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I had hoped to not have to post this...

We spent a year in purgatory on the Baycon 25 (and Westercon 60, yes, the year of two cons) staff. It's disappointing to see what's gone down, but not surprising.

For my Baycon staff peeps who left:

You're going to hear a lot of "this happened before." You're going to hear a lot of "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

This has happened before, and over the same issues. Leaving, though, isn't the insane choice. Banging your head against the wall over and over when problems aren't fixed over and over is the insane choice.

I don't blame any of you for deciding that reassurances things would be fixed weren't reassuring enough. There comes a time when only results are reassuring enough.

Don't let this ruin your fun. Go to the con. Don't go to fiddle while Rome burns. Don't go to show off your "Not my con, monkeyboy" button. Go to spend time with your friends, some who are still on committee, some who aren't on committee, some who never were on committee. You'll be surprised.

For my Baycon staff peeps who stayed:

Robert has it right. You've got 4 months to rebuild the departments that left and put together a con.

That said, don't lose track of the message that the folks who left gave y'all. You've worked with them for many years. They aren't a bunch of malcontents and drama queens. There are problems inside Baycon, and ignoring them doesn't help anybody.

For the Artistic Solutions Board:

You blew it. Big time.

You lost the trust and support of over a dozen key people, people who have done great work for Baycon, people who have dedicated years of their lives to make Baycon a great event.

You can focus on the drama. You can focus on the tone. You can rail against communications failures. You can blame people for not being patient enough. It doesn't matter.

Suck it up. You lost the trust and support of many senior staffers. You lost it over some piddly paperwork.

This has happened before. It's Baycon's cycle. The board has to step up and break the cycle unless you want this to happen again in another 5 years.

Artistic Solutions has to acknowledge its mistakes. It has to correct those mistakes. It has to show how those mistakes will be avoided in the future. It has to, on a regular basis, show the remaining committee members that business is being attended to.

It has to rebuild trust with Baycon's staff and volunteers. Without that trust, Baycon's attendees are going to stop trusting in the event too, and that's the end.

Oh, and see if you can do this without all the bitterness and recriminations that followed previous walk-outs.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC)
Jan. 13th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
I hope this does not fall upon deaf ears. Nicely done.
Jan. 13th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the kind words, Andy.
Jan. 13th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
WOW. Thank you for the voice of reason.
Jan. 14th, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
Where was the voice of not-reason? Everything I've seen publicly so far has been pretty straightforward and, well, reasonable.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 14th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Stuff happens in regard to con politics and management problems everywhere.
Jan. 13th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Jan. 13th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Good luck dealing with whatever is going on behind the scenes.
Jan. 13th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Jan. 14th, 2010 05:41 am (UTC)
Jeez -- Andy, what the heck happened?

Some of my favorite con experiences were at BayCons. I remember one year a few weeks before the Con lamenting that I didn't have groupies. Then at the Con, there are all these people (total strangers!) wearing big "I (heart) Tony" buttons, with the legend "from rent-a-groupie" in small type. For two days I kept running into people wearing the buttons, and on the last day of the con a friend gave me a big "I'M TONY!!!" T-shirt. My friends had had these buttons made and were passing them out to people when I wasn't looking.

I love friends like that.

Is Siladi still around?
Jan. 14th, 2010 08:29 am (UTC)
Well said, but I have to stick with the "Fool me once" principle.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )