Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Includes photos, reports, and suggestions from our eighth year.

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby chickensoup » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:49 pm

Kikai wrote:
MerryGold wrote:I love how I post feedback dealing with what a lot of artists were feeling with the artist alley, and it gets deleted.

Were you around for the AA reg fiasco? They deleted a whole thread.

I've been lurking for awhile but---wow, hold a grudge much?

It's over with, get over it.

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby Dagon Akujin » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:22 am

shortpixie89 wrote:-My biggest issue that annoyed the hell out of me was the wristbands.

Yeah, the hotel seemed to not have a plan for how to use them. I was originally told myself that all people had to do was ask for them and prove they had a room, and that they could get a couple extras. And that was probably how one person at the desk did it, while every other person at the hotel desk had a different idea.

I really don't think they had any idea what they were doing though. They also didn't have people staffing the elevators like last year, and just grabbed extra workers each day. On Friday, many of the elevator checkers had just then been told they would be doing it. They didn't know the day before!

pepperbots wrote:SOMETHING needs to be done about the elevators during check-out time on Sunday.

If I remember correctly, 2011 the elevators were not a huge hassle on Sunday. And the hotel was supposed to run the elevators much like they did that year. But, they didn't. :x

Ug there is a lot more I want to get to but I keep having to put out fires elsewhere! :P
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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby AKADave » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:32 am

Was the the only person who didn't give a crap about the wristbands? To me, they were just...there.
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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby Kikai » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:46 am

chickensoup wrote:
Kikai wrote:
MerryGold wrote:I love how I post feedback dealing with what a lot of artists were feeling with the artist alley, and it gets deleted.

Were you around for the AA reg fiasco? They deleted a whole thread.

I've been lurking for awhile but---wow, hold a grudge much?

It's over with, get over it.

Just stating the fact that they have a history of deleting threads when there is negative feedback about the AA. That's all. :) It's not so much of a grudge when you feel like your voice and feedback is generally being ignored. Any time you start deleting posts just because you don't like the feedback is just bad juju.

AKADave wrote: Was the the only person who didn't give a crap about the wristbands? To me, they were just...there.

I was generally unaffected by it as well (aside from not actually wearing it and just having it in my pocket) because we always only had four people in our room but I understand that it really messed with a lot of people. Cons are expensive! And so people pile in to the rooms to lower costs as much as possible. It was really troublesome when my friend (who was kicked out of her original room because they had too many people) tried to book a new room and was told they were completely full. So at that point it was like -- where do I go now? :( The staff tried to do their best to ease tension from the whole fiasco, and I appreciate them for that. A lot of people with some extra space were helping out homeless con goers the entire weekend. It was a lot of teamwork and it made me really happy to see.

I think it wouldn't have been nearly as distressing if con-goers were notified before hand about the wristband policy.

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby EdrickV » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:51 am

Dagon Akujin wrote:If I remember correctly, 2011 the elevators were not a huge hassle on Sunday. And the hotel was supposed to run the elevators much like they did that year. But, they didn't. :x

Will post a full feedback post later, but for now I thought I'd comment on this since I was at the feedback panel last year and remember something about the elevators from it.

The elevators that year were much improved over 2010, except for early Sunday morning. It was said that there was a plan in place (at least for high-rise) to have one elevator specifically setup to bring people down, going to each floor one by one. (I assume it would go to 70, go down to 3, go to 69, then back to 3, etc.) I think this plan was said to have started around 11AM, and it was suggested to start it earlier in the day next year. (aka 2012) I am pretty sure I suggested also doing the same for low-rise in the 2011 feedback thread. (I did not encounter any elevator issues on Sunday this year since I checked out early in the morning and used baggage check, so I don't know exactly know how things did turn out.)
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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby Quixotic » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:12 am

First time Youmacon attendee here. Please note that any criticism here is not intended as a slight, but just some hiccups that could be improved on. I apologize in advance if I repeat anything that may have been already said 20+ times.

Utterly Stellar:

  • Steam Powered Giraffe. Whatever you do, please, PLEASE, reach out to them ASAP to ensure getting them on board for the next Youmacon. They were a huge success, and I say this as someone who never heard of them prior to Youmacon 2012. They were well worth the price of admission alone.

  • Dealer's Room. While it was my first Youmacon, my group was very happy with the Dealer's Room being held at Cobo. They much preferred the extra room over feeling like sardines.

Needs Improvement:

  • Registration Lines. I don't know how the lines were before, so maybe this was just a one-time miscalculation (though a friend had mentioned it about Youmacon 2011 so maybe not), but the pre-registration line was silly. It's not so much how long it took for people who pre-registered, but how crazy short the at-con registration line was in comparison. Saving $5 (or $15 if we locked up our money almost a year in advance, for that matter) is not worth spending 2+ extra hours in line, let alone spending extra for a Platinum pass. I may be wrong here, but I would imagine Youmacon benefits from pre-registrations just the same if not more than pre-registrants by having funds locked in sooner and getting a useful headcount to plan around. For the next Youmacon, if you're going to err on the side of caution, it would probably be better to err with the at-con line. Have more stations setup for pre-registrants with the option of switching some over to the at-con line, if feasible. If they can't be switched over and it ends up being 20 minute pre-registration lines and 2+ hour at-con registration lines, so be it. At least people will feel properly rewarded for pre-registering, and it'll encourage at-con registrants to pre-register, which is a win-win for everyone.

  • Program Guide Shortage. Ideally, you wouldn't run out, but I know this is easier said than done so the same as the first point, if you're going to err, do so with the at-con line. Set aside enough guides for pre-registrants, and if you do run into a shortage again, let that be on the at-con side. Having to wait longer AND constantly ask to borrow guides from strangers is a serious disincentive to pre-registering. I know there is a website, but you can't assume everyone has a smartphone + data plan, or the willingness to walk around with a laptop all day. We finally got our program guides late Saturday night (had asked again early Saturday afternoon before heading over to Cobo, and was told that the guides were in the building somewhere but still MIA) and by then Youmacon was essentially over.

  • Line Organization (Part 1). There were several times when a line had to be cut into two disjointed segments to not block traffic, and being in the latter portion of the line, it was somewhat demoralizing to see latecomers essentially hop into the middle of the line, while the people organizing the line were either busy chatting or just didn't care and let it happen. We had that happen to us a few times, and we also (unintentionally) did that to other people once.

  • Line Organization (Part 2). During the autograph session for Nabeshin, Caitlin Glass and Jon St. John, what started with good intentions (and was in fact a great idea at first) went seriously awry. The guests were held up in varying degrees (with the fourth guest completely cancelled). Nabeshin arrived first and the line organizers made the right call in not having the line wait for the other guests to arrive before starting. Anyone who was there ONLY FOR Nabeshin was allowed to go up and get his autograph first. Makes sense.

    When Caitlin Glass arrived is when it started to go downhill. We were told that if we were there ONLY FOR Nabeshin AND/OR Caitlin, we could go ahead and get their autographs. At this time, there were a total of four lines: the Platinum line, the regular line, the Nabeshin line and the Caitlin line. We got our Nabeshin autographs, then hopped onto Caitlin's line. While waiting for Caitlin, Nabeshin's line completely emptied out and a fifth line was started for those who were there ONLY FOR the still yet to arrive Jon St. John. We watched Nabeshin being so bored he started to autograph his own water bottle, yet neither the Platinum or regular lines (both of which I presume consisted of people who wanted all three autographs) were allowed/told to start getting Nabeshin's autograph, despite the hour being almost over. At least some if not most of the Platinum line people had actually been there well in advance of the autograph session, yet were apparently being passed over repeatedly, as were the regular line people who had arrived before the late stragglers who were getting into each individual line. Meanwhile, the Jon and Caitlin lines continued to fill with late stragglers (Jon's got pretty long while Caitlin's remained relatively short).

