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my psychosis at workshops  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I think that most people will not want to come to a workshop here because .... I'm a rude fucker. (I'm still a bit baffled that people voluntarily use my forums, listen to my podcasts, etc.)

A few people are fine coming here because their values are aligned with mine and they think I am not a rude fucker, but a perfectly reasonable guy. But, that's only a few. Very few. Hardly anybody.

I just now gave the opening talky-bit about how things work here and I feel like I was being super harsh, but it seemed like folks were being really cool with it - so maybe they are mostly part of that very few.

Here are the things I think I am super tough about:



wear your name tag

Always. It is your ticket to the event and ticket to meals.

I want to say "If I see a person without a name tag, they will be expelled for the rest of the day. And if they are a douchebag about it, they will be expelled for the rest of the event and for all time." --- of course, I don't want to ever get to that point. Just fucking comply.

Feedback I have heard: "but it could get caught in what I am working on." "Sometimes I forget." "It fell off." "I pinned to my shirt and forgot to move it to my other shirt." etc, etc, etc.

My response: You MUST be THIS smart to ride this ride. If you cannot keep track of your tag, you didn't pass the test.

I've been to a variety of professional conferences in the past and that was the way it worked. It is so well known, that I have seen people arrive at the event without their badge and then they go back to their hotel to get it.

I've been to events where the tags were not policed and had people at the event tell me that they just walked past the registration table without paying and have been attending all the fun stuff and eating the food. They are so proud of this, they are sharing it with me, a person that paid.

I remember being on a planning group for an event and they were working this into their budget: the number of people to facilitate that did not pay.

And at two events here, we had that sort of thing happen. And it was all because we were so lax at name tag stuff.

I feel like that is terribly disrespectful to the people who paid. And adds a strain onto the costs of the event, which I later have to pay for.

Most importantly, the idea that cheaters get just as much candy as the people who paid for the candy is a violation of my values. I am powerfully compelled to stand up for the guys that follow the good and decent path and to impede the people that don't.

I think it is a lot like how I feel about copyright: respect the wishes of the author and/or publisher.

I accept that there are lots of people that don't agree with my position (just as it appears that very few people agree with my position on copyright). Which is why, I suppose, very few people will want to actually attend one of the events here.

Yarn/twine, pins, clips, etc. will all be provided so your favorite way of wearing your tag (badge) will be your way. Maybe we can even provide a pen buffet so that people can show off their artistic ability.




no tobacco

To get to the root of this one would need to cross into things I would rather not talk about in my childhood or even events from adult life. I will openly say that my anti-snoking position on this is going to appear to be outright crazy to most people.

There are a lot of people that are going to be interested in events here that are smokers. And they will have a hard time giving up their addiction for several days. So i suggest that they don't come. Maybe there will be a video later.

We do have a challenge however: ernie smokes a pipe - and often plays a major role in events here. For a long time, ernie would go off property to smoke his pipe. Even out in the rain. Of course, his leg is all fucked up, so it is a bit of a challenge for him to hobble a hundred yards, in the rain, on his crutches, to get off property to smoke his pipe. Last year we tried to set up a guy to care for him and drive him in one of the EVs, but that guy flaked out.

As of this morning, we have set something up in a far away secluded spot that ernie has agreed to ... this is partly in response to finding a cigarette butt this morning, from somebody else. So while ernie is here we are going to try to set up a few chairs on the far side of arrakis so that ernie can sit with his leg up and maybe have some company. My crazy in this space makes me hate this, but I cannot think of a better solution at this time.



take care of your gabage - especially beer related garbage

I don't drink beer. I just never liked the taste or smell. And I understand that most people love the stuff. We seemed to find a lot of bottle caps last year, just a few feet from garbage cans.

But more importantly, I was a little surprised that permies would litter. I'm a little surprised that anything would be said here. But, there ya go - it really happened, so I am really saying something.



