This thread has taken me quite a while to read through...obviously, and while I don't post on here very often, I usually read most of what goes on with the forums. I'm going to attempt to go through this an answer as many questions as I can, so please bear with me through this long post. Im going to go through and address some miss-conceptions that I'm noting through this thread and try to address some issues, though I know regretfully that I cannot address them all.
Kaay-chan, on 01 March 2012 - 02:54 AM, said:
To be perfectly honest, I'm pretty sure the fact that ACen is next month and the only guest we know about is the band, not to mention the fact that we were only just given an update on why badges haven't been mailed yet a week ago, says it all. (I understand why the badges haven't been mailed yet, but at the same time I feel like I remember reading that they were going to start badge mailing in October this year. Maybe I'm wrong, but....that DOES take away most of my sympathy for the situation.)
We actually typically don't ever start mailing until the spring. That way people have less time to misplace badges. This year, we were supposed to have our badges a while ago...but obviously that didn't happen. We are working on them and I have (with a team of Reg staff) been working on them since about 9:30 this morning...something we weren't going to announce till we got enough done. So hopefully soon
linlindesu, on 01 March 2012 - 11:05 AM, said:
The issues have been brought up but no one has made a point to say "hey, improve or I'm thinking about/ am leaving" . Which looking at the votes, most people are considering leaving the convention. Sometimes people need to just see straight up numbers to begin to really think about the problems at hand.
And very few threads are about the lack of organization at all.
Felf, I agree with you on con damage. It isn't always drunks. It is stupid people, it is people that were too liberal with body paint, it is unreported accidents. But the con chairs always say after the convention "look at the mess you have all made, now you are going to see another badge hike"
and heck, if they delivered guests I wouldn't mind the badge costing more and more.
but I've been sort of looking back at guests from much much early years. We used to get a mangaka almost every year until around 2008. :/
This year ... musical guests and that is all.
NOT EVEN THE DEJESUSES xDDD
I can't speak about guests, because I'm not in charge of guests, and El Ken has his own forum posts for that. On the other hand I will always encourage people to speak up and report incidents and damage immediately, to any staffer( not just IRT). When we catch these people, we make them pay for the damage. Its happened before, we will gladly pass off a bill to a person in the future as well, if they are caught damaging our hotel/convention center. Please report, it really does help!
The Fujoshi, on 01 March 2012 - 11:37 AM, said:
Yep; stated how Cosplayers probably do drive up the damage/price than the drunks, in an indirect way, and that the badge prices are not from people being drunk or crashing said elevators. X3 I have no bias opinion about drunks in general, but I don't enjoy people who blame their stupidity on drinks in question, as a means of an excuse or a scapegoat, or say that's the only way to have fun, and bring their bias attitudes for the people who don't drink, since it's considered a norm.
Most of the staff from what I seen is either by the association (Midwest,) or are actual attendees, and usually new staff is done in a similar process. If Acen hired more paying staff, it might see a change in terms of regulations and organizations but I have no idea how this process works or if it would work in general.
What I do know is that some of the people I used to talk to that staffed in the pass would ditch at the last minute because they "were not getting paid and wanted to get extra cash for food/beer/etc." so I assumed that this might be a reason for lack of staff and many of the convention issues of Acen at the last minute, such as everything disorganized, lack of IRT in certain areas, overworked IRT, etc.
Working myself made me realize how stressful this could be and throw everything out of a loop, especially if you had a point to point/person to person schedule.
I've only been to two cons myself: Acen and the other Illinois party convention that was shut down unexpectedly.
