What are we missing? - Jay Maynard

> Recent entries
> Calendar view
> Friends page
> User info
> Jay's web page

Friday, 2 July 2004


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
2157 - What are we missing?

So far, vakkotaur and I have spent about 7 hours at CONvergence. I'm sure there's fun to be had here, but so far we haven't found it.

We arrived about 3:30. Checking in to the hotel was no problem, and getting our con badges was trivial. We went to the tail end of David Gerrold's panel, and he was a good guy to listen to. That's where the easy part stopped.

We next went to a panel on LiveJournal and its effects on social dynamics. Things weren't too bad - until one attendee mentioned a friend of hers that thought mocking was an appropriate way to communicate. Needless to say, I took strong exception to that, and Paul and I were both surprised and saddened that the panelists, as well as most of the audience, seemed to think that anyone who puts anything up on the net can and should expect to get mocked for it, with only "don't let them get to you" as their answer to it.

We left for dinner at a Burger King across the parking lot. When we came back, I had some time, so I washed the unitard - well, half-assedly, since it turned out the sink stopper wouldn't hold water, and the soak in Woolite was only marginally effective at best. Grumble.

When I finally gave up on that, we went to the opening ceremonies, which were in progress...or, rather, we tried. There were people standing in the doorway, and it looked like the place was full. We couldn't get within 20 feet.

By this time, we were both feeling disappointed in the whole affair. We went to the art show, and looked at some good stuff, though none of it was interesting enough to buy. By the time we were done with that, it was time for the panel on "How the Masquerade Works". Unfortunately, it turned out to be more like "How the judging works, with a 45-minute video from a masquerade in 1994". I left only partially satisfied, and that only after talking to one of the helpers and telling her what I hadn't learned yet.

One guy who'd been at the LJ panel did spend some time talking to us while we were waiting in the interminable line for the elevators. He had some suggestions, and some comments on the event. He said it would get more interesting tomorrow. I sure hope so.

current mood: [mood icon] disappointed

(28 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kinkyturtle
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Stupid schoolyard mentality. Not letting them get to you is, of course, good advice, but I can't help being reminded of every time I've seen some unfunny attempt at humor with furries being the butt of the joke, and someone's told me I "need to learn to laugh at myself". Eh, I can laugh at myself if someone manages to make a joke about me that I actually find funny. But if it ain't funny, I'm gonna say so. I'm not gonna just laugh at myself because someone told me to. That wouldn't make sense, nor would it make me look any good. It'd be like:

Bully: "Hey, you suck!"
Me: "What?"
Bully: "I said you suck. Now laugh at yourself."
Me: "Yes, sir! Ha ha ha! Boy, I sure do suck!"

Ummmm, no.
[User Picture]
From:melissasutton
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Sorry hon

the one time I went to convergance I was horribly unimpressed by everything but the drum jam. We haven't been back for 9 years or so.. I just don't feel the need.

Hope the rest of your weekend is better!
[User Picture]
From:ethel
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Convergence has only been around since 1999. You must be thinking of another convention.
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
I think you're thinking of a different Convergence (perhaps the one in Australia?) - this one was only the sixth.
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Any response to this?
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
I can't speak for Melissa, but my guess would be that it was Minicon, as she's definitely in driving range of the Twin Cities - and not much else.
[User Picture]
From:melissasutton
Date: - 0000

oops

(Link)
My apologies - yes it was Minicon

sorry =)
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000

Re: oops

(Link)
Well, CONvergence is not Minicon. Hell, the Minicon of today is not the Minicon of nine years ago.

However, if all you're looking for is a drum jam (what do drum jams have to do with science fiction, anyway?), you're not going to like any of the local cons. Better stick to the Renfest.
[User Picture]
From:melissasutton
Date: - 0000

Re: oops

(Link)
Umm... wow

I wasn't looking to make anyone feel threatened - just saying when I went, I was unimpressed. It wasn't a ding on anything or anyone.. just that I personally didn't have any fun.

