Lessons from Conventions: Play Nice


Kaiju say “play nice… or else.”

Shame on me and my continued blogging tardiness (not to be confused with tardisness, which would fix my tardiness). The sad part is that I don’t have a convention to blame it on this time. Simply a birthday and an great steak dinner from my dad.

Speaking of conventions, another con has come and gone in the last few weeks. MTAC , the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, took place March, 29-31. The immediate time before and after the convention (not to mention during) tends to suck my time away, making sure all information is released in time and we are tracking feedback after the show. I’ve been so preoccupied with the convention and with trying to wind down from it, that I’ve had a hard time figuring out what to WRITE about it. Then I found myself reflecting on one of my more memorable events of the weekend, then on some fan feedback, and then BAM! Topic found – the generosity of convention goers.  

First, story time! I lost my cell phone. I left it charging in the floor of the MTAC media suite. Someone found it thinking it was left behind and lost, so they took it to find the owner (which required charging it because it was dead). I searched around for about an hour and a half, but I wasn’t too worried. I believed whoever had it was probably going to return it. Return it they did when the individual called my girlfriend (after the aforementioned charging period), and we met up to get it back. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed there weren’t any funny photos taken.

As I said though, I was certain I’d get it back, because I believe in the kindness of my fellow con-goers. In the several years I’ve been going to fandom conventions, I’ve learned that most con-goers are good people. Sure, sometimes you find a rude individual who tries to cut in line or knocks into you while running down halls (don’t run in halls, kids). There’s even the occasional pick pocket or the prick slinging hurtful insults or worse at cosplayers. However, by and large, people who attend fandom conventions are good people. We come together because we all enjoy generally the same thing, whatever that may be, and we like enjoying these things together.

With that said, your fellow geeks and nerds and fan community members will be nice to you only for so long if you don’t reciprocate the sentiment. No con is without incident, especially when it gets into the several thousand member count (MTAC 2013 – 9,691 members). I’ve heard a few people from the con mention rude fellow attendees and stolen personal items. Most people are good, but it only takes one to ruin someone else’s experience. Don’t be that person. Everyone is here for the same reason you are: to have fun.

If you work for a convention staff, even as simply a volunteer, being on your best behavior goes double for you. Triple even. It’s easy during the stress of the weekend to let fly a curt word or two, to not mind your manners or drop your customer-friendly demeanor even for a moment. You have to be on your best behavior for every attendee, because you are the face of whatever convention you work for. This is true for very up-front positions like registration, customer service, and public safety, and it’s also true for lower visibility people like the guy laying down cables behind a stage or managing the conventions IT.

You may be the only staff member an attendee encounters the entire weekend, so your impression could make or break that person’t opinion of the entire staff.

Everyone’s at a convention to have fun. The convention staff is there to have fun by putting on a fun event for con-goers to have fun at. Fun all around! Don’t be the one who tries to ruin it.

Or, in the words of Internet Celebrity of the 24th Century Wil Wheaton, “Don’t be a dick.”

Do you attend any fandom conventions?

What’s a time you experienced the generosity of your fellow con-goers?

What’s a time you experienced the


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