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LittleHobbit13

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LittleHobbit13 last won the day on December 16 2017

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About LittleHobbit13

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    Maryland, USA
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    Geekdom at large. Anime, Film/TV, Books, and other awesome nerdy stuff.

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  1. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    You don't just toss in metal detectors to placate con-goers. Everything has a price tag attached to it. The more hardware you bring in, the greater the chance of ticket prices needing to go up. People are only whinging about the superficiality of bag checks because most people don't understand the background information for why they're occurring. The cheapest and easiest option of them all is to just explain why they're happening the way they're happening. And even not doing that, they're simply new. With each passing year that they occur, more and more people will simply look at it as part of the Otakon entry experience and stop thinking much about it too much. (Hell, I wasn't even thinking about it that hard by Sunday.) It was new and slightly unclear about what it was for, and that's why it caused so much buzz. Not everything needs a tangible reaction just to placate con-goers being distracted by something. Sometimes all you need is to get past the adjustment period. Except you aren't really responding to the criticisms. You seem to just be dismissing them as "here's why you just haven't thought my idea all the way through and that's why you don't see that it's the perfect solution". Perhaps that's not how you intend to come off, but there's certainly an air of that in your responses. You don't seem to be really considering the alternative suggestions that are being made. @DeathJester's idea about limited pre-lines is a great compromise that gives you what you want without putting a strain on limited staffing resources to manage and transport huge lines. Perhaps it was not obvious that I was using the general "you", attempting to express that oh-so-common reaction pattern wherein someone says they're okay with individual responsibility right up until they're the individual responsible. Maybe it's you, maybe it's someone else, but inevitably someone will not hear something over that excited Otakon chatter and then days are ruined, staff has to hear the complaints, etc etc. As it is, you say you advocate individual responsibility, yet you're trying to place all the effort on staff's end simply because you don't want to wander for a few extra hours or watch the clock to arrive when they officially open the line. You appear to want them to cater wholly to your preferred experience, so it doesn't exactly line up with the attitude of pro-"individual responsibility". You say it's important to consider how things could go wrong. Well, it's not just procedural things that need to be considered. It's human reactions as well. Otakon isn't just about organizing panels and lines and dances. It's about predicting how attendees will move and act. Staff has experience in this from many past conventions so, you know, maybe trust that their answer isn't baseless when they tell you something isn't currently a good solution.
  2. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    And they're asking you not fill be in that space, not to fill it in anyways to try and force your own preferred autograph experience. This isn't staff being unreasonable. Being in that space regardless of their instruction is just blatantly ignoring their requests which is not cool. Right up until it's you who missed the call and then suddenly I bet it would be someone else's fault, be it staff or another attendee. Just because it's not your solution, doesn't mean it's not a valid one. I'm sorry, but I'm reading through your comments and you're finding fault with every explanation and possible solution except your own. Every compromise someone offers falls short in your eyes. I understand that your main concern is getting that autograph, but you'll just need to accept that right now Otakon doesn't want to devote endless amounts of their staffing and space resources to creating and managing a space for you to sit around 4 hours early. We might have the physical space available for people to line up elsewhere, but they've repeatedly mentioned how staff is limited so they have to be pragmatic about their usage and placement. Someday that might change, but for now it is what it is. Several people have offered good compromises, and you even acknowledge yourself that staff can't be everywhere. Until something changes, we should look for a compromise solution to the autograph line problem that helps everyone a little rather than placing all the burden on one side. It's about costumes that have metal components, not fit. And if you don't even think they'd be helpful, then what is the point of suggesting them? Yes, that's accurate. The Otakon staff is not trained to look for fake IDs, so they use a 3rd-party service.
  3. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    This seems like it could be a good potential compromise, perhaps worth some refining to determine efficiency/feasibility.
