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Suggestions not specific to a con year Trying to make things better/easier

#1 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 12:56 PM

I tip my hat to all those behind the scenes ACen staffers and volunteers who are busting their butts getting everything in order. Sounds likes lots of run and agony wrapped up in a sushi roll.

Most staffers/volunteers most likely don't know me and may frankly, not really care. However, I can't help but to dig my nose around to try to get a feel of what is going on. All the behind the scene's stuff kinda fascinates me and gets my brain a thinkin'. I personally love to troubleshoot things and trying to find solutions to problems, whether they ultimately work or not and seeing how things have been going the past years (and especially this one), my brain has been a churning again.

Here is a passing thought I have.

Do you have a communications liaison between the public and ACen? Here is what I am thinking. I am seeing a number of department heads poking in and updating several sections here and there, at least on the forum and from time to time on FB. Perhaps it would easier on the staff getting things in order and focusing on their tasks at hand by having a central point they can relay updates to? This person would be responsible for posting said updates on varying platforms, whether it be the forums, FB, blog, main page, et cetera. This person could do a bi-weekly update to the forums as their responsibility so people don't feel so left in the dark. This person(s) can also relay information back to staffers. Staffers are under the gun, so to speak, so maybe having a person who is responsible for updates out in public could ease the pressure a bit.

More to come...

This post has been edited by rondo: 26 March 2013 - 01:26 PM


#2 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:23 PM

Another one now that I am back.

Every year there are threads posted, sometimes a bit after the con, looking for feedback for certain areas. How about creating these threads ahead of time and locking them down. Once the week of the con opens up, unlock the threads allowing for feedback much closer to the con itself, allowing thoughts and ideas that may be fresh in people's heads to post them up. The description for the feedback should not only be for at con experience, but also including pre-con experiences as they should be commented on as well.

Here is another...do you have any large, can't-be-missed signage in the reg area for pre-reg and mailing? A big ole banner that greets everyone that comes into reg, showing how much people could save by registering early...and also the time they could save without having to wait in line?
"Tired of waiting in line? Do your badge purchasing online! Also, get it mailed..."

On a quick side note: This are all just musings from me, take them as you see fit. I feel that it is better to at least speak up rather than say nothing at all.

This post has been edited by rondo: 26 March 2013 - 01:30 PM


#3 User is offline   Fudgi P0pZ 

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 08:19 PM

Hey Rondo!

Your first idea kinda stuck with me. I wonder if they already have this? If not, I'm sure someone would readily agree to it, perhaps one of the many who have offered up help. I'm just afraid that until "conditions get better," that person could become something akin to a scapegoat. It'd have to be a person well versed in customer relations who has some prior experience in that field. It's not a job meant for everyone, let me tell you. ;)

Your second suggestion sounds good, but I think a separate topic would be needed for that, just so things don't get confusing? But I guess multiple threads would be confusing, too. For your last suggestion... isn't there something like this somewhere? Maybe it's in the guidebook, but I thought I remembered seeing something like this before. I could be wrong.

Rondo, you mind if I add to your thread a bit? :)

Though this is a fan-run convention (uh... more or less, I know it's not completely that), I think there needs to be a bit more separation between professionals and well... non-professionals? I like how so many people are willing to join staff at any minute, but volunteers should be strictly defined from programming staff who should be strictly defined from attendees.

I don't know. To me, it's like going up to McDonald's, seeing them having some issues with the fryer behind the counter and then me being like, "hey! what can I do to help?"

They're probably going to look at me funny. Okay. I know these guys are paid and ACen staffers offer their services on a volunteer basis. But, they're still professionals at what they do. I can't presume to even know the operations of a system without going through the same training, hours, and logistical knowledge these people have had to acquire just to earn their job title.

Now, if McDonald's advertises for volunteers to support their corporation, then that's fine. That's what's expected and the roles are definitely set.

To me, I can't really tell the difference between staffer and volunteer with ACen. Is there a difference? I mean, what's the cut-off? For instance, if I volunteer January 2013 but my friend volunteers July 2012, does that mean my friend is staff and I'm staff, too? I'd imagine my friend has witnessed a lot more preliminary, behind-the-scenes stuff compared to me. Then that leads me to ask, should I expect the same output from a volunteer that I expect from a staffer? Probably not. But I don't feel that's really defined.

I'm not trying to minimize anyone's role because volunteer, staff, volunteering staff, what-have-you, you are all awesome and this convention wouldn't happen without you. The reason I'm asking is because I want to know who I should and should not bug for con-related things. :)

This post has been edited by Fudgi P0pZ: 26 March 2013 - 08:23 PM

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Keeping it light this year! :)

Thanks Neskaya for the lovely avatar.

#4 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:55 PM

View PostFudgi P0pZ, on 26 March 2013 - 08:19 PM, said:

.

Rondo, you mind if I add to your thread a bit? :)/>/>


Be my guest. I won't complain.

