Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Guest Post: Convention Bestiary: “That Guy- Actually Guy”

This post was written and sent to me by Charles Dunbar of Study of Anime, who is awesome. I, being significantly less awesome, then proceeded to sit on it for several months. Sorry!

That Guy isn’t a single entity or person, but rather an entire genus of congoer that is seemingly everywhere, and nowhere, at the same time. Owing to a very powerful camouflage that shields them most of the time, it isn’t until That Guy is upon you that you actually see/experience their attack. But fret not- most of These Guys can be easily dealt with.

 Today’s “That Guy” is kith and kin to Conversation Guy, but his method is a tad different. 

Identifying Features: None, which is how this one gets the drop on you. While there have been attempts to single out this particular type of congoer, most of them are either Conversation Guys or socially awkward Basement Dwellers. Actually Guy can mirror the above congoers, but likely will be unidentifiable until he springs into motion.

Habitat: Like Conversation Guy, Actually Guy makes his home in panel rooms, but will not hesitate to insert himself into random conversations in hallways or the Dealer’s Room, or anywhere really, that congoers congregate. 

Notable Behaviours: Again, like Conversation Guy, he will attempt to speak with you during panels. But that is where the resemblance ends. Actually Guy will often attempt to display his “superior” knowledge of the topic at hand by talking over the panelist, interrupting everything they say with an “actually...” followed by his own explanation of the topic at hand. Attempts to shut him down are either met with awkward silences, or with him repeating his “information” and occasionally expressing his disappointment that “he knows more about the topic than the panelist,” but never actually attempting to either host his own panel or contribute to constructive dialogue. Post-panel, they are often overheard to repeat their dissatisfaction loudly to anyone in the room or outside it before vanishing into the crowd without providing tips or helpful pointers. Many a novice panelist has decided to quit paneling because of Actually Guy, at which point he will move on to a different panel and repeat his tactics. 

Effective Countertactics: Few that actually work. Most of the time Actually Guy is also a Troll, and will relish any attempt to shut him down. Unless the complete room rises up against him (at which point he will often make snide remarks about the “ignorance” of the audience) or a staff member intercedes (again, making snide remarks about said staffer) there is no effective way to shut him down.

That said, