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Conventions: Why We Do This
Posted Sep 27, 2011 - 10:58:28

ConRecent events in the regional con scene I call home have left me feeling exhausted and rolling my eyes. It's been a cumulative effect over the last few weeks, and I feel that the few people who might read this need to be reminded exactly why a bunch of us volunteer our spare time to build these events and gatherings.

It's at least why I do this stuff.

Most of us were outcasts growing up, on the outside of any sense of community. Most of us who have been called (or now refer to ourselves as) geeks, nerds, dorks and weirdos have been relegated to the fringes. We never had a chance to feel like we belonged anywhere.

Conventions though create a refuge. They create a place we can find each other and build our own community. My first con as a teenager was a revelation, a place where I didn't have to feel ashamed for who I am -- and I knew from the start that I wanted to be able to help create that same sense in others.

We don't do this for ourselves, and in the end, regardless of genuine and feigned bravado, ego has no place in a successful convention. Petty politicking and smug pretentiousness are poisons which seek to destroy us from within. Many cons have fallen because of short sighted, ridiculous bickering over issues anyone with any sense of perspective could see beyond.

When we start building divisions and petty fiefdoms, that's when things decay. That's when people start fighting for their tiny piece of the kingdom... doing things just for themselves.

For their own wants.

For their own egos.

And let's be clear, it isn't about what we want, but what our attendees want. This safe place and refuge is for them, not us. I cannot emphasize enough that this is a mission we fulfill for others, not for ourselves. We can't afford as a community to lose sight of it.

But that's just me, and I guess I'm just a bit of an idealist.
- Traegorn

Post a Comment
Wait, that's why we do this? ....Oh. /has been doing it for the bitches this whole time.
I'm going to stop trying to comment from my phone.  Please disregard my previous accidental copy/paste of Pher's status...

What I wanted to say was!

Thanks for this, Trae.  I know that I, for one, have always believed that above all else conventions need to be a safe space for all who enter.  The handful of us who started our con back in 2007 started it with a mission of being "Switzerland for Geeks" in a way.  By that, we meant, we wanted our con to be a place where all people regardless of their geeky hobbies or ideas or their general worldview were accepted.  We wanted to provide a space where someone who had never played a TTG or watched anime or watched Dr. Who could do all those things and be welcomed in doing them, not treated as the n00b or anything like that.

I still operate under that agenda, and I'd like to think I always will.  Once you lose track of that and try to politic and get your agenda pushed to the top, this is just another corporation.  Cons aren't about money or prestige.  They're about letting people know that we care about them like they're our family.  They're about helping people just like us to feel like they have somewhere they belong.
Hehe - I deleted your blank comment (there's a bug in my comment code where if you leave a comment blank, it displays the previous comment in the system - I keep meaning to fix it, but hey -- you try writing a blog platform from scratch :P ).

I agree.  Conventions are about putting on a quality show which means making the attendees happy and feel welcomed.  Its not about what the staff wants something to be.  I sincerely hope staffers who have lost perspective regain it (and the ones who never had this attitude get it). 

I also think conventions should be as fun as possible for the attendees, not stuffy and formal.   I see going to a convention as a vacation, so participating in something stuffy is not my idea of a good time.





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The Chronicles of Crosarth - a webcomic of Steampunk Adventure, updated Mon & Wed
UnCONventional - A Webcomic about Conventions, Updated Tuesdays and Thursdays


 
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