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ithilienne

Looking for (Constructive) Panels Feedback

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Otakon staff: You handled 4chan amazingly. I am very, very impressed.

After being turned away from the 2005 4chan panel because the line was full hours before it started, and after being in line for the 2006 4chan panel last year, I was blown away with how well the 4chan panel line was handled this year. The people from 4chan tend to be very loud, and just barely keep themselves under control. Having people shouting rudely at them just makes them go completely out of control (which, of course, is not justified by the staff not being nice enough, but it's still bad crowd control).

This year, by stark comparison, the staff member wearing the big jester's hat who was wrangling the line did an amazing job of keeping the line as calm as it was possible for it to be. Sure, people were shouting and being really loud, but there weren't any real problems - there was little to no mess made by the line, no fights, and amazingly, he even got us to listen to the staff's requests. We stayed in the lined up in the ground-tape aisles where we were supposed to be, there wasn't any confusion about where the line was (I think there was an extra "fake" line last year accidentally?), no one was causing fire hazards, no one was at any risk at any point, things like that.

The key things I think contributed to this were, for one, allowing 4chan people to help with the line wrangling, Maddeth in particular. These are the people that know how we think and know what to say to get us to listen. Tell us you're going to close the panel if we don't listen, etc. Being more forceful, whether it's justified or not, is just going to make the line feel defensive. When people were standing up after Jester Hat asked everyone to sit down, he just turned on the bullhorn again and asked everyone to sit down. When a few people remained standing, he just calmly asked them to sit down until they did. He rarely had to ask them past a second time.

When people starting shouting things that truly were disruptive or inappropriate, he blasted on the bullhorn and distracted everyone, which completely cut off whatever they were doing. When someone had a big model Seaking, and people were getting a little too worked up about it, he was calmly asked to stop, a scene wasn't made, and there wasn't a problem. I'm not sure how much of the good handling of this line was due to the staff handling it well and how much was due to the 4chan line handling itself well, but either way, an excellent job was done this year.

They were no louder than the rave (in fact, much quieter), and I would challenge anyone to say what problems, other than being a loud group of people, were actually caused by them. I think however many people may have been annoyed by 4chan were outnumbered by the hundreds by people who had a great time in the line and panel, or even just walked by and saw the line and were amused. I imagine there were no more people annoyed by the Gaia attendees than there were annoyed by the 4chan attendees.

If an 800+ room at midnight was packed full, even only letting in 18+ attendees, then I imagine if people had more than a week's notice that 4chan would be there, it could easily surpass the 1000 mark. I personally thank Otakon and the Otakon staff for working hard to let 4chan attend this year, and I would be extremely grateful if they would be allowed to come back again next year.

I know that staffer is really nice and funny. I don't know if you know who I am but I am the crazy chick with the "Line ends here" sign, and I have to say the line this year was better then last year. I worked both this years and last years and I rather do this years again. The only thing I didn't like was that people were complaining that they had to go down stairs two feet to get the wrist bands that only took less than 5 mins to get to be able to get into the paniel, then yell at me about it. I have no control over that kinds of things, sorry if you think that I do. I think that for no matter what they should state that the 4chan panel be 18+ in the flyer even if it isn't but it was for the two years that I worked the line for. Just state it before hand and I know that there was alot of confusions if it should be 18+ or not.

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The wristbands complaints were stupid, its says right on the homepage of 4chan that it's 18+. Though I do agree it should have been in the program, but it also had "Gaia" down and the whole program in general was screwed up.

I agree for the most part, 4chan was handled well. Of course its going to be loud, its 4chan, the jokes ar offensively funny, that's the whole point of the nothing is sacred rule. I do think the horror stories about 4chan I've heard have been passed to other staff members is overly exaggerated, though. It has and will continue to cause some staff and gofers to be too quick to judge against 4chan, like those who told 4chan cosplayers that their costume wasn't allowed because it wasn't anime (though tons of other non-anime-ers were there). Also the whole furry hit with the boombox thing was completely out of proportion, she walked into a mob and simply got bumped by /b/lackup, he didn't physically try to beat her with it as she claimed.

I didn't get to go to any of the other panels because all the others I tried to were either full before we got to the line or the ones I wanted ran alongside other activities, so all I can say for that is the planning kind of sucked, but everyone's pointed that out already.

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I am already aware of the following problems and am working on them as we speak, so consider them resolved when you're giving your feedback:

* The 18+ wristbands issue on Saturday night for the Dub Actors panel

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I'm 34 years old. It felt a little ridiculous. I looked up the policy in the book, and it said that people that looked 30 and younger would be asked to show the wristbands. I really don't think I look that young (certainly not 17 or younger). The guy also said he could not check my ID. I realize that it was my fault for not having a wristband, but I think I should have been able to go get one.

I've been going to Otakon since 2001, and I've seen a lot of panels and guests, but I would have to say that the best thing I've seen would have to be this year's Ryuhei Kitamura panel. That was the most fun I've ever had at a panel, and his stories were great! Thank you for booking him!!!

As the policy states, if you look like you're 30 or younger, you'll have to have a wristband. I'll make sure that signs are available next year (perhaps adding a note on the programming sign itself) at the panel rooms detailing the policy and where wristbands will be available.

I'm glad you enjoyed the Kitamura panel; I'll pass your feedback along to the Guest Relations department. :(

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Does anyone know why Great Teacher Largo was cxl'd. I was really looking forward to it this year.

As for the panels themselves, I think they were handled well, I just would have liked to see a bigger variety of topics. Same went with the 35mm movies this year which just basically showed the same thing as last year.

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Does anyone know why Great Teacher Largo was cxl'd. I was really looking forward to it this year.

As for the panels themselves, I think they were handled well, I just would have liked to see a bigger variety of topics. Same went with the 35mm movies this year which just basically showed the same thing as last year.

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Does anyone know why Great Teacher Largo was cxl'd. I was really looking forward to it this year.

As for the panels themselves, I think they were handled well, I just would have liked to see a bigger variety of topics. Same went with the 35mm movies this year which just basically showed the same thing as last year.

Basically, there was a mixup on times. While I don't know where the original mixup originated, he thought his panel was 30 minutes later that what our internal panels schedule said. When he didn't check in on time, we canceled him and placed another panel that was ready to go in his slot.

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Does anyone know why Great Teacher Largo was cxl'd. I was really looking forward to it this year.

As for the panels themselves, I think they were handled well, I just would have liked to see a bigger variety of topics. Same went with the 35mm movies this year which just basically showed the same thing as last year.

That's not actually true, as I pointed out in the thread.

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My two favorite panels for the year were the first two that ran Friday in Panel 4: the OC Remix panel and then Anime Parliament.

OC Remix:

I went to the OCR panel on a whim, figuring, hey, I've lurked on that site for about 6 years now, let's see what they have to present at Otakon. This was a very enjoyable panel! There were a lot of people in that room and obviously, only so many folks in the audience get to participate one-on-one with the panelists, but the way the panel was structured made it very interactive and enjoyable to be a part of. For anybody who likes both music and video games it was a lot of fun. I was glad that I decided to wake up early enough to be sure to get registered before this panel started. I hope that the Powers That Be will consider giving this panel a "prime time" slot as it seems like the sort of panel that could easily turn into a con cult classic.

If any of the panelists from OCR themselves happen by, my suggestion would be to show more of the "how you make a remix" stuff in future panels, as that's something that I know I'd be pretty interested in.

Anime Parliament:

I always love this panel, my complaint with it this year is that it was scheduled at noon on Friday and only given one hour instead of two!

My understanding is that this panel was almost cancelled, which would have made me very sad, because the panel creator was set to judge cosplay during the time his panel was scheduled for. This is another one of those great panels that could probably fill up a big room in a prime, evening panel slot and it is too bad that was not the case this year. It is another panel that is very interactive and I think everybody who goes can come away and feel like they got to participate in the panel even if they did not actually get to speak.

It's a great concept and always a lot of fun. I hope that it will be given some more consideration for a longer/later slot for next time.

