Hello everyone! This will be my last post as conchair, so I’d like to go over the feedback received. We had 37 responses our of the 500+ in attendance, so this is a small sample. First, I will have the raw data and I will address all of the comments made. This will be a long post, but at the very least, this will give you some insight of us as a student organization, me as a conchair, and Madicon as a convention. This feedback will also be used to help improve our convention in the future. Keep in mind the feedback form was completely anonymous, allowing for people to say what they wanted without any repercussion I will do my part as the public figurehead of Madicon 22 to address every concern.
Total Responses: 37
Staff Responses: 6
Guest Responses: 5
Vendor Responses: 0
First-Year Attendee Responses: 9
Multi-Year Attendee Responses: 17
Answer the following questions by rating on a scale from 1 to 5 [How well did the content of the Madicon meet your expectations?]
Common Response: 3
Answer the following questions by rating on a scale from 1 to 5 [How well was the event organized ( location, number of people, atmosphere)?]
Common Response: 5
Answer the following questions by rating on a scale from 1 to 5 [How well did our staff meet your expectations?]
Common Response: 4
Answer the following questions by rating on a scale from 1 to 5 [How well were did variety of our vendors meet your expectations]
Common Response: 3
Answer the following questions by rating on a scale from 1 to 5 [How well did our guests (guests of honor, roleplaying, musical, etc.) meet your expectations?]
Common Response: 5
Answer the following questions by rating on a scale from 1 to 5 [Overall, how well did the event meet your expectations?]
Common Response: 4
Was the event enjoyable with regards to your interests in science fiction, fantasy, and/or gaming?
Common Response: Yes
How likely are you to attend Madicon in the future?
Common Response: 5
Now that the raw number are our of the way, those look pretty decent. On to the comments (completely copied and pasted from the feedback results)!
“What did you like most about Madicon 22?”
“Concerts and music panels. I was also impressed with how well run the convention was for being run by college students“
“Con suite had good video games and movies. “
“Jon St. John, the Birds of Prey presentation, and the gaming room. “
“how to collect videogames with brendan and MST3K style nazis at the centre of the earth.
“I liked how personal everything was. “
“Playing board games and tabletop rpgs was really great for making new friends. “
“The geek auction was also very unique and fun.”
“Hanging out with friends, DJ Cutman doing a panel on how he makes his music,, Jon St John, nice venue“
“It was a fairly enjoyable gathering. Scheduling was well-organized; panels and events were fun and pretty entertaining. “
“I liked hearing Jon St. John talk. I also enjoyed the Birds of Prey exhibition and the geek auction. Danny made a great auctioneer. “
“The people, the rave. PS I say that the event exceeded expectations just because I had such a great time. The content is good, there just needs to be more I guess, hence the 3s.“
“Everything was lovely. “
“Normally at cons/events I am bored out of my mind since I feel stuck behind a table. There were actually panels/workshops that I wanted to go to and was able to! That hasn’t happened since MAG9 for me! Plus hanging out with friends was great.
You ran a fun little con!”
“I was invited! But seriously, from a guest standpoint, I enjoyed interacting with people and answering questions. “
“Jon St. John“
“Awesome people to hang out with. “
“Great vendor selection and availability of things to do. I’m sad I didn’t attend a panel at all (PnP and board games). “
“Friendly staff, nice facility, loved the guidebook app“
“How everything was very well organized and put together, almost everything had a good amount of “polish”.“
“The high energy; the attendees were great. “
“Great people and great art! “
“hanging with jsj the nazis at the center of the earth viewing, rave was fun once it actually started, 501 st was awesome“
“Lots of tabletop oneshots, so you can really try a system out guilt-free. “
“Madicon is coming home for me, it is a chance to relax and kick-back with my friends, meet new people and game in a chill atmosphere. You guys did an excellent job balancing everything, the panels looked good and decently attended, and people had fun. I loved the fact that the cosplay and rave seemed to be getting better and more vibrantly attended – not my thing, but situations change over time.
The use of Guidebook was a wonderful surprise and so very useful!”
“The planning. Major events didn’t overlap other major events. “
“the open gaming area“
“I finally met some local like-minded gamers! Woo-hoo! “
I can’t really comment on the positive comments other than the fact there were a few changes made that were done this year that weren’t done in years’ past.
