There has been a great deal of discussion over possible ways of changing the Eastercon. We could turn the convention into a limited company, into a charitable business, into a non-profit, into a WSFS clone. Lots of people have lots of different ideas and have been pushing their favoured option. One or more of them may even be right that their option is the best thing for Eastercon. However, in each case we seem to have started from the position that we should consider a particular solution.
What we don’t seem to be doing is considering what our problems are, what we want to change and where we want to end up. If we don’t do this, we are very likely to suffer some unintended consequences and possibly end up with a situation we really don’t want to be in.
In business, when we define a strategy for a company, we consider the nature of the organisation, its values and its vision of where it wants to be. Well, in theory anyway. Lots of businesses just plough ahead, much like Eastercon, and just end up at some random place. Others do lots of planning and still fail to hit their target. But it’s generally worth doing this bit of initial information-gathering, rather than just assuming we know exactly what’s wrong and trying to fix it.
What I’m proposing is a bit of research. We should talk to con chairs, talk to people in WSFS, charities, other organisations. We should carry out polls of convention members both recent and longstanding – is what they want compatible with what we want? We should also pull together some of the fannish background information from historians and people who were present during particularly trying episodes in our shared history. We probably also need to pull together a definitive list of the problems we are trying to deal with, the things we want to keep about the Eastercon and the things we are prepared to give up. We ought to look at our values and make sure we’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater here.