500 Words on Conventions & Community
Conventions and exhibitions almost feel like another world. Within the walls of the buildings and skyways, tens of thousands of like minds gather. It is wonderful and terrifying and energizing and exhausting, all at the same time.
A lot of communities come together, especially if individuals within said communities often feel that they’re alone. Seeing so many people gathered in the same place for the same reason refutes that feeling through sheer fact of numbers. Even so, it can be overwhelming, and as much as an individual can see plainly that they are not alone, other feelings can lead to unintended isolation.
I have felt this myself, and the fact is that the more involved you become in interactions with others, the less isolated you feel. I would remind you, if you feel this way, that it’s okay to be nervous. You’re allowed to have time and space to yourself, but it may not necessarily be for the best if you stay there. Remember that everybody is there for the same reason: a celebration of common ground, shared interest, and collective excitement.
The gaming community in particular has come under fire before. There are certainly incendiary elements. There’s a reason some of the best advice a YouTuber can follow is “Don’t read the comments.” Fans of things in general, and gamers in particular, feel entitled to their opinions and are convinced of the rightness of their causes. While it’s wonderful we live in a world where we can speak and think as we like, that can occasionally lead to uncomfortable situations.
Thankfully, you have just as much right to ignore what someone says as they have to say it. Or, even better, say something that refutes what you disagree with.
As long as we’re communicating honestly and without overarching judgment, we have very little reason to remain silent. Broadly, the way we conduct ourselves be it in the comments or in person falls under Wheaton’s First Law:
Don’t be a dick.
I’m sure this will seem like common sense to a lot of folks. This is a good thing. Still, it’s much like what I’ve said about consent – the more people that know these things, the better the community will be overall. Like I said, there is little reason to remain silent. As long as you’re being positive about what you’re saying, and saying it with the intent of increasing awareness and decreasing worldsuck, by all means, speak up! You will be glad you did.
I’m not sure what else I can add. PAX East is in full swing and I am busier than ever. I’ll be outside Bumblebee Theatre in the Boston Convention & Expo Center. Becoming an Enforcer has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and has lead to some incredibly invaluable and completely unforgettable changes, both now and in the future.
But that is a story, and a post, for another time…