Between the Panels recounts the Talkback panel where folks get things off their chests, attended by 15-20 people. Now bear in mind, 20 people out of 120,000 is a pretty low percentage, and the geek-o-sphere is particularly given over to anal nitpickers who can never be happy, so take the following with a grain of salt:
The Elite security staff was ripped. The recurring theme was that there was no communication and nobody seemed to know…anything. Where to go, who to talk to, or how to enforce order. The latter was of special importance as the rudeness of the red shirt–clad clan was called into question numerous times. Yelling and even physical contact were reported by various con-goers.
Another complaint was the treatment of the handicapped. One lady had the room silent as she almost tearfully recounted her troubled con experience. Her multiple-handicapped son was not given preferential seating, had to endure long lines, and even had to calm his mother down when the experience became too distressing for her. Her car was also towed and was there no tram service at her hotel when she was told there would be. All in all, a bad trip.
Besides the staff and the handicapped, the programming (too many similar events or big events scheduled at around the same time), the crowds (it’s getting too big — “San Diego is not New York or Tokyo or L.A. so they should scale back” was the sentiment), and the parking were other big concerns. In responding to the “too big” complaints, the brass said they were considering making Saturday a registration-only day to cut down on the crowds. It would reduce the throngs, but the programming problem would remain.
One suggestion I thought was good, though it was brushed aside, was the idea of bringing music to the show. A pop culture celebration is not complete without music. A logistical nightmare? Yes. An impossible task in their current space? For the most part, yes. But, it’s a necessary and popular element and it’s missing.