templeton, ClariNet Communications Corp. -- Sunnyvale, CA 408/296-0366
> While we're on the subject on con reports, I thought I would start a
> related discussion thread.
> What makes a good con?
> Obviously, if you had a great time, it was a good con. But what is it
> about cons that make them good or bad?
> What is the ideal con?
A good example of a great con is in the Blakes 7 fanzine, "The Totaly
Imaginary Cheeseboard Fanzine. The convention had several guests who
have the ability to enjoy themselves and entertain others at the same
time. Another factor is the many activities available such as an art
show, art auction, photo session, various get togethers, as well as the
Q&A sessions, dealer's room and vid. tape showings. :-)
> On the down side, what makes a con a bad one?
Unfortunately, I have had the misfortune to be at more than one bad
convention. The problems usually had to do with the fact that the hotel
felt that it was alright to have one room for Q&A and putting the dealers
along the walls of the room. This made it impossible to hear what the
guest speaker is saying, or indeed, to see the guest speaker at all, as
well as making it very difficult to make your way around to see what the
dealers have to offer! I am very pleased to say that I have never had a
reason to see audience behavior as a problem at a convention... :-)
> I'm looking forward to hearing from people.
Just my 2 cents worth! Here's to great conventions, may they be always
in your future!
Yours in Time and Space,
Ekho (Killer Queen, Dynamite with a Laser Beam)
>I have not run a con, but I think you might get a good con from:
>a) One, and only one track of programming, with only the best of the
>material that you could have programmed.
Having helped run a few cons, and been a member of several more, I think
the big problem with this suggestion is that NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME
TASTE. This is sometimes the assumption of the Con committee.
Unfortunately they enjoyed the con, but only 30% of the members did,
too. The remaining 70% didn't and a significant proportion would never
>b) For those who don't want to go to the current session, relaxacon
>facilities, meeting areas and activities.
Certainly you need it. It's a good argument for hotel pools, light
video programming, fan lounges with tea, coffee, biscuits, popcorn, etc
>I don't want a con that has so much good programming that I want to
>be in sessions all the time. I want there to be some periods where
>I am not interested and I roam the halls and talk to fans etc.
The current cost of attending cons (at least in Oz) is now getting to
the point that *value*for*money* is becoming one of the biggest
drawcards for members. Now, if you don't have the self-control to miss
events to talk top people ... ;-)
>2) Facilities. I don't just mean whether the panels have microphones
>(although that helps!), but the overall setting. Are there enough bars
>/ food places? Are there quiet places for those that want them? Are
>there places where filkers can make noise without being jumped on
>(important for me). How far is it back to the room to get the programme
>that I left behind when I crawled to breakfast (or when I'm crawling
>back to bed)?
Essentially: enough rooms for all the interests to be accomodated. Air
circulation also plays an important part. Stuffy rooms don't make it for
>3) Events. Well, I guess these do have an effect <g>. Are they
>interesting to a sufficient number? That number depends on the event -
>filking can be fun with 2 or 3 people, but too many and not everyone can
>do their thing, whereas a dance with less than (say) 20 people is
>somewhat futile. Are they 'sit down and listen' items (a lot of panels
>are like this) or do they encourage participation? Personally, I prefer
>the latter - I find 'panel quiz' (game show type things) very boring, as
>I'm not interested in seeing other people make fools of themselves by
>admitting how much they don't know (nor am I interested in making a fool
One thing I haven't seen a lot of at cons that I would like to see more of is
workshops. Hands on. I learn by doing not being talked at.
>4) Alternatives. Films, showings of (for instance) ST Next Gen, items
>running concurrently. You have to be careful here - if there are too
>many simultaneous things then people are going to get upset because they
>can't do everything they want to because they clash. (an example - at
>the last EasterCon (UK) the Masquerade was scheduled at the same time as
>a showing of 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'. The number of people who
>complained about that! They could have got a video out at home if they
>were that desperate to see it!).
Give me some new activities that I might not have discovered on my own.
>5) Guests. This very much depends on the size of the con and who the
>guests are. If it's too big, you won't meet them anyway, so it doesn't
>really matter. At the smaller cons (< 200 people) it can make a big
>difference. At FourPlay (the British filk con this year) we had as
>visiting guests Dr. Jane Robinson and Cynthia McQuillan. 'Who?', I
>hear non-filk-fen ask. Folks, if you haven't met them, you're missing
>out! They mixed right in, and 'made' the con for me - otherwise it
>would have been just 'another con'. (Before he feels left out, the
>British GOH, Colin Fine, is very nice too - but we see him at other
>cons, so it's not so special).
Yes, Jane and Cindy are very nice. So is Kathy Mar, Dr. Jordan Kare,
Steve Savitzky... ;-) (Other well-known U.S./SFO Bay Area filkers.)
>> On the down side, what makes a con a bad one?
Constantly changing schedules so when you figured to see a programming
item, you find out that it was four hours before but it wasn't published
in the previous evening's newsletter. It was published in the morning
newsletter, but I don't get up until late in the morning! Also, they
had run out of that morning's newsletter. Grrrrr.
Obnoxious security types. You know, the ones in camo thinking and
acting like hotshots when they're not. The younger ones, especially,
sometimes abuse this position. However, I've come across adults who
abuse this, too.
Uncooperative/surly hotel/restaurant staff.
Long waits in the restaurant/coffee shop.
An annoyance, but not enough to totally spoil the con for me:
Not enough space on the "freebie" (flyer) table. Stuff gets
covered up, so you can miss something that you're interested in.
I think that covers it for me.
I found myself. See? I'm right here! Until later--
And also to avoid having to miss stuff you like because it is
cross-scheduled with other stuff you like.
The most recent con I attended, BayCon, had an excuse -- 25 well known
guests of honour. Between all the solo sessions and other stuff, they
had to have lots of tracks and forced choices.
A Con with just 1-2 guests however can get by with one, perhaps 2 tracks of
programming, with fair assurance that there will be time for socializing
and reduced conflict. It's also less work...
Yeah, The Ramada was really hard to get around and find *anything*.
See, CastleCon 5 almost didn't happen. The Holiday Inn in Crystal City that
we currently use double booked us with an NEA convention. So both the NEA
and FanTek are joint suing the Holiday Inn. Since then, it has been bought
out by the Doubletree Inn, and we will be holding EveCon 10 there and Castle
Con 6 as well.
The Ramada at Dulles had a lot of problems:
1: The hotel was actually 3 hotels/office spaces recently joined together.
The con suite and some function space were actual hotel rooms in the hotel
part. The dealer's room (does anyone call it "Huckster's Room" anymore?)
and the movie room were in the abondoned retail complexes. Cyberpunk had
their own office building below the hotel! It looked great! But poor
ventilation caused the fire alarms to go off all the time. Then the rest
of the stuff was in fuction space and conference rooms. At least it was
all indoors with no outside walks, but man! It was confusing as hell.
2: We got the hotel a few months before the convention because of the mentioned
double booking above. But the manager who signed us left 3 days before the
con, and the new manager freaked out. Not only did he never run a hotel
with convention space before, but he hated our kind of people. Luckily,
some of the staff were *very* helpful, dispite the manager trying to
get rid of them. We lost 2/3rds of the hotel staff including cleaning,
security, and managment by Saturday night. Those that did stay tried
their best. Our PR agent for Ramada did a lot of grunt work herself. I
have heard since the con, that the staff hate this new manager for reasons
from bad planning to just being an all-around jerk.
3: The area was out of the way, not in the central of our fandom. Sure, it
was great to us who lived near it, but for those from other areas? TOLL
ROADS!!! ARG!!!! Also, no good places to eat were close.
Die to a lot of these problems (plus recession), our attendance was down
One good thing is that Vandalism was down. We only had one table broken.
Needless to say, we will never hold another con there again.
EveCon 10 is our next one. It is January 1-3rd of 1993. Yes, we expect a lot
of early showers that New Year's Eve Thursday, and we might have registration
open early again like EveCon 5 had. Memberships to the Con are just $15 until
Sept 30th 1992, $20 until Dec 12th, and $25 at the door. It will be located
at the DoubleTree Inn in Crystal City, Arlington, VA right next to DC. If
you have any questions, contact me on the net at wal...@bessel.umd.edu or
FanTek, 1607 Thomas Rd, Ft. Washington, MD 20744
Yes! Rooms need adequate air conditioning, with an air conditioner
that doesn't drown out the panel and/or the audience with its howling.
The bigger rooms usually seem to be OK in this regard, but often the
small meeting rooms have very inadequate ventilation.
You need adequate soundproofing between rooms. A constant problem is
when the "ballrooms" are split up, and movie trailers are being shown
in one of the parts while a panel attempts to shout above the din in
>Constantly changing schedules so when you figured to see a programming
>item, you find out that it was four hours before but it wasn't published
>in the previous evening's newsletter.
I know it's impossible, but it would be *very* nice to get a schedule
in the last progress report. Many's the time I've found a panel I'd
have really liked to have heard was scheduled on the morning of the
first day, when I got there that afternoon.
Mike Van Pelt When the fog came in on little cat feet
Headland Technology/Video 7 last night, it left these little muddy
sun!indetech!hsv3!mvp paw prints on the hood of my car.
Personally, I like having a slide projector in the rooms.
Especially when I've agreed to talk for an hour and show some slides.
You'd be surpised how many concoms have trouble with this. Doesn't
matter if I've given them a few weeks' notice, or a few months', or a
(A screen is a nice thing to have, too.)
Bill Higgins, Beam Jockey | According to the doctrine
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory | of natural selection,
Bitnet: HIG...@FNAL.BITNET | *you* were designed
Internet: HIG...@FNAL.FNAL.GOV | by a committee.
SPAN/Hepnet: 43011::HIGGINS | The biggest committee ever.
This did not seem to be a problem, at least in the major halls, at
film program was in A1/A2 and other main events in A3/A4/A5 with
sound leakage through the heavy double air walls. Did anyone notice
in the function rooms that were split by single air walls?
During the Coppola talk last Saturday, we had some sound leakage in
A1/A2 because a techie decided it was a good time to blast some
chain-saw-like noises from the sound board in A3/A4/A5. (And, no, his
very rude response to being told to stop was NOT heard in A1/A2.)
Other than that, no problems.
> Did anyone notice problem in the function rooms that were split by single
> air walls?
Occasional laughter (which is expected) but nothing major. The convention
center seemed quite well-constructed with regard to sound issues.
Agreed, some panels could even be followed quite well while the doors to
the (fairly busy) hallway were open. Only the readings in the Clarion
sometimes suffered a bit when the next-door author told something funny
(laughter) or finished somewhat earlier (applause), but otherwise the
airconditioning kicking in was the only external noise (and no, I
probably didn't want to do without that).
van...@CVX.eur.nl - Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam - Netherlands