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As Others Might See Us [Mar. 8th, 2010|10:06 am]
Instant Fanzine


On the Eastercon mailing list today:
I have read the draft programme for Odyssey over the weekend and am dismayed at the number of bondage workshops which appear. I feel most strongly that they give the wrong impression of the convention, have nothing to do with science fiction and have no place at an Eastercon. [...] Most people are broad-minded enough, for sure, but there are *so many* bondage items in the programme - plus several poly items - that it's as prominent as the comics stream.

Are you attending Eastercon?

Maybe, and I'm more likely to attend now that I know about the bondage workshops
Maybe, but I'm less likely to attend now that I know about the bondage workshops

Are you dismayed at the number of bondage workshops in the programme?

Yes, there are too many!
Yes, there are too few!

What proportion of the programme should be devoted to bondage, rather than comics?

A greater proportion should be devoted to bondate than to comics
These two topics should get equal time
A greater proportion should be devoted to comics than to bondage

Should the Odyssey committee remove the bondage items from the programme?

Yes, some of them
Yes, all of them
No, and they should add more

Is the correct solution to add a panel about bondage in comics?


EDIT: Committee response (see also comments)

[User Picture]From: fjm
2010-03-08 10:15 am (UTC)
Dunno. Right now, their programme is inaccessible.
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[User Picture]From: coalescent
2010-03-08 10:26 am (UTC)
See reply to ang_grrr, I also have the pdf and will email it to you.
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[User Picture]From: ang_grrr
2010-03-08 10:17 am (UTC)
Unfortunately the loss of the website means that I can't check on the number of bondage items or when they are so I can't make an informed input into the debate.

I've no problem with fringe interests being represented in conventions. Personally if people are interested enough to turn up to a panel item then I think it should be run but I think there is a limit to the amount of *programme* time devoted to a particular interest AND Jane is right that the public perception of the con could be skewed. The point I think she's making is that if it was something "weird" but relevant to SF then it would be defensible but this isn't.

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[User Picture]From: coalescent
2010-03-08 10:25 am (UTC)
A quick search gives me:

Friday 4pm: Bondage workshop -- knots
Saturday 4pm: Bondage workshop -- dragonfly harness
Sunday 4pm: Bondage workshop -- hog tie


Friday 3pm: Poly social gathering
Sunday 6-7pm: Poly social gathering

Interestingly, the poly gatherings specify under-18s only if accompanied by a parent or guardian, but the bondage workshops have no age restrictions.

On the comics front I spot:

Friday 11am: Comics 101
Friday 5pm: How writers and artists interact [broader than just comics]
Saturday 6pm: small press comics
Sunday 1pm: Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog: heroes or anti-heroes?

This is trickier, though, because there are some topics that can obviously include discussion of comics without necessarily being "comics panels" per se.
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[User Picture]From: coalescent
2010-03-08 10:28 am (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that's fewer bondage-related programme items than 2008.
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[User Picture]From: ang_grrr
2010-03-08 10:30 am (UTC)
I'd be interested to see the time devoted to the other fringe stuff although my impression is that things like the Tai Chi take place in space that wouldn't be wanted for programming at that time anyway.
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[User Picture]From: communicator
2010-03-08 10:34 am (UTC)
I did respond without seeing the program, and they do seem a bit specific. Having said that - what do I care anyway? I see the point about skewing perception, but will anyone really change their opinions as a result of three items buried in a program? I don't think so.
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[User Picture]From: fjm
2010-03-08 10:44 am (UTC)
Three seems reasonable. I might have scheduled them after 8pm if I were doing this, but I wouldn't have not done them.

Bearing in mind I'm Poly: it's the Poly social gathering I'm less keen on, because that seems to me to be in the "type of people" category, rather than "programme item". I'd expect people on the poly news groups to organise something like this, and spread the word, rather than a programme to have an item which seems to say "x type of people only").
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[User Picture]From: ang_grrr
2010-03-08 10:18 am (UTC)
And I use weird as in "public perception of item" rather than a personal view on bondage, BDSM, comics etc. :)
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[User Picture]From: ninebelow
2010-03-08 10:50 am (UTC)
This will be my first Eastercon and this is definitely the sort of stuff that puts me off. If you programme lots of things which are essentially "things people in fandom like" rather than anything actually to do with SF then you are aren't going to draw anyone else in and you are going to end up with a stagnant fandom.
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[User Picture]From: gaspode
2010-03-08 11:58 am (UTC)
I'd look at the program

Peopel are talking about 5 or six items (which should of been (and will be) Scheduled later out of well over two hundred ....

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[User Picture]From: despotliz
2010-03-08 11:55 am (UTC)
There was a poly meetup at Orbital, which was organised on the spot when a group of attendees realised there was demand and asked for a room - I presume that the ones on this year's programme are just them asking well in advance so they don't have trouble finding a room on the day.