- - - -

As I write this, I got an email from cassie. Apparently somebody sent her an email telling her what an awful person she is, and that her name is paul. So, the email is really about what an awful person I am, only the author accidentally sent it to cassie instead of me.

This guy is actually the reason why I felt I needed to write this. While I was emphasizing the name tag thing for all the people at the workshop, he decided that that was the time to address the group to point out how stupid the name tag thing is. His points were that his name was already known, and it was already known that he had paid. He forgot to mention that the tag he received showed to others whether he paid for food or whether he paid for camping and I know that I couldn't remember that. As part of his protest, he showed that he had his name tag, and then proceeded to hide it within his clothes - to complete his act of defiance against the authority (me).

But I will share just small sample of his email:

there is no place for hostile, condescending dress-down for non-compliance to your petty control-freak name tag rule.


I confess that I like the idea that there is never "hostile, condescending dress-down" --- of course, my preference is that on my property at a workshop that I am facilitating, that everybody is respectful to the way things have been arranged. So, yes, there is no "hostile, condescending dress-down." At the same time, I might possibly have a dose of genetics and a dose of how-i-was-raised combined with being freaky giant sized, that I do have a tendancy toward .... correcting problems with direct and stern language. And I confess that "direct and stern" would be a euphemism.

Even more than this: I like the idea that some day a much kinder, gentler person will manage these events. I even like the idea that I could get all of my tasks organized so well that I might actually be able to participate a bit.

I think someday the ants will have workshops and they may or may not use badges/tags. Since I'm not there, it won't very much matter to me. If somebody takes something that is not theirs, it will be an issue that doesn't involve me.

After all, I think I am pretty open about being an utterly horrible person by the standards of most people. This horrible-ness makes me unbearable to most people. Which is why the master of ceremonies for nearly any worthwhile thing should be somebody else.

I am hoping that by writing this stuff, the only people that show up will be people that are glad to comply with my crazy shit. I do very much enjoy the company of people that are, apparently, the exact same flavor of crazy that I am.

If you think you might be the exact same flavor of crazy as me (or really, really close), please give a thumbs up for this post and maybe say a word of encouragement in this thread.


 
David Livingston
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Your home your rules . Simple really

David
 
Judith Browning
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If you think you might be the exact same flavor of crazy as me (or really, really close), please give a thumbs up for this post and maybe say a word of encouragement in this thread.


I don't think I am, really. I like and enjoy a lot of 'flavors of crazy' that I am not the exact same flavor as, including yours...almost all the time so I gave a thumbs up...for freedom of thought and action and for the fact that it's 'your home your rules' as David says.
I don't even think you should have to justify your rules and spend so much time explaining them (or defending them?) These are visitors to your 'home' either here on the forums or there at the Lab and part of being a visitor is having the sensibilities to accept the ground rules (or lack there of).
 
Bill Erickson
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I found you to be a pleasant companion during the grand "Search for Water on the Land!" adventure, that had me going down in flames with no real water in sight. You were polite, said "thank you" and all kinds of civilized shit like that. I don't know if that makes us the same flavor of crazy or not, but you make epic shit happen and I like that.
 
Zach Muller
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I learned over the years to be nice and show respect to other peoples property, even And especially if the level of care is higher than my own standards on my own property. Littering a beer cap or cig butt is the behavior of absent minded children, as is being defiant on purpose. Downright bullshit. Your workshops are not life training for the daft.
Papa wheaton is bringing out the teenager in the guy who felt the need to shit in cassies email box.

Everything you wrote sounds reasonable to me.

Your description of "Direct and stern " reminds me of my grandfather before he died. He had Alzheimer's disease so he never said much my entire childhood. One day we were visiting i was laying on the floor and his dog was licking my face. Suddenly i heard a booming voice, " DONT, Let, the dog, lick your FACE!" Wooo i got up and ran out of there, i still can remember that fear all these years later. That type of thing might frighten and piss people off, but they wont forget!
 
