Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

SMOFCon Day 2: Too Much Stuff

Saturday of SMOFCon was so packed with stuff that I really don't have time to do justice to it, and I didn't take the photos I should have done.

Sasquan Attending-Supporting Members Over Time

After breakfast with Linda Deneroff, Mo Starkey, and John Sapienza, I went to the first panel of the morning, presented by Andrew Adams based on work that René Walling has done to accumulate available demographic information about Worldcon members. The slide above shows the memberships over time, attending and supporting, both in absolute numbers (line) and percentage (colored bars) for the 2015 Worldcon, showing how the numbers changed over time. (The upper line and the upper colored section are supporting members; the lower are attending.) Sasquan really was different. There were many more very interesting charts in this presentation, and you can see some of them if you click through the photo above, but Andrew said he'd publish the entire slide deck later and asked us not to keep taking photos.

After that was the panel I was on about badge design, for which to my surprise we had a decent turnout (that is, not everyone went to the discussion about what made Sasquan different), and I think a good discussion about the various factors that go into convention membership badge design. I posted my four main design elements from my article in Argentus, and we discussed how the factors will inevitably change based on the nature of the event. For example, the priorities for a 150-person fandom meeting-planner event like SMOFCon are radically different than those of 10,000-person anime convention that has had a serious badge counterfeiting problem.

Lisa had gone off with pcornelius to ride and look at trains today, so I went to lunch with bovil and kproche. We walked across the Water Garden to the Omni Hotel and had lunch in their restaurant. Because of the big buffet breakfast, I just had a bowl of the venison chili, which was quite good.

As it happens, there wasn't much in the afternoon program that sent me, so I divided the afternoon between taking a short lie down (not really a nap, I think) in my room, then hanging out the con suite, where I ended up eating more good chili, until going to a light dinner and then helping Lisa (back from the Interurban Railway Museum in Plano) carry and set up equipment for the "Fannish Inquisition" — presentation and questions for future SMOFCons and for current Worldcons and bids for future NASFiCs and Worldcons.

Lisa recorded as much of the Fannish Inquisition as she could under the circumstances; however, we don't have time or bandwidth to upload the videos right now. It might not get online until Christmas, based on our travel schedule. I couldn't work on it immediately afterwards, because I had the Probability & Statistics Seminar to organize immediately after the Inquisition. Thank goodness Chris Carson was there to help Lisa break down her equipment.

Chicago was selected (without opposition) to host SMOFCon 34 next year, at a Chicago-area site to be announced.

Sasquan officially distributed Pass-Along Funds checks of $25,000 for each of the next three Worldcons. (Inasmuch as the 2018 Worldcon hasn't been selected yet, the 2016 Worldcon will hold 2018's money in escrow.)

Both of the 2018 Bids (New Orleans and San José) made presentations and answered questions. One person suggested to me that we could raise a lot of money for charity if everyone had to donate $1 for every time they said "um" when talking up front at the Inquisition. I took to counting them. I'm pleased to see that San José took the prize overall for efficiency and not using all of the time allocated to them.

We've improved the Fannish Inquisition over the years, including better time discipline on presentations and the Q&A session. Unfortunately, it appears to me that there is a streak of SMOFS who have taken this as a challenge for throwing in more irrelevancies and jokes to try and once again expand the event to an uncomfortable length. There were a couple of people who seemed to want to announce bids and jokes for just about everything, and thanks to that, the event didn't finish until 11:30 PM, and a lot of us, including me, were getting a bit exasperated. I think we're going to have to find some way to split this thing into two pieces, putting the SMOFCon selection and seated conventions presentations and Q&A into one 90-minute item and the bids into another one. Not everyone thinks that spending more than three hours in a progressively hotter-and-stuffier room listening to people announce yet another joke bid is a productive use our of time.

Lisa adds that if the Inquisition were better managed, it would be much easier for the person doing the video to do in-camera editing and thus easier to get the video posted sooner. Of course the event is geared around the people actually in the room, but it would be much appreciated if the moderator could be more cognizant of the recording without someone having to stand up and shout "stop!" and "start!" to get his/her attention.

Thanks to the late end of the Inquisition, a fair number of the Probability & Statistics Seminar entrants scratched, and only 19 showed up. That's probably just as well, and we didn't get started until Midnight. As usual, the first couple of rounds were relatively slow, but as designed, the blind progression ramped up and people started falling out. I made the Final Table (the last eight players), and when I went all-in, I thought I had a pretty good shot, but in the end, it came down to my A-7 losing to an A-8 across the table from me. Oh, well, only the top three could win. I think most of us who were there had a good time. I reckon Steve Cooper had the best time, winning the tournament and taking home the $260 top prize. (2nd place was Elektra, winning $80, and 3rd was Lea Farr, who won $40.)

Alas, I'm always first in and last out of the Tournament, along with Dave Cantor, who did sterling service as Assistant Tournament Director and Chief Dealer. At 4 AM we finally got out of the room and he helped me carry the chips and cards down to the minivan, and shortly thereafter, I got back to the room and to bed, terribly aware of having a 10 AM panel on Sunday morning, ironically on Avoiding Burnout.

It was a pretty good peak day at SMOFCon. It would have been better if Worldcon bidders could show a little bit more restraint.
Tags: conventions, fandom, lisa, smofcon, worldcon

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