    There was no real point to either the Jon or Caitlin lines, and what should have happened as soon as Caitlin arrived was to start the Platinum line (followed by the regular line) the same way had all three guests arrived simultaneously. They could get Nabeshin's autograph, then Caitlin's (both would be kept busy), and finally, if they wanted Jon's, they would be directed to a new line (just the same as the fifth line they had for only Jon) to wait for the last guest's arrival. This way, Platinum badges would be rewarded for their hefty investments, regular badges would be rewarded in order of their arrival, and the bottleneck would have been avoided. Imagine the dissatisfaction that comes from skipping an event that takes place the hour before, during and after a autograph session, only to still get shafted.

  • Masquerade. The Masquerade felt a little flat, especially after the MC had left and we were waiting for the judges to finish judging. While Fan Service Renji's Youtube videos are quite entertaining, it just didn't translate without all the clips of cosplayers posing. When Renji tried to get the crowd into it and had everyone stand, it just felt like "ugh, why are we standing, okay, time to sit back down again." The crowd noticeably lacked energy and seemed reluctant to stand. I know this probably isn't feasible, but it would have been much better had it been Steam Powered Giraffe filling the gap. Just one person's opinion, of course.

  • Late Night Programming. It seemed like, past a certain time, there was nothing to do beyond watching anime that wasn't either hentai or yaoi. It would have been nice, volunteers willing of course, to have more regular programming late at night, though I guess part of it might be not wanting to schedule something a 12 year old would want to attend past midnight. Still, would be nice.

  • Sunday Programming. Honestly, around 2 PM, the convention noticeably started to fizzle, and by 3 PM, there was almost nothing to do. We ended up leaving early instead of sticking around another 2-3 hours for the Closing Ceremonies. Definitely would not have been worth the $20 had we come for only Sunday.

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby KuroiSuisei » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:36 pm

CeliaPhantomhive wrote:If you guys didn't have such a kick **** Chicken or Beef panel I would probably have more complaints. That would be the only pro I can think of during the entire weekend.

I'm glad you liked the panel, despite technical difficulties.... ^_^
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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby Chaosmaster8753 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:08 am

I'd say a few major things that should be improved for next year are:

1. Either more people to accept pre-registration badges or a different, more effective system for those who pre-reged to get their badges that isn't the use of QR codes.

2. Provide the congoers better navigation to and at Cobo Center.

3. Plan things out better so you don't have to pull too many last minute stunts like the wristbands and whatnot.

4. Inform the non Youmacon staff about the rules so they don't call out a cosplayer that's following the cosplay guidelines for example.

I think the others explained a few of these points better then I would, but here's what I got.
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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby Kagthul » Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:54 am

Chaosmaster8753 wrote:I'd say a few major things that should be improved for next year are:

1. Either more people to accept pre-registration badges or a different, more effective system for those who pre-reged to get their badges that isn't the use of QR codes.

2. Provide the congoers better navigation to and at Cobo Center.

3. Plan things out better so you don't have to pull too many last minute stunts like the wristbands and whatnot.

4. Inform the non Youmacon staff about the rules so they don't call out a cosplayer that's following the cosplay guidelines for example.

I think the others explained a few of these points better then I would, but here's what I got.

The convention had nothing to do with the Wristbands and didn't know about them until the hotel brought them out. They were just as surprised as you were, trust me. And just as disgruntled.

