Opening Day of Worldcon 75

It’s already happened! Here are highlights, and some issues that have come up.


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Santa Claus has come to #Worldcon75!

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14 thoughts on “Opening Day of Worldcon 75

  1. The panel room size really is a problem. I also couldn’t get into a panel I wanted to see and I was far from the only one.

    Otherwise I’ve been enjoying myself wandering around the trade and exhibition hall.

  2. Yeah the panel thing is a problem and I’m frankly astounded just how much they underestimated Opening Ceremonies space needs.

    Also their logistics and/or communication are poor. They said we had to wait while the room was emptied after Opening Ceremonies, before the next event (live “Tea & Jeopardy”), something about changing the room – but like 1/3 the participants stayed in. They obviously weren’t resetting the floor layout – the doors were open part of the time; we could see the people sitting there and the lack of changes. Yet we had to keep standing and waiting quite a while to get in (after people who wanted to leave had left, and no more were leaving), for no apparent reason. A few people snuck in – I should’ve done so; standing there for a long time in a line* was a PITA. My impression was – quite possibly wrong, but it’s the impression I got – that the people on the ground were either clueless or else just never got the okay to let folks in. (shrug) Frustrating.

    * A line that didn’t wind up mattering, since then people were allowed through any doors.

    All that said, the events I attended were groovy, @Hampus Eckerman’s exhibit is awesome, and there’s a very nice game area (but it’s a shame everything closes so early…). Oh, and “Tea & Jeopardy” was great, of course. 😀

  3. More and bigger rooms will open tomorrow, I’m told, and there will be more tracks, so hopes are that the crowds will be more spread out. I think it’s not only the numbers signed up that were a surprise, but how early in the con we turned up.

  4. From what I understand the space issues are down to the con basically being hit with a “crash load” of members on Wednesday. Some space wasn’t open for use today because, frankly, it was presumed attendance would be a lot lighter on the Wednesday of the con than it was (at least, compared to memberships sold, etc.).

    More concerning was the crowding in the upstairs hall (floor two in the conference center), which basically became impassible when panels let out (since people were queueing for the next panels in the hall, and people were trying to get through as well…it got a little claustrophobic). The tables and chairs in that hall likely need to be moved /somewhere/ to aid traffic flow. I don’t think that hall was designed for 400+ people to try and move in different directions all at the same time…

    Otherwise it’s not off to a bad start, but if today is any indication attendance might end up a bit on the higher-than-planned side.

  5. @lurkertype

    Obviously I am Not There (and so green with envy that I could cosplay as an Orion) but there hasn’t been anyone freaking out on the fans for convention accessibility facebook group (well, not about that*) and while a quick glance at Mari Ness’ twitter reveals she’s broken a caster wheel (eeeek really not the best thing to break) that seems to be unrelated to the convention area itself. (Cobbles: Evil.) Might be problems elsewhere, of course, but I haven’t seen them yet.

    From a personal perspective, and a guess based on other comments, if corridors are becoming difficult to pass for the able-bodied then they will usually be very, very frustrating for anyone with mobility issues or personal space requirements. I could eel through most crowds in a snap as a small, flexible, mobile person, but doing so in a wheelchair/on crutches/with a cane/using a walker is not quite so easy, and in a wheelchair people also don’t always notice you which can be a bit challenging. And sometimes leads to getting elbowed in the head. Not super fun.

    *There was a rather contentious discussion about how access support is being provided** but I think it was resolved.
    **Someone was told they would have to wear a visible ribbon full-time but it turned out that wasn’t the case.

  6. Sounds fun, but kinda glad I’m just living vicariously hearing about those crowds. Hope things ease up.

  7. @Meredith, lurkertype, yeah, the ribbons are always optional. But in the rush the whole spiel might have not been given, or given and missed. I’m sorry that happened.

    There have, in fact, been complaints at the Access desk (I am working Registration, but was seconded to the Access desk yesterday) about people on wheels and people using crutches/canes having difficulty getting through the crowds. That was probably one factor in closing sales today, which I had just heard about when I saw Mike’s new post.

    With opening up new rooms, and maybe obtaining more rooms from the venue, I hope it will be better today and the rest of the weekend.

  8. As long as the Holiday Inn rooms are big enough to swing a power chair/scooter around, and poor Mari gets a damn ramp up to her panel, is good.

  9. There are special volunteers whose mission it is to quickly empty the corridors and see that no one is just standing there and talking. That means that there is a giant rush directly after all panels, after that it is easier to get past. The 2-3 rows at the front are also reserved for those with accesability issues, which my father – who uses a cane – is very happy for.

  10. @lurkertype:

    The accessibility wrt mobiliyt of the Holiday Inn conference center is decent, as far as I can tell. I’m not using wheels or crutches myself, but I navigated them frequently with trolleys of various sorts.

    (1) The corridors were not especially wide, as others had noted. Together with thick queues and lots of people moving around, that meant people with mobility issues were having trouble.

    (2) The conference center was in two floors, and there were relatively few elevators available, and not all of them conveniently located. I had the advantage of earlier visits and the security tour to handle this effectively, but it required quite a bit of planning.

    (3) Especially troublesome was the short (3 steps) stair on the ground floor. There was a wheelchair lift, but it was slow to operate. The alternative was a relatively long detour using another path.

    (4) That said, people with access issues were having priority to get into the programme rooms. However, a friend of mine who have trouble standing for extended periods but who usually does not need or want an Access ribbon, had to abandon at least one programme item.

  11. Karl-Johan, re item 4 on your list, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Access is not only for those who identify as disabled. We are happy to give ribbons to people who can’t stand in long lines.

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