What're the arguments in favour of fan guests?
It's always struck me as a sort of institutionalising cliques - which can be good or bad from a community point of view. (Good: celebrates a strong commitment to the community. Bad: Can be kind of alienating to newbies or people outside the organising clique, or the guest's clique.)
heya, i want to and plan to answer your question, but first of all I want people who don't like them, or don't understand the point of it to have a chance to speak first. That and I need a nap before my brain will re-engage.
It's always struck me as a sort of institutionalising cliques - which can be good or bad from a community point of view.
I'm of a strong belief that Swancon is getting a little too cliquey for it's own good, and that fan guests are just another symptom.
I think that ideally, Fan guests should come from somewhere OTHER than the Con's host city. It'd help cut down the clique-ish aspects a bit, still celebrate and recognise strong contribution to the community, and promote cross-city friendships and fan activities...
While it's an option, it also adds travel expenses to the costs for the concom, and increases the chance that your fan guest will be someone that new fans won't have heard of.
That said, I would approve of cons picking fan guests who were also well known in other areas of fandom. SwanCon 31's choice of Alethea Raspa was an excellent example (though her bio in the program book was rather less so).
I'm new to the con thing, and the Fan Guest has always struck me as one of the oddest aspects of the whole con thing; on the surface, it looks like the most popular person just gets to go for free. Which seems... stupid. After Swancon I can see that obviously that isn't the case - and I loved Zara's panel on children's SF! - but I still don't understand the motivation behind having the Fan Guest. I'd be interested in hearing the reasoning behind it, and what is expected of the Fan, too.
Fan guests often feel redundant - they're people who would go anyway, and given the nature of our fan guests they're usually people who would be on six or seven panels anyway, too. The only positive I can usually agree with about fan guests is that it does draw attention to them, but then the other side of that is, why are we drawing attention to them? If it's for something special that fan guest has done, that's what the awards are for.
And I want any replies from people to those folks to be respectful of their points-of-view and not rude or pushy, or I will delete them at the first opportunity.
Ummmm, I hope I don't fall into this category but... should I be apologizing?
Oh God no! It wasn't aimed at you, or anyone in particular.
This is one of those subjects that people can be passionate about, so I wanted the warning up front so if someone was going to post a negative fan-guest viewpoint, they could do so without fear of being shouted down as wrong.
And I would be very, very surprised if you ever took that tack.
Depends on whether you see them as a recognition thing or as a 'guest' in the way that professional guests are chosen - as an attraction, essentially.
I support them as recognition for people who've contributed substantially to a local fan community - the people who do a bunch of work at the fan, and are there to talk about their experiences of that etc.
I'd be utterly opposed to moving to invite interstate and overseas 'fan' guests as a norm.
The expansion of fandom online has brought enough wank around BNFs and their activities without adding a local level to it.
It would, IMO, make things more cliquish, rather than less: you'd be effectively giving one group of fans or another the opportunity to bring one of their mates in from elsewhere in the world at the expense of the rest of the con goers - and I can't see that going well at all.
You get enough bitching about the relative merits of this guest or that guest at SwanCon as it is (media vs lit, for example), without adding another layer of complexity of achievements that are more easily disputed or challenged.
Fan Guests, I don't mind but sometimes I think who the hell are they? (ie why were they chosen.)
I s'pose that's a good comment. If someone is being honoured, then really the con organisers should make a fuss of explaining to everyone *why* they are there. In the same way you have a dossier of a writer or actor's body of work, here is a summary of what this person has done that means they deserve recognition.
I agree with this!
I've been to a few cons now, but I've never really been sure of why we have fan guests, and why they were picked (as mentioned above).
I'm definitely not saying I'm against having fan guests, I just don't know anything about how the whole thing works. What fan guests do? Do they have to commit to being on a certain number of panels? Or is it just acknowledgement in the form of a free entry, with no obligations attached?
*curious* I want to know more about the whole thing now.
As a criterion, "recognition" is okay (it best accounts for my one such experience, as a Fan GoH at a Minicon), but my Ideal would be a Fan Guest who's knowledgeable and actively Enthusiastic about fandom, who's excellent at _communicating_ this enthusiasm in person, and who likes to do so with neofans as well as with old friends.