When you head out to a comic convention, anime convention, gaming convention, or any other type of nerd convention, your first priority should be to make sure you are safe and have fun.
After all, you paid good money for a ticket to that convention, and you want to make sure you’re maximizing that ticket’s value.
But you should also take a second to consider the other people at that convention and whether or not they’re having fun. If everyone was just a little more considerate of other people at large events, we’d all have a better time.
Here’s what you need to know about geeky convention etiquette, whether it’s your first time going to one or your hundredth time!
1. Mind Your Personal Hygiene
This is the number one most important rule when attending any convention. Take a shower and put on some deodorant!
It doesn’t matter what the weather outside is like—at the actual convention, it’s going to be warm beyond belief and you’re going to sweat. A little deodorant will keep everyone around you happy, and you won’t have to worry or be self-conscious.
Not to mention that geeky conventions are a great place for single nerds to meet like-minded people. Do you really want to smell when you meet the man/woman of your dreams?
2. Respect “The Line”
If you’re at a large convention with thousands of other attendees, you’re all going to want to see many of the same panels, attend many of the same signings, etc.
As such, there will be queues.
Don’t try to cut lines. Don’t complain about how long the lines are. 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).
3. Be Quick When Getting Autographs
One of the most frustrating things at a convention is standing in line to get an autograph, only for that line to be held up for 15 minutes because someone wants 29 signatures and needs to share their life story with that celebrity or creator.
Sometimes the autographer will prompt the laggard to move on, but many autographers are just too nice. So it falls on the people in line—like you and me—to be courteous and act quickly.
Remember that there are people waiting in line behind you, and remember how you felt standing in line. Of course, if no one is waiting in line after you, feel free to have a field day!
4. Keep It Moving!
Conventions often take place at massive venues, but you’d be surprised how tight the space can get. With hundreds of thousands of other people, walkways can get packed.
Which is why it’s important to keep moving if you’re in a chokepoint or high-traffic area. That means walkways, hallways, doorways, elevators and escalators, restrooms, etc.
And if you’re taking photos—either as a cosplayer or as a photographer for cosplayers—be courteous and move aside! You’ll have fewer people walking through your photos, and you won’t be in the way. It’s a win for everyone.
5. Be Respectful to Cosplayers
Most geeky conventions these days encourage cosplaying, which means many men and women will likely be wearing all kinds of revealing costumes.
Does that mean it’s okay to look at them? Yes. To stare for an excessively long period of time? No, try to keep any staring to a minimum. To yell rude or sexually explicit comments at them? Definitely not.
Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine working up the courage to cosplay as your favorite character who happens to have a revealing design. You’d want people to enjoy your cosplay, but you wouldn’t want them to make you uncomfortable.
6. Ask Before You Photograph
When you see someone wearing as awesome costume, it’s common courtesy to ask before you snap any photos of them.
Sure, most cosplayers at geeky conventions want to be admired and would love to have their photos taken. If they’re obviously making poses for the camera, go ahead and snap away.
But if you aren’t sure, it’s always a good idea to make sure someone is comfortable being on camera before you shoot. At the very least, it gives them a chance to get their props ready and strike an iconic pose, which is a win for everyone.
7. Be Considerate When Cosplaying
Obviously, cosplayers put a lot of work into their costumes, and conventions wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without them.
However, some cosplays can be outright ridiculous in terms of how much space they take up. If your costume is as wide as five people standing side-by-side, or has a lot of props, keep that in mind as you move through the venue.
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 not be affected by it.
And Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
At the end of the day, everyone at the convention is there to have a good time. Whining and complaining is just going to bring down the mood for yourself and everyone else.
You spent good money to attend that convention, so make the best of it. Stuck in line? Befriend the people around you! Caught in a hallway while people are photographing a sick cosplay? Walk another way and see if there’s a fun booth you hadn’t noticed.
The key to having fun at a big convention is the ability to go with the flow. There are going to be smelly people, loud people, inconsiderate people, and far worse. You have to let it slide.
If you can let these annoyances roll off your back, you’re going to enjoy yourself much more. And you can take solace in knowing that you’ve helped others have a good time by following the rules of convention etiquette in this article!