This post has been edited by rondo: 26 March 2013 - 09:56 PM


#5 User is offline   Fudgi P0pZ 

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:31 PM

View PostSmokey, on 27 March 2013 - 01:06 AM, said:

Some work to earn their membership, some buy theirs, but beyond that, there's no difference at all between staff and attendee.


Ahh, I see. When you put it that way, it makes sense. I already knew that all positions (as staff) were unpaid, my original source of confusion was the difference between staff and volunteer of the convention. Technically, all people running this convention are volunteers, however, within that realm, is there not a difference between staff and volunteer? Maybe I'm using the wrong terms. Staff and "gopher" I think they're called? What's the difference? Are they different? Or are gophers staff, too?

If I say, today, that I'm going to volunteer with ACen, am I automatically a staff member or am I just a gopher?
..::..2014 Cosplay Goals..::..
.: Aisha ClanClan:.

Keeping it light this year! :)

Thanks Neskaya for the lovely avatar.

#6 User is offline   Valkyrie 

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 03:50 PM

Actually, there's a thread (courtesy of our lovely Chief of Staff) for that! :)

Joining our ACen Team - Staff and At-Con Volunteers Explained
ACen 2009 - Merchandising Staff
ACen 2010 - IRT Operative
ACen 2011-2013 - IRT Dispatch
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#7 User is offline   Purplegodess 

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:32 PM

Hi all, let me see if I can break down some of these suggestions. We do have a dedicated team assigned to each of our social media areas to interact and answer questions. Typically they are on their daily, whether this be the official page or the groups. Same goes for the twitter. The forums have a team dedicated to modding, but the information releases are based on the department managers of each area. They make the announcements for whats going on in their sections usually when they have that information ready to release. The blog is back up and running and is posting every Wednesday until con, then every other after con. Its been down for sometime, but there's some neat info running on it now. On feedback, most of our full con official forms for feedback are created ahead of time and put into a timed mode so they auto turn on/send out. Also last year in the guidebook we had feedback options turned on so you could rate events you went to with a thumbs up or down. We also collected lots of information from the survey we've been sending out for the past couple years. We really really down sit down an read that feedback. We do have large signage in registration, and will be changing it up a little more over the next couple of years. There are actually quite a few new large signage pieces that are entering our line up this year so its quite exciting. We often push badge mailing, and at con we push pre registering for next year (which btw you can do at anytime registration is open in the hall at con). One of the biggest differences between staff and volunteers is that staff commit to working a minimum set of hours to a dedicated department, at con volunteers/gophers can sign up to help at con and they go where they are needed. Hope that helped a bit, dont mind answering questions when they come in, as long as I have the means to do so :)

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#8 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:37 AM

Here is another thought. And BTW, thanks on the response.

I'm not sure if you have already incorporate something such as this..but have you looked into using payment solutions provided by Square or similar? I'm sure it has probably come up before.

Clearly not now, but looking ahead. Perhaps include that in a future registration/payment strategy...but it also requires knowing where the longest times in registration are occurring (initial checkout, badge creation, et cetera...).

#9 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:31 AM

A couple of other things I have noticed as I looked all over the place on the forums.

Still quite a few 2011 and 2012 threads that could be archived. More general forum cleanup.

Also, this:
Art Show / Artist Alley
The official 2011 Art Show and Artist Alley Q&A forum for questions concerning Artist Alley and Art Show.

May want to change the description to make it non-year specific. Just eliminate '2011' and bam, all done.

#10 User is offline   Purplegodess 

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 10:11 AM

View Postrondo, on 01 April 2013 - 08:37 AM, said:

Here is another thought. And BTW, thanks on the response.

I'm not sure if you have already incorporate something such as this..but have you looked into using payment solutions provided by Square or similar? I'm sure it has probably come up before.

Clearly not now, but looking ahead. Perhaps include that in a future registration/payment strategy...but it also requires knowing where the longest times in registration are occurring (initial checkout, badge creation, et cetera...).


Squares fees aren't really feasible to deal with. We have over 20 credit stations in registration which do process through attendees quite quickly. Most common slow downs come from people not filling out their info legibly, the early morning rush of people lining up hours before we open creates a backlog as well, and people not having payment forms decided by the time they come to the counter. Other than that we knocked through our lines like crazy this past year. Most beneficial is when people have acen.org accounts pre-set up before con, because then we don't have to capture their membership info right away at con, its already set up. It is something we are sending reminders out about this year up to the event. Our reg team has also been training pretty regularly to make sure they are up to speed at opening on Thursday :)

View Postrondo, on 10 April 2013 - 08:31 AM, said:

A couple of other things I have noticed as I looked all over the place on the forums.

Still quite a few 2011 and 2012 threads that could be archived. More general forum cleanup.

Also, this:
Art Show / Artist Alley
The official 2011 Art Show and Artist Alley Q&A forum for questions concerning Artist Alley and Art Show.

May want to change the description to make it non-year specific. Just eliminate '2011' and bam, all done.


Good call, sometimes some threads do fall through during the archive. Ill tell Voltaire30 to check your AA suggestion here.....(as I tried to tag him facebook style.... :unsure: )

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