Dandridge Smith
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Paul, I'm in the same "flavor family" of crazy - with some twisted twists and turney turns, plus I'm female and that (for some, mind you, but not all) totally explains my "flavor of crazy". I echo David Livingston, "Your home, your rules. Simple really." Respect for the 'rules of the house' are just that, respect. Truly one of the most basic concepts we humans have devised. I personally don't feel you need to explain yourself/your reason for ANY house rules to any adult person who wishes to avail themselves of your totally mind-numbingly awesome setup there at YOUR Lab, whether it be visiting, contributing, workshopping, picking their nose, whatever. WE'RE ALL WEIRDOS IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER. Let those peeps who don't get it or simply choose not to get it, go somewhere else to obtain awesome knowledge and be part of something magical. After all, it clearly states in all the disclaimers and the master rule book that it's a dictatorship.
 
Ann Torrence
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I just spoke for a group which had their schedules printed into a foldout booklet where the top page was each person's name tag. Whole kit fit into a badge holder. Everyone had the schedule easily at hand. I am going to steal that idea for my next event.
 
Timothy Ettridge
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A couple of thoughts come to me reading this.

One, in life we're usually faced with a choice; be the person who everyone likes, or be the person who gets stuff done. Very rarely can we ever be both.

Two, in almost all situations, we are either the giver (host, etc.) or the receiver (student, guest, etc.). It's always seemed very clear to me that if I am the giver, be it a ride in my car, an experience I'm offering, or anything else, my needs are to be accommodated. If I'm the receiver, I need to pay close attention to what the giver needs.

Like you, I'm baffled when that's apparently not obvious. Unlike you, I usually don't stand up for myself and just let my opinion of the transgressor diminish. My ambitions are small, however, so I can get away with this. Your ambitions, Paul, are large, so I think you should waste no energy on those who don't get it. Lead (you are), follow (they should), or deal with the justified wrath of an overall-wearing giant. The ability to deal with that kind of frankness, like the ability to wear a name tag, should be the price of admission. If you don't get it, then you don't get to get it.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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The tobacco thing I get, I would allow pipes as well, I have 12yrs of cigarette but picking up on campgrounds to back my thoughts.

The badge thing I get, but think you are in a buissness of non-conformists and you may always have this issue with this policy, many of us avoid corporate strategies for herding people at all costs.

It's all in demand, if you have enough customers, you are right.......fewer than ideal, think through what could help.

You are lucky in that "no BS say it like it is" is respected! And you have a cool uncle factor that works for you!!!
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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I agree with everything I have read thus far...

Points I can share from the perspective of both facilitator/attendee (wilderness, mountaineering, wildlife, medical/clinical/educational and timber framing/historical restoration conferences.)

Rules are what they are...you agreed to follow them by paying the check to go...



As for the "name badges"

1.) We would have them printed with the package as suggested above which are always either the "around the neck type" or the "magnetic pin" type (or a combo of both).

2.) As as facilitator I make 3 more copies of each badge in the register data base of attendees.

3.) If someone doesn't have there badge, they can not participate/eat and/or can purchase there "lost" or "misplaced" badge for a service fee of anywhere from $5 to $10 depending on caliber of conference. Average conference would generate as much as $100 in fees for this "service."

For camping and/or cabin housing services on "out door" type conferences there is a $150 security deposit for damages to property and/or unwarranted administrative costs inflicted by an attendee...



 
William Bronson
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Your rules seem reasonable to me.
On the other hand , you had a thread about defying the rules health care facilities set up ,because you thought they were stupid, and violated your privacy.
I think the rules you have shared in this thread are reasonable, but the underlying principle from which they spring is less so.
I find you host a great place, here, on line, where anyone who feels disrespected can escape by the click of a mouse, and conflict can be managed for the community at large.
Works for me, I love it here. Thank you for this.
The "your house your rules" rule only works when the visitor trusts the host,or at least feels free to walk away. Online, one is free to walk away.
At your lab, having paid for a trip there and for participation in the event, people will feel that they will loses something by walking away.
The tobacco rule illustrates that exceptions can be made. This is because the rules are whatever you will them to be, within the greater confines of state and federal law.
As long as the participants in events truly know and accept this, I can see no reason for conflict. They are choosing to trust you as the final arbitrator of what should be in that space.
Me, I would never gladly put myself in such a position, but that's me. Frankly, your strong suggestion that anyone who visits listen to x amount of podcasts, should be enough to weed out those who don't get what the deal is, but no process exists that a fool cannot confound.