And thanks, I will stick with Renfest =)
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000

Re: oops

(Link)
Um, where was I "threatened"? I simply wanted to make sure you know that you were bored by a convention that was *not* CONvergence.
[User Picture]
From:mzmadmike
Date: - 0000

Re: oops

(Link)
Yup. That's the attitude right there.
From:sithlet
Date: - 0000
(Link)
[User Picture]
From:mzmadmike
Date: - 0000

Re: oops

(Link)
"What does X/Y/Z have to do with science fiction? Go away hippie/freak/goth/perv."
[User Picture]
From:mzmadmike
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Something about the attitude up there. After Minicon died (well, suicided. Let's be honest), Convergence filled the bill for about three years. Then it rapidly slipped down the same slope.

Ask me sometime about missing Minicon 28, in order to attend the TWELVE HOUR LONG masquerade.

I wish I was joking.
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
"Slipped down the same slope"?

I must wonder what you mean by that, as CONvergence has been steadily increasing in members over the past decade. We just this week were featured in the City Pages' "Best of the Twin Cities" issue for Best Fan Convention. So I have to admit that I'm curious as to how we're "slipping".

I certainly hope that your response to THIS comment will not take four years.
[User Picture]
From:mzmadmike
Date: - 0000
(Link)
I just now became aware of the thread is why.

So, size matters, does it?

DragonCon must the best con in the world. CONvergence must be only 2% as good.

Elsewhere in these archived experiences about this con, I'm noticing a double standard of "If you get harassed online, shut up and take it" and "we have a RIGHT to quash dissent on our panels for the GREATER GOOD!" Hypocritical much?

The panels I was on were politically laden, with the same one-sidedness. That said, I enjoyed being the dissent.

The first couple (of CONvs) I went to were great. After that, mismanagement, poor coordination, unprofessional behavior and general annoyance.

Certainly the parties were fun. Parties are not the only purpose of a convention.

Oh, that attendance issue: How far is the nearest big regional con outside the Mpls area? Chicago, right?

I'll see if I can put something about it in my blog in a few.
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Size only matters when you're saying that we're "slipping". If more people felt like you do, the people would be speaking with their wallets and not attending any more.

Add that to "mismanagement, poor coordination, unprofessional behavior and general annoyance", and I'm curious what con you attended. "General annoyance" we can't really help with, as that is just personal preference.

"Unprofessional behavior", I assume, refers to the behavior of those on panels who "quash dissent". For that, I personally, as one of the founders of CONvergence and a member of the parent organization's Board of Regents, apologize for. Everyone should be welcome to participate in panels, giving their opinion without being made fun of. "Attack the opinion, not the person" is the rule I try to live by. As someone who is more conservative than most of my friends, I know how easy it is to assume that everyone in the room agrees with you.

However, the people on panels are not always the people running the convention. In fact, the vast majority of panelists are not members of the convention committee, but instead just people attending the con. We welcome people to join panels leading up to the con.

"Mismanagement" and "poor coordination" I would like to understand what you mean by that.

And yup, Chicago is the closest city that's larger than us, so it would follow that it would have the nearest big regional con.
[User Picture]
From:mzmadmike
Date: - 0000
(Link)
I wrote a summary in my blog a few days ago. It should still be on screen.
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Mike's response to this just coming now is because I just posted an entry about a con that I go to every year - an 800-mile drive each way - because I have fun there, and linked to my entries about my CONvergence experience to show the contrast.

As I mentioned in his LJ, I hope that I can find a con to enjoy that won't require a day's drive each way to get to, but I suspect I'll have to move out of Minnesota first. Between my experience and what you folks did to my friend rillaspins, none of the cons in the Cities would seem to qualify.
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
We did nothing to her. She made an accusation about someone and demanded they be banned from the convention. It's very easy to accuse someone of horrible things, but without evidence or a single corroborating witness, I'm not willing to punish someone for their alleged misdeeds.
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
That is, obviously, something on which you and she differ, and given the history there and my experiences, I'm going to believe her side of that story.
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
I can certainly understand that. You're going to take the side of your friend.

But I have to wonder how our stories differ.
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Well, to begin with, the guy in question wasn't stalking you...
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
Nor you.

But it is very easy to make an accusation. It was as if a woman came up to us and said that Jay Maynard was stalking her and wanted us to ban you. If there was no evidence, and no-one else saying that it was true, we certainly wouldn't ban you.

