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Managing the Con Floor Safely

I’m sure you guys have seen it before. You see people during the con doing stupid things. Sometimes you might go up to them and be like “stop doing that.” or just ignore it. It’s a very strange position to be put in because you might want to say something, but you don’t want to come off as imposing. Sometimes it’s necessary though because as we know, bad stuff can ruin cons and prevent them from happening. So, with that being said, I’d like to write some tips on how you should hold yourself during the con. Starting with:

The Hotel

Last week I wrote about how to handle yourself in the hotel room, but what about outside the hotel room and in the hotel. There are other things that you do have to remember when being at the hotel.

  • The convention is not the only event going on at the hotel. Chances are, there are other people in the hotel that are not involved with the convention. If that’s the case, I tend to follow this very rule: leave them alone unless they approach you. Most people have never been to a convention before, so seeing a bunch of people walking around in costume might overwhelm them. Chances are if you approach them, they might freak out. So, just let them enjoy themselves. On the flip side, if they talk to you, don’t be rude. Say hi back. They might even be interested in what you’re doing. One time I had some people ask me what was going on and they even ended up giving me a hug. It was random…but better than normal reactions. On the flip side though, if they start to get hostile toward you, ask them to stop kindly. If it gets to the point where they keep harassing you, talk to the staff of the hotel. I’m sure they’ll help you out and have them stop.
  • Speaking of hotel staff, try to be nice to them. I’m sure that they’re trying their best to make the hotel nice for you. If something goes wrong in the room or elsewhere, don’t be a jerk toward them. Let them know calmly. Remember that you’re more or less representing the con that you’re at. So, if you’re a jerk, they might feel that the rest of the con goers are that way too. Then they might not even invite the con to come back.
  • Be mindful of where you’re sitting at the con. Avoid blocking doors/aisles/elevators. This is not only rude to people who are trying to get up or down, but it’s also a fire hazard. Furthermore, if security asks you to move, MOVE! Don’t argue, just do it.
  • When in the lobby, don’t do anything that might disrupt other people. At one con I went to in the past, we were hanging out in the room, and all of a sudden, we hear people screaming in the lobby. I legitimately thought that someone had come into the hotel and starting hurting people, but nope…it was people doing the Harlem shake. Not cool. Anything like this should NOT be done. If you think it might disrupt other people, then don’t do it. This could actually cause a problem in the event of something really bad happening. Think of the Boy who cried wolf.

The Dealer Room

  • Be considerate of the dealers and other people. Yes, you might know the vender, but try to let them make their sales. Don’t take up their time. If they have a few minutes, say hey and maybe start a small conversation, but if they have someone they’re trying to sell to, take a step to the side and let them make their sale. Maybe come back later when they’re not so busy.
  • Hold onto your stuff in the dealer room. There have been numerous times that I’ve had to backtrack to a separate part of the dealer room because I’ve left a prop or my bag. It gets quite easy to misplace something after being asked to take a picture or something like that.
  • On the topic of taking pictures (and this is a hard one, I’ve done this myself), if you see someone you want to take a picture of, don’t do it in the middle of the aisle. It’s kind of hard to not do this because you might only catch that cosplayer for a brief second, but it’s important. You don’t want to block traffic in a crowded room. (Plus, once again it could be a fire hazard). Try to get them off to the side and then take a quick picture (Taking pictures/dealing with photographers at cons will be an article for another week).
  • If you don’t like someone’s art, keep it to yourself. It’s rude to bash someone’s art. There’s a term we used in HS: Save it for the bus. Basically, if you don’t like it, don’t mention it there, do it behind closed doors (which by that time you’ll have probably forgotten it). The same goes for seeing a cosplay that you don’t like.

Panels

  • Keep your phone off or on silent. Pretty self-explanatory
  • Don’t be a backseater. What I mean is, don’t try to present the panel for them. Let the person/people present their panel. If they ask you questions, feel free to raise your hand (and wait to be called on) and help them out, but don’t try to correct them. If you have an issue with the panel, leave feedback or talk to them afterwards.
  • Feel free to participate, but don’t take up all of their time try to have a personal conversation. The panelist only has about 50 minutes to present the panel, and unless it’s an interactive panel, he has to keep it moving. Don’t distract them by constantly having side comments after each slide they have or just randomly blurting out stuff during their panel. It’s rude.

Of course some panelists might be ok with all the random blurting. It all depends on the type of panel (like if it’s about a specific topic or if it’s a ‘game show’). One way I like to think about going to panels is like this: Think of it as a class (that of course you’re not tested for). You wouldn’t just blurt out stuff during a class would you? What about using your cell phone? Probably not…so give the panelist the same amount of respect that you would give a teacher (no matter how good or bad they might be).

Now before I end this article, there are two specific things I’d like to talk about which is pretty relevant to this topic: Glomping and Yaoi Paddles.

For those of you who don’t know, glomping is more or less a flying tackle hug. I will be the first to admit that I LOVE hugs, and even a big hug can be fun sometimes…but sometimes glomping can be taken way out of line. I’m talking about the times where people run up to you and jump across at you with no warning. This is not cool…and it’s also very dangerous. You can get hurt, and the person you’re glomping can get hurt. Even if they don’t get hurt, you might end up ripping/breaking part of their costume (it’s happened to me before). Unless you’d like to take responsibility for their health or their costume, then maybe it would be better not to glomp them. In fact, some cons have been banning this action so…yeah it actually has become a huge problem. Of course if the other person is expecting it then go ahead…but also, be aware of the area and the people around you. If they’re at risk, or if something might break, don’t do it.

Finally…yaoi paddles. I know that this is something else that cons are banning, but some haven’t. That being said, if happen to have a paddle and the con hasn’t banned them, don’t go around hitting people with it. They’re painful! If the person gives you permission to do it, then do it. But if you just go to a random person and hit them with it, that’s not cool.

 

That all I can say about this for now. To sum up this entire article: don’t do stupid stuff and try to be considerate of other people. You’re not the only person at the con, and everyone has a right to enjoy it. When in doubt, if it seems like a bad idea, it probably is. Furthermore, if you aren’t sure what’s ok and what’s not ok, check out the rule book. I’m sure they’ll make things more clear.

Next week: Taking photos at conventions. By this I mean how to properly ask people for a photo without creeping them out, running photoshoots, and how to have your picture taken. Note that this is not going to be an article about taking photos like a professional, but more along the lines of how to take pictures of people at cons.

(Note: my article was in no way bashing yaoi or anyone who watches yaoi. If that was the case, I apologize you felt that way and assure you that meant this is no way to bash you.)

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