Further Confusion - It's Not Burning Man, But We Like It That Way
This year I attended my first Further Confusion, and I have to admit I liked it. Of course, I'm the more social kind of con attender, going to meet people, wander and catch a little bit of everything going on. And I should admit to having friends who were execs and staff, which might colour my views a bit, but I liked the con a lot. But it seems not everyone did...
Let's get to the point, there has been some directed criticism of Further Confusion. And really, I couldn't disagree more with what's being said. I'll try to summarise some of the complaints...
Con Ops should be more police like, and seek out people causing trouble.
This sound good on it's surface but... It's not really a great idea. Con Ops tend to be really busy already, because they happen to have a convention to keep running. They seriously can't squeeze in taking on policing activity as well. Not even FLARE, those charged with security, can promote themselves to 'policing'. They're not detectives, they don't have policing powers, and they can not see everything and be everywhere.
It is, in fact, up to con attendees to report things to FLARE when things get out of hand. The idea that Con Ops should be policing is frankly just an excuse to soothe the consciences of those who see underage drinking, people spiking others drinks, and other dangerous idiocy; yet do nothing to stop it. If you see these things going on in the con, it's not just a good idea to report them, it's a duty! As it says in the 'Attendee Code of Conduct' you agreed to when buying membership, "we cannot address a problem unless we know about it".
To clearly restate. It is Further Confusion's general policy that underaged drinking, and public lewd behaviour, is not tolerated at the convention. If you see it happening, report it to Con Ops or FLARE. FLARE can not be everywhere to see and stop this, and relies on the co-operation of convention attendees to assist them.
Further Confusion made an 'amateurish' or 'unprofessional' decision to restrict DJs to using FC only equipment
FC is covered by Event insurance, but this is limited in what it covers. Because FC is a public event, there can be no guarantee that someone will damage your equipment. this very unfortunately happened to one DJ, and there was a decision to require DJs using their own equipment to sign a waiver or use only FC owned equipment. There were some communication problems, and some people thought this meant only FC owned equipment could be used. Yes, a professional night club would have sorted this out from the start, but FC is a volunteer organisation, and DJ events are not a core focus of the convention. FC strives to be professional, but it relies on it's attendees and volunteers to support that.
Further Confusion should handle creating an temporary autonomous zone in the same way as Burning Man.
Further Confusion is not a temporary autonomous zone. Further Confusion is not a social experiment. Further Confusion is not Burning Man. Further Confusion is a Family Friendly Fandom Convention. If you want a social experiment in a temporary autonomous zone, go to Burning Man. I'm sure that Burning Man would even welcome a 'furry' area, however I doubt fursuiting would be practical.
However, Further Confusion is a fandom convention, and a family friendly one. This is, I'm afraid, mutually exclusive with the 'Burning Man' concept of a temporary autonomous zone. While 'adult materials' are tolerated in the dealers room, and adult art show, both of which are access restricted; and room parties are accepted, Further Confusion does not turn the hotel into a 'separate community'. The Convention is still in San Jose, not 'Doubletree city'. If you are looking for a temporary autonomous zone in FC, you will not find it.
You will find a great convention tho, which does have social events in it's programming, but also tries to provide an even mix of everything in the fandom. FC is an event which people in the 'Furry Fandom Community' attend, it is not really an attempt to create a separate community of it's own.
Other Generic Complaints
At the end of every FC, is an event called 'Hiss and Purr', at which you can all raise questions, issues, complaints, or even praise. If something went wrong at the convention, this is the best place to bring it up. Especially if you have ideas on how to fix it Even better if you want to volunteer to help out to fix it!
How We Look From The Outside
And now that I've got all that drama out of the way, I'd like to bring in something a bit positive. Yes, it's that sparkling gem of a positive article about the fandom in the news media. Something that's growing more and more common these days. Read it for yourself, Good Times Magazine's impression of Further Confusion and the Furry Fandom.