  4. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    Granted I haven't waited in autograph lines in several years, but here's the problem with what you're proposing in the larger scale. Not only does it mean more staff that has to stick around to babysit a line in this hypothetical "extended space", but if the convention wants to grow into the space, you're having to use up perfectly good rooms for extendo-lines just because some people are uneasy about being told not to line up 3 hours early. And having a whole crowd of people preparing to see different guests all in the same room is just asking for chaos. The din of the chatter would ensure someone doesn't hear when their group is called and then they'd be pissed or upset and it would really hurt their convention experience. And when a staffer is 2 minutes late leading you out because they're trying to make sure they got everyone, allowing other people not in the extended waiting area to jump ahead of you in line, how will you feel about the fact that you waited for 2 extra hours and suddenly you're not guaranteed to avoid being cutoff anymore? I don't imagine you'd be very happy if you waited all that time and it meant nothing. Wouldn't that kind of defeat the whole point of lining up early? Here's my suggestion: For the most part, as far as I could tell, the autographs were mostly in Artist Alley this year. Why not just make the whole of Artist Alley your extended waiting area? Visit the tables, admire some of the art, chat with the artists, and the whole time you are within 200ft of the line you want to be in without it impacting Otakon staff or the space they have to work in. You could walk over and check in at any time. I spent easily at least 2 hours in Artist Alley on multiple occasions during the weekend. Hitting up the artist tables is a good time killer where you aren't impacting anyone. You could happily loiter there looking at products while you wait. Saying this without any intended disrespect, it just sounds like you're worried that if you can't line up on your own schedule, you're going to miss out on the autograph. But the thing is, because you can't line up early, it means nobody else can line up early either. You won't be missing out. And as for metal detectors, one word answer for why that would never work: cosplay.
  5. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    The hold up on Friday morning wasn't ideal, but what I thought (based on past LineCon entry experiences) was going to keep me there for an hour only had me there for about 10-15 minutes, and then I was in the Con having fun. Whatever tweaks happened between Friday and Saturday were excellent. The line moved right through. It sucks to have that extra step between you and the convention, but the inspections on Saturday and Sunday were such a minimal inconvenience that it barely registered. In fact, I'd say the bigger inconvenience (as I mentioned before) was more that people were stopped and loitering on the other side of the check tables making it a challenge to get moving into the convention center and out of the way of those behind us. This was made worse by having one of the AA/DR escalators empty out right into that same space, so people would stop right there to figure out what direction they needed to go. I don't think there's a better space for bag check in door proximity, but maybe if the tables were positioned on diagonal, so they pointed people more toward the open lobby space as an encouragement to KEEP WALKING toward a big open space right in their line of sight. That or some staff traffic flow control in that spot?
  6. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    I didn't know that was a rule for Artist Alley vendors, but I just feel like plenty of tables have usually had more than 50% fanart. Maybe that's not a correct perception and it's just what I remember seeing, or maybe there's plenty of these "Unlimited" tables? I don't know. I just feel like plenty of tables have more than 50% fanart.
  7. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    I'm confused by this comment. The Artist Alley tables who sell art have always been primarily fanart.
  8. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    I think part of it is being willing to step up to the table and actually flip through the books, being willing to pause to really look at the work hanging up. Artists can't do vertical display for every piece. The trending stuff is what's meant to draw the majority of people in, but once there you can see a lot of the artists brought other stuff. I saw older things like Zoids and Saiyuki and Fushighi Yugi at a couple tables. I saw some Trigun and Avatar. A decent amount of Cowboy Bebop. Plenty of Pokemon, sure. I remember a few Yu Yu Hakusho spots. There was some variety there, and sure maybe not as much as we'd like, but that's why you gotta commit to the hunt.
  9. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    I agree, if it's restricted because equipment and furniture and whatnot is being moved around, then it makes sense for keeping people out of the way. But I was refering more to the idea of "No loitering on the floor. You're either in the room or you have to leave." If there's an event going on the room, and you're just trying to non-disruptively chill in the space outside (like in my case, trying to meet up with my friend before going in), it doesn't make sense to be chasing attendees in or back downstairs. There may be other factors going into the restriction, and I get that. It's why I'm curious as to the actual reasoning, because at face value it doesn't seem to add up.
  10. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    Red jacket. Who would we go to for insight into why it's restricted access, because I'm curious to know. I mean, if we were sharing the convention center with someone, I could see restricting it for access control, but that's our convention center during Otakon. If the one room up there is for our convention anyways, then it seems stupid to say attendees can't be up there, you know? In fact, from various comments I heard over the weekend, that seemed to be a running trend for the convention center: that the policies dictating our usage were defined by other groups who use the convention center. If that's how WEWCC wants to roll, then I guess we can't disagree too much, but what sense does that make to say "Because of these other high-profile guests who aren't even here right now, you have to behave this way"? That's dumb.