Thank you again for what you have made here, this comunity is a wonderful support for those seeking a self sufficient life.
 
William Bronson
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Timothy Ettridge wrote:A couple of thoughts come to me reading this.

One, in life we're usually faced with a choice; be the person who everyone likes, or be the person who gets stuff done. Very rarely can we ever be both.

Two, in almost all situations, we are either the giver (host, etc.) or the receiver (student, guest, etc.). It's always seemed very clear to me that if I am the giver, be it a ride in my car, an experience I'm offering, or anything else, my needs are to be accommodated. If I'm the receiver, I need to pay close attention to what the giver needs.


I have noticed that those who are well liked can get things done by asking for the help of others. Those who are truly disliked have to pay for everything they want done, usually double the going rate. I believe Paul is well liked, or he would not have gotten this far in his ambitions.

As for being either giver or receiver, I rarely or ever experience being only one of these at a time. Is a suckling infant just a free loading leech?
Students generally give attention and money, guest entertain me, dinners at my table give me praise,customers give me money and good reviews, even the utter indigent,unaware and ungrateful recipient of my efforts gives me something, be it a good feeling about myself or a bitter lesson.

My boss just gave me a raise, unbidden, no negotiations. I feed my family with my wages, he builds his business on my work.
Who is the taker? Who is the receiver ? When the only other employee quit, I pulled weeks overtime work to get our project done. My customers love me, even when I screw something up. My boss treats me like gold.
Is he taking from me? I from him?
It doesn't seem like an either or situation to me,and that's in an employer/employee relationship.
Parent/child ? Lovers? Leader / follower?
Any of these could be made into an either or relationship, if so desired. But why would you want to?
 
Michael Newby
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I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the lab during the PDC. I thought that you and Jocelyn were great hosts who explained their expectations in pretty good detail. The only times that you might be considered to be unpleasant to be around was after you were angry because people weren't following the rules, which seems like a perfectly reasonable reason to be a little unpleasant. A lot of people were kind of oblivious to everything that you were doing to make your property available and accommodating for us as guests. Not only did you not just padlock the water spigots when your cistern was running dry (especially after the whole 'elite in the house' business) you spent your own moolah to go buy water to make sure people had enough to drink in the heat when you could have told everyone "town's that-a-way, they got water and you might want to stock up!" Doesn't seem like the actions of a rude fucker, just someone who wants a little respect on their own little plot of land.

People wouldn't bat an eye seeing someone get kicked out of most professional gatherings (which is what something should be if you've forked over your $) so why should it be any different when the gathering is at your place? It's as if some people think that since you run a large website that encourages discussion and doing things differently than the 'norm' then it should be a free-for-all while at a gathering at your personal property because, you know, fuck the man. Just because you don't agree with a lot of society's rules doesn't mean that you don't believe in rules themselves.
 
Rick English
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I agree with the rules, and respect your backbone to say something to enforce the rules. In my experience, some people will nearly always try to take more than they are offered, and the only way to deal with those people is to stand up to them. Otherwise, if you give an inch, they will take a mile.

I also remember a saying a college administrator shared with me: "To the smoker, the world is an ashtray" He himself was a reformed smoker. I think I would modify it to be: "To most smokers, the world is an ashtray." IDK, maybe people think butts are biodegradable, so it is not littering (like throwing an apple core out of your car window), but my guess is chickens or wild critters eat butts and have issues. Almost anything is biodegradable given enough time, but I am pretty sure it takes quite a while for butts to break down.

Just to be clear, I dislike all forms of littering, so I am not trying to single out smokers. I believe everyone should have the right to choose to smoke, but would ask to please keep the smoke away from my lungs and dispose of your butts responsibly.
 
Kelly Smith
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the name tag and picking up after yourself i completely get. this imo, is part of being an adult.

the no tobacco (* except for that guy) is where you lose me.
you say " they will have a hard time giving up their addiction for several days" but shouldnt that apply to everyone?

imo - the perception is that rules become [are] less important when the boss openly breaks them (or allows them to be broken *sometimes* )
most of my experience is in the corporate world - im infinitely interested in why people break the rules, specifically which rules arent followed and why - so take this post with a grain of salt - im obviously in the minority here.
 
elle sagenev
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I've been to cons. At cons your badge is your only way in. You don't have it, you're not in. Somehow millions of people manage to keep track of it to attend something they love. Thus, yeah, agreed. Name tags really aren't that difficult.
 
Wade Glass
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Sounds reasonable to me.

Most people that have that violent of a reaction to simple event requirements show more about themselves than an perceived wrongs about the event.
 
paul wheaton
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Here is what I am hoping for with a resort manager: Julie, the activites director, from the love boat:



And then when people come for events, then Julie takes care of everything. If somebody doesn't like their tag, julie will figure something out. And, at all times, julie is always sweet to everybody.

 
r ranson
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Very reasonable rules Paul.

If you could add a strict No Scent rule to your workshops, it would expand the amount of people who could attend. Environmental sensitivities are becoming common these days.


I'm very fond of name tags, except the 'round the neck' type. They are usually put together with some sort of synthetic cord which causes a terrible rash. Any cord made from synthetic or protein (rayon) based fibres can cause discomfort or skin damage to people who are sensitive. Especially these new fangled rayons like soy silk, bamboo, corn, &c. as people with allergies can sometimes have a reaction to the proteins used to make the yarn.

My preference for name tags are the ones with the little alligator clips. It doesn't damage my clothes, it is easy to attach and unattach even with arthritic hands. I can move the nametag and clip it to my belt if I need to change my shirt or do something physical.

Magnetic tags are second favourite, however they are expensive and can cause disruption to people with pacemakers.

Pin tags are okay except that they are difficult for arthritic fingers and can damage cloth if not applied correctly.

Sticky name tags suck! You can't transfer them when you change your cloths as all the stick is gone.
 
Craig Dobbson
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One solution to the name tag thing might be to use a hand stamp or temporary tattoo type thing. The person would pay for the event and then receive the name tag for ID purpose and the stamp (on the arm or hand) as proof of payment.

Many sporting and concert venues also use this type of system so that people can go out and come back in without having to worry about that tiny paper ticket stub. This is especially the case in places where people need to be away from the building in order to smoke.

Henna and other similar dyes can be used to create the stamp which should stay on the skin for about a week.

There's always those wristbands that you can buy too. They have a super sticky adhesive and if properly applied, you won't be able to lose it. Probably not something you want to were near running tools and machinary though.

Best of luck.
 
paul wheaton
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Today is observation day. We sold three tickets. Four people arrived. Two couples. One couple bought two tickets. The other couple bought one ticket.

The couple that bought one ticket: Apparently, he is gonna be here for the thing, and she is gonna sit in the car.

I kinda don't like the whole "sit in the car" thing. So when I met him I suggested stuff about roll the window down a bit for when the sun hits the car, make sure she has some water in there. And if she needs to pee ("is she house trained?" "yes") then she can pee right there on the sand in the lot.

He wrote the other name on the back of the tag. And then, apparently she was bored sitting in the parking lot. So he invited her out of the car to see what all was going on. Jocelyn informed them that that was not okay. He informed Jocelyn that his wife isn't really into this stuff so she is not deriving benefit like the other observers. So the wife then takes pictures and the guy continues to show her around.

