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8 Rules of Nerd Convention Etiquette That You Really Ought to Follow

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When you head out to your local comic, anime, gaming, or other type of nerd convention, your first priority is probably making sure you have a good time. You paid good money for a ticket to the convention, and you want to make sure you’re properly maximizing your fun.

But have you ever taken a second to stop and consider the fun of the other people attending the event? If everyone was just a little bit more considerate of other people at large conventions, we’d all get to have more fun!

Plus, it just feels good to know your actions are actually improving the experience of your fellow con-goers!

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1. Handle Your Personal Hygiene

This is the number one most important rule when attending a convention. Take a shower and put on some deodorant. Regardless of the weather outside, it’s going to be warm in the convention, and you’re probably going to sweat. Starting off clean with some deodorant will make everyone around you happy! And for you single geeks and nerds, a convention is a great place to meet like-minded people. Do you really want to smell when you have a chance to meet the man/women of your dreams?

2. Think About How Your Cosplay Might Affect Other Attendees

Obviously, cosplayers put a lot of work into their costume, and a convention wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without them. However, some costumes can get pretty ridiculous in terms of the amount of space they take up. If your costume is as a wide as five humans standing side-by-side, try to think about that as you move through the convention. Bring a friend that can help you get around if you need to. While we all respect the work that went into your costume, we also ask that you respect our ability to walk around it.

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3. Be Considerate When Getting Autographs

One of the most frustrating things at a convention is standing in line to get an autograph, only for someone in front of you to decide that they need to get 29 things signed and they want to share their life story with the celebrity or creator. Sometimes the person doing the signing will move the lingerer along, but some of them are too nice. Just remember that there are people waiting in line behind you. Remember how you felt standing in line. Trying to spend 15 minutes with the person doing the signing just isn’t reasonable. Of course, if no one is waiting in line after you, feel free to have a field day!

4. Keep It Moving in Walkways and Choke Points

This should seem obvious, but it never fails that cosplayers and people photographing them seem to set up shop right in the middle of the crowded walkway to do their thing. I’m all for getting photos of and with your favorite cosplayer, just do it somewhere that isn’t a major choke point for the crowd trying to move through the show floor. You’ll have fewer people walking through your photos, and you won’t be in the way. It’s a win for everyone!

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5. Ask Before You Photograph

When you see someone wearing as awesome costume, it’s a nice courtesy to ask before you start snapping photos of them. This isn’t a hard rule, as cosplayers will often be hanging out in a corner posing, and you might not be able to get up to them to ask. If it appears obvious they’re posing, then snap away. However, if you can ask, it never hurts to make sure they’re okay with having their photo taken. They may not be holding a key prop or wearing a part of their costume at the time you snap a photo, which makes the photo less enjoyable for everyone.

Also, don’t forget rule 4! Try to not to stop cosplayers in the middle of a crowded aisle to ask them to pose for a photo.

6. Be Respectful No Matter What Cosplayers Wear

Both men and women are probably going to wear some pretty revealing costumes at the event you attend. Does that mean it’s okay to look at them? Yes. To stare for an excessively long period of time? Keep it within reason. To yell rude or sexually explicit comments at them? Definitely not. Put yourself in their position. Imagine if you worked up the courage to cosplay as your favorite revealing character and how difficult it would be. You’d want people to enjoy your cosplay, but you probably wouldn’t enjoy lewd comments about your butt.

7. Respect “The Line”

If you’re at a large convention, there’s probably going to be thousands of people there, and they’re all going to want to see some of the same panels or attend the same signings. As such, there will be queues. Don’t try to cut the line. Don’t loudly complain about how long the line is. When you get to the front, don’t do anything that’ll slow down the line (don’t ask the celebrity to sign a hundred things, don’t take an hour to choose your seat at a panel, etc).

8. Have Fun!

This might actually be the most important rule of all (no, not smelling is). We’re all there to have a good time. Sitting around complaining about the long lines or crowds isn’t helping anyone, and it’s just bringing down the fun of the people around you.

You spent good money to attend the convention, so make the best of it! Stuck standing in line? Try to befriend the people around you. Stuck not moving because someone is snapping a photo of a cosplayer in the middle of the walkway (and violating rule number 4)? Take this opportunity to look around you and see if there’s a booth that you hadn’t noticed that might be of interest.

The key to truly enjoying a big convention is the ability to go with the flow. There are going to be smelly people. People are going to wear cosplays that you can’t walk around. If you can let these annoyances roll off your back, you’re going to enjoy yourself much more. Plus, you can take solace in the fact that you’ve helped others have a good time by following the simple rules above.

Dave LeClair
Dave is a staff writer at WhatNerd and our resident gamer and drum prodigy. When he isn't watching movies or attending local wrestling events, he's with his dogs. He's based in Connecticut.
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