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Eurofurence 25 "Fractures in Time" - Estrel Hotel Berlin, August 14-18, 2019Follow eurofurence on Twitter

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Author Topic: EF24 Feedback (Many points)  (Read 1336 times)

Rishary

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #30 on: 02.09.2018, 19:47:57 »

I would love to see responses / discussion about the other points of feedback that I have written, not just the early access.

As an artist and regular attendee view, I personally wouldn't even mind if the sponsors and supersponsors had a specific daily timeslot to browse the DD. They decide to give something to a Con they love, so why not give them an hour of stress-free Den browsing? I can't afford sponsoring, but I totally agree that those who can should receive perks. Not to "pay" them, but to show them gratitude.
I personally tend to visit the Den shortly before closing or during popular events, because I dislike getting shoved around by a gazillion people. And guess what? I still got a hold of nearly all the artists I wanted to this year. Not being able to commission the 80€-sketch artists whose slots are sold out within seconds of the Den opening won't kill me. And yes, I have artwork made by those artists myself.

If you're that desperate to get a slot with a super limited artist, talk to them! Believe it or not, most artists are super agreeable. Be nice, be polite, value their work and you can even get files to print artwork at home because shipping long distance for a single print is just stupid. I have files on my PC for printing artwork that hung in the Mainstage =P

I agree, which is why I stand by putting that timeslot on Friday or Saturday and letting whoever wants to chase a hard to get commission to queue up on Thursday. All the other perks (Including early access at a day other than Thursday) are great ways to show the sponsors gratitude.

Of course missing on arsits whose slots are sold out within seconds won't kill anyone but getting to them shouldn't be decided by who agrees to pay 160 euro extra (Or get a friend to do it for them) - You want it, you queue up, fairly.

It still boils down to the following cases:
If you can get them on later days/outside of the con then this perk would be just as valuable on another day that isn't Thursday.
If you can't get them on later days/outside of the con then it isn't fair, it just adds 160 euro to whoever wants to get them or they simply ask a friend (If they wouldn't happen to super sponsor regardless)
« Last Edit: 02.09.2018, 19:50:14 by Rishary »
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o'wolf

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #31 on: 02.09.2018, 21:57:03 »

This is going in circles.

The underlying issue is that everyone — well, maybe not everyone, but a huge amount of people — wants to be among the first in the dealers room when it opens on Thursdays. Obviously, that cannot work and only leads to a huge queue with a waiting time of several hours. For safety reasons, we cannot allow that. The queue blocks the emergency routes, causes medical issues for those waiting in line for hours (dehydration, etc.)

Given that we currently cannot increase the size of the dealers room without doubling the registration fee to rent ECC hall 2 - what can we do then? The completely fair solution would be to randomly assign time slots for visiting the dealers room. I cannot imagine that anyone wants this. Another is to send anyone away whenever the queue has grown too large. This would cause a lot of aggression and complaints - and most importantly: it does not solve the issue as those turned away will just congregate elsewhere.

Another way is to stretch the rush by giving certain groups a head start, such as sponsors and super sponsors. This is giving our valued sponsors something back while reducing first rush issues. Fair enough. As a side effect, it effectively drives away wisecracks who'd camp out in front of the doors... However, the combined group of regular and super sponsors grew to approximately 900 attendees, almost a third of our total number of attendees. While we very much appreciate their support and thank everyone for their contribution, this poses the problem that the first rush queue got way too long to be handled safely again. So this year we decided split the combined sponsor group into super sponsors and regular sponsors. This reduced the size of the queue for both groups and thus the individual waiting time, and kept it safe for everyone.

Thus, while super sponsors are getting something extra this way, it's basically a side effect of crowd control.
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Rishary

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #32 on: 02.09.2018, 22:46:30 »

This is going in circles.

The underlying issue is that everyone — well, maybe not everyone, but a huge amount of people — wants to be among the first in the dealers room when it opens on Thursdays. Obviously, that cannot work and only leads to a huge queue with a waiting time of several hours. For safety reasons, we cannot allow that. The queue blocks the emergency routes, causes medical issues for those waiting in line for hours (dehydration, etc.)

Given that we currently cannot increase the size of the dealers room without doubling the registration fee to rent ECC hall 2 - what can we do then? The completely fair solution would be to randomly assign time slots for visiting the dealers room. I cannot imagine that anyone wants this. Another is to send anyone away whenever the queue has grown too large. This would cause a lot of aggression and complaints - and most importantly: it does not solve the issue as those turned away will just congregate elsewhere.

Another way is to stretch the rush by giving certain groups a head start, such as sponsors and super sponsors. This is giving our valued sponsors something back while reducing first rush issues. Fair enough. As a side effect, it effectively drives away wisecracks who'd camp out in front of the doors... However, the combined group of regular and super sponsors grew to approximately 900 attendees, almost a third of our total number of attendees. While we very much appreciate their support and thank everyone for their contribution, this poses the problem that the first rush queue got way too long to be handled safely again. So this year we decided split the combined sponsor group into super sponsors and regular sponsors. This reduced the size of the queue for both groups and thus the individual waiting time, and kept it safe for everyone.

Thus, while super sponsors are getting something extra this way, it's basically a side effect of crowd control.

Actually, we are definitely not going in circles as you managed to present me with the first logical, thought-out, non-fallacious and well put argument on this subject ever since I started having discussions and debates about it. This could single handedly convince me to admit defeat and drop this feedback point if:
a. I would understand why I got all the other responses first, even from people who should have known this reasoning. (I understand that you owe me nothing here, but why wasn't this brought up first if this is the reasoning?)
b. In the future, when the con (hopefully) continues to grow and eventually outgrows the venue / or requires the renting of ECC hall 2, assuming that now the queue is no longer an issue, the perk would be up for discussion again.

Since we can't really know anything about the future (Condition B) we can just ignore that one for now. I would be very satisfied with just condition A.

On a side note, do you know if this is also the main reason in other cons that choose to provide this perk?
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Futeko

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #33 on: 02.09.2018, 23:01:38 »

Quote
a. I would understand why I got all the other responses first, even from people who should have known this reasoning. (I understand that you owe me nothing here, but why wasn't this brought up first if this is the reasoning?)
This is literally the first thing I told you about this topic (see page 1). Sorry if that wasn't clear/detailed/logical/thought-out/non-fallacious enough.
« Last Edit: 02.09.2018, 23:20:11 by Futeko »
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Rishary

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #34 on: 02.09.2018, 23:19:56 »

I beg to differ, this was never represented by you as the main reason. Instead it was just thrown in as another non-main argument. You phrased it as:
"Please also don't disregard the fact that having..."

If this was the main argument and was indeed a safety issue (blocking fire exits, dehydration from standing in queue) you would have used those terms instead of saying it's there to provide "a more comfortable experience".
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Futeko

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #35 on: 02.09.2018, 23:26:31 »

I'm sorry I did not use the terms you were expecting in the areas you deemed appropriate, my good sir. Though my idea of a discussion is over from the moment it turns to debating the definition and meaning of words and grammar.

I'm glad o'wolf was able to clarify the situation in the terms you were expecting. Thank you for your feedback.
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Rishary

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #36 on: 02.09.2018, 23:38:15 »

You cannot seriously except me to believe that I (Or anyone else for that matter) could deduct from your post that the main reason for having an early access is as o'wolf have said - security/safety, especially after I (and others) have received many other (previously countered) reasons. How come other people that I have talked to (again, not mentioning names) that are supposed to know the main reason weren't able to provide it?

I'm sorry, I cannot consider the situation clarified as what I referred to as condition A was never satisfied.

(By the way, I fully agree that IF indeed early access is a must as o'wolf have said, then it is perfectly valid to give it to (super)sponsors).

I still want to hear opinions on the other unrelated points, this doesn't have to boil down to just early access discussion.
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SiranaJHelena

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #37 on: 03.09.2018, 01:47:31 »

As I am neither sponsor nor super-sponsor and rarely buy stuff in the Dealer's Den I might not be a pro on this. But I'd like to point out that rearranging the queue for whatever reason doesn't have an influence on what which artist is selling at which time eventually. The Eurofurence provides the space for the Dealer's Den, everything else is up to the artists. There are some rules regarding the content (no fan art, nothing illegal,...) and that you may not block other artists' space but there are no rules on how they do their commissions or selling their merchandise.
And that's perfectly fine because artists are no robots (robot-fursonas excluded) and are not indentured to spend their time in the way every individual attendee would like to. Or bring twice as many prints, jewellery, books or coffee cups as needed, so everyone has a chance to get one, despite the costs and storage room needed afterwards. Providing all this stuff you are seing in the Dealer's Den requires a lot of money, months of effort and litres of coffee for preparation AND for transporting it to the con and selling this to you. Many of the people in the Dealer's Den aren't doing this as a fulltime job but as a hobby, just as they don't attend the EF because their boss said so (like a community manager at a gamescom or an artist for marvel at a comic con) but because they love the furry fandom, furry art and they want to have a good time with other furries, including you.

Many of the artist's try to make compromises e.g. by offering not all commission slots at once. Many of them leave business cards at their table so you can contact them afterwards if you didn't catch a slot or just want to stay in contact. And they are all very nice people; if you ask nicely before the con, some may put one (enter your favourite item here) aside for you to get it when you're there. But no matter when you are and no matter what artist you want to have a commission from: There will always be something not available at this time when you are looking for it. This may be sad and frustrating but that's just not how the world works. We as attendees or staff can try to improve things, we can try to reach a level where these frustrating moments don't happen very often. That's what these threads and the critique panel at sunday is for. Nevertheless there are limitations simply because the world is not perfect and will never be. So at some point you might have to accept that no solution will end up to be perfect for everyone.
« Last Edit: 03.09.2018, 02:13:44 by SiranaJHelena »
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Kulze

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #38 on: 03.09.2018, 02:44:16 »

Ok, so this is really becoming a bit... let's say tedious.

I'll make 2 parts, the first is roughly 2/3 of the post, if you're tired of the ongoing discussion, skip ahead to the other points further down.

We got the following points down:

DD items are often sold out - for specific artists - when normal attendees are able to get in. Ok, that's a given, and it wouldn't change even without any Sponsors at all. Some are high in demand, without those respective lines you need to camp hours before opening, missing out on events (as I said already) and leading to blocking the passages (as I said already). The size and order of arguments is non-important in that matter, it was said, don't throw it on the side, no matter how much emphasis was given towards it.

Solutions:
Ask the respective artist before the opening of the Dealers Den, some will say no, some will gladly give the respective item away beforehand, just simple business after all.
Ask a friend with a Supersonsor to reserve a slot, if you don't know anyone... well, get the Supersonsor yourself if you just can't live without the respective item in mind.
Ask the artist outside of a con for a commission, yes, not every artist offers those, but many do.

With those 3 in combination, receiving the respective item should be doable. There respective amount of people not able to work with even one of those 3 solutions is particularly small, so sadly to say - they don't matter in the big picture. If you're one of those people, well... that's as sadly to say tough luck, and surely possible to get yourself into the position to use one of those solutions with a bit of effort.

Also, as a fourth option: Propose a commission with triple payment up-front to the respective artist, many will gladly 'open' a spot in their list. If you really want something, there is always a way.

Next thing: Unfairness. If you want to speak about that, don't disregard any particular point about it because of your personal views. ANY perk at all is unfair, that's why it's... well... a perk. Nobody will even care if you pay the Supersonsor or normal attendee if you're blatantly stating "I'll only do it IF!', this line of reasoning is useless. Either you like the con enough to pay the extra price, or you don't, nothing more, nothing less. Everything else is a bonus, was always intended like this, and is mostly handled like this as well, with beneficial side-effects that can't be overlooked.

So, given this, I'm also quite curious as to which items you might refer to, or rather the artists in respect which are usually sold out by the time the normal attendees have entrance. If it was a special item, I'm sure with a personal talk many things can be handled. If they were not merch but individual things... well, those are rare in itself, and the only obvious one are commissions of any sort, leading us back to those said solutions. If the artist is out of materials to provide any service you absolutely want, and just can't afford not to have for your mental well-being... suggest going out and getting said materials for them, I'm sure the respective artist is fairly happy about that, and Berlin is a nice and big town with everything available in the course of a single day.