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One thing that a smaller convention, AnimeUSA, utilizes is to dedicate a panel room to a topic. IE- all cosplay panels are in room 1, industry panels in room 2, web/fandom panels- room 3, international guest- room 4, domestic guests- room 5, etc. It makes it easy for attendees to find their favorite panels, and it prevents similar topics from being scheduled at overlapping times.

I've staffed conventions before, but not in the paneling dept. I'm not sure how Otakon panels are scheduled, but it could streamline the process.

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One thing that a smaller convention, AnimeUSA, utilizes is to dedicate a panel room to a topic. IE- all cosplay panels are in room 1, industry panels in room 2, web/fandom panels- room 3, international guest- room 4, domestic guests- room 5, etc. It makes it easy for attendees to find their favorite panels, and it prevents similar topics from being scheduled at overlapping times.

I've staffed conventions before, but not in the paneling dept. I'm not sure how Otakon panels are scheduled, but it could streamline the process.

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I had a great time at this Otakon (my second ever) but I do have some comments/criticism/suggestions:

1) Paneling scheduling: Perhaps it is not possible to do as KuroBara suggested as far as having each Panel room dedicated to a specific genre. But it would be a GREAT idea to attempt to schedule panels of the same genre at different times.

2) I also support perhaps finding some way to make sure that fan panels don't consist of just "Ask us Questions" or just talking for the entire time.

3) More uniform line control. The lines were pretty well run as far as I could see, there were only a few problems. First is that staffers or gofers who control lines need to have a set plan for how to control the direction of the line. At one Lolita Panel the staffer directed the line to "serpentine" which did a good job of keeping the line from branching out into the hallway. However when it came time to enter the room it seemed as though he lost track of which parts of the line was first and allowed many other people in before the front of the designated front of the line. If there was a con-wide line control method it may keep that sort of thing from happening.

Second when waiting for the AAA concert to begin, my friends and I were standing in a line that started near the fountains. We thought we were incredibly lucky to be near the front. However once the doors opened we realized that another line, which had been formed at another entrance, was already entering and had already taken the first several rows of seats. If we had known that there was a line somewhere else we may have joined that line. I think it should be decided before hand where the line up will start. That may stop alot of confusion and disappointment.

Over all however my friends and I had a fantastic time at this con. Special thanks for having different musical guests (though I was secretly holding out for some Jrock) and also extra extra special thanks for giving many of the guests multiple Autograph sessions (specifically AAA).

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As I pointed out in another thread, allowing in another panel after all the deadlines...knowing full well that a lot with already pre approved panels were in a state of disarray...was like a giant slap in the face to all the other panelists. It makes it seem like you dont care about them and the mess that was made at all, and just bring in a new challenger. That's just bad practice.

Also, changing a panel on the fly for one person, even if he WAS a guest, is just not cool...unless it was for something REALLY important, which "so he could go see something else" is not.

As far as the computer crash is concerned....maybe copies of things should be kept in more then one place...so if one person drops off the face of the earth or something, the information is not all lost.

Finally...TBA would have been ok. I'd have rather had a schedule that just had a blank then 3 different schedules with different times for everything.

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Hmm... much of what I think was already covered... but I'll reiterate it for impact.

1.) Anime Parliament -

Best time I've had in a long time for a panel-style event. The biggest problem is that it's just too short! This should be a minimum of 2 hours!

2.) "CANCEL!"

I'm sorry, but the number of no-shows was absurd. I know this isn't really the fault of the staff, but I'd still like to raise the issue. I might even suggest you consider making all panelists put up a $50 "slot" deposit that they lose if they fail to show for a panel through their own fault.

3.) Anime Name that Tune -

Deals mostly with the no show, but amazingly turned out well. I migh make a suggestion that programming change the format of the panel to be completely on-the-spot fan-run, and extend it to two hours, since it turned out pretty well with people's I-pods.

4.) Alcohol and Anime -

Bring them back next year. Given he ended up being the only one there, it was a fantastic panel.

I'll think of more later. <_<

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Does anyone know why Great Teacher Largo was cxl'd. I was really looking forward to it this year.

