Otakon 2012 Con Feedback Panel
by Crystalyn Hodgkins and Gia Manry, Jul 29th 2012
The Con Feedback panel launched as soon as the closing ceremonies ended. Con Chair Dar Bennett-White led the panel. One attendee asked about letting attendees bring in and use their own controllers for video game tournaments, and Jim Vowles, director of programming, said that the staff will definitely look into that possibility after consulting the current policy on the situation. One attendee made a complaint about staff members being rude to those who came to Otakon in large groups, and White apologized and said he'd work with the attendee to understand the specific instances where staff was rude and address the situation.
One attendee mentioned that the lines were sometimes unorganized. The staff noted that there were certain events and panels where lines were much larger than they anticipated, so that contributed to line disorganization. One attendee asked if there would be a rate increase for members for next year, and Vowles noted that member rate increases is an issue that the staff debate every year. Vowles did specifically mention that the staff is finding funding for the special events for the 20th anniversary convention next year from elsewhere so that those special events won't contribute to a potential member rate increase.
One attendee said she had been attending Otakon every year since 2000, and this year's con was the smoothest-run convention so far. The attendee mentioned, however, that there were some issues regarding communication for when hotel room blocks opened up for this year's convention. The staff noted that for that incident, the problem was that the link to the hotel reservations was made public before it was ready, and that caused the issues. The staff mentioned that they are definitely working on it to make sure it doesn't happen again next year.
One attendee mentioned that there was about a three-hour wait on Friday at noon for the pre-registration line, and the staff said that the numbers for pre-registration jumped a lot this year from last year, which surprised the staff. The staff also noted that there was a problem with the line structure during that time period, and they decided to change the way the lines were moving, which made the lines move a bit quicker.
There were a few attendees who asked for the organizers to bring back the Maid Café, which made its debut at Otakon this year. There were also a few attendees who noted that the Guidebook app was very helpful and that the staff should continue to use it for future conventions.
One attendee noted that there was a lack of badge images to choose from this year, and she would like a choice of classic anime images as well. The staff responded that in order to use the images on those badges, they need to get permission, and it's a bit more difficult to get permission for more classic anime. However, the staff said they would definitely look into it.
Another attendee suggested that since so many panels reach capacity, leaving many in line unable to attend, if the staff could make a DVD to sell to attendees and those who couldn't make the con that would document all the panels. Vowles responded that would unfortunately be impossible because there were would be many legal hurdles to cross to allow something like that.
There was a question about Thursday's preregistration where a lot of people who lined up on Thursday evening could not get through the line that evening to get their badges. The staff noted that they were obligated to leave the Baltimore Convention Center by 11:00 p.m. that evening, but the organizers had noted on the convention website that attendees who preregistered could get their badges up until 11:00 p.m, which was incorrect since the staff needed time to close up for the evening and leave by 11:00 p.n. The staff noted that the times listed on the website for preregistration pickup would be changed in the future so that doesn't happen again.
White closed con feedback panel by thanking the attendees and noting that the unofficial attendance number was 32,574 attendees. He then announced that the date for Otakon 2013 will be August 9-11.
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