Fan Guest of Honor at Minicon: A discussion
This is a continuation of a comment thread that Minicon co-Chair kaustin posted in minicon, posing the question, Do you think that Minicon should always have a Fan Guest of Honor?. I'm responding generically to the question, saying that one reason given for the downsizing was to ensure Minicon was a Keeper of the Flame, and to Kevin's specific comment that Minicon is "incompetent at managing complicated projects" which is why some felt the con needed to be smaller.
Minicon was (and is) one of the best run conventions in fandom. True, we had growing pains at various stages, but we managed to overcome them. Minicon was almost always one level of organization above
what was necessary, and therefore prepared for the next jump. Usually.
The problem is that running a large convention is hard work. Some people were worried about "burn out". A serious problem, which had affected some people already. But we still had a large pool of competent people willing to run things. The High-Res group took a preemptive shot at preventing burn out... which mainly burned out the High-Res group.
The basic issue for many was that they didn't like going to large conventions, and therefore didn't want Minicon to be a large convention. A defensible position, though I happen to like conventions of many sizes and could deal with the circus.
How do you slice off a large hunk of fandom when "fandom" means many things to many people? The excuse given was for "literary" fans (which is why the comparisons to 4th St. pop up) and was spun to include "fanzine" fans in that category. That is, our friends. Well, their
Interestingly (for me), most of the High-Res group were the extroverts in our bunch, the people who were best equipped to deal with capital-p-People. They turned out to be very bad at it. They managed to piss off 3000+ people about as nicely as one can piss off 3000+ people, but the ultimate result of their efforts: Several large media conventions and a too-small Minicon that most of them don't go to anymore.
So... Fan GoH. dreamshark
's point is well taken: We're all fans here. But not everyone we get as a guest is connected to our range of faanish history. It's one thing never to have been in an apa or smoooothed with Tucker. It's quite another when you have to explain those terms to a guest. I want guests who speak the same vocabulary as I do.
Plus, as First Fandom and even later fandoms get grayer and grayer, I'd like to see us honor some of the reasons fandom is "family" to so many. If these fans are now also writers/editors/scientists/grandparents,
so much the better. You may remember my push in the mid-80s to have a GoH slate of five editors, which would encompass former and current fans, former and current writers, full-time editors and anyone else we could shoehorn into the category. Now that Gordy and Tucker are gone (both of whom were FGoHs, iirc), it's time to acknowledge some of the others who made fandom what it is. Or what it was, anyway.