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by ErikKauppi (with TwoThousandThree/TwoThousandFour notes by SteveGutterman, and link edits made by MattArnold for this Wiki)

We have had some near-disasters at previous cons. I thought a lot about how to prevent and deal with these at-the-con problems. My idea is that it is very important for some things to be clear to everybody in advance. These can be generally summed up as:

– Who is responsible for what. (See WhoIsDoingWhat)

– What to do in an emergency.

– How not to make small problems into big problems.

Who is On Deck?

There must be a designated responsible person available (“on deck”) at all times. This person should be wearing a beeper or whatever. Do not assume that the nearest gopher or the person at the [Ops] desk is this responsible person. But [Ops] will always know how to reach the Person On Deck.

The ConChair and [Ops] Head need their sleep just like normal people. As long as they make sure that a designated person is “on deck” they should be able to sleep un-interrupted.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Make a phone list, either in advance or Friday, and distribute it to ConCom. Include numbers for [Ops], Housekeeping, [Hotel] Security, GreenRoom, Gopher Hole (see VolunteerRoom), ConSuite, etc. Also include room/phone numbers for ConChair, [Ops] people, [Treasurer], some other ConCom. Include beeper numbers if used. DON'T post this list in a public place.

This phone list will be available at the con, once we know all the room numbers! Ops will have copies; stop by and ask for one. – SteveGutterman

Dealing with the ConChair:

The ConChair's job is issues that affect more than one department, or the whole con.

The ConChair will support you and back you up on any reasonable thing you do in your department. In return you will support her and back her up on her decisions.


ConChairs do not like surprises. Let the ConChair know how things are going. If you have a problem or need help, discuss it with the ConChair early, so s/he can help you resolve it.

What any concom member should handle him/herself.

If something is in your department, you know what should be done, and you have whatever is needed, then just do it. You don't have to ask permission.

What types of things must be brought to the ConChair (or designated alternate) for resolution.

  1. Situations where someone (a GOH (see GoHs), a fan, hotel, etc.) is unhappy with what you want to do. In this situation it is the ConChair's job to hear the whole story, calm things down, and work out a compromise, or explain to the upset person why we have to do it your way. Basically the ConChair should back you up and help you settle the problem.
  2. When you have a problem with another department, or with the hotel, and have not been able to resolve it one-on-one.
  3. When you see a problem in some other department, and that department head isn't there or can't deal with it.
  4. [Hotel] issues, unless they're really routine.

Serious emergencies In a real life-threatening emergency, do whatever you can. Be sure to get help from [Ops] and from the [Hotel] right away.

Emergencies (not life threatening)

  1. Call Ops
  2. With the conchair, or whoever is “on deck”, figure out what is the best thing to do.
  3. DON'T get the [Hotel] staff involved until the conchair or “person on deck” has decided that's appropriate.

Unruly or “problem” people

– Get [Ops] involved.

– Don't handle it yourself, don't make decisions without [Ops] or ConChair.

– Should we get the [Hotel] involved? [Ops] or [conchair] make this decision.

– Sending people around to look for the person may be good, but MAKE

  SURE those people know to just locate the person, then call [Ops].

– Don't make it a mob scene.

– Figure out who will handle the person when found. ConChair or “person

  on deck" plus [Hotel] security?  Handle the person in private if possible.

Things NOT to do:

1.. Don't have a big long argument with someone, even if you are

        right.  If you can't work it out, "elevate the issue" to the
        ConChair, and do it in private.

2.. Don't jump in and change things in someone else's department.

3.. Don't take a problem to the [Hotel] staff if we can resolve

        it ourselves.

An example of what not to do: At the dance (at another convention that was not PenguiCon), a ConCom member noticed an underage person drinking and being drunk. She should have brought this problem to the Dance Department head, or the person on deck at [Ops], or the [ConChair]. Instead, she brought it to the [Hotel] staff. This started a major confrontation with [Hotel] security and the [Hotel] manager. They were NOT pleased with the Con, and almost shut the dance down. The ConChair and [Ops] didn't even know about the situation until it was too late.

– Erik Kauppi —

See also FrequentlyAskedQuestions.

See also ConventionsAtLightSpeed by EricRaymond.

conrunningguide.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/14 11:24 (external edit)