None of our staff are paid, we are all volunteers, myself included. I really, really wish we knew why people back out at the last minute as well. Back when I ran a department (AA) I luckily didn't have that experience, but its something that always has the potential to hurt our operations. The past year we started implementing staff procedures to help supplement IRT staff on high strain times with cross training, so I'm hoping we can continue that. Several key departments also saw staffing increases this year. We did change our on-boarding and training processes this year, and tripled the amount of all staff training's. I'm hoping to see results of this, this year. Just last week we did walking tours with staff to help them help our attendees find what they are looking for.
linlindesu, on 01 March 2012 - 12:15 PM, said:
Maybe making the IRT hotline more avalible or advertised? I'm unsure of anywhere besides the program book that the number is given. Even making an IRT only twitter or having the number on the back of badges. Even perhaps having an IRT member stationed by all the hotels active at that time( little IRT stations with information and someone to answer any questions/ help resolve an issue) Telling people if they see something to say something. It may sound elementary but first time con goers or even those who aren't that familiar with the convention's set up could use the information.
As for some con damage, I remember the idea of a clean up crew being thrown around a year or so ago. If acen finds the staff, this would be a great idea to keeping the damage costs minimal ( though things like broken urinals and railings can't be helped).
The IRT hotline/direct line is in the book this year, and in our mobile ap, and has been integrated into several other pieces of print media this year.On top of that EMRT has a hotline too, which is available in the same places.
GITS SAC Motoko, on 01 March 2012 - 01:20 PM, said:
When it comes to ACEN, it's IL's BIGGEST con. We're known as the Midwest's biggest convention. We have over 20,000 people that show up, and out of all those people there is bound to be THAT ONE GUY/GIRL that gets body paint everywhere, breaks glass when drunk or causes trouble. And I am 100% sure that those of us posting here are the responsible ones, the ones that are careful and do their best to throw responsible parties, and know how to have fun without burning the place down. But the problem is not everyone can. We cannot stop them unless we kick them out of the convention. I guess you could say IRT/staff/us con goers need to be more watchful of "THOSE destroyer people."
And here's another thing, badge prices might also be going up as inflation rises in the country. Things every year get more expensive, including ACEN badges, guests, cleaning hotels, employee wages and ACEN has to pay for all that, and as it gets higher and higher, it's harder to get awesome super cool things. And with us being non-for profit, that makes it even harder. In general a lot of non for profit organizations are struggling because of lack of funding. I would not be surprised if ACEN is struggling with funds as well. Now yeah some cons get "better" guests but some are corporate funded or they could be smaller. A smaller con doesn't need as much space for people which in a way makes things cheaper. KollisionCon was itty bitty, so it was cheaper. When it comes to other popular cons like Youmacon it's about 14,000 people at the most (thank you wiki and random forum posts guesstimating this number) ACEN as least 6,000+ more people than Youma--more people that can destroy a hotel, ruin things and cause chaos.
I understand people's frustrations with things, and especially as guests aren't announced either too but it's not like they are doing it on purpose--there has to be a reason. I said something along these lines in another thread but there is only so much you can do when it comes to guests because the entertainment industry is very strong. You don't do what they ask, you either don't get the guest or you get in trouble by the entertainment industry. *shiver* Sadly all we can do is wait because we could talk til we are blue in the face--and it's not going to make guests come any faster.
Some things are really hard to avoid, and the only way is through prevention--and I feel the only way that can happen is that people that care like us here posting do something by sending a message in someway. Either writing letters like it was suggested, boycotting as some people want to do already, or us posting on here spreading the word and causing the awareness of criticisms/disappointment we have as con goers . But there is only so much we can do because we can't control the entire ACEN population. I do like the solutions that Lin brought up like having the IRT hotline more accessible like on the back of badges and all which would be very handy if a bad situation occurs. I'm not sure if they do this already, but what about MAPS/ACEN holding fundraisers or something to grab more funds? I mean it's worth a shot if they don't do it already.
Badge prices rose for the first time in 3 years this year, and they rose by $3, except for the at con full weekend price which is $5 more. We did need to raise them as several things we do have gone up in price. We have not raised them for damages, we have raised them to pay the bills. Has anyone checked out the difference between a flight two and from Japan this year vs. a couple years ago? They are drastically different. When we get bigger in our spaces, we pay more money. The badge prices raise was not something we did lightly, and not something we intend to do again for a little while, but we really hadn't raised badge prices for several years, and needed to adjust. I can already tell you they aren't changing for next year.
linlindesu, on 01 March 2012 - 03:21 PM, said:
every active hotel, tiny staff station with link to IRT. would be so much easier to possibly prevent damage or just getting it reported and investigated in a timely manner.