We are not the police. If there was an issue, she should have gone to the police. We have banned people before, we just require evidence of wrongdoing. A restraining order or something similar would help with that.
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
The only fly in the ointment was that there were others raising the issue, both that year and in prior years. They were just too afraid to raise it to you.

As I understand it, one of the concom wouldn't let the guy near her daughter. (This is a 4-year-old memory, so the detail of the person's position might be incorrect.) Even if it wasn't one of the concom, though, it was someone with a position of influence in the con. That didn't raise a red flag?

In any event, the concom completely blew her and her concerns off, despite a long history (several years' worth) that gave her what she felt to be good and sufficient reason to not want to deal with him any more. Essentially, she told the concom that it was him or her, and they chose him. That's their decision to make, and they get to live with the consequences.
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
The only fly in the ointment was that there were others raising the issue, both that year and in prior years. They were just too afraid to raise it to you.

Well, that's ridiculous. How are we supposed to act on issues that we don't know about?

As I understand it, one of the concom wouldn't let the guy near her daughter. (This is a 4-year-old memory, so the detail of the person's position might be incorrect.) Even if it wasn't one of the concom, though, it was someone with a position of influence in the con. That didn't raise a red flag?

Not that we knew about. You said yourself that that they didn't let us know about the alleged acts of the accused.

In any event, the concom completely blew her and her concerns off, despite a long history (several years' worth) that gave her what she felt to be good and sufficient reason to not want to deal with him any more. Essentially, she told the concom that it was him or her, and they chose him. That's their decision to make, and they get to live with the consequences.

We most certainly did not blow her off. We listened to her accusations, talked about them, watched his behavior, and found nothing other than her accusations.

We have certainly banned people for the behavior we are talking about here. However, in each case, there was corroborating evidence, either witnessed at the convention, or as a matter of public record in a criminal case.

I can certainly understand sticking by your friend, but there simply has to be more than an accusation of behavior that only the accuser allegedly witnessed. Should we assume that everything someone says is true?
[User Picture]
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
(Link)
(For anyone who might be reading this, I'm referring to rillaspins's very first LJ entry...)

I don't know why nobody else complained to the concom...but to be told by a board member that she shouldn't be telling him because he'd have to take it to the board (WTF??! Isn't that his JOB??!), and to be told in that meeting that she needed to quit complaining about him...sorry. Poorly handled.

Did the concom even do its own investigation? It appears not. Instead, it appears that what happened was that they decided to wash their hands of the issue and make it go away. Did you talk to the folks with RakeHell, the Gravediggers, the Prancing Pony? Did you talk to the ops person who told Rilla "that she told him to stay away from her daughter and he was so it was ok for him to be there"? Did you talk to the folks at MarsCon, who, despite having the lousy judgment in having an Internet asshole like raptavio in a position of power, at least stepped up to the plate in this area?

You had a choice: you could either believe someone who contributed to the con for years, a reliable volunteer, or you could believe someone who, by most accounts, was at the very least a stalker and abuser. You made your choice. You get to live with it. That includes living with the effects on the con's reputation.
[User Picture]
From:433
Date: - 0000
(Link)
I'm quite happy with the con's reputation, thanks.

but to be told by a board member that she shouldn't be telling him because he'd have to take it to the board (WTF??! Isn't that his JOB??!)

Obviously, her perception of what happened and ours are completely different. As a member of the Board, I know that we were informed of her accusations immediately by the Board member she talked to. If you look at that first entry you link to, you'll notice that two CONvergence Board members (myself and windelina) are both involved in the conversation.

If Diana had told us anything other than "this person is stalking me", such as that there was allegedly an Ops person who told the accused to stay away from her daughter, we could have done more than have someone follow the accused for the entire convention. Which we did. We had multiple people follow the accused throughout the entire convention, and not only did he not attempt to contact her, he did not act in a suspicious manner toward any other person. Since that year, there have been no other complaints about him.

This is obviously not going to go anywhere. Your friend has her perception of the situation, and it differs than ours. You're going to back your friend, and assume that we did not do enough. I understand that.

Again, we take accusations of abuse, attempted abuse, and stalking very seriously, and investigate every claim, some of which have resulted in banning. This one did not.

> go to top
LiveJournal.com