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Ghosting the Attendees: the problematic trend of conventions hiding their headcount

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Granddad loved ghost stories The term "ghosting a convention" is when a person attends and hangs around, but has not paid the organizers to do so. It’s seen as a major faux pas in the furry fandom due to the amount of time, effort and money their fellow fans put forth in order to put on the events.

Those who support the festivities through their patronage, therefore, should be praised for putting their time and money forth to support their gathering of choice. For the relationship between convention and attendee is symbiotic.

Instead, certain events seem to have started to shun the precedent of sharing how many furs attended their celebrations. Like a tree falling in the forest, the con did occur; but if you look back years from now, there will be no hard evidence of how many gathered. In essence, it is the attendees who have been ghosted.

Which is why I am writing this piece today, concerning a worrisome trend that a handful of events seem to have taken - including some of the largest events in our fandom. Conventions, as of late, have been trying to push away from publicly putting forth their attendance counts.

Update 5/24: An updated tentative count was released by BLFC in the comments below.
Update 6/16: FWA has provided their counts with the video of closing ceremonies in comments below.
Update 6/16: AnthOhio, which took place in late May after the article was written, has as of today not released attendance numbers on any internet media platform. They did release charity numbers of $13,000 raised.

Flayrah from 2001 to 2012 - a statistical perspective

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Graph of Flayrah stories published by yearFlayrah has been around since 2001. It has had three editors-in-chief (Aureth, Frysco and GreenReaper) who between them have published 3529 stories from 279 unique contributors (plus another 341 anonymous contributors), including both news and opinion pieces. What follows is a statistical breakdown of Flayrah in various ways.

Furs raise $243,000 for charity in 2012; $1 mil. this century

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Furry fans have raised money for charity for over 15 years, totalling $1 million since the end of 2000. Donations fell in 2009, but rebounded to $243,000 in 2012 – 59% more than 2011.

In part, this increase is due to a rise in the number of events. Six new conventions were held in North America, and Australia's MiDFur brought in $24,184 over two events held this year. More significant, though, was increased fundraising at existing events, exemplified by MFF:

We were glad to make this an incredible year for our charity, Felines & Canines, Inc. They received a total of $8,500 including cash and checks in their donation jars (including $1,000 from a single donor!), the Charity Auction, and 2 & Kage's Saturday Performance. An additional $1,950 was raised by the Charity Poker Tournament. To this, Midwest FurFest was pleased to add an additional donation of $30,000, meaning that Felines & Canines took home a little over $40,500!

Felines & Canines, mired in a $100k construction debt, has since dedicated a room to MFF.

Want to know who gave what last year, and which were the most charitable events? Read on!

FC 2010 Dealer's room - unofficial statistics

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I've always been curious about what the variety of things for sale in the dealer's room at furry conventions are, so at FC 2010 I decided to get some rough numbers. I probably made some mistakes along the way, but I think it's generally reliable. It should not be assumed to apply for any other conventions except this one, this year.

2009 charity donations down; $490,000 raised this decade

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Midwest Furry Fandom added $10000 to the $5193 raised for Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation by Midwest FurFest 2007 attendees

Furry philanthropy took a step back in 2009, as donations fell 15% in a tough economic climate. However, the fandom still has something to be proud of: $490,000 raised for charity at furry conventions in the past decade.

Over $112,000 was donated by Further Confusion, with Midwest FurFest ($92,000), Anthrocon ($87,000) and Mephit FurMeet ($71,000) not far behind — not counting MFM's donations to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

At first, the top three events covered the majority of annual donations, but now others give more than half of it. And while most money still comes from North America, international furs are joining in, including cons in the UK, Germany, Australia, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Read on for a chart detailing the decade's charitable donations.
Update (24 May): Includes figures for RCFM 2007-9, WPAFW 2009, ConFuzzled 2008-9 and Conifur '01, '03, '04.
Read more: Furs raise $243,000 for charity in 2012; $1 mil. this century