This Is Why You Need Smofs.

Some people wonder why you need convention security, convention ops that’s open all night, and convention committees that spend tons of time worrying over what could go wrong.

Here’s one reason why. (Via Crunchyroll, with a picture of a guy banned for shoplifting at Oni-con.)

Fans were breaking the law in several ways. On Easter Sunday morning, no less. Not all fans were left healthy by this. At least one woman was passed out. (Not a good thing at a rowdy party, especially.) Some fan started kicking and punching EMTs who were there to help him. The Boston cops and the EMTs got a very bad impression of anime fans, which will not serve Boston anime fans well in the future. Boston parents and potential anime fans also got a bad impression if they read this story.

And now the hotel management is in trouble with the mayor’s office!

So yeah, because of one party, it’s likely that Anime Boston will have a hard time finding a hotel to take their convention next year. The convention committee is probably disgusted (with their own failure and with fannish failure of basic partythrowing skills), and may not feel like putting it on next year. There will probably be a lot of helpers who won’t go next year, and of course that will probably make things worse. The only bright spot is that every anime and regular convention in the country probably has the names of the party attendees by now, and none of them will be going to a fannish convention ever again.

Anime Boston seems to have a fairly comprehensive set of convention rules laid out, including telling people not to use drugs at the con (not that anyone should have to be told). Attendees ignored it. And they do have convention security checking on room parties, so the situation must have blown up faster than convention security was able to deal with things. This may be a case of people not doing their jobs; it may be a case where conrunners and security did everything right, and yet the attendees managed to make things go wrong. It may be that the convention had to call the cops; it happens sometimes.

Sigh. Every story has a moral.

If you want to have a convention next year, and continue to get sweet deals from the hotel, and love and tolerance from the hotel staff, and encourage more people to come with good news coverage as well as good word of mouth from attendees… you have to have attendees who mind their manners, and conrunners who ride herd on the attendees, to remind them to keep things down to a dull roar.

A convention is supposed to be safe and fun for everyone. That’s why we need the “Secret Masters of Fandom” — the administrative smofs who run this stuff. This was a smof failure and a fan failure. Fans at the party should never have let it get this bad in the first place, and convention security should have been keeping an eye on room blocks throwing parties. Ops should have heard about the party and sent security. It never should have gotten to the point of being a problem.

The open illegal drug use is amazingly bad. That alone could have gotten the whole convention in trouble, and I guarantee the hotel will find out. Even in California, there’s no convention that would put up with that kind of stuff. (And if it was some out-of-state visitor’s “medical marijuana”, some out-of-state visitor should have known better, too.)

It’s been said in the past that, in general, anime conventions don’t seem to be run as smoothly as traditional sf and fannish media conventions. I’ve found this to be true in the past, although to be fair, anime conventions have somewhat different demands than others, and newbies tend to be younger, have poorer judgment, and be less socialized than normal conventiongoers. Sf conventions have a smaller, self-selecting population; anime tends to draw anybody who watches video. The Crunchyroll article comments tend to support my feeling that anime cons often have to deal with problems of more than just the logistical kind. (Plus you get a bunch of stupid stoner comments. One of them actually tries to defend marijuana against a ghetto kid from Mexico who saw it ruin her family. Yeah, nothing like being self-righteous.)

Possibly anime conventions need to have more teaching materials about what constitutes good conventiongoing etiquette. Possibly anime conventions need to bring down the banhammer more, and make their reasons very clear to all. Definitely they need more convention security, and not just to protect the dealers’ room.

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1 Comment

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One response to “This Is Why You Need Smofs.

  1. One of them actually tries to defend marijuana against a ghetto kid from Mexico who saw it ruin her family.

    Generally, the MJ users I know tend to decide that any information they don’t like isn’t true.
    Part of why I don’t like the drug– I swear, the result is extensive enough that I think it does something to the brain. Even alcohol isn’t that universally defended by social users….

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