  11. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    We were informed at Con Feedback, where someone made the same comment, that it was because there were generally more working and usable water fountains in the convention center this year. They didn't need to use the water stations to supplement lacking water sources in the building.
  12. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    I agree as well. If we have to have the check regardless, then it's better to have it be fast and as close to non-existent as possible than to have serious bag inspections that hold us up in line forever. For most of the convention the staff did a great job of trying to get us all through quickly.
  13. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    I, too, ran afoul of the top floor lady. I hadn't been up there for more than a minute, when I paused to check my phone because I was trying to meet up with my friend, it being end of con and all, and she came right after me "You have to go in or leave! You can't stand out here!" First off, she didn't have to be so ahbrasive about it, but second, the open space on that floor was enormous, to include a whole seating area. What exactly what the problem why people couldn't wait outside the room on that floor? If anything, it was nice and quiet up there. My very first thought getting there is that it would be nice to sit up here to chill if you needed a break away from the swirl of activity on the lower floors.
  14. LittleHobbit13

    Otakon 2017: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    The Good THE MOVE - I came to Otakon this year prepared for a tidal wave of chaos related to the move, and found the complete opposite. As far as I experienced, Otakon staff really had it together. I was in and out of badge pickup in less than 10minutes (though lack of signage distinguishing the badge line from the 18+ line was a bit of a problem). AV systems were working in panels. Autograph lines seemed managed and orderly (also, great idea having them in the open space of the AA. Good stuff!) rather than spilling out into other areas. I don't remember hearing any staff treatment horror stories (and I even had a particularly great staff interaction myself at one point while turned around and needing directions.) Problems got handled quickly. Panels kept schedule. Etc etc etc. I was really nervous about the move, considering problems that had occurred in an already familiar space, and I think Otakon did a phenomenal job with creating a move that was easy and mostly drama-free, leaving us to acclumate to and enjoy the new convention space with very little stress. LineCon Reduction - I'd really gotten used to the idea of having to show up at least an hour early to maybe get into a panels, and that was really just gone this year in many cases. Most of my panels, I was able to just walk right into the room about 10min beforehand and still get a decent seat. I think the earliest I ever arrived to a panel was 15mins, and there was only one panel I didn't get into about the Anime Country Food because it was in one of the smaller rooms and people love anime food. Welcoming Hotel - We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel just across the street, and when we arrived my friend and I immediately both commented on how welcoming they had made the hotel. There were posters up all around the lobby, staff had anime t-shirts on in some areas, and the desk check-in staff were really going out of their way to keep the line moving and get people with their cumbersome bags into their rooms. It was just a great experience, and considering how nervous some of us were about the move to DC, it really started things off on a great foot. No sense of crowding - I commented, I had commented to me, and I overheard so many people mention how nothing felt crowded. Clearly there were still plenty of people in attended, but because of the open spaces really reduced the sardine feeling and it was wonderful. (But maybe that lack of trapped body heat is why people felt cold? Lol.) Hell, it was even great being able to actually fit through the wider aisles of the Dealer's Room without frequently bumping into people for once. Otakon Merch - Last year I though the new USB drives in the Photosuite were a great idea, and I mentioned that it would be cool to see something like that for sale down in the Dealer's Room as well. This year, I'm gonna comment on the battery packs. What a great thing to sell! It was small and compact and something that I would easily use outside of the convention (and of course at the convention to save my old phone with its increasingly hopeless battery, haha). T-shirts are a staple, and I'm sure the shot glasses and other standards are fun, but it's nice to see something really functional for sale. I'm far more likely to buy something I think I'll be able to regularly use outside of the convention! Food Variety - There were lots of different food options in the convention center this year, and that was REALLY nice. While there were quite a few restaurants within just a couple blocks of the convention center, but if you're just looking for a quick way to snack so you can get on to your next activity, having more options for real meals within the center itself was great. Increasing food seating areas - Speaking of food, it was nice to have increased seating areas for food. I think it helped to not only keep food off the floor by keeping people off the floor, but it provided extra room for people to sit so they weren't camped out along the walls and by doors 'causing staff to get ticked off at them. Reception/Wifi - I'm used to going down into the Dealer's Room and finding myself frequently in a signal deadzone, whether for signal weakness or simply usage volume. I had 4 or 5 bars almost every inch of the convention center, and the free wifi was pretty damn great too! The Signs - The signs on the monitors about remembering to drink water and eat were great! My favorite though? The sign about "Don't touch people without their direct consent". THANKS. Photosuite - I unfortunately didn't get to visit this year, but I liked the Photosuite area! I liked that amount of space, and I thought it was nice to have the wide viewing area so people could see the activities within. Likewise, having the option to close off the wall was great too (though also partly hilarious b/c my friends and I were briefly like "Wasn't the Photosuite right here??!" until we figured it out.) The Bad Maps/Signage - The maps scattered throughout the convention center were helpful (especially once the "You Are Here" stickers were added), but myself and (as I overheard in conversations) others still found the maze of hallways and escalators tricky to navigate for awhile. With so much extra space, it was almost hard to keep track of where you were along some hallways, and remembering which escalators dropped you where (and so many of them were working, woo!) was an effort at first. I mentioned this at Con Feedback, but I think it would be helpful to utilize some of the vertical space for directions. Hang a banner that says "Panels 1-3 up this escalator" or "<--Artist Alley // Dealer's Room -->" just to help people get where they're going. Someone also mentioned at Con Feedback about using the pillars in the Dealer's Room to put up some identifying markers to help people locate each other, and I agree with that idea as well. Smokers - I know DC's "Not within 25-ft of a doorway" law is worded a little more loosely than Maryland's, but is it possible to talk to WEWCC about the issue anyways? When there are only certain doors that attendees are/are not allowed to use, it's not fair to non-smokers to allow the smokers to just hang right there so we have no choice but to walk through the smoke on our way in and out. To say nothing of not wanting the smell to get on a nice cosplay. Is there anything Otakon access control can do about asking smokers to move aside? Perhaps designate a smoking area nearby? I just don't feel like my choice to avoid all things smoking should have to take a backseat to getting in and out of the convention center. People stopping the flow of traffic - It seems that with the increased amount of space, people have forgotten their good convention ettiquette regarding when and where to stop. I saw (and was sometimes tripping over) way too many people stopping in the middle of flowing traffic to take pictures, rather than pulling off to the side. I saw way too many people stopping at the end of stairs and escalators so that people couldn't easily continue on themselves. I know we have more room, but I'd like to see wandering staffers return to reminding people to either pull over to the side or KEEP MOVING. Food ran out - I know we're a big crowd, but it's not like we don't have historical attendance records so people can plan accordingly. Considering that most people didn't even know about the Food Court area, it seemed really weird to me that so many of them had run out of food halfway through the convention. And not just of items that needed cooking, but pre-packaged things like Ramune. It really seemed like they were under-prepared for the volume of people, and that's without them even really being advertised. The Also Worth Mentioning Bag-check was new, but while it was kind of chaotic and held up entrance on Friday morning, it really wasn't too terrible the rest of the time. That said, having a staffer at the other side of the tables to get people to not standing in that bottleneck hallway space would be great, thanks. Almost every time I went through check, there were people stopped at the other side of the check table so you were having to push past them to clear the table area. Someone mentioned it at Con Feedback and I SUPER agree: The change to put the year on the back of the badge so you weren't getting harassed 15 different times to flip your badge over was SO HELPFUL. This is totally an afterthought, given the other thread about step counting, but it's no secret that the new center is bigger and there's a lot of walking. Maybe Otakon should divise a small game for attendees involving steps? Get a certain amount of steps, get a badge ribbon? I don't know. Like I said, just an amused afterthought. I saw people were miffed at having the Artist Alley close briefly on Saturday night because of unexpected water. I know it's not Otakon's fault, but I think Otakon did a good job of getting it reopened as quickly as possible. However, the resulting shift in tables did make it tricky to find someone if you were going back for a final purchase on Sunday. Hanging the section letters might be a great help in that regard, so people would have known "Here's where this table was", and then "Here's where this table relocated". Several items in the Auction area had business cards! I don't remember if that had been done in previous years (I feel like I don't remember seeing them, but maybe that's just because they were all gone?), but I love that idea! I never bid on anything in the Auction area, but I still like getting the artist information for particularly eye-catching items. I would love to see people be encouraged to leave a stack of business cards, if they have them, next to their stuff! $1 ICE COLD WATER GUY WAS NOT THERE AND IT WAS SAD! .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·. All in all, this was a pretty great Otakon. There were plenty of things that could have gone wrong that didn't, and plenty of things that were improvements on past years. Kudos to the staff on basically all fronts.
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