Who you gonna call?

Posted: March 28, 2011 by ConGear in Con Review

Tanis here!

I’d like to slide in a few words about a major no-no in conventions across the globe. In fact, it’s the biggest no-no of them all!  This particular no-no is what’s called “ghosting”. Ghosting is where somebody sneaks into the con without paying, and gets into panels, the dealer’s hall, everything, for free. It’s akin to convention piracy.

And it’s gotta stop.

Granted, some conventions are very hard to ghost into. There’s indestructable old ladies guarding every single door of Sakuracon, and they will rip your throat out with their teeth if you even think about trying anything other than flashing your legitimate badge their way. Though as you can guess, Sakuracon never really had a major problem with ghosting.

And yet, on the other end of the spectrum we’ve got MEW Con, where the convention presence folk never actually checked anyone for a badge. I’m sure some of them probably noticed there were badgeless non-attendees walking about, but they never had the courage to throw them out on their asses.

Ghosting can break a con incredibly easily. Sure, a fifty dollar entry fee foregone may not seem like much, but often times a fee like that is enough to get a panel going. Twenty registration fees can get a mid-tier guest. And let’s not forget the hotel or convention center costs.

Ghosting kills cons, no joke about it. I wouldn’t even wish it on Akicon, our resident bottom-of-the-barrel convention. Attendees, pay the man some money. Security, yojimbo, SAS, whoever you are, you need to be more vigilant in doing your job.

Otherwise we’re not gonna get cons very much longer.

  1. Legoman says:

    Just a little note here. According to their website, M.E.W.con will be returning for 2011-2012, however in a much smaller venue with a very low attendance cap. M.E.W.con will return, it just will not be as grand as last year.

  2. balls… balls… really tanis? i mean really? do you mean to strike an offense with those who did try to do something about the ghosting that went down at mew con? or are you just truly ignorant of what actually happened from the security side of things?

    im going to assume the latter so i dont have to be have to consider you less than you’ve presented yourself to be old friend. thusly, it becomes story time…

    so i have credentials in security. 8 years of bodyguard service to sakura con (as their second body guard EVER.) i’ve run complete security teams for microsoft, TWICE. i’ve been a field supervisor for seattle securitas (which is everywhere) which ment when i showed up on site, i was was the boss, regaurdless of what old military vet may know about the place. oh, and i was the head of ops for mew con.

    now that said, i noticed every single person who didnt have a badge on. but the question stands. why were the people without badges not thrown out? well, are you sitting down? good, ITS BECAUSE THE HOTEL FUCKED US! according to miss codename: ADMIN, we had to regard all of the floor space as hotel space – and thus could not kick people out unless you storm into a panel and grab them all one by one, which would have made a shitty con. and then where would we kick them out to? the hallway? where they’d just go to another panel?

    after talking to the director of relations after the con i found out that the hotel made an illegal change in their contract and forced us to allow anyone to walk about in the hallways as they pleased! ULTIMATELY you are dead on about ghosting – whats really happening here is that the fans are cannibalizing their own fandom and chances at making a flourishing community. (look at the sci-fi community or SCA if you want examples of a powerful community that works) theres a reason why out of all the fandoms that create and bring together large numbers of people anime is seen as the lowest. its good for when you’re really young – but after a while trying to look and act like something drawn up by a person from a culture half a world away is really just a waste of time. theres better ways to get your jollys for less! (click my link for hints, come to the darkside, we have rum!)

    so really – dont point to the staff and say they need to step up – mew con was an example of how a hotel can fuck over even the greatest efforts. mew con security could have consisted of 3 people at a time watching each entrance and there would have been 0 ghosting! point to the fans and let them know that they need to take an active course in enjoying what they enjoy and not expect to be able to weasel their way about. and if people do that, good fans should be responsible for helping those who do try to uphold the semblance of order at conventions…

    people need to stand up for what they enjoy! otherwise they dont deserve to enjoy it.

    • Mike says:

      Hey, Venton! Its Mike! You’d remember me from the awesome time we had together hanging out on Saturday night at the room party (Mostly where I almost fell asleep while drinking) Anyways, I did notice that there was a side thing going on at MEW and I know better than to blame you for the security, I know you’re experience with doing your job and I bet you’d dress those non-badgers in armor for a go around if they think they could sneak by you.
      I apologize for any offence that the post might have been made toward you and your team. You’re a great Yoji and I look forward to seeing you at Con!

  3. The thing is, $50 *does* seem like a chunk; at least, for anyone who actually pays for gasoline, has a mortgage, works for a living, etc. Which, sadly enough, I hate to say, is not going to be the demographic largely represented by those ghosting. Seems quite a challenge to make it real to these people that their dollars (or lack thereof) really do make a difference.

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