No Mountain Too Tall - A Follow-up of CMPC, Opinions and Analysis by

Note: the Opinions expressed in the screencaps included below are not necessarily the opinions of Horse News or its affiliates (as no one from HN was in attendance at the event itself)

And now for what you've all been waiting for:

So Crystal Mountain Pony Con is over. Forever. And many have been waiting for us to do our follow-up on the event, so let's jump right into it.

First let's answer the question that naysayers THOUGHT we were asking: Did CMPC turn into Las Pegasus Unicon Part 2? The answer to that question is a hard "No" as people were not stranded in the desert and there was considerably less gambling options available. Many guests, vendors, and attendees alike stated after the fact that they enjoyed themselves and some would willingly return if the convention did also. In that regard, the convention was a success.

Now let's examine the question that we were actually asking with our pre-convention post 4-weeks ago: Were the alarms and concerns raised by staff members and vendors alike justified?

Let's take a look at what has happened, beginning with the beginning and the immediate response to the original post.


After the initial post, we received pushback from some claiming that the screencaps were fabricated in some manner, or somehow taken out of context, or that there was nothing wrong to begin with, and that responding to these claims somehow damaged our credibility. 

"A supermarket checkout magazine"
Do they even still make those?

Then the affected parties began to voice their concerns publicly, as well as directly. It is known that at least 3 vendors cancelled their table bookings following the post. (Their posts are shown in this article).

Also following the post, we received numerous screencaps from within the convention chatrooms themselves, the most interesting of which being a conversation regarding how to respond to the concerns being raised, the answer being to "ignore" the "trolls". 

Above, is David Halliday, saying that the coverage that CMPC received from HN resulted in a "huge boost in sales". This implies that whatever the number of pre-registered attendees was prior to the posting, some significant number of new registrations came in afterward. The number of registered attendees that prompted the pushback from the former Vendor Relations head was lower.


We received plenty of chatlogs, tweets, and direct messages from concerned parties for the next few weeks leading up to the convention.



Then the convention happened.

Shortly after the convention began, a thread appeared on /mlp/ for anons attending and those watching from the sidelines to discuss whether the con was a success in their opinion. Many individuals began attempting to estimate the total number of attendees at the event, using crowd-shots of the main event halls during primary events.



Some of the posters did headcounts of the crowds and determined that the photos of the main events never seemed to have more than approximately 100 people in them at a time.


Other anonymous attendees estimated the total crowd at the convention center to be "around 200" individuals at any given time, though the accuracy of these figures would be nearly impossible to pin down, given that the Vendor Hall was made open to the public for the duration of the event, and the convention itself was opened to the public on Saturday.


Other attendees raised their own personal grievances and did their own estimates.










This proceeded through the weekend, and into the days following, which saw more mixed reviews, including some from vendors.

Horse News attempted to contact as many vendors as Twitter's Direct Message system would allow for (as most vendors do not follow us) and we wished to keep the identities of the vendors themselves secrets so-as to avoid backlashes with future events.



One vendor said they did "okayish" but that the "Con is no where near a airport or hotel which sucked". Another said they did "quite well", another said "But really, vendor hall was always pretty empty."

We received figures throughout the weekend ranging from 4-digits in sales, to others that were in double-digits and not breaking even on their investment. Overall the reviews were mixed from those who chose to stay in the vendor's hall, but generally positive from those who did better than breaking even. Some commended the convention on the opening of the vendor hall to the public to increase the possibility of sales, though one vendor we communicated with said; "I didn't see anybody that didn't have a general badge this is a huge college town and the con was hidden maybe if they advertised more randos would have wondered in".

Another vendor disagreed and said "We take issue with the claim that the vendor hall was always pretty empty. There were times when we, and several other vendors, were SWARMED." 



We received messages from other vendors who had cancelled and were relieved they did, and one who successfully received a refund from their paypal claim. Thornwing had previously said that he would use the vendors' convention contracts "in the defense of any PayPal action taken."


It's unclear if the other vendors that pulled out received their refunds also.



In the end, the convention had 33 tables in the vendor hall, down from the proposed greater number that was the prompting of Stephen Wintre's original protest.

The final map became different from the "updated map" we saw in the original screencaps (pictured above with over 40 spots). The layout may have changed after the several drop-outs between the release of the original post and the opening of the convention, which would mean that the vendors had less competition for the limited amount of spending money of the attendees. The former Vendor Relations head maintained that "a good ratio of vendors to attendees is 7-10%".


It was unclear though, if we would ever know, what the ratio of vendor to pre-registered attendees was that prompted this conflict.

Then, this happened.



An anonymous vendor, which posted their vendor-status badge as evidence of their identity, surprised many by revealing that they had, in their possession, a copy of the CMPC pre-registration list, complete with the names and badge status information of everyone who had pre-registered at the convention, including David Halliday (which could mean that the sheet contained staff member information as well).

The post read as follows:

"The other VendAnon and I were content with not leaking this information for the sake of keeping these staff members out of trouble. Because uncovering their identities could mean some big trouble. Then we all read this 
>>32888674
The staff members and us VendAnon got onto a Skype call this morning to discuss it. Both staffers agreed to have the data posted and if it revealed their identities then they would be alright with that because people do have a right to know.