Once I heard about it, I buzzed down there and made it clear: if she steps foot outside of the parking lot, they both have to leave. He then tried to tell me, in about seven different ways, that I need to be less stessed about stuff like this. He told me that he bought my DVDs. He also repeated the stuff that he said to Jocelyn. I think he subscribes to the ad nauseum fallacy - where if you just say stuff over and over again, weak minded people start to actually believe it. Since I am aware that Jedi Mind tricks only work on the weak minded, the subtext implies that I am weak minded. I felt pretty fucking pissed off. After he would say his lame ass cheap excuse, I used his tactic: every time he re-presented his crap, I would say "if she leaves the parking lot, I need you to both leave my property. You need to respect my rules. You need to respect the people that paid for tickets."

This is a really ugly thing. I suspect that this guy thinks that I am the ugly element, that without a giant fucker in overalls, this guy could just bring his wife into the full event and everything would be pleasant.

Naturally, my position is different. The ugly machine is here. It is advised that you don't push the "activate ugly mode" on the ugly machine.

I don't like being this guy. At the same time, I just cannot let such awful behavior slide by.

I felt like I was being generous by not kicking him off of the property immediately.

The silver lining: my psychotic need for the tags has now been justified three times this year.

 
Chadwick Holmes
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I'm no Lauren in the looks dept! Hahahahaha


That's a rediculous story, I hate that you can't just have a small buissness anymore without anti theft of sevices tactics......you shouldn't have this issue with this clientele, you really shouldn't. Its sad that you do.

Your staff needs to feel free to be "overalls in proxy" and do some of the bad guy stuff for you, you need love boat when that is appropriate, and security when that becomes appropriate. Someone who knows how to be soft and hard, and make the client feel the appropriate amount of each when nessassary.
 
Rick English
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Hindsight is always 20/20, but I bet in the back of your mind, you knew the parking lot thing was going to become a mess - give an inch, and they will take a mile

I just wish those type of people came labeled with something obvious, so you can shut them down as soon as you see them.
 
Burra Maluca
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I find giving people choices is always good.

"So, do you want to stay in the car all day and only come out to pee in the sandpit? Or would you like to be a gapper for the day, pay $100 for the gapper fee and be given some jobs to do?"
 
paul wheaton
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Somebody here made a good point about the huge fences and gates as disneyland.

Mixing that in with something Joel salting once said: if disneyland can't figure out a better solution I don't see how folks expect me to have a better solution.
 
Gary Huntress
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How about getting yourself one of those turn-stile things like they have at stadiums and the like? You could post a big mean looking rent-a-cop there and everyone would have to go through the turn-stile to enter. I bet the cost of all that would be well worth the aggravation factor ... waddya think?
 
Thomas Vogel
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Some things never change. It paints a strange image; freeloaders in frontier Montana. How could they slip in unnoticed?
 
Chad Sentman
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I don't often go to workshops/seminars, and I don't know how you like to run things, but it seems to me that somewhere in the signup process, there is probably some back-and-forth communication, perhaps some auto-responder email.

Perhaps a good solution would be to integrate some of these house rules into that process?

Include a statement that says that there is zero tolerance for non-compliance. The time for questions or to discuss potential concerns is before the event begins, before anyone done any travelling or made accommodation arrangements, etc.

If anyone needs clarification, or feels that their circumstances justify an exemption, they need to bring it up before booking, ideally, but if they don't know the house rules beforehand, perhaps they can be refunded in the early stages.

But after the registered guests start arriving and are in-processing, the time for discussion is over.

Staff and guests have other things to attend to and don't deserve to have their focus deterred from their respective roles.

If anyone wants to discuss at this point, instant removal from the property, no refunds.

The rules have been clearly laid out beforehand, and their arrival constitutes an agreement to the terms of service, anything less is a breach of contract.
 
Olof Jönnerstig
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Just reminding everyone how smart you need to be to ride this ride
this-smart-to-ride-vertical-warning.png
[Thumbnail for this-smart-to-ride-vertical-warning.png]
 
Julia Winter
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Now might be a good time to remind everybody about the importance of following the rules.
 
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