First Steps

What I’m thinking of doing is running a poll using something like SurveyMonkey to determine what the problems are and how people think we can solve them. Based on the session at Eastercon, the commonest issues that people have around our current (lack of) organisation seemed to be:

  • Credit history
    • A continuing organisation might improve our relationship with banks
    • It might make it easier to deal with suppliers
  • Payments
    • We would have a continuing history of business and not appear like a scam
    • We could avoid the current problem with new conventions gearing up to take payments
    • Avoid problems with PayPal
    • Avoid problems with credit card transactions
    • We could adopt more recent payment technology
    • We could pay suppliers more easily
  • Storage
    • We could keep all the Eastercon physical assets in one place
    • We could avoid keeping stuff in people’s garages
    • Greater ease of transport to/from conventions
  • Insurance
    • Easier to get insurance when you are a continuing organisation
    • Insurance costs now very high and might be reduced if we can show a history of compliance
  • Information
    • Make it easier to exchange information/experience between conventions
    • Reduce Data Protection issues
    • Share legal advice
    • Common approach to disability issues
    • Common approach to Code of Conduct
  • Negotiation
    • Get better deals from hotels
    • Share knowledge of contracts
    • Better information on how conventions did – so can get better prices for e.g. beer
  • Governance
    • Make it harder to change some things (what?)
    • Hold web addresses
    • Hold trademarks
    • Prevent possible commercial hijacking

If you have any other things that you see as being problems, please mention them in the comments.


3 thoughts on “First Steps

  1. Steve,
    Excellent start, thanks for doing this.

    Two themes I picked up from the panel are:
    – people are discouraged by the potential financial liability of being on a committee
    – this particularly is a barrier for getting younger fans involved in con running.


    • I meant to respond to this earlier, but just never got around to it.

      I agree that people are discouraged by the financial liability and that this is particularly an issue for younger fans. However, this has always been the case, I remember people dropping off a committee back in the ’80s when they realised that being on the committee meant they would be personally financially liable. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. People should be careful when spending tens of thousands of pounds and not fritter it away on unnecessary equipment, or feel free to offer free memberships and airfares to everyone without a lot of heartsearching. There comes a point when you have to know where the money is coming from. Of course the problem with this is potentially unlimited liability, though the the chances of that being an issue are slim. However we wouldn’t want to set up an organisation only for it to go bankrupt because someone thought they now had unlimited funds to play with.

      Need to keep the point in mind though.


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