Sunday, 4 July 2004
Perhaps...assuming there is a next time, something which I doubt, at least as far as the Cities goes. At this point, I am left with the belief that the fan community in the Cities will never give me another chance, and so I'm not going to waste my time on trying at other cons.
My vehemence comes from the depths of my experiences. I wouldn't wish what happened to me on Slashdot and Fark on anyone. Not even an Internet troll. I truly believe my detractors from the con have no idea what I went through, and aren't interested in hearing about it.
I do find that very saddening. One of the things I love about CONvergence is its open atmosphere and how friendly it's been to just about every group I've seen. It's one of the reasons I volunteer so heavily for it, and why the July 4th weekend is hands-down my favorite out of the year.
The choice is yours, but I do encourage you to give tc fandom another chance. Yeah, some stuff went down this year, but it's gone down with other people before. Last year an attendee got somethingawfuled a week before the convention and was getting threats online that they were going to come to CONvergence and beat her up. BEAT HER UP. Unacceptable. She is far from my bosom buddy, but that's just wrong, plain and simple. This year, there wasn't even a ripple in the water, and from what I heard she had a good convention, which makes me happy.
Don't let a few people ruin a whole wonderful city's worth of conventions for you. If you don't want to go, that's your choice, but the thought of ANYONE not wanting to go back because of an isolated incident saddens me.
And you did win a Masquerade award. We don't hate you.
"You never get a second chance to make a good first impression." Yes, I know I made a lousy one. You know what? CONvergence made a lousy one on me, too. At this point, all I have to show for approximately $350 spent (two nights' hotel, two con memberships, and sundry other related expenses) is a nice medal, some nice memories, and some very bad ones. The bad ones came first. I don't mind at all spending money for nice memories. I do mind very much spending it to have a rotten time.
At this point, I'm reasonably certain that raptavio
and a few other folks would make sure to belittle, ridicule, and/or ostracize me were I to show my face at another SF event in the Twin Cities. I've got far better things to do with my time and money than subject myself to more of that.
Perhaps it's open and friendly to those who don't piss off the wrong people. I doubt I'll ever get the opportunity to find out.
I'd like to mention something about blaming the individuals against blaming the convention. Just because you feel one or two people wronged you doesn't mean that whole nameless convention is at fault.
I work very hard on it throughout the year, but I feel blamed under the "CONvergence umbrella" when I had zero interaction with you this weekend. I had anxiety attacks this year and I sacrificed hundreds of hours. I took off paid work hours so I could work on cvg projects. I, like all the other volunteers, do it because I love it.
My brother spends hours and hours serving free espresso in F2E2. The Cinema Rex boys...well gosh. I know you saw their Masquerade entry, and I hope you saw all those couches they've spent their free time rounding up.
I spend about $1k of my own money every year running a big room party. I've pulled countless volunteer shifts. And yet, the convention as a whole gets blamed for your bad experience. People who didn't have a THING to do with you get a finger pointed at them.
I don't get compensated for my time, except in warm fuzzies. Neither does my brother. We do, however, get people once in a while telling us that we "just didn't work hard enough" or that it's somehow our fault for everything and anything that went wrong. It sucks donkey balls.
I know that a lot of folks put in a lot of hard work putting the con on. I've been there before, in a different field (ham radio). I know it's a thankless job.
My journal, ultimately, is about my experiences. My experience with CONvergence was, for reasons that have been debated to death, not as fun as other folks'. I know that's hard for you and others who have put their heart and soul into the con to hear, but I can't change it now. A little more tolerance - something the SF community is renowned for - would have gone a long way. A little less overreaction on my part would also have gone a long way.
As it stands, however, I look at the workmanship award with bittersweet thoughts. In the final analysis, I expected a fun weekend away from the problems and concerns of my everyday world, and that's not what I got.
I don't hold you responsible for the actions of a panelist, much less my own. I do hold others responsible for their own actions, which is why I am not interested in MarsCon as long as trollboy is in a position of responsibility there.
I also hold no illusions about my position, or lack thereof, in Twin Cities fandom. Saying "it's him or me" will only earn me a "don't let the door hit you on the way out". I'm the outsider. Right now, I'm feeling very definitely the outsider, as much as when we got to the door at the opening ceremonies and bounced. Everyone's too intent on telling me what an asshole I was to give me any sort of feeling that I might be welcomed at some future point. (There are exceptions, yours most specifically noted).
One suggestion I'll make, for what it's worth: The con can be overwhelming to someone who's never been there before. Other groups with large conventions include a session on "how to get the most out of" whatever, scheduled in prime time on the first day. New attendees are encouraged to go to that session, and helped to get the most out of the convention. CONvergence could use something like that, with details like "if you expect to see anything at the Masquerade, get there an hour before the start" and what you think are the highlights of the con not to be missed and ways for new folks to get connected with the community.
The rest of this has been beaten to death, but I'd like to leave one last comment or two.
1) I don't come close to agreeing with your actions 100%, but nonetheless it does distress me that you feel unwelcome at future cvgs. It's your decision to come back or not at some future year, but I do want to reassure you that from my experience, there will be no black-ball society against you. No one will really care. If you choose to come back, it really will be fine, at least from the whole persecution complex thing. And if anyone does harass you, let us know. We take junk like that very seriously.
2) I'll bring your suggestion of a 'con orientation' up at the next meeting. I think sometimes we forget how large we're getting, and how quickly we're getting there. It might not be a bad idea at all to have a panel, or better yet, something in the program guide.