If you got a solution, then please present it, don't just say 'stop this, it's unfair!'. Yes... life is unfair, deal with it. If you want to make it better, provide solutions to make it such, if someone smashes it to smithereens because it involves massive problems accounted to the idea, make it better until it's a viable solution. If it's shut down then... well, then and only then you got the right to complain.

As for artists being out in general: Not everyone will EVER be able to get a picture of the 'famous' artists. Either because their price-range is out of reach, or the slots are always closed, or any other reason. Just because other people get access at different times, the same amount will still receive something from them. So, the bigger question for me is who to give them to rather. Normal attendees or any sort of Sponsor? I would say the later, simply because they keep the convention running to a large degree. Quite a large amount of artists are freelancers without any knowledge about running a proper business either, so they don't know when to raise the price, or how to price from the beginning, which leads to said 'cheap but never available' artists.



But away from that now, I'll speak about the other parts of your initial post then:

Water availability:
That's actually quite a hefty problem at Estrel, as a single bottle of water from their hotel costs 8€, which is... well... sorry to use the term, but that price is simply appalling. There ought to be a simple way to receive clean, fresh and simple tap-water, nothing fancy or out of the norm, just fluid to live by, that's true.

I suggest talking about water-dispensers with degradable cups, they are cheap to rent and can be set up in minutes. Just the allowance from the hotel needs to be there. And if they don't allow it, it would be a good thing for their business, but a bad thing for their reputation definitely. Nobody likes people falling down from dehydration, and we have far too many each year anyway. That would alleviate the problem slightly. If it can't be done out of safety concerns of any way... well, then that's a shame.

Feedback session:
I frankly wasn't there, missed the timespot, so I can't speak much about it. What I suggest is a separate panel if time allows for it, with some of the people in higher positions being there to receive the feedback related to their posts. It would make it easier to get the lines sorted out if it becomes a common thing, as well as better the con with out-of-the-box thinking.

Main bar:
I mainly got my things there, this year they were quicker then before. Not perfect, sometimes they worked literally at snails pace, focusing on shifting around things rather then actually selling stuff, but that's the common thing we got used to. It's not bad, it's not perfect, but it's fine for the mass of people. They need to work on a better system to get the most wanted things out swiftly though.

Length of the PPS:

It's fine, therefore 3 segments. Just Cheetah needs to allow other ideas then his own to be done. One good way to achieve this would be a little price-event, drafts are sent in after the topic for the next con is revealed and the best draft wins a little price... and becomes next years paw-pet-show. It would keep the quality of the show up sky-high, as well as solve those problems with clear overworking and time limitations for thinking up new stories over and over again. It's a great show, it's had great years, but the same problems arise regularly, especially with evaluating what's a quality story and what isn't. The team makes a massive effort, but it simply feels like there isn't put enough effort - or simply not the most efficient effort rather said - into proof reading and plugging plot-holes.

As a few of those things which shouldn't happen but have:

The main character not progressing emotionally during the play.
Side characters are the actual main characters.
The 'villain' side is abstracted and not properly worked out.
Changes in characters from one scene to another are sometimes not explained at all.

That's why EF 14 and 23 were such good shows remembered by many. Those parts were all clear set, it was emotional and understandable for most people, and the time wasn't any concern. If those things can be made as good as the acting, the preparation of the puppets and the work put into effects then every year would be as memorable. Though.. it's also the hardest part to get right, and even seasoned story readers and writers miss out on crucial things from time to time, it would simply lower the chances of such things to happen.
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Hai

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #39 on: 03.09.2018, 08:57:07 »

Kulze: The script literally takes about 8 months to develop in tandem with all the details of the show. In the beginning Cheetah and Eisfuchs visit each other driving through Germany for up to once per scene per weekend to flesh it all out. A scenario with a submitted draft from the _outside_ and prize is just impossible in our setup.

