Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DragonCon: Doing it Right

WHEW. Well, despite being a touch under the weather (and thus not being able to hang out with people nearly as much as I wanted to), I survived DragonCon 2014, and it was AMAZING!

I'm going to be doing a separate post later about the advantages of doing DragonCon as an author (namely: book exposure and book sales) and some of what I've learned in the past. I'm still something of a newb; I've been three years in a row, but am still learning all the time from the true veterans who have DragonCon down to a science.

A science of FUN, I mean--DC isn't all work and no play! It's a lot of fun, full of amazing people and amazing cosplay and amazing stuff. But today I want to talk about a few serious points that really should be mentioned.

Here's some of what DragonCon did exceptionally well:

  • DCTV: DragonCon TV. In all the host hotels, there's a station called DCTV that plays panels and highlights from the con. Interspersed between shows are fun parody commercials, cute skits, music, and "bumps"--funny anecdotes similar to what's on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. This year, I noticed two important commercials: one warning people that service animals are workers and you should treat people with service animals with respect, and two separate commercials about how cosplay is not consent. Good on you, DCTV, for making sure that your audience is reminded of these important facts. 
  • And speaking of consent, another good point for DragonCon: an established system to handle pervs. There were over 60,000 people at this year's con, and of course some of them were douche canoes. My husband noticed one guy hanging around at the top of a staircase, using his iPad to sneak down-the-shirt shots of girls. We went straight to a DragonCon volunteer and reported him. In seconds, she handled the situation like a pro. It was clear that (a) the staff and volunteers were trained to handle such a situation, (b) there was a system in place that they were all aware of, and (c) that behavior was not going to be tolerated. 
  • It's worth mentioning that this is no new thing--DragonCon is huge, but takes the safety of its attendees seriously. When I casually mentioned that a drunk guy was behaving inappropriately to a friend and me last year, DragonCon staff bent over backwards to help me (although we got rid of him ourselves by the time I mentioned it). 

This all makes it sound like there's a huge issue with creepers or something, which is not at all my intent--I just think that there's been a lot of flack in the past for Cons that didn't handle this sort of situation correctly, and I want to point out that DragonCon did. You can't control bad people from doing bad things, but you can control how you attempt to prevent it and how you respond when it happens, and DragonCon is clearly working to the good on that.

Tomorrow: a fun post!

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