Please don't just report to IRT. all staff are being trained to address these concerns, or trained to find someone who can. If you find you cant find a IRT person reach out to customer service, or any staff member who has a radio. Anyone who has a radio has a link to IRT.
Kaay-chan, on 01 March 2012 - 04:11 PM, said:
The problem with this is, IRT is volunteer run and from what I hear, understaffed (is it true that half of IRT quit the week before the con last year? That's what I heard, anyways...). In a perfect world, not only would there be at least one IRT mini-station in every hotel related to the Con, there would also be two IRT members in each elevator, at least in the Hyatt, making sure that they don't get over-packed. But that requires bodies that, right now, at least, it seems like we don't have (which is part of the reason why, when I try to volunteer next year, I'm aiming for either IRT or Reg ><).
Perhaps what the convention should consider doing is putting a little advertisement in the program; something along the lines of "Did you have fun this year? Want to be more involved? Join staff! Here's how..." (If they already do this and I just didn't notice, then derp on my part ><). Maybe even make the "Voluneer" button on the website a bit more noticeable rather than putting it at the bottom of a drop-down menu. The reality is, there may be a bunch of people interested in working for the con that just have no idea how. There may also be people who are interested, but think it's too late to volunteer, so maybe being a bit clearer about deadlines would help too.
There is an IRT station in the con-center, and IRT are posted on all doors there for badge checks. We do have a volunteering ad, and a join staffing ad each year in the program book... already in there this year. We are only putting one IRT member in each elevator, so that there is enough room for attendees, and we are rotating them, so they don't get sick constantly riding the elevators XD. We can ad more announcements about staffing and volunteering, but they go out in pretty regular intervals.
Sir Viver, on 01 March 2012 - 05:09 PM, said:
This. Here's hoping at least one staff or IRT member will be posted at the elevators at all times to keep lines down by telling non-handicapped people who are only going up two floors to take the stairs. A good friend of mine had to walk 10 flights of stairs shortly after she had back surgery last year, all because some idiots were abusing the elevator for casual 1-floor traveling and some even bigger idiots decided not to keep watch and prevent this from happening.
Kaay-chan, on 01 March 2012 - 05:29 PM, said:
Realistically, we can't stop every person who wants to get on the elevator what floor they're going to. However, maybe there should be some kind of special badge for people who are handicapped, or something? I do agree that those people should get priority, regardless of what floor they're going to, even over those who have to go way up to the top floors of the hotel to their room.
Stop by one of our 2 special needs booths for a special needs access pass. The team there is set to help out, and explain all the accommodations we offer our attendees with special needs. One is located in the entrance to the registration hall and the second is in the Hyatt at the Grand Boardroom. You can also email Smokey, ahead of con to get special needs questions answered. He does a really great job, making sure these opportunities are available.
Kaay-chan, on 01 March 2012 - 06:50 PM, said:
Yes, but I'm pretty sure the problem is less "people being lazy and taking the elevator to go up or down three flights" (because, let's be honest, after spending an entire day on your feet, sometimes you really just can't deal with stairs), and more "people being dumb and trying to squeeze one, or two, or five more people on an elevator that CLEARLY can't hold any more." Not to mention the geniuses who decide to play the "Jump until the elevator breaks" game.
All of which could probably be avoided if each elevator had an IRT member on it to monitor on it, but once again, it's a question of having enough people on IRT to be able to do that and everything else that IRT needs to do, especially since most of the elevator trouble seems to happen at night, when the IRT are also sorely needed to monitor lines for the concerts/ Masquerade/ raves, on top of everything else they need to do.
IRT are on elevators this year