As for the panels themselves, I think they were handled well, I just would have liked to see a bigger variety of topics. Same went with the 35mm movies this year which just basically showed the same thing as last year.

Basically, there was a mixup on times. While I don't know where the original mixup originated, he thought his panel was 30 minutes later that what our internal panels schedule said. When he didn't check in on time, we canceled him and placed another panel that was ready to go in his slot.

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I want to thank all those who came to the PGSM (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon) fan panel on Sunday morning! Even though the panel did not make it to the program book nor the separate sheet. I was amaze of the turn out for the panel for Sunday morning! I'm at least glad that I was able to put a sign up on my table in the artist alley and also let every Sailor Moon cosplayer know at both of the photoshoots. We also had some problems with showing some clips on Kali's laptop, but it seem that everyone was please anyways. Thanks again! I should have my panel report with pictures and video footage from Jay of Genvid.com up on my website ( http://drama.tsukiyama-sama.net/pgsm ) in the next week or so! So be on the look for it!

I specially want to thank Meredith and Lou for your hard work this year! I really appropriate it! Keep up the hard work and I hope to see you both next year! I do plan on returning for a 3rd year (maybe a 2nd time to run panels) and hope to run the PGSM panel again and try for my Naoko Takeuchi panel next year as well.

thanks again!

~Lilly-chan

(aka Meg Tyler)

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I want to thank all those who came to the PGSM (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon) fan panel on Sunday morning! Even though the panel did not make it to the program book nor the separate sheet. I was amaze of the turn out for the panel for Sunday morning! I'm at least glad that I was able to put a sign up on my table in the artist alley and also let every Sailor Moon cosplayer know at both of the photoshoots. We also had some problems with showing some clips on Kali's laptop, but it seem that everyone was please anyways. Thanks again! I should have my panel report with pictures and video footage from Jay of Genvid.com up on my website ( http://drama.tsukiyama-sama.net/pgsm ) in the next week or so! So be on the look for it!

I specially want to thank Meredith and Lou for your hard work this year! I really appropriate it! Keep up the hard work and I hope to see you both next year! I do plan on returning for a 3rd year (maybe a 2nd time to run panels) and hope to run the PGSM panel again and try for my Naoko Takeuchi panel next year as well.

thanks again!

~Lilly-chan

(aka Meg Tyler)

This was an awesome panel. I am a big Sailor Moon fan and the panel was excellent. I hope it returns in 08.

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Blues:

You have some good suggestions, but not all of them are practical. Still, thanks for the constructive feedback. There's not much we can do now about issues that happened in 2007's convention, and honestly most of them aren't likely to repeat. (Some of the panel & schedule complaints have felt like people were viciously poking a pile of glue where once a dead horse lay...)

There is no convention-wide PA system, sadly. And I wouldn't like being interrupted during my panel or video with such info.

I like the idea of a Schedule Ninja -- it would be a logical outgrowth of the Info Desk, sort of a permanent liaison with Programming to address scheduling issues specifically. Panels staff have generally done that but they've got a lot on their plate -- it would be a great job for a relative newbie at con.

I think generally we HAVE kept backup panel lists, but like many penel things this year, it fell victim to circumstance. I'm pretty sure Meredith has a plan for that for next year.

Believe it or not, we DO take all these suggestions and look at them. We really do try to improve things every year.

But here's a thought -- if you've got ideas and you've got the drive to see them accomplished, start volunteering. We can always use the help.

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I don't understand why a building like the Baltimore Convention Center would not have a building wide PA system that could be accessed via the in-house phones. It could make your (Otakon staff) jobs a little bit easier in announcing schedule changes and searching for a lost person.

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***You will never be able to please 25,000 people, but you can offer them a schedule that allows them to make CHOICES about how they spent their time at Otakon***

I believe that it can be done:

It seems like a lot of panels were canceled b/c the panelists didn't show up.

Whether it was because their panel time was switched and they were not informed, or they just didn't show, there is really no excuse for either.

Panel times and locations could be one of the EASIEST things (schedule-wise) that Otakon has to deal with:

There are a certain number of panel rooms. There are numerous proposals for panels. Weigh the potential popularity of a panel against the space and time available. Submit a schedule, and stick to it. If too many people show up for one particular panel, then OH Well. Otakon Panels are MAJOR events at a MAJOR convention.

Keeping that in mind, f I were running an event of this scope, this is how I'd run it: (This is the constructive criticism part). I'd have the panelists submit a refundable deposit of $100 or more. This is not unreasonable--it is an event AND personal exposure at a HUGE convention. Show up and do the panel, panelists are refunded. If not..... You'll weed out the people who aren't serious about their proposal rather quickly.

If Otakon needs to change the time of the panel and the panelists are either not notified, not notified in a timely manner, OR cannot run the panel at the new scheduled time, they get their money back as well. I think I'd even offer approved panelists pending membership reimbursement. After all, like gophers, they are part of what it takes to make Otakon work.

If things are getting switched around to accommodate panelist's schedules after they were already given a slated time and space, or if people simply do not show...sometimes you just can't be nice.

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OC Remix:

I went to the OCR panel on a whim, figuring, hey, I've lurked on that site for about 6 years now, let's see what they have to present at Otakon. This was a very enjoyable panel! There were a lot of people in that room and obviously, only so many folks in the audience get to participate one-on-one with the panelists, but the way the panel was structured made it very interactive and enjoyable to be a part of. For anybody who likes both music and video games it was a lot of fun. I was glad that I decided to wake up early enough to be sure to get registered before this panel started. I hope that the Powers That Be will consider giving this panel a "prime time" slot as it seems like the sort of panel that could easily turn into a con cult classic.

If any of the panelists from OCR themselves happen by, my suggestion would be to show more of the "how you make a remix" stuff in future panels, as that's something that I know I'd be pretty interested in.

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2.) "CANCEL!"

I'm sorry, but the number of no-shows was absurd. I know this isn't really the fault of the staff, but I'd still like to raise the issue. I might even suggest you consider making all panelists put up a $50 "slot" deposit that they lose if they fail to show for a panel through their own fault.

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Blues:

You have some good suggestions, but not all of them are practical. Still, thanks for the constructive feedback. There's not much we can do now about issues that happened in 2007's convention, and honestly most of them aren't likely to repeat. (Some of the panel & schedule complaints have felt like people were viciously poking a pile of glue where once a dead horse lay...)

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I don't understand why a building like the Baltimore Convention Center would not have a building wide PA system that could be accessed via the in-house phones. It could make your (Otakon staff) jobs a little bit easier in announcing schedule changes and searching for a lost person.

And it would interrupt all the events in all the meeting rooms.

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I'm actually glad there ISNT a con-wide PA. I cant even imagine how annoying that would get every 2 minutes with changes or "will so and so meet so and so by the dealer room".

Also, a lot of the cancelations, I think, weren't so much due to people just not showing up, as they were to a general breakdown of communication on all fronts. It seems they're definately working on getting that fixed, so I dont imagine that'd be nearly as big a problem in the future.

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Given how a lot of the most recent schedule changes were only reflected on the web site, maybe a monitor or something should be set up near the info desk (and/or any other suitable location) displaying the latest scheduling information right off the website?

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Given how a lot of the most recent schedule changes were only reflected on the web site, maybe a monitor or something should be set up near the info desk (and/or any other suitable location) displaying the latest scheduling information right off the website?

The scheduling changes done prior to the con WERE reflected in the materials provided to the info desk. There were many signs that never got out to the info desk, but the info was provided. I know that I personally handed off several items to Ops with instructions to distribute, and they seem to have got marked because people showed up.

The biggest complaints seem to have been about the fact that the schedule in the printed materials was rather out of date. There were half a dozen signs printed with the most accurate information possible three days before the con.

And the worst of the changes -- cancellations, no-shows, etc. -- seem to have actually happened AT THE CON. They weren't updated on the website because we were all already at the con.

I like the idea of closed-circuit TV showing a feed from some central computer, posting updates to schedules, announcements, etc.

