Yes, yes, I KNOW we need a Bigger Boat

Note: These are my thoughts about some of the issues facing CONvergence.  They should not be construed as policy decisions, policy recommendations or as a dismissal of the point of view of anyone making suggestions for the convention.  I’m just thinking out loud.

Once CONvergence is over, the inevitable parade of commentary begins on what would help make the convention better.  I don’t hate this commentary.  I welcome it.  One comment we hear almost constantly is  “x panel needs a bigger room” and while the comment is absolutely fair, the response is not so easy.

Here’s the thing my friends – a good 50% of the panels were standing room only this year.  That number is only likely to increase.   We know full well that the rooms are too small for panels like PowerPoint Karaoke and Drinking with Geeks.

So where do we move them?

The inevitable suggestion is Main Stage. I’d love to say that is a great solution but it doesn’t account for the amount of work that must be done for any event taking place in there. Besides, if we fill Main Stage up with popular panels, where do we put the stuff that we already need to put on Main Stage?

Does that mean PowerPoint Karaoke wouldn’t be fantastic in Main Stage? No. What it means is that moving it to Main Stage is not as simple as finding a time and plugging it in.

And Main Stage itself isn’t necessarily big enough. Keep in mind that Vilification Tennis filled the Main Room and the overflow room this year. Could we fill a second overflow room next year? I doubt it. In three or four years?


BUT if you add a second overflow room, you reduce the number of large rooms available for panels by one.

Right next door to the Vilification Tennis overflow room this year was a panel called “Evolution and the Female Orgasm.”

It was standing room only.

So if you make another overflow room for Main Stage, where do you move that panel?

See the problem?

I’m not angry at people for pointing out that panels like Drinking with Geeks are wildly popular. They are. We have a slightly larger room that could work for them next year.

And it will be too small.

This is one of the problems of producing such a great product. If you do something really well, people will come. That is why the convention almost reached 6000 members this year.

When that happens, popular stuff will end up in a room that is not big enough.

I can’t tell you how many bad guesses we make in the Programming department. We put popular panels in small rooms and unpopular ones in big rooms all the time.

If we keep growing, though, it won’t really matter.

Every room will be too small.

It’s an unavoidable problem with being popular.

But I gotta admit…it’s kind of a cool problem to have.


Tags: , , ,

About Petsnakereggie

Geek, movie buff, dad, musician, comedian, atheist, liberal and writer. I also really like Taco flavored Doritos.

One response to “Yes, yes, I KNOW we need a Bigger Boat”

  1. Raven1025 says :

    The thing is we aren’t the only convention to face this issue. Even huge conventions that set capacity limits have panels that people queue up for hours, and plenty of them are turned away. More the issue I see is that we get more and more great ideas each year, and more potential SRO panels that might not make the schedule because we have a limited number of time slots and currently a limited number of spaces, and those spaces certainly have a finite capacity. Even mainstage has a finite capacity! I think scheduling panels against popular events helps hugely. People get distributed a bit more.
    It’s also hard when there is a theme or guest specific panel that will only happen that one time. We don’t get another chance to try again or put it in a bigger room. We don’t always know whether those will be wildly popular or a dud to begin with.

    Like you say, though, it’s definitely a cool problem to have.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: