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Bad Horse

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Trotcon 2020 is cancelled; Everfree is not · 7:39pm May 13th

See https://trotcon.net/. If you're registered, you have only until June 9 to get a refund.

So, my only pony con this year will be Everfree NW, in Seattle, August 7-9, which I'm going to mainly because they invited me and airfare is cheap this year. The con hotel, unfortunately, is sold out. There's also a nearby hotel offering rooms for $150 a night, but the first night is non-refundable.

Join the group Convention Planning to get feed notices about conventions. If you're going to Everfree NW, I encourage you to post there and say so. I'm looking for someone to share a room with, and/or to tour Seattle the week before it.

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Comments ( 20 )

Yeah, I was thinking about hitting up EFNW this year, but then, uh, 2020 happened.

Still, hope you have fun in Seattle! And, y'know, tell the rest of us about what we missed.

It wouldn’t surprise me if EFNW gets cancelled as well. Conventions are pretty much a contagious virus’s nirvana.

I expect conventions in August are going to be cancelled as well, they just haven't declared so yet. I know some people who run an anime convention in November, and they're expecting to have to cancel.

The question con organisers face isn't "Can we run?", but rather "Should we run?" If running the convention means the possible death of some percentage of your attendees, then the only responsible thing you can do is cancel, or at least postpone to the following year.


The question con organisers face isn't "Can we run?", but rather "Should we run?"

Almost right, but I think the real question is who is liable if this event is canceled would be more accurate. I'm sure the con runners would cancel immediately if they could, but the places they hold it are only give them the okay during government emergency.

That depends whether you value human lives more than money.

I do.


I don't think Nagaina's post endorsed or expressed any callousness. The tone of yours implied that it did.


Thoughts during the final BronyCon: In Stalliongrad, line stands in YOU.


The question con organisers face isn't "Can we run?", but rather "Should we run?" If running the convention means the possible death of some percentage of your attendees, then the only responsible thing you can do is cancel, or at least postpone to the following year.

By that logic, no one should ever hold any conferences, since they always mean the possible death of some percentage of attendees.

Lives are only as valuable as life is. Banning social life steals a little bit of life from everyone.

I currently have a two-bed hotel room booked thurs-mon a block from the con we were looking to share, if you're still hunting.

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Sorry, that's not what I meant to say. The "you" in my response is a hypothetical anybody, not Nagaina in particular.

Anything we do in life carries some inherent danger, of course, and trying to make life 100% safe is impossible. I understand that. But that's not the situation here.

Convention organisers do it out of love for the community. They certainly don't do it for the money, or the praise. And right now they're faced with an equation that says, if they run an event for a thousand people, 10 of those people will die. Or some similar number - estimates vary a lot, but it's a very real number. It's not a vague statistical chance, it's a certainty that people will die as a direct consequence of choosing to run the convention. Somebody who loves their community probably isn't willing to do that, regardless of what insurance companies, venues and governments have to say about it. And they may end up losing a lot of money as a result, but that's a choice they'll have to make.

A convention isn't a place you can keep a safe distance. Narrow corridors, queues, packed rooms, hugs everywhere, alcohol, constant motion and mingling, and lots of people who've travelled from all over. In that situation it isn't just possible that a virus could spread, it's likely.

I'll put on my 'Hi I have run multiple cons now' hat and say :

It sucks, but EFNW is very unlikely to happen either. The US is fucking up the response to this super hard, so August isnt going to be safe either. It'd be great, but...I would hold off buying a plane ticket till mid-late June at the earliest

Not to mention it seems like literally everybody gets "con crud" apparently.

As a native Seattlite, I'll definitely be going if it happens, since I live only a short drive away.

I'll be taking some time off the week prior, so might be able to assist with the touring as well.

The last convention I went to gave me norovirus. That was not fun.

Covid-19 is significantly more dangerous to people who already have other illnesses, or whose immune system is recovering from the effort of fighting something else. The melange of common colds and other stuff we think of as "con crud" are usually fairly harmless, and only occasionally more troubling, but would add an extra danger factor to anybody who catches the coronavirus on top of that.

Yeah, it's probably not happening. They're just stuck in the limbo where if they move first, insurances don't pay out and refunds don't come back to them. They have to wait for the state to declare it.


And right now they're faced with an equation that says, if they run an event for a thousand people, 10 of those people will die. Or some similar number - estimates vary a lot, but it's a very real number.

If the number were indeed 10 I would agree, but it isn't. The fatality rate is at most 1%, and is estimated as around 0.1-0.2% for that age group. (I believe it's far lower than that, as the vast majority of cases were never detected.) It's unlikely even 1 person out of 1000 would die even if every single person there cought covid-19.

If the convention were held today, it would be likely that many people with covid-19 would be there. But we're talking about August. I expect covid-19 to be rare by then. If it isn't, and there's still no vaccine, then at that point our only path out of covid-19 will be to acquire herd immunity--which means there's little point even trying to prevent people from catching it.

More importantly, if you want to keep things shut down into August, you're stealing about 6 months of good life from every person. That's close to 1% of our lifespan--and each death from covid-19 takes on average something like 10% of a person's lifespan. So you'd be ruining at least ten times as much life as you'd be saving. That's not even considering how much people will suffer from the effects of this shutdown for years after.

All that said... while I think ordinary life in general should restart soon, maybe August is too soon to hold a convention. They are particularly good venues for infection, as you said. But for now, I'll keep my options open, and decide later, when we have more data.

The percentage of people who are going to die from it isn't fixed: it depends on the medical treatment you receive, which depends on how overwhelmed your local healthcare services are. If a large surge of cases means they don't have enough medicines, don't have enough ventilators, don't have enough doctors and nurses to care for you, then your chances go way down - and the percentage goes way up.

Even during lockdown, the virus does still spread. In theory, a total lockdown for 4 weeks would kill the virus off entirely, but a total lockdown isn't going to happen in any country because these are human beings. An event where people gather in large numbers has the potential to infect not just a number of those people, but also other people they're connected to, and others connected to them, and so on. The impact of an event could be many times more infections than the number of people present. And depending on time and place, that surge could contribute to the overloading of health services, leading to the death of people who've never heard of the convention.

So we all have a responsibility, not just to the people who may attend an event but to society at large, NOT to contribute to that overload.

Many transmissible diseases kill lots of people every year, and we don't shut the world down for them. Tuberculosis kills 5 times as many people every year as coronavirus has so far, and is transmitted the same way, and is just as contagious, and more fatal, and kills both young and old, and leaves those who survive it permanently weakened; yet we don't even give kids the vaccine for it in the US. Lower respiratory diseases, taken as a whole, are mostly transmitted the same way as coronavirus, and kill 10 times as many people every year as this coronavirus has so far. In the US, they kill about 160,000 people per year, which is 2-3 times as many as the excess deaths associated with the covid-19 epidemic so far.

The economic cost of shutting down the economy is going to be in the trillions of dollars. The yearly budget of the NIH is about $30 billion, and IIRC they fund about half of all the medical research in the world. We would surely have saved more lives by staying open and spending $1 trillion on medical research, than by shutting down the economy.

Cholera kills several times as many people each year as covid-19 has killed so far. For that $1 trillion, we might have been able to eliminate cholera by providing clean water distribution systems for everyone in the world.

(For that matter, we would have saved more lives by shutting down fast-food restaurants, instead of letting them stay open and shutting down other restaurants.)

Basically, I don't think people are considering the opportunity costs, and I don't think people are accepting that death happens. Everybody is pretending we can "beat" the virus. But we live with lots of other sometimes-fatal infectious diseases that we've never beaten. Add another to the list, and get on with life.

I might agree that large meetings like conventions should be avoided thru the end of 2020, if someone showed me data indicating that would save a lot of lives... but at present, I think the error bars on the interpretations are much larger than the error bars on the data. We should know better in August.

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