But honestly, people didn't read the (far more accurate) signs we posted anyway. I'm not convinced that we can solve the problem by putting changes on TVs around the BCC, unless people are simply more likely to stop and watch TV.

I have a cheaper, manual idea in mind that I'll run past publications.

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I like the idea of closed-circuit TV showing a feed from some central computer, posting updates to schedules, announcements, etc.

But honestly, people didn't read the (far more accurate) signs we posted anyway. I'm not convinced that we can solve the problem by putting changes on TVs around the BCC, unless people are simply more likely to stop and watch TV.

I have a cheaper, manual idea in mind that I'll run past publications.

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Otakon staff: You handled 4chan amazingly. I am very, very impressed.

If an 800+ room at midnight was packed full, even only letting in 18+ attendees, then I imagine if people had more than a week's notice that 4chan would be there, it could easily surpass the 1000 mark. I personally thank Otakon and the Otakon staff for working hard to let 4chan attend this year, and I would be extremely grateful if they would be allowed to come back again next year.

I know that staffer is really nice and funny. I don't know if you know who I am but I am the crazy chick with the "Line ends here" sign, and I have to say the line this year was better then last year. I worked both this years and last years and I rather do this years again. The only thing I didn't like was that people were complaining that they had to go down stairs two feet to get the wrist bands that only took less than 5 mins to get to be able to get into the paniel, then yell at me about it. I have no control over that kinds of things, sorry if you think that I do. I think that for no matter what they should state that the 4chan panel be 18+ in the flyer even if it isn't but it was for the two years that I worked the line for. Just state it before hand and I know that there was alot of confusions if it should be 18+ or not.

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Given how a lot of the most recent schedule changes were only reflected on the web site, maybe a monitor or something should be set up near the info desk (and/or any other suitable location) displaying the latest scheduling information right off the website?

The scheduling changes done prior to the con WERE reflected in the materials provided to the info desk. There were many signs that never got out to the info desk, but the info was provided. I know that I personally handed off several items to Ops with instructions to distribute, and they seem to have got marked because people showed up.

The biggest complaints seem to have been about the fact that the schedule in the printed materials was rather out of date. There were half a dozen signs printed with the most accurate information possible three days before the con.

And the worst of the changes -- cancellations, no-shows, etc. -- seem to have actually happened AT THE CON. They weren't updated on the website because we were all already at the con.

I like the idea of closed-circuit TV showing a feed from some central computer, posting updates to schedules, announcements, etc.

But honestly, people didn't read the (far more accurate) signs we posted anyway. I'm not convinced that we can solve the problem by putting changes on TVs around the BCC, unless people are simply more likely to stop and watch TV.

I have a cheaper, manual idea in mind that I'll run past publications.

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As somebody who has been doing con panels since 2000, this is one of the worst ideas imagineable for a panelist to deal with. The financial logistics alone make it a nightmare - not all staffers have cash box access, and those who do may not be on a compatible schedule with some or all of the panelists. If a panelist can't get to ops between certain hours for whatever reason (have to leave early/major event during that time/whatever), they can be out their deposit or forced to wait weeks (if not months) for a cheque and gamble on it being sent before the treasurer position changes hands.

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I'm not big on panels. The few I've looked into have seemed to me to be poorly organized. One person can't make it, one is late, and one is just taking up space at the table...

I don't mean to judge all panels this way as I am sure there are some really good ones, I've just not found them myself.

Now, this I suggest for Fan Panels:

Perhaps Otakon already has something like this in place but if not, I suggest that there be a panel deposit. Say the at the door registration fee per panelist per hour. So, a two hour panel with three people would require a deposit of $360.

This money would be fully refunded if all panelists show up on time at the right place and ready to conduct the panel. If anyone is late or absent, or they don't have whatever it is they were supposed to bring, the entire deposit if forfeited.

Also, does Otakon require any potential panelists to submit a summary of material? In other words, does anyone try to make sure that the panelists have enough information to share to fill a one or two hour panel? Panels should not, in my opinion, start out with a Q&A session. It takes a lot of preparation to be able to speak for an hour or more.

