i want so badly to ignore this and just get on with my life, considering that i’m in the midst of tour and traveling the US right now, but it’s clear that I can’t escape this. this is a very long post, i am keeping it under a cut.
additionally, at least until tumblr moves on from this, my askbox is off. it is a nightmare. i can’t deal with it right now.
so. I was an invited panelist at Dashcon, and I was on 10 panels over the weekend. my name is mark, I run Mark Reads and Mark Watches, and have been doing so for 5 years next month. (HOLY SHIT THAT IS A LONG TIME.) I have been attending cons for over a decade and been speaking at them as a panelist or a guest since 2011. Including my own tour events outside of cons, I have participated in over 150 “panels,” ranging from 50 minutes to 4 hours. I’m including this upfront because I’ve already been accused of being a 16-year-old nobody who doesn’t know what he’s doing at cons and is ruining fandom. Also, I’m apparently white and straight. ALSO THIS IS A MESS.
So you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been on tumblr in almost a week. This is because I’ve been at Dashcon, which I’m given to understand is a thing that basically everyone on this site either knows about or “knows about” by now.
Before I say anything else, I want to make it abundantly clear that as far as I am (or anyone I’ve spoken to is) concerned, Dashcon 2014 was a huge success. So much so, in fact, that I’ve already bought my badge for Dashcon 2015 in Indianapolis. There were problems, but that is to be expected from the first iteration of any convention, especially one put on by individuals with little-to-no experience organizing cons. The problems were addressed and corrected to the best of the admins’ (who have been as transparent as possible about everything) abilities.
Now, to address the issues that have been raised by the tumblr community, and clear up any misconceptions:
1) The rally on Friday night was because Dashcon didn’t want to pay the hotel. This is not true. Dashcon had an oral agreement with hotel management that a payment of $20,000 would be rendered on Saturday. At 9PM on Friday, a Dashcon admin was pulled aside by a member of upper hotel management and told that the arrangement had changed, and the payment was needed by 10PM. Dashcon had the necessary funds in the bank, but no way to access them in the timeframe allowed.
2) The rally was a scam; Dashcon accepted PayPal donations, which take 3-4 days to process. An understandable misunderstanding, but still not true. For most types of PayPal accounts, it does take a few days for transactions to process, but for certain types any funds received are available in minutes via the PayPal debit card, which one of the admins used to accept donations. Furthermore, every donation is being treated as a loan and being paid back, starting with the PayPal donations, and starting with the largest ones. The honor system is being used with regard to cash donations.
3) People should have given the money raised at the rally to charity instead. The money that was raised came out of people’s emergency money, and out of money that they had planned to spend in the vendors’ room. Many of of the people who donated were vendors who, like my roommate were forced to deal with the reality that if the con was shut down, they wouldn’t sell enough product to be able to afford rent, and responded by donating hundreds of dollars, possibly thousands in some cases. In addition, every single member of convention staff was locked out of their rooms for the duration of the crisis, and needed our help on a personal level. The fact that people who weren’t at the con feel like they have a right to dictate how the people who were spend our money is appalling, but there is talk of making DashProm a paid event in the future to commemorate the rally, with all proceeds going either to a charity that con-goers vote on ahead of time, or into a fund that would be used to help people who post about their personal financial emergencies on tumblr.
4) WtNV left because Dashcon didn’t feel they should have to pay for the performance. Patently false. Dashcon and WtNV had agreed in advance on a cash payment before the show. Dashcon had the money to pay the fee, but due to the previous night’s events, they only had ~2/3 of it in cash with the rest in the bank. Dashcon offered to pay what they had in cash and send someone to the bank to get the rest, but the courier would not have been back until after WtNV was scheduled to perform, and thanks to the fiasco the night before, the details of which were not yet widely known, had understandably little faith that they would be paid the full amount, and withdrew in order to protect their business.
5) Minors were allowed into the 18+ BDSM panel. This allegation first appeared almost an hour before the panel began and, according to the person who was running the panel, the OP privately admitted that they got their information fourth hand from “someone at the con.” The panelist has been a licensed BDSM instructor since she was 19 years old, and considers any claims that she allowed minors into her panel to be libel and slander aimed at tarnishing her professional reputation. The claim that there were minors in the room where the panel was to be held is true, but that was as of 5 minutes before the panel started, and they were removed before the panel began.
6) Dashcon is pointless because it’s basically just tumblr, but in person. Congratulations. You have successfully summarized the entire point of Dashcon.
Dashcon has made it clear that they understand that they messed up and made mistakes in organizing the convention; things like keeping a lawyer on retainer, but not having one present for all negotiations and agreements. Their mistakes were not remotely as severe as they have been portrayed by a segment of the tumblr community who not only weren’t at the con, but spent the majority of our Friday Night Collective Panic Attack under the impression that Dashcon is a My Little Pony convention and that “the bronies [were] finally getting what they deserve[d].”