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This is simply not the definition of "operations" I'm familiar with in modern convention running. Operations as I know it is an expansion of the security and logistics function, including running the all-night office, trouble-shooters, and such. This is such a basic difference that I didn't want to jump in and start the argument right in the article :-).

Oops, forgot to sign my earlier entry. Edited to add --

dd-b 19:58, 10 Oct 2005 (PDT)

Cultural relativity

The short answer is: where I come from, Operations is the group that directly deals with the "customer". They do the heavy lifting of actually putting the "product" where the "customer" will find it. Everyone else in the organization supports this in some way or fashion, but would not likely have face to face contact. That may not be the way a typical con is actually organized, but it is the way I understand it. "Sales" "Research" and "Marketing" would be the only other groups that would likely deal with the customers directly.

The Major Functions chart is a hybrid Table of Contents and Con org chart. It needs to be accurate in three different ways. It should be usable as a guide to finding information in the wiki, and it should be recognizable to a person trying to set up a Con, as well as to persons that have dealt with them for a while. I like the structure, but I'm predjudiced towards what I know. It can be changed, but it needs to be both simple and accurate. --Bill Taylor 19:30, 10 Oct 2005 (PDT)

ps. Is this a "more than one right way" situation? You've done it one way for one thing, I've done it a different way for a different thing.

Fannish usage?

I certainly make no claims beyond "it's a common usage in con-running" for my usage of "operations", and have no desire to exclude other definitions that may be in use. But do I understand that convention committees you've worked on use the term that way? Or are you describing a usage you're familiar with from outside fandom? The emphasis on "sales", "marketing", and especially "customer" sounds violently unlike any fannish con-running culture I've encountered, so I want to clarify that.

dd-b 19:57, 10 Oct 2005 (PDT)

No, this usage didn't develop in Sf fandom. One place was in concert production. We were a 100+ semi-permanent floating committee that did large concert productions at my former college. 8 - 12 per year, 2-5000 head attendence. Another place is usage from my employer. Which is why I was using quotation marks, as a sort of translation to the civilian world. The analogy works, but the names are completely different. I don't have a problem with change and improvement. If things are wrong they need to be fixed. I just want to maintain some balance and not lock in to something too soon. --Bill Taylor 20:20, 10 Oct 2005 (PDT)

What might be a better categorization for Operations or the Major Functions? We can talk it out here then see what fits. I see one way over in the Departments article, but is that too specifc to a given Con? This should work for small medium and large as a generic guide --Bill Taylor 08:16, 12 Oct 2005 (PDT)

My issue isn't so much the categorization as the name; "operations" already means something quite specific and different in conrunning, so trying to usurp it for a functional category, however useful, is a bad idea IMHO. Although in fact I only know one convention that categorized their departments anything like that, either -- Ad Astra in the old days brought everything down to two divisions, "planning" and "operations". --dd-b 14:19, 12 Oct 2005 (PDT)

knowledge from elsewhere

Yeah, I would venture to suggest that, other than small kernels of knowledge that are placed relevantly in the context of fannish knowledge, posting material from other knowledge bases is actually counter-productive at this stage of the game. I know you're trying to create a framework from which things can expand or get corrected, but this is a space where I would tend to agree with the folks on SMOFs who say it would be better to start by recruiting a bunch of knowledgable conrunners to set up the framework than to just jump in with material that is going to alienate your visitors.

Functionally you could also bunch these things under "Allocating Function Space". That doesn't mean that it's a useful or appealing designator, though.

netmouse 14:01, 5 Nov 2005 (EST)

Big Ops vs Small Ops

Actually, this is roughly the definition of UK-style "Big Ops." The cultural disconnect between US and UK conrunning styles becomes very apparent when the same term ("Operations") is used in significantly different ways between the US and UK.

Kevin Standlee 16:45, 12 Jan 2007 (PST)


I see at least three articles here:

  • What I have seen called "Program Ops", which matches the current content of the article
  • What I have seen called "Small Ops", which is an office and/or logistical function
  • What I have seen called "Big Ops", which is the expression of executive authority at-con
  • Possibly, a discussion of regional customs affecting, and interaction among, the various different kinds of operational functions

Perhaps "Operations" should be a disambiguation page, not a content page.

Arisia, by the way, has all three Ops models concurrently, and boy is it confusing to newcomers.

-- phi 14:07, 18 Jan 2007 (EST)

Disambiguation is one option, but I think categorization can deal with some of what you've said. I see two different problems. One, to get all the content down somewhere, and Two, to put the right headings, titles and links on it. If the title of this article could be better, or the content needs to be beefed up or split down, that can be done. And not just by me. In the worst case, we can just revert badly mangled articles. --Bill Taylor 01:24, 20 January 2007 (PST)

Unambiguous Terms

Everything being described here (and in the equally confusing Operations category and Operations Support page) has multiple names, one of which includes the letters O and P in that order and one of which does not. I suggest:

  • "Program Ops" (or maybe there is a better term, but there's already a Program Ops page here that's largely redundant with the current content of this page) for the department and location that's called that in the US and Ops in the UK
  • "Convention Office" for the department and location that's called that in the UK and Ops in the US
  • "At-Con" or "Runtime" for the concept that's called that in the US and (confusingly) Ops in the UK
  • "Administration" for the division that's called that in the UK and (confusingly) Ops in parts of the US
  • "Executive" for the concept that's called that in the UK and (confusingly) Ops in parts of the US

There may be yet more things that get called Ops sometimes, but even ignoring the UK/US nomenclature issues I think the best solution is to let none of those use the word "Operations" to describe themselves on this site.

--phi 15:12, 31 January 2007 (PST)

We already have some articles like those (At-Con, Administrative Affairs, Program Ops ) and we can easily create the others (Administration, Executive, Runtime, Convention Office) by just filling in some content. And the first step might be to put them in the Glossary category so people will know what the heck they mean. Then also tag them into the "correct" functional categories. --Bill Taylor 17:02, 31 January 2007 (PST)
Pretty much every red link you see in the wiki is an empty article, dying to be filled with content. Just write something, and link it to a major category or two. It would be nice if it had some internal wiki links as well. --Bill Taylor 17:03, 31 January 2007 (PST)
With that in mind I'm going to see about flushing something out for Security, because you make mention of it in the tree chart on the main page, stating that security is a branch of operations, but don't have any reference to it in the operations page. --Furp 01:42, 15 July 2008 (GMT +03:00)
Great. Thanks for the help. The structure here is somewhat flexible, so link it into wherever appropriate. --Bill Taylor 15:33, 15 July 2008 (UTC)