Authors are the backbone of panels at many types of book cons, including comic cons, but author Alex Acks says that panelists were treated like barely tolerated nuisances at last month’s Denver Comic Con.
As part of programming, but not an invited “celebrity guest,” I had to go collect my badge for each day I was on programming, and that badge was only good for the day. The badge just generically says, “PROGRAMMING [day]” and no name. It’s a little annoying to not get a comped membership for the entire weekend and to have to go through the badge pickup dance every freaking day (especially when badge pickup and entry is as confused as it was), but that’s a thing I can roll with.
The bigger problem was that I wasn’t given a name card at any of the panels I was on. None of the regular panelists got name cards either. We also weren’t given an opportunity and supplies to just make them ourselves. This is, frankly, bizarre.
At every con I’ve ever been to, large or small, having a little folded name card that you can put in front of yourself so people know who the hell you are is standard practice. Some cons just put the name cards in packets that are given to the moderators, so you get a fresh one at every panel. Some cons give you one name card when you pick up your badge, and it’s your responsibility to carry it with you and not lose it. But you get a name card regardless.
Except at DCC apparently.
So what this adds up to, when I have no name on my badge and no name card, is that unless someone was in the panel audience and ready to take notes at the very beginning when I introduced myself, they had no way of knowing who the hell I was. I had multiple attendees ask me or other panelists who we were for that reason. And if one person asked the question, you know there were at least ten others wondering but unwilling speak up themselves for various reasons.
This strikes me as not an affront so much as a reminder of why you always carry backup badges, ribbons, and lanyards at conferences (the bottom of my bag often resembles a trash can).
Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s really just par for the course. Some conferences put more work into their badges, facilities, and operations than others, and sometimes accidents happen.
Even the nameless badge is not that uncommon. In fact, my last press badge for the NY Comic Con was (to the best of my recollection) a nameless generic badge that simply said press. From what I can find online, the NY Comic Con has used similar nameless badges for years – and so does the Denver Comic Con.
Okay, the lack of name placards is a little odd; you would expect that to be printed in advance. But aside from that I don’t see how this is more than a garden variety nuisance.
How does this tale compare to your experiences at conferences?
image by AskDaveTaylor