You should go there and check us out. Maybe say hi on the forums. Maybe convince other cons you go to that they need us. =)

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby DruglordRunthak » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:14 am

Some guy in the rencen gameroom was playing casual Soul Calibur V matches and taking it way too seriously, not being a good sport, only acknowledging opponents if they manage to almost beat him, bragging that he is winning to people he may or may not have known across the table. All while using a custom color set for Aeon that I personally set up the night prior. When it was my turn to play him he arrogantly and obnoxiously stated "I hope you've been studying." to which I replied "Don't need to." I proceeded to beat him without losing a round, turned to him and stated "Good game man." shook his hand, and then he ran off without a response and a shamed look on his face. I could taste the salt in the air.

Not really sure if this qualifies as an anime convention at this point, what with all the non anime influences and events.
Most of the panels my group went to seemed to be "introduction to (blank)" despite not being marked as such.
Not particularly the cons fault but many of the con goers were obnoxious. I'm looking at you guy who kept leaning on my friggin leg while in line for a panel (Spoiler:
while you were being oblivious to those around you I farted, several times, on your fedora clad head because you insisted on continuously leaning on the back of my leg while sitting down and eating fast food, which you left the bag of on the railing you slob
Minor issue, many of the older console games in the rencen gameroom were partially nonfunctional.

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby thatsme » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:45 pm

I have to say this is our favorite year out of the 5 or 6 we have had. We were originally very upset to hear about the move to the ren cen. We have become comfortable with the ren cen set up. We were upset about the Cobo deal, when we first heard about it. I have to say that other than a HUGE and well planned out dealer room, I did not like it. You can either walk to Cobo and take your chances or pay to go back and forth on the People Mover. We chose the latter, and after 3 days got very tired of paying. With better signage at Cobo I think it will work nicely.

- We got one on Friday evening, which was stolen from our table in the food court. On Saturday morning we went back, to where we got the first, and were told that they had not been printed and none were available. Yet when we came back 30 minutes later they had magically appeared.
Signage - Not only was there a problem with Cobo but Ren Cen had very poor notification, this year.
Rude Staff Some of the staff really need to be trained. We walked up to a table and asked a staffer if an autograph session had ended. The staffer looked at us and said their done. Before I could say anything he pointed a stick at my chest and said "Their Done" louder and sounded like he was mad. I looked at him and asked if there was going to be another session and got the same response only louder and more aggressive. I just laughed at him and walked away, but, come on folks.
Line MessesWe got put into "ZigZag" lines for a few panels and events. These were supposed to lessen the problems. What they did was allow people way behind others to walk in before someone who had been waiting much longer. I watched one of these lines turn into such a mess that people who had waited hours were walking in beside people who just got there.

Again Favorite year so far
Steam Powered Giraffe
- Wow what a great show. The concert was excellent. They were very polite and willing to make the fans happy. I know my girls were very excited and maybe a little loud when they squealed on meeting the group, but, everyone loves fans.
StaffOther than a couple of small issues I have to say the staff were much nicer this year than any year before. Security were polite and professional. Volunteers, for the most part, were great folks.
The Con GoersWas this not an awesome year? The Con Goers ARE what makes Youmacon so great. Loyal, loud, fun, friendly, and like extended family.

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby xienstaff » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:53 am

I agree with everything that has been said so far no program books, the wrist bands for the Marriott , poor panels(there were a handful of decent panels but overall I was disappointed with the panels), no water for the three hour wait on Thursday, not enough con games. Not video games just games like the Mario party panel.
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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby ohioisgood » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:27 pm

podcast with feedback from our trip!

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby Blazegryph » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:02 am

I'm a little late to the party posting my full writeup, but maybe now that things have slowed down it'll get a bit more consideration.

My table partner, wwonderboy, posted a few pages back detailing our experience selling in the Artist Alley and with the convention (from what we saw from behind our table) overall. When we were preparing for Youmacon, we saw attendance estimates of ~11 000 people, a bit bigger than Otakuthon in Montreal. Throughout Friday and the better part of Saturday, if we didn't know about the projected attendance we would have thought that Youmacon was actually a little bitty convention with less than 5000 attendees. The Cobo Centre area was incredibly slow traffic-wise, and I know that many of the Artists as well as the dealers would have noticed. Now I know it's because everyone was either a) stuck in lines or b) just plain didn't know half the con was at the Cobo Centre, but there are solutions to this issue.

