Building the Convention-runner's FAQ

Fannish Home Page Sitemap

Compiled by Laurie D. T. Mann

Precis: What do we need to remember and why? How applicable are these? What are the minimal bits of knowledge that need to be passed on from year to year (particularly vis-a-vis Worldcon running)? We will start creating a list of items, and begin work on a FAQ project for the weekend! How can we remember? What can we do (besides going to things like Smofcons)? And (maybe the real nub of it all)-why do we keep forgetting? Is it because people like being perverse?

This is the beginning of what I hope will be an ongoing process on improving convention management. This list is in no way "the" definititive list - if anything this list of con-organinizing issues takes the minimalist approach. In preparation for the 1997 Smofcon, a few of us kept saying "Why do cons keep making the same mistakes over and over again?" and "What are the mistakes that no con should ever make again?"

The former question is very hard to get a handle on. In some ways, it's human nature to take the path of least resistence - it's easier to keep making the same mistakes than to fix them. Fans have a terrible time with self-assessment and generally don't want to admit "I can do this...I can't do that" so instead many keep doing jobs they aren't capabable of doing because all they can see is "I want to do this...I need to do this..." Con committees generally refuse to take the responsibilities of convention management as seriously as they might. To truly manage a committee can risk pissing off other committee members.

In some areas, the "whys" are attached to committee inexperience. You can see this as the conventions do improve over time. But, in many other areas, egos and intramural squabbles are more important than running a better convention. So while I think the "why" question is worth discussing, it probably isn't something we can solve without a lot of soul-searching.

On the other hand, the implementation issues can be stored, added to, recategorized, etc. Most convention implementation issues have been honed to a craft if not a science by some individuals and some groups. Running a convention is not rocket science. There is no reason for any competently-run convention in America to be a disaster or to lose much money (barring flood, blizzard, theft, riot, or the con hotel pulling out two weeks before the con).

Issues for Every Convention


Hotel Resume

Keep Records




Con Suite

Dealer's Room


Art Show


Issues for Worldcons



If you have some "bare minimum" ideas, please send them to me and I'll integrate them into this list.

Problems That Can Plague a Worldcon