Just the FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is SF/Media fandom?
Fandom is that group of people who are inspired to do more than just read, view, or otherwise consume commercially produced material. Fans write stories and songs, publish fanzines, make costumes, do artwork, and interact with other fans.
Media fandom as we know it grew largely from Star Trek fandom (see A Brief History of MW*C). Originally, SF/Media meant Science Fiction primarily in the form of film and television (still our core interest), though MW*C programming has come to include other media with little or no obvious SF connection.
MediaWest*Con programming is intended primarily for people already involved in SF/Media fandom, and those who wish to become more deeply immersed.
2. What do you mean by "fan-run?"
There are two very different types of conventions: commercial conventions and fan-run conventions. Commercial cons are run for profit, generally have one or more big-name guests who appear in a lecture format, and usually don't have many other tracks of programming; they are usually more expensive, and may have stratified pricing, such as for "preferred seating." Fan-run cons are put on by clubs or other groups of fans as an expression of their interest, are usually not intended for (or likely to make a) profit, generally have fewer or lesser-name guests, and programming is more participatory, such as panels, discussion groups, art shows, etc..
2. Why do you limit Attending memberships to 500?
When we started, there were a couple conventions which had near-riots due to overselling memberships (especially undifferentiated one-day memberships); we had also been to conventions that were less enjoyable because they simply felt overcrowded. MediaWest*Con is at heart a relax-a-con, and we want to maintain a certain comfort level for our members; 500 seems to maintain that level at the current facility.
At the peak, we needed to have waiting lists for Attending membership. However, that is no longer the case, and the current location is not as spaceous as the previous hotel, so lowering the cap seems appropriate.
3. Why do you have Apocryphal memberships and allow pets?
We found some people were buying full memberships for their stuffed critters, so we started offering Apocryphal memberships for stuffed or live critters and for alternate identities so as not to take up already limited regular memberships.
As for pets, we had started bringing our dogs to the con so we didn't have to board them, which cleared the way for others to bring their pets, as long as they get along with the other animals and members (which goes for the humans as well!). Some people miss their pets too much, and some pets don't do well without their people.
4. Why don't you have any official guests?
As there are already plenty of conventions which do have guests, we prefer to focus on other subjects of interest to fans, such as the various aspects of fandom itself. While authors, actors, and others are welcome to attend MediaWest*Con as fans (and some do), we do not pay for their airfare, hotel, or other perks; instead, we can allocate our limited resources in ways which more directly benefit our members, such as keeping membership rates low.
MW*C is a participatory convention. Panel topics are suggested by members and members sit on the panels.
5. Why Lansing?
Why not? Lansing is fairly centrally located, and is serviced by major airlines. We (co-chairs Lori Chapek-Carleton and Gordon Carleton) live here, which means we know the area, and it is far more convenient for us than having to make frequent commutes elsewhere; you may only have to make the trip once, but this goes on all year long for us! And, of course, we think it is of some benefit to bring business to where we live, especially in difficult economic times.
6. Why the Ramada Lansing?
The Ramada Lansing is the second largest self-contained hotel and convention facility in the Greater Lansing Area, and is surrounded by a variety of smaller hotels, restaurants, etc. (see hotel for details). It is wheelchair accessible. The facility is big enough to provide considerable function space, and small enough that we can take it over completely (meaning all function space and virtually all the guest rooms), thereby avoiding conflicts with mundanes.
We moved to this hotel after numerous problems with the previous host hotel.
7. How do I get a room in the host hotel?
See hotel page for the current hotel reservation request procedure.
8. Why no smoking?
By Michigan state law, there is no smoking in any public building, except in designated areas. Ramada also has a no e-cigarettes policy.
9. Why isn't the Dealers' Room open to non-members?
As we limit membership to maintain a certain comfort level, we do not want to undermine that by attracting non-members. It would also cause additional security problems, in the Dealers' Room and elsewhere.
10. Why the asterisk?
MediaWest*Con inherited the asterisk from the K*WestCons in Kalamazoo MI, on which MW*C was, in part, modeled. As for why they used it, you'll have to ask Paula Smith or Sharon Ferraro. We have observed that other media cons have started using asterisks in their names, so we assume the association is an acknowledgement of the success of MediaWest*Con.
11. Do I have to wear a costume?
No, but hall costumes and cosplay is welcomed and, of course, members are encouraged to enter the Masquerade costume contest.
Most members choose to dress casually.
12. Do you have an anti-harassment policy?
While we have not had a lot of problems of that sort, we have added an anti-harassment policy to the general rules.
This official MediaWest*Con page was updated February 8, 2019