I don't mind having some non-SF-related programming at an Eastercon, and with one with as large and multi-streamed a programme as Odyssey I expect more than at a smaller convention. Generally it's fine, I just don't go to those panels, but I would not expect to see as many panels on a particular interest as there are on bondage.
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[User Picture]From: watervole
2010-03-08 11:06 pm (UTC)
You're correct. We were asked by several people if we'd put a poly social on the programme this time. The informal one at Orbital ended up with a lot of people squashed into a very small room.
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[User Picture]From: gaspode
2010-03-08 11:58 am (UTC)
By the way ... we have fixed the website ...
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[User Picture]From: gaspode
2010-03-08 12:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Scheduling ...

Two things I want to point out

1. We are fixing the scheduling - Draft program remember
2. We have over two hundred program items, not just 5 ....
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[User Picture]From: bohemiancoast
2010-03-08 12:06 pm (UTC)
Minicon in Minneapolis grew and grew and grew until it was nearly 4000 people and a sort of "Greater Midwest festival of alternative lifestyles". Eventually it imploded; the work involved running a con that big was too great and it struggled with this issue, that it was attracting a lot of people that really had zero interest in SF but were interested in the peripheral activities. The people who dragged Minicon, kicking and screaming, back to being a much smaller science fiction convention, went through a lot of pain. I do not want to see this happen to Eastercon and I am just slightly worried that it might.

In particular, I think that history shows that ninebelow is wrong; that the risk is not a stagnant fandom, it's that everyone on the London BDSM scene concludes that this is their convention too.

I've said 'Eastercon should drop all of these items' but in fact I believe it should just have not planned them in the first place. I don't have a problem with a con having a *single* item on any given non-SF theme if there's demand for it. But bringing in outside speakers to talk about BDSM -- way, way beyond the pale.

Let's give an alternative example. Many people who attend the Eastercon will knit. So holding a stitch and bitch so that they can get together and chat about knitting is fine. Holding a single "learn to knit" workshop is marginal -- Eastercons have often had workshop streams on all sorts of things. Inviting an external speaker to teach a "how to turn a heel" class would be completely mad.
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[User Picture]From: annafdd
2010-03-08 12:24 pm (UTC)
In particular, I think that history shows that [info]ninebelow is wrong; that the risk is not a stagnant fandom, it's that everyone on the London BDSM scene concludes that this is their convention too.

I really don't see it happening. The BDSM scene in London is very hardcore and they wouldn't consider this worthy of a trip, let alone paying a membership to get in. Believe you me, there are plenty of much more interesting things for them to do on any given Saturday and Sunday.
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[User Picture]From: gaspode
2010-03-08 12:31 pm (UTC)
Its more that people say - 'I can do xxxxx do you want me to' and if we think its of interest to people it'll be programed in one of the sub streams some where.

We are going for a diverse program. No one is going to like everything but we are pretty sure everything will be enjoyed by several someones or it wouldn't be there. I admit there was a scheduling cockup, but we had already picked it up before this morning, It's a draft schedule after all. As far as the bondage items go - they are four items out of around 200. Also Of course they would be Adults only.

As far as the poly social meets go - they are purely meets in the bar that the orgniser asked us to make a note of on the program so people would know they were going on.
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[User Picture]From: pigeonhed
2010-03-08 12:44 pm (UTC)
I agree totally. There are many football fans in fandom, but I see no scheduling of Match of the Day. Many SF readers also read crime but nobody would consider Ian Rankin as GoH. Try to cover everything and you lose the essence of the original concept. It's still nominally the national SF convention but it seems that SF particularly its written form is becoming a fringe interest which is wrong.
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[User Picture]From: watervole
2010-03-08 10:56 pm (UTC)
We didn't bring in an outside speaker to talk about BDSM. One of the members offered.
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[User Picture]From: lil_shepherd
2010-03-08 01:43 pm (UTC)
It would be interesting to know how many people attend these events.

Personally, I have no intention of attending and am not interested. So long as no-one else wants the programming space at these times, I have no beef with these workshops. On the other hand, if they are taking up space that might be used by something actually related to SF/fantasy (such as comics, indeed) then I do object.
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[User Picture]From: gaspode
2010-03-08 02:00 pm (UTC)
In the case of Odyssey we are currently at 1100 members. Generally speaking we are running 6 or seven different program Items at any one time. The workshops are in rooms which hold around 50 people so take up a very small amount of program time.
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[User Picture]From: jamiam
2010-03-08 06:14 pm (UTC)
Your tongue-in-cheek solution actually appeals to my secret adult comics inner fan, whereas the bondage workshops themselves just kind of annoy me.
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[User Picture]From: scarypudding
2010-03-09 12:47 pm (UTC)

I would like to complain about this poll.

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[User Picture]From: scarypudding
2010-03-09 01:08 pm (UTC)

Re: I would like to complain about this poll.

To be more specific, question #3. If there was one BDSM panel, does that mean the proper number of comics panels is two? If there were twenty comics panels, does that mean the proper number of BDSM panels is seventeen?

Asking for more comics programming, that seems like a legitimate complaint. Asking for less of some specific kind of programming that you don't like doesn't. Especially when it's clear that most of the complainers on the Odyssey mailing list don't have a general problem with not-directly-SF-related programming, they're just squicked out by bondage.

Mind you, being geeks, a bunch of them will probably eventually discover they've backed themselves into a logical corner and have to also demand a reduction in tai chi and morris dancing.
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