A friend of mine recently said something along the lines of, “hey, I go to conventions, and I still don’t understand more than half the lingo!” I care a lot about making conventions inclusive and accessible, so this seems like a great opportunity to share some intel. Here are some terms we came up with that might need explaining…
A dictionary by any other name …
the 5-2-1 rule – This is a somewhat infamous guideline for attending conventions. The idea is that you get at least 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower every day during the convention. You can’t make up for a lack in one category by doing extra in another; 3 meals will in no way forgive a lack of shower or having fewer than 5 hours of sleep at con. Please follow this guideline if you go to a convention. You, and everyone else around you, will have a better time than if you don’t observe the 5-2-1 rule.
code of conduct – A code of conduct is a set of expectations for behavior at the convention, usually written and adopted as policy of the convention by its staff or leadership. It should be communicated to all attendees well in advance of the convention and it should be applicable to all members (including staff, leadership, guests, etc.). Ideally, a code of conduct includes specificity on how unacceptable behavior is defined, clear information on what to do if unacceptable behavior is witnessed or experienced, and what might happen upon the convention receiving a report of said behavior. In addition, many people have co-signed John Scalzi’s policy on codes of conduct, which is very related reading.
conchair – The conchair is the most common term for the person at the top of the leadership for a convention. If there are multiple conchairs, they are called co-chairs. An assistant conchair is considered the next level down on the org chart, and is sometimes called a “vice chair.” Continue reading
While walking around on the streets of Helsinki during my most recent visit, I was surprised (and felt like an idiot for being surprised) that the streets were full of such diverse people. I heard the expected Finnish, Swedish, and English languages spoken. However, listening to those around me on the tram, I also heard Russian, German, some form of either Spanish or Portuguese, and a few other languages I couldn’t identify, possibly Mandarin (of which I know only two words) and a language or two I’m just too uneducated to even be able to guess.
I saw much more range of skin tones than I anticipated, once I opened my eyes. “If you want the American dream, go to Finland” is a topic that has been written about by several news outlets and bloggers. It seems many have taken Finland up on it, and are happily coexisting in at least Helsinki, from what I can personally confirm. It was pretty cool to behold.
Should the Helsinki in 2017 bid win, the city of Helsinki will be providing all attending members of the Helsinki Worldcon with free public transit during the convention, thanks to one of the grant programs we are eligible for (this one from the city’s tourism bureau). Fans typically spend $30 or so on local transit during a Worldcon, so this is a savings that will directly help attendees of a Helsinki Worldcon run around being tourists while visiting Finland.
Should you decide to do some tourism, the options are very convenient from our convention centre, Messukeskus. The Pasila local train station is immediately adjacent to Messukeskus and it’s one stop (3 to 5 minutes’ transit) from the central train station of Helsinki. There are currently between 10 and 35 trains each hour in both directions, depending on the time of day or night. Three tram lines also have a stop right in front of the site, and it’s well served by other bus and tram connections. Travel to and from the centre of the city is very simple, in other words, should you decide to have adventures elsewhere in Helsinki.
Concerned about accessibility? All buses and metros, as well as most trams and trains, are low-floor and wheelchair-accessible. Mobility scooters are allowed on low-floor trains, and wheelchairs are usable everywhere.
I’m not saying that you’ll need to go anywhere on public transit. Messukeskus shares doors with the main hotel we’ve contracted with (a Holiday Inn). You won’t have to go outside to get to the con if you’re in the main hotel, and there are several other hotels within a couple of blocks, so you wouldn’t need transit in Helsinki if you didn’t want to utilize it. However, I personally find public transit in Helsinki to be clean, pleasant, and speedy. It’s very efficient, and it gets to me to exciting places nearby, like the nearby amusement park, Linnanmaki, the sea fortress, Suomenlinna, and the contemporary art museum, Kiasma. The last of those completely deserves its own blog entry, since I was just there this week, and it was fabulous. 🙂