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Con Etiquette: The DOs and DON’Ts for a Nerd at a Convention

San Diego Comic Con has come and gone, and with Dragon con ahead, I decided to write about some important topics. I wrote about cosplay etiquette at cons, but what I would like to bring forth is con etiquette in general.

There’s a lot of things that come off as common sense, but sometimes there are things people don’t seem aware of, and I’m here to point some out.

Host Hotels/ Hotels are a paid privilege and luxury.
As conventions grow, they offer up great hotels with wonderful hospitality. The conventions are so lucky to get hotels willing to work with them, and we are lucky to have these hotels available for us. DO NOT vandalize hotels. Do not break ceiling lights, signs, door handles, write on walls, and leave mysterious stains everywhere. Yeah, I’m looking at you Katsucon guests! Prices for hotels rise because of things like this.


With Dragon con, the events aren’t held at a huge convention center. The con is held in multiple big hotels, and in order to continue having cons like that, so DO treat the hotels and the staff with respect and maturity. Luckily, Dragon con and most other cons have been pretty considerate of their living spaces and convention centers to my knowledge. Remember to tip housekeeping, fill out surveys, and be 100% patient and reasonable. The staff will be grateful and you’ll have a better experience.


Celebrity guests are human beings too.
It breaks my heart when I see stories about celebrities going to cons and getting their rights and privacy infringed on by fans that lose the concept that these are human beings. We as con goers want to see our favorite guests come back, so we should make sure their experience is as fun and comfortable as possible.

DO NOT stalk them, corner them, threaten them, touch them without consent, and etc. You treat them like any normal respectable human being.

Please do not think celebrities are the characters they play. There are always fictional characters we hate or fall in love with, and sometimes we get so convinced by the actor’s performance that we can’t even differentiate the real person and the character. Learn the difference. That person doesn’t deserve hate or uncomfortable flirtation because your connection to their acting is too strong.

Instead, DO compliment them, or thank them for volunteering their time to be there. Dragon con’s guests volunteer to be there, but only get paid through fan photos and autographs. I know for a fact it makes their day when you tell them how you appreciate them for taking time out of their schedules to be there. They will want to come back!


Friendly talks, not screaming arguments.
A healthy debate on a topic in your favorite fandom is perfectly fine. A heated argument that results in yelling and threats is a ticket out of the con. People come to cons to have a great time trying to take in all that’s around them. DO NOT push people’s buttons. For example, if you see someone dressed as a character you hate, do not go up to them and tell them all the reasons you hate that character and why they suck. Let people have fun and have fun yourself! Con doesn’t stand for conflict!

The favorite part about cons is the positive and fun interactions amongst people. DO live in those moments, and ignore the negative interactions. I promise you, for every few negative interactions, there will be thousands more positive interactions.


Patience is a virtue.
In crowded cons with long lines and trying to cross the sea of people to get to another side of a building, it takes a lot of patience. As someone who deals with claustrophobia, I can’t be in crowded closed in areas for too long at all. It would be very easy for me to want to flip out and push people out of the way, but I refrain. Patience is a skill that is mandatory at a con. DO NOT push people out of the way and get snappy with people in the process. Just kind of move slowly with the crowd, you will get to your destination eventually, I promise.

Lines for panels, venders, or even for food can be long and time consuming. Staff will work hard to make sure you get through the lines and to your objective in a timely manner. DO comply with rules, be respectful to those around you, and your patience will feel less like a skill and more like a natural action.


You’re responsible as much as everyone else.
I know that sounds really intense, and you might feel a sudden amount of pressure put on you now. At cons, safety is a BIG deal. There are always staff and security around making sure everything is going smoothly. Of course, at huge cons of 60,000+ people, not everyone can be looked after. If you are being harassed, threatened, assaulted or see someone else deal with the same things, you have to bring it to a staff member’s or security’s attention. DO NOT compromise your safety or anyone else’s because you think it’ll resolve itself, or it’s a big enough con to escape it.

Cons are fun and safe, and we should as a whole want to keep it that way. DO have a buddy system, always offer help when you see it needed, always seek help when needed, and always report activity you think can infringe on anyone’s safety. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

I could write on so many topics when it comes to cons, but I would end up writing a novel. If you find these points as common sense, then I’m very glad! Continue to be a great con goer and make cons amazing for everyone. Share your con experiences, stories, and tips in the comments, because I would love to hear them!

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