If the attendance last year outgrew the Rennaisance by such a large amount, why not move the entirety of the programming to the Cobo Centre? I understand that the RenCen has been Youmacon's home since the convention started, but I do not think sentimentality is an acceptable reason to split a convention between two locations considering the distance between them and the time of year. For example, Anime North in Toronto is split between 3 buildings (the Congress Centre, the DoubleTree across the street, and the Renaissance down and across the street), but they are all within a 10 minute walk and the convention is held at the end of May when the weather is usually lovely. If the Cobo has room to house everything, organizers should take advantage of that. I saw that it was undergoing renovations, which should only make it a better con space, right? However, if Youmacon will continue to hold part of its programming at Cobo and part at the RenCen, it should at the very least have registration at the Cobo, so the dealers and artists who paid good money to be there get the exposure they deserve. For example, Toronto's Anime North has registration, guests, Artist Alley and the Dealer Room all in one building, while most of the panels reside in the others. Registration (beating a dead horse by now, I'm sure) needs to be addressed, but as wwonderboy said the best example we have has been Otakuthon's setup. They had a big room with a row of tables, each table had a computer, a printer, and a scanner, and the staff would scan the barcode on your prereg printout, and they would send an Otakuthon badge through their printer to print your name on the otherwise finished badge. Ta-daa, you were good to go to the con. Yes, it still took time, and yes, there was still a lineup, but boy was it ever efficient. I also read about the PeopleMover between the RenCen and the Cobo which... sounds like the perfect solution that no one took advantage of. From what I can tell it travels directly between the Cobo and the RenCen. Next year Youmacon could consider keeping some panels and showings (perhaps all the 18+ content) at the RenCen and everything else at the Cobo, and include some sort of PeopleMover weekend pass add-on to convention tickets?

As far as the Artist Alley itself goes, as wwonderboy said, I believe that some sort of quality control cut-off should be in place. Not jurying mind you, so there will still be some form of first-come-first-served, but there were some artists there who didn't sell/come close to breaking even. Our table neighbour to our left is a prime example, but I see similar situations at other conventions. If the alley spots don't fill up, then don't instate the cutoff. I hope you guys will consider this suggestion.

So, TL;DR I guess: Blazegryph's suggestions:
-Move the entirely of the convention to the Cobo Centre. You have this great big convention centre... use it!
-If not, at least stick registration in the same place as the Dealers Room and Artist Alley

-Place Artist Alley in front of the Dealers. People will visit the Dealers regardless, whereas many people forget about the Artists before it's too late.

-Quality control for Artist Alley

-Maps and signage! Maps and signage!

-PeopleMover weekend pass option on badges if the con is still split between locations

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Re: Youmacon 2012 Official Feedback

Postby Melima331 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:18 am

Although it makes sense to move everything to Cobo, I like having stuff to do at the con hotel so I don't have to travel so far from my room to have fun. I mean, the people mover is nice, but it costs money everytime you use it, and it's a little cumbersome in costume. Walking wasn't really an option for me because it was way too cold for my costumes, so I only made it out to Cobo once. My costume took a toll while being smushed on the people mover and I had a lot of repair work when I got back to my room. Registration makes sense to have in Cobo, but sometimes I like to run down from the room to pick up badges before I get all in costume, and it would be a hassle to go all the way to Cobo to get my badge, then back to Ren Cen to get in costume.
I like the idea of Cobo, but for me it didn't work as well as I hoped. Everytime I wanted to visit Cobo, I just didn't feel like treking all the way there (or paying for the people mover - it does add up). I guess maybe I'm spoiled to have hotel and con in one place so I don't have much travelling, but it may be that I just have to get used to making the trek to Cobo in the future.
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