1. Credit Card Readers
Man, it’s sad to turn someone away because they don’t have cash. It made things go a lot quicker this year. I hope to have it used in the future.
Guidebook is “fun” to make, but it’s actually quite easy. I hope to use it for future events. About 1/5 of our attendees downloaded the guide, so I’m glad people put it to use.
3. Maps and tournament rules in programs.
Yes, it took a while for people to notice the programs had maps, but once the realization was made, people definitely made use of them.
I’m happy for the positive remarks. Let’s get on with the negative! I’ll be addressing these individually.
“18+ exclusive events.” (first-year attendee)
18+ events are at the request of the person running the panel/event. Only one panel was made 18+ by me due to the themes the panel presented. Yes, Madicon is considered a family con, but what the event/panel holder wants for their panel is what we have to accommodate. There were less than 10 18+ panels available this year.
“JMU’s lack of recognition of the 21st amendment” (first-year attendee)
You might want to take it up with JMU on that one. We comply with the university handbook and expect our attendees to do the same. There are plenty of places to drink off campus.
“Geek auction was a tad weird. “ (first-year attendee)
This geek auction has been set up in a similar way in previous years. The only major change we had this year was the assistance of the 501st storm troopers, which made things a lot more fun.
“The vendor’s room was really small…I was ready to spend a lot of money, but there wasn’t much to buy. There wasn’t enough events, either. Something I’ve always liked about conventions is the variety of things to do, but it seemed like for each time slot, there was only one thing for each slot that everyone went to.” (first-year attendee)
Madicon is not a large convention. The average attendance has been between 200 and 250. Due to the space we are allowed to use as a student organization, we have to have the vendor room in that space along with a viewing area for panels. I am sorry you were not able to spend a lot of money, but we do not exactly come at a high price.
“the rave. It was WAYYYYY too loud and the music was crap. Jeezzus, I had a headache for the rest of the night and my ears were ringing even though I was only in there for 10 minutes.” (first-year attendee)
Raves and concerts are set in the highlands room due to it being in a closed space and away from the rest of the convention. The volume of concerts and raves are to be expected.
“There were times when I felt like wasn’t really anything going on and I just kind of sat and waited for something to happen.” (first-year attendee)
I am sorry you were not able to fully enjoy Madicon. Throughout the weekend, there were plenty of events, games, and activities occurring. If you do attend next year, please try out a game you might not have played or chat with an author about some fiction you may not have read.
“Panels starting at 10am is way too early. Totally understand why they start when they do though.”
Some people are awake at that time and it is best to have panels scheduled when people arrive. Saturday has an all-day schedule.
“A smaller, more consolidated event than expected. Attendance was sparse. The rave, the main attraction for our group, did not start as scheduled and had a tentative start, but picked up momentum for a fun finale.” (first-year attendee)
I do admit the start of the rave was a bit sporadic and that was poor planning and communication on my part. I am glad it picked up. I believe I personally caught the end of it.
“Organization/staffing could use some work. No option for a two-day pass.” (first-year attendee)
I will not deny the first part. We are a student organization and human. We cannot offer a two-day pass. Attendees can pay for two days, but it really is up to the discretion of the conchair and the student organization. Sunday can have more or less events depending on when dining services opens and when we have to clear the space.
“Just that it is small! I know it’s growing, and the more the merrier.” (Guest)
I do hope it grows!
“Nothing worth mentioning” (Guest)
All right then.
“ That it really was only a one day event since fri & sun didn’t have much drawl.” (Guest)
This is a small convention after all. We cannot start until 2PM on Friday. Usually the LARP is the draw for a good amount of attendees while on Sunday the auctions are the bigger events. Sunday can have more or less events depending on when dining services opens on that Sunday and we have to clear out.
“There were a few last-minute schedule issues that I think probably could have been avoided, but I do understand things come up.” (Guest)
Thank you for understanding.
“the redhead at registration shitty attitude friday eve” (Guest)
I do apologize on behalf of this person. I hope whatever the situation was about was resolved peacefully.
“Some of the chiptunes concerts were too early in the afternoon and conflicted with some of the panels that I wanted to go to.” (multi-year attendee)
Conflicts are meant to happen at conventions. I made the schedule in a way that people can attend panels, music, and games at different times. No human can go to every event.
