I have had mixed feelings about Balticon since 1983, although most of them have been positive. It was my first "con away from home," it's where I met Christine, and I have had many positive experiences and happy memories there. On the other hand, I had not thought very much about BSFS itself, since I considered many members a bit snobbish and aloof. I watched, in 1988 for instance, three people get into a shouting match about tee-shirt vendors that last 3 hours at a meeting. I had a friend named Nova I'd used to go with, and she had no respect for them, either. We were "disgruntled BSFS members," because we felt they were more interested in politics than their actual fen. So I left BSFS, and due to my discontent, some political issues, and being too poor to afford going, I only went to Balticon once from 1988 to 2001, and that was in 1993 to visit a friend's party. That changed a few years ago when I got my head on a little straighter, and they met me halfway (or it seemed that way) through contacts at Katsucon. They also hired Christine to be head of night ops, so that helped. :)
Now I can say I like most of the people running Balticon. I like Dale, Hal, Greg, Nora, Sue, Paul, Seth, and so on. And apparently, they think the same about me! (I didn't know I was on their page until just now, I am touched!) But I realize they have some outstanding issues that need to be addressed.
I know Balticon needs work. And you know what? They know that, too. Balticon is changing slowly to a more younger staff base, and they want to make some changes. Not radical changes, because they still want to appeal to their usual crowd, but they also know they need new people. Both in participants AND volunteers. This has been kind of a thorn in their side for a while.
I now have the ear of programming, as well as the notice of some of the upper staff. And they know some people still "refuse" to attend Balticon. So I am asking you, while reading this:
I mean, if you don't know what Balticon is, and a science fiction convention in Baltimore does not sound like your thing, don't respond, but for those of you who don't like Balticon for whatever reason, post in my comments section. Please. They are watching, and listening. Post some stuff you DO like, too, so they don't get all depressed. This is what I'd like to see:
- Like or dislike, and why.
- A "top five list" (doesn't have to be five) of improvements that you'd like to see
- Constructive criticism. Like don't say, "Merchant room sucks," say "I wish the merchant's room was bigger..." or "I'd like panels on so-and-so topic."
Another thing, don't say, "Not like FanTek cons," but why it's not like FanTek cons in a way you'd show up if it were. I am going to be honest, though. They will never be like FanTek cons. It's not going to happen. And the reason is that they have a different focus than FanTek did. FanTek was more about social gathering of free thinkers; Bruce's party. BSFS is a real non-profit organization for the promotion of sci fi as a literary format. It is supposed to continue long after the founders have left. There's nothing wrong with either model, they just have different goals.