January 31st, 2010


That's Fandom for You

I have, possibly ill-advisedly, waded in to the LJ discussion of Further Confusion's Elevator Management, or more properly, lack of it. Since I had first-hand experience of the exact same building under crush-load conditions in 2002 (albeit without one-sixths of the attendees in fursuits), I thought I would suggest the things that would work, and specifically the Elevator Party Host idea. While some people get it, others immediately yelled "Elevator Nazi!" because of course anything that restricts their right to be an inconsiderate jerk is a Bad Thing.

Also, suggesting other things that have worked, like programming one (out of six) elevators to be an express to the top floor was immediately over-generalized to an assumption that all elevators would be so programmed, and that people with wheelchairs would be told to take the stairs.

Discussing Elevator Party Host training -- half an hour being briefed on how to host an elevator party, and something primarily designed to ward off the "my job is to boss people around" mentality of "security" -- seems to have somehow morphed in some people's minds into "hundreds of hours of specialized and expensive instruction on how elevators work." News flash: "Training" doesn't always mean "vast amounts of time" and "expensive." A short briefing on how things should be handled is "training," too, and having Tom Whitmore give you the low-down on how to deal with elevator lobby crowds is, or should be, an eye-opener.

I shouldn't be surprised. It's Fandom, after all, which is full of people who will over-generalize and assume that of course anything done will be done badly. But I also was taken slightly aback as the assumption that time always equals money, which essentially equates People points (volunteers) with Money points. Anyone who has played If I Ran the Zoo... Con knows that Money and People are not as freely fungible as that. Oh, sometimes, rarely, they are. If you have gobs of money, you can possibly hire paid staff to do things for you; however, they're unlikely to do the job as well as motivated, well-trained volunteers.

I'm feeling old today; what I'm seeing is a younger generation of fandom having to learn the same lessons I learned twenty years ago, and rejecting advice from old fogeys who obviously know nothing at all about genre conventions and can't possibly understand how challenging it is to run an event in the Fairmont. Sigh.