What is very realistic though is to motivate someone who has a great passion for this kind of thing to join our team and contribute to the script from the _inside_ (it's written online for the team to participate), and if it goes well steer bigger parts of it for the following year. It takes a lot of dedication and time, but we are very welcoming and supportive to newcomers so having another fresh writer or editor learning the trade of our team and turning productive with us is quite possible. :)


Regarding sponsors I keep seeing a common misconception here which is not so easy to figure out from our PR:
Sponsors don't help the convention afford better and bigger things! The budget is mostly fixed before the convention is made - after all, we need planning safety. Sponsors are there as part of a mix calculation, their sole point is to keep the prices for the lower tier down. If there were less (super)sponsors, we would still need about the same money to run the con, and hence the prices for the other tier(s) would go up. There are no extras afforded for the con or its staff or decorations or stage or anything - It all goes directly into supporting your other fellow congoers by making the con more affordable for them.
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Cheetah

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #40 on: 03.09.2018, 09:45:45 »

What is very realistic though is to motivate someone who has a great passion for this kind of thing to join our team and contribute to the script from the _inside_ (it's written online for the team to participate), and if it goes well steer bigger parts of it for the following year. It takes a lot of dedication and time, but we are very welcoming and supportive to newcomers so having another fresh writer or editor learning the trade of our team and turning productive with us is quite possible. :)

And that means, team members can make suggestions and help editing / streamlining the dialogues, etc.

Quote
Regarding sponsors I keep seeing a common misconception here which is not so easy to figure out from our PR:
Sponsors don't help the convention afford better and bigger things! The budget is mostly fixed before the convention is made - after all, we need planning safety.

I have to clarify this a bit: Sponsors definitely DO help the convention to afford bigger and better things. And the budget is in fact quite dynamic, planning safety is
attained by starting out with a conservative estimation based on the previous year, and adapting that upwards when actual cash starts flowing in. But of course hai is right
in that all attendance fees end up in the same bucket, there is no differentiation between the different types. Sponsors and Supersponsors simply contribute more
to everything. And that, of course, keeps the base fee down - because logically, if we wanted to achieve the same without sponsors, the base fee would need to be higher.

However, calling it "the sole purpose" is a bit of an oversimplification. In the end, every penny collected has the purpose of delivering bang for the buck.
« Last Edit: 03.09.2018, 10:11:33 by Cheetah »
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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #41 on: 03.09.2018, 12:26:21 »

Water availability:
That's actually quite a hefty problem at Estrel, as a single bottle of water from their hotel costs 8€, which is... well... sorry to use the term, but that price is simply appalling. There ought to be a simple way to receive clean, fresh and simple tap-water, nothing fancy or out of the norm, just fluid to live by, that's true.

I don't know what's the hangup about free water in germany, either. And I've grown up here. It's one of those cultural quirks that we just have to deal with. If I went to hotel management and asked them to give people something to drink without charging for it, I'd get that questioning stare that a manager gives you if you just talked to them in a foreign language they don't understand.

Here's what I do: I carry a water bottle with me, that I keep refilling with tap water. Tap water in germany has higher quality criteria than bottled water, it's essentially free, and available to even non-hotel guests in every washroom.

Quote
Feedback session:
I frankly wasn't there, missed the timespot, so I can't speak much about it. What I suggest is a separate panel if time allows for it, with some of the people in higher positions being there to receive the feedback related to their posts. It would make it easier to get the lines sorted out if it becomes a common thing, as well as better the con with out-of-the-box thinking.

We used to do that in the past, but we stopped - because it's really difficult to get everyone in a director position into one room at the same time, and in a mentally enough relaxed state to be open for a flood of unfiltered input like that :) We have our own little customer satisfaction team now, who run the feedback panel and the feedback survey, and help us with filtering the actual information from the avalanche of feedback we get so that we have something constructive to work with.

Quote
Main bar:
I mainly got my things there, this year they were quicker then before. Not perfect, sometimes they worked literally at snails pace, focusing on shifting around things rather then actually selling stuff, but that's the common thing we got used to. It's not bad, it's not perfect, but it's fine for the mass of people. They need to work on a better system to get the most wanted things out swiftly though.

Yeah, the second bar under the breakfast area is usually better and faster. We're relaying all complaints we get on site immediately to the manager. Unfortunately, feedback we give them after the con is almost worthless, because it's impossible for them to reconstruct the circumstances.

Quote
Just Cheetah needs to allow other ideas then his own to be done. One good way to achieve this would be a little price-event, drafts are sent in after the topic for the next con is revealed and the best draft wins a little price... and becomes next years paw-pet-show. It would keep the quality of the show up sky-high, as well as solve those problems with clear overworking and time limitations for thinking up new stories over and over again.

Actually, thinking up new stories over and over again makes you better at this :)

One of the reasons this show works is that we have the luxury of writing a story around the physical and timely constraints that are in our way, and create roles that exactly match the abilities of the actors in the team. We have to crank out a complete script that works within 5 months of weekend sessions, and then develop the play within 4 rehearsals. It takes a lot of experience to make that work.

If someone sent me a draft of sky-high quality, I would totally consider working on it.

But there's no guarantee a contributed script would be any better than what we do. Also, working with submitted scripts is a lot ... and I mean A LOT more difficult than it sounds. Also for the contributor. They'd have to be prepared to be rejected, and their work to be revised and rewritten, for example. Or live with the fact that a completely well written story could be unfavorable to the volunteers who'll have to play it for whatever reason.

People tend to jump on such an opportunity with a lot of unrealistic expectations, which is why I wouldn't want to make a contest that makes any promises in advance, for example.

Yeah, it's complicated :)
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Cifer

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #42 on: 03.09.2018, 13:19:12 »

As a few of those things which shouldn't happen but have:

The main character not progressing emotionally during the play.
Side characters are the actual main characters.
The 'villain' side is abstracted and not properly worked out.
Changes in characters from one scene to another are sometimes not explained at all.
Just for balance's sake: I enjoy supporting protagonists. And I like the idea of abstract villains - not every threat has a single face with a twirlable mustache. In the end, we know the relevant details of ERG: they've got a strong, but fading amount of influence on the government, they're not above sending hit-squads and bombs, they want their bomb back. But in the end, this wasn't a story about them, it was about our dearest snow kitty and the relationship with her family. Spending time on building a proper villain would have made the show even longer, but it would not have helped the central conflict.
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Rishary

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #43 on: 03.09.2018, 18:14:50 »

Since I don't want to clog this thread with repeated replies to the same arguments (about early access) I will no longer respond to stuff that I have already countered previously. (I am active here regularly, if you feel your argument is being ignored by me but I did not cover it previously in this thread, give me a poke).

Short summary of my responses (details are somewhere in this thread)
"You can still get contested items after early access/outside of the con/talk to the artist" - If so, then this perk isn't appealing anymore and would definitely not cause someone to supersponsor.
"It's just like other perks / it's as fair or unfair as other perks" - This is a false analogy because people getting the other perks doesn't directly screw me out of contested items. Who gets said items shouldn't be decided by who is willing to pay an extra fee. Reward people who sponsor, don't screw the ones that don't.
"The con needs sponsors or else the normal fee will go up" - This is a strawman argument because I never asked to remove sponsorship nor can anyone assert that removing the perk will reduce sponsorship levels in a significant way.
"It's a good thing because it's a free thing to give to sponsors" - Irrelevant, if it's unfair to others then it shouldn't be given even if it's free. You can also make a supersponsor exclusive elevator for free, that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
"We want to give sponsors a chill free non busy time to browse the den" - Fantastic idea, do it on Friday/Saturday.
"If you can afford commissions you can afford the extra fee" - Not only this isn't always true (200 euro is a lot more than 40), even if I can afford it doesn't mean I'm willing to pay 200 euro for said commission, especially if this money doesn't reach my favorite artist who I am chasing.
"You are just jealous" - This is an insulting ad hominem. Not only I can indeed afford it, I can also get a friend with super sponsor to do it for me. Even if I was jealous, this doesn't weaken my other arguments (Attack the arguments, not who is presenting them or why he is doing so).
"Dealer den and queue would be too cluttered at opening, becoming a safety hazard" - The only legit argument, if this was the reason, why was I given the other reasons before?
« Last Edit: 03.09.2018, 18:38:38 by Rishary »
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Dhary Montecore

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Re: EF24 Feedback (Many points)
« Reply #44 on: 03.09.2018, 18:59:20 »

As you summarized your stand neatly and as you said, you're ignoring anything you believe you answered already this thread may as well be locked now. I think everyone understood your point of view by now and it will be considered
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