The staffer found these sitting on a clipboard in a box right next to the registration table on Fiday. They took the papers and messaged us. We all met in my hotel room and talked about what to do. We took pictures of the papers with our badges in view. Our names being blocked. The staffer ran the papers back to the con and put them back. The other staffer kept watch on chat and in person to see if anything was said about these papers going missing or the folding (oops). 

They were just there in the open which was weird and when we got drunk on Saturday after the con we got paranoid. We planned on posting these on Sunday afternoon but decided to wait. I was given the pictures and other copies were deleted.

This is CMPC pre registration. Pics are shitty on purpose but higher res pics do exist. "

Accompanying this post, were 9 images, with last names blurred to protect the attendees identities from further risk of exposure. We have only included one image that we have determined to be too grainy to read, even under intense magnification, to ensure that their identities are not put at risk.



The authenticity of these documents is difficult to ascertain but they appear to be genuine at this time, which raises further questions about the convention.

From these documents, posters on /mlp/ were able to get an approximate number of pre-registered individuals of around 200 (the official number is impossible to know from these documents as one tier of badges does not have a finite number of dependents). The names were evidently listed alphabetically by first name and the images included names from A to Z.

This number, could reasonably be the final number of pre-registered individuals at the opening of the convention (as it was purportedly being used near the "registration table") including those which made their reservations after the "huge boost" provided by Horse News' coverage of the vendor concerns. 

If these numbers are correct, it would mean that even after the improved final ratio of ~200:33, the vendor table to attendee percentage was not within Stephen Wintre's personal goal of 7-10% (33 to 200 is closer to 16%) during pre-registration. The ratio prior to the post could only have been more skewed, having more vendors (assuming that the 3 vendors who publicly dropped out were not replaced) and fewer pre-registered attendees. To hit the percentage that Wintre cited as a "good ratio" in his messages, the convention would have needed anywhere from 330 to 470 attendees in the end.

So, knowing this, were the alarms and concerns raised by staff members and vendors alike justified?
Did their concerns deserve to be publicized?
Could their concerns have been better handled, publicly or privately?
Could things have turned out differently, had their problems not been publicized and addressed?

You tell us.

In the end, the situations for most vendors improved beyond their expectations leading into the weekend, and we are grateful that fans were still able to enjoy themselves. Soon enough, memories are going to be all we have left of this fandom. Conventions are great, but they should never come at the risk of jeopardizing the livelihoods of the parties that make a convention in the first place.

CMPC is dead, but there are still lessons to be learned from it.

Bonus:







Comments (14)

  1. P U R P L E T R A N N Y

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    1. i raped anons mom
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    2. KIND OF INTERESTING HOW TOTALLY-NOT-PURPLE-TRANNY SHILL KEEPS COMING BACK TO RAPE, AS IF BEING A RAPIST IS SOMEHOW BETTER THAN BEING A SHITPOSTER

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  2. Oh god I forgot Peter New tried to defend them. DustyKatt too it seems.

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    1. Follow the money; big-name shills wouldn't lose anything at this con, because otherwise they'd kick up a big-name fuss. Purple Tinker, known complainer, you'll note is another shill claiming they did nothing wrong. Look for the little names, the nobodies, who made pennies, and have no social media recourse.

      This con is savvy about who it fucked over.

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    2. True. Highly doubt anyone will care/hear how Midnight got fucked over by Scott/Thornwing.

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  3. Best part about the dude constantly saying "You signed the contract"... Misrepresentation, Nondisclosure, and Unconscionability all count as things that can cause a contract to become unenforceable... so the fact they tried to hide so much from vendors..

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  4. I'm only familiar with the cons I've staffed (i.e., the one where 12 laptops are available for play; 8 run DOOM in native DOS 7.1 while the rest run Red Alert 2) so I'm already aware of some of the drama that did result in the ruin of one's possible livelihood. As for whether or not the issues should be brought to the public or not is iffy, most of what I've seen they've tried to sweep it under the rug (though there is an HN article about some of their mishaps of course).

    My bias is that most other bronies, websites and all that jazz, are really good about ignoring issues if they're handled privately. At least, in public, issues are known and if they're not being worked on people would know. Ideally I'd like to believe if someone's claims are way out of line or can't be proven it's fairly easy to put up a good defense that disproves their claims. From what I've seen of the recent tweets their pubic [sic] relations team doesn't seem too 'professional' about their work.

    I'm way too tired to process the article as a whole but I think my above on how false claims can be easily be verified false is probably the best I can do.

    Aside: Yes, they still make tabloids you can buy at the grocery store checkout.

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    1. Are you talking about EFNW or CMPC?

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    2. If you're asking about the convention I staffed it was Fiesta Equestria.

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  5. If it's the last CMPC why don't they just come clean about the problems.

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    1. To make themselves look like they went out in grace instead of a flop is my guess.

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  6. Because some of the staff are also involved in other conventions.

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  7. Well, its official, the Brony fandom is going out just like I expected it would, not with a bang , but a whimper .

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