(Will address scheduling in a later section)
“I’m sorry more didn’t get stay for the music, perhaps it was just the lull between the concert and the geek auction?” (multi-year attendee)
I did feel some of the lull, but not a lot. I hope music events next year will be more for your enjoyment.
“Schedule was last-minute, would have been able to attend more events if had access before arrival. Vendor area felt odd: suggest two sizes of spaces, larger one for purveyors of stuff (at more cost), and smaller one for purveyors of information (like authors). As is, Stuff Purveyors areas seem great, but people’s booths seem sad and empty. Would love a food/snack/candy/drink vendor of some sort. Doesn’t anybody make nerdy chocolates?” (multi-year attendee)
Scheduling was not last minute. It was posted a full month before the convention, with adjustments made here and there. The schedule depends on those who submit event panels to me to place into the schedule.
The vendors’ area cannot change due to the space we have. We have a very limited space we are allowed to use for free. In the past, Madicon was held in Taylor Hall, an even smaller and less spacious area than the Festival Conference Center.
Due to JMU being under contract by Aramark, we are not allowed to serve any food other than light snacks, dining services is closed during spring break in the Festival building, and no vendors are allowed. Any catering would compromise our budget very easily.
“That it had to close at midnight? That and the fact that the consuite was a little messy at times.” (multi-year attendee)
The Festival Conference Center closes at midnight and we have to be out of the building by then.
I am aware of the mess the Consuite was in at times. We will have better preventive measures in future years.
“The rave was less then par. There are certain requirements that need to be met when producing a show, rave, or concert.” (multi-year attendee)
Since I do not know what your par requriements are, I cannot fully address this.
“Once the geek auction started all the board gamers had to clear out of the upper level gaming area because it was so loud.” (multi-year attendee)
I apologize for this. I was not aware of how it would conflict with people’s games. I hope that future chairs will take this into consideration when it comes to scheduling.
“some staff was a bit on the rude side” (multi-year attendee)
I am truly sorry about this and I hope this will not occur in future years.
“Mostly just walking through the snow to get there….” (multi-year attendee)
We’ve been getting snow warnings here and there. Fancy springtime weather?
“”The lack of variety in the table-top gaming. I’m an oldbie, but I miss the days when there were games being run back-to-back, I’m not sure what happened to cause that to cease to be a thing. Ideally, I’d love for a game to count for an hour or so of “”staff time”", just to get a more variety on the schedule. Or perhaps a discount for “”GM rate”", I’ve also seen, but a requirement that they register by X date. Both of those have been tried and had some problems at various points, which is why they fell out of favor. But damn it I miss it!
I’ll get my cane and rocking chair now. Feel free to ignore this, I’ve just got some nostalgia.” (multi-year attendee)
I do appreciate your comment. Discounts really can’t happen much due to the size of the convention and every penny counts. Running a game at this time counts as staff time, although not completely.
“The delay of the fashion show.” (multi-year attendee)
I do apologize for that, however, each event had a signup sheet. I gave specific instructions that if no one signed up 15 minutes before the event that the event was to be canceled. I was gone to dinner and was not able to see the results unfold, but I was told people joined at the last minute.
“the rave while interesting might have been unnecessary” (multi-year attendee)
It is all to the discretion of the conchair. Yes, there were some mishaps with organization, but I do not feel it was unnecessary.
“Had lots of 3ds streetpasses but no handheld events were organized – maybe next year?” (multi-year attendee)
I really have no way of knowing what handheld gaming trends are in relation to our expected attendance. Maybe next year’s conchair will have a better insight than I will.
“After being spoiled by having C S Friedman and Jack McDevitt… I really missed having an awesome author this year.” (multi-year attendee)
I feel that Madicon prides itself with having the ability to house famous authors as well as lesser-known ones. Every author is important, every author has their own story to tell, and every author has knowledge to contribute.
Phew, that takes care of all of the negative comments. I hope that gave some insight to how Madicon works.
Once again, thanks for everyone who came out to Madicon. Thanks to everyone who participated in the feedback form. I hope that the future years would be as fun as this one was. Thanks for this long and eventful year.
- Danita Hodges, Madicon 22 Conchair