Since 2012, I have often pictures That Con coming back to me and asking me to help dig it out of the hole that they dug themselves into. I imagined the satisfaction I would feel in knowing that in the end I was right. I pictured the smug smile I had when I told them “Nope, you are on your own” or even “Sure, under certain conditions…” and really sticking it to them with those conditions. I realized however, that all of this anger and negative emotions was eating me alive and I should be better than that. However, as time went on, I realized the longer that day took, the more damage would be done and less recoverable the con would be. But I never really thought that day would come.
6 years later, it did.
Long story short, mistakes were made and things got really bad. Real world politics got mixed with convention politics and things went downhill from there. While I have every reason to dislike the person in charge, I happened to agree with her politics and felt like she did the best should could given the difficult circumstances. However, outside that decision, there were many other major mistakes made by bad leadership and in fact, she did many of thing things I was accused of on a much worse scale.
In the end, she drained the con of its cash with one bad guest, destroyed the reputation of a con I built and left it in the hands of 2 people that don’t have the resources to resurrect it alone. Thus I was pulled in, to help with a meeting to “Make That Con Great Again.” Unfortunately, the group he picked did not appreciate the humor in that statement because of the side of the aisle most of them land on.
DK is in charge now. He was one of those involved in the whole mess that ended my time with That Con, but we hashed out all our differences. I need to rid myself of the negativity of that time and my feelings about it. I can’t live with it all my life. I offered my help and advise but have no intention of joining a committee. Not only do I have no desire to put myself or my family through all that again, I also want to avoid conflicts of interest with the work I do through JustUs (which I know will also be questioned.)
A meeting was called. It was called The Reboot. Secretly DK and I did called it “Making (That Con) Great again.” Unfortunately, he invited too many of the people that had political issues with the decisions that were made by the previous leader and assume she was brought down because of that. In truth, it’s more about her body of work (or lack there of.) She road the coattails of decisions made prior (mine) for the first two years and then her 4 years of doing it herself failed miserably. Fortunately, I set them up with enough success that they could do that. GRRM was huge for them. I only found out how huge that this meeting.
DK ended up getting 20+ people packed into a small room in the back of a poorly chosen restaurant. Some of the people I knew, others I did not. I felt old as most had only experience the conventions after I had left, never the ones that were much more successful and fun. There were one or two people that I was considerably weary of but it was DK’s meeting, not mine. I just wanted to inject a sense of history and advice. I felt my body of work would speak for itself. to some it did, to others it did not.
I have spent the last several days fuming over two main things that happened, each with a different person. One, we will call JH and the other with someone will will call NK. Feedback and concerns for gaming came up during the discussion. JH is a guy that I could immediately telll I would not get along with. We already had our back and forth on some issues. I conceded where I was wrong, but he was never wrong. He was an owner of a business, a sponsor of the con and a generally strong personality with a know-it-all attitude.
JH asked in the gaming discussion – “Do you guys do Magic?” – where I responded that it was on the schedule. I don’t “Do” anything but ask for people to run games. I realize they don’t understand how I do things and perceive that were are some kind of travelling game store or whatever that has unlimited resources or people to run whatever they think would work. But that’s not how it works. We reach out to the community and fill the room with what the community wants to play. The exchange between myself and JH went like this …
Me: We had Magic there, yes. We only got like 2 people to play.
JH: Did you advertise it?
JH: I didn’t see it
That last response just about set me off. Like I am supposed to (1) know what social media circles he is paying attention to and (2) post to those circles as well as the multitude of circles I already post to. It is like he has a sense of entitlement that I am supposed to find him and he should not find me. If he wants to play Magic so bad, he needs to seek out the gaming tracks organizers – JustUs. Of course, I know that’s not something he would do. Too much to ask. It is also in our contract that it’s That Con’s responsibility to re-post our posts. And we had already established this was a bad year for communication at That Con.
This was a moment I felt like my job as gaming coordinator was being questioned on a new level. “You don’t do Yugio? What the heck are we paying for?” “you don’t do Pokemon? What are we paying for?” “You don’t advertise to the extent of my ambiguous thoughts of how gaming marketing should be done? What are we paying for?” What you are paying for is me to fill the rooms with paying attendees as I see fit. And I have done that. If you want something special, you need to provide the staff or support to do it. Magic takes support, takes a con-wide effort and space. I have none of those.
They can try to renegotiate the contract if they want, but any extra work is going to cost them. The whole reason for the contract is because I refuse to do this for free. I paid my dues.
Additionally, DK allowed SJW NK into the meeting – someone that has one issue and will bully the sh*t out of you until you do something about it. Now I have a working relationship with her because she came on-board with the con when I was in charge and has nothing but nice things to say about it. But her main issue is social diversity with the black community as well as the LGBT community. While my politics go completely away from hers, I am not one to say no to a particular group or persuasion, but not to the detriment of others. In many cases when you bring aboard certain persuasions, all they can do is bash the predominant ones because of their sense of oppression.
And then in the same breadth while preaching to us about diversity, a certain author was brought up as a possible (conservative Christian) guest (for a considerable amount of money) and there was a immediate “oh hell no, you don’t want him…” Do you even hear yourselves, people?
And the worst part of all of this is that NK ranted that they group has to work at attracting these groups that are important to her. And then did not back it up with any help on how to do that. The moment you impose or suggest more work on the con com without volunteering in any way to help alleviate that work, is the moment you arguments are invalid.
Both these instances give me no hope that this con has a future. I have agreed to work on their web site but I am contemplating dropping out of that. I have really no desire to work with people that really don’t want to put in the work. And the work they want to put in is either self serving or contrary to my values. I was strongly reminded why I was glad to leave that part of my life behind. Working with a committee was difficult for me but working with that committee would have been worse. Good luck DK. You are not going to find people to do the things you want done. The people on the “voting” board are not going to cut it.