Back from Wiscon 39; First Impressions

The convention went really well.

I think that’s the main takeaway, really. The important thing. I did from some conrunners about hitches and glitches, about snafus, about things that did run proceed as one had hoped.

But every non-conrunner I spoke to hadn’t noticed.

We call this victory.

See, the people running Wiscon this year had a stupidly difficult task. They had to put on a convnention that met all the expectations for this convention — accommodation, programming, food, logistics, Events That Must Happen Every Year No Matter What, quality of programming, etc. —

…. while simultaneously rebuilding the convention from the nearly the ground up in terms of staff, leadership, institutional memory, and direction of policies.

Wiscon had problems in the last few years that were no longer ignorable or one-ofs. Things had to change.

That change is really still in progress. Those changes will continue to be developed. But the convention is still taking place. People are still having a good time. This is very, very good.

A few things I noted, presented without blame or excuse or explanation (because I don’t actually know the causes):

1. The convention seemed visibly to have more people of color and genderqueer-presenting folks.

THEORY: It seemed to be that a certain segment of white cis-presenting folks were not at the con this year. I noticed some missing familiar faces. That may have contributed to my perception.

2. Attendance was down. This I know, from a conrunner, but I don’t know how much.

3. Consuite had a better quality of food, and I DEEPLY appreciated the absence of omnipresent hot-dog-odor all weekend.

4. Consuite did not stay open all the hours it said it would.

5. It is my opinion that the way Parties operated this year did not work well. I have suggestions for improvement that I intend to send along to Wiscon rather than go into here. I think these issues are entirely solvable.

I met a lot of people this year. It’s one of the joys I have at Wiscon, meeting bright, articulate, passionate people. Thanks to everyone — conrunners, panelists, attendees, hotel staff, EVERYONE — for making a great convention.

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One Response

  1. Some of these came up in the post-mortem.

    Consuite… this year I learned that WisCholera means we now have a clause in our hotel contract that ConSuite can only be running if SafeServ certified volunteers are there to run it. We ran out of volunteers a few times. And apparently the ConSuite team had three weeks to get it all set up, so, spectacular job!

    I also noticed a lot more gender-variant folk running about. Not only that, but the parents I spoke with have mentioned more genderqueer people amongst their kids. We may have hit one of those cultural touch-stones where genderqueer is mainstream enough people can easily find out about it. Which is awesome.

    They need to talk to a certain Nerfherder-in-chief to discuss Desert Salon queuing theory.

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