Just my two cents worth. Again, I'm no expert on panels. But from my perspective, this is the one area that needs the most improvement.

And DONT CHANGE THE SCHEDULE!

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Perhaps Otakon already has something like this in place but if not, I suggest that there be a panel deposit. Say the at the door registration fee per panelist per hour. So, a two hour panel with three people would require a deposit of $360.

This money would be fully refunded if all panelists show up on time at the right place and ready to conduct the panel. If anyone is late or absent, or they don't have whatever it is they were supposed to bring, the entire deposit if forfeited.

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I would be against a deposit for panelists. Money is tight enough leading up to Otakon for me as it is.

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It looks like the most reasonable compromise is to require all panelists to pre-reg. If they show up, they get refunded after the con. If not, they're out their pre-reg fee at the most. Refunds with canceled registrations would be allowed for panelists who notify panels staff ahead of time if they cannot make the con for a family emergency, work issues, etc. Really, the only people that we need to clamp down on are those who never show up at their panel without notifying the con ahead of time.

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To get a panel at the 2007 Otakon, we had to first submit a form well in advance detailing all the panelists, gear we would need, preferred timeslots, and describe our panel. Then, we had to pre-register all four panelists - putting in all their contact information - and though we didn't have to pay, we did have to mail this info separately to the panels dept to confirm we signed up. We then had to get to the con on Thursday evening to pick up our badges early so we could go straight to our panel Friday morning.

And for the record we got up at 5:30AM and drove from Washington, DC, arriving at the BCC around 7:30, just to prepare for our 10AM timeslot. We worked that entire 2.5 hours.

So even fan panels don't necessarily have it easy.

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It looks like the most reasonable compromise is to require all panelists to pre-reg. If they show up, they get refunded after the con. If not, they're out their pre-reg fee at the most. Refunds with canceled registrations would be allowed for panelists who notify panels staff ahead of time if they cannot make the con for a family emergency, work issues, etc. Really, the only people that we need to clamp down on are those who never show up at their panel without notifying the con ahead of time.

I think that's the most sensible approach, too -- in fact, I was under the impression that that's how we were *already* doing it, because I pushed for that approach three years ago when we revised the pre-registration system. We also need some consistency about panel reimbursements and who's eligible -- I don't think that any panel should qualify for more than two reimbursements.

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I really don't think limiting to only two reimbursements per panel is fair, especially when a panel is covering a large genre of fandom. The input from all four panelists is beneficial to the entire panel. How would you choose which two panelists got the reimbursement?

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I really don't think limiting to only two reimbursements per panel is fair, especially when a panel is covering a large genre of fandom. The input from all four panelists is beneficial to the entire panel. How would you choose which two panelists got the reimbursement?

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...If not, they're out their pre-reg fee at the most...

And all the people that made plans around their panel have missed out on other opportunities.

Doesn't sound like much of a fair trade to me.

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...If not, they're out their pre-reg fee at the most...

And all the people that made plans around their panel have missed out on other opportunities.

Doesn't sound like much of a fair trade to me.

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That does make sense. I would hate to see a good panel not happen because they couldn't afford the fees.

We need a way for the panelists to have some more skin in the game.

When a panel is cancelled because a panelist didn’t show up, everyone in the room is out some other activity that they could have been doing. Their time is lost. Just having the absent panelist give up the same registration fee that everyone else in the room paid doesn’t seem a fair trade to me.

Now, things do happen. Sometimes I just can’t keep a scheduled appointment. But, when these things happen, I can make a call and usually get someone to fill in for me. (For the really important things I already have someone lined as a contingency.)

How about this?

If a panelists does not show up they are banned from the next year's Otakon. (Banned as both participant and panelist.)

Or is that too harsh?

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Limiting it to two reimbursements a panel is also not cool. I know for the Tokusatsu panel, which I coordinated, we had two podcasters, one guy who actually lived in Japan for a while, and one guy who was just really really knowledgeable. Who do we pick? Or what about the people who end up doing multiple panels (*raises hand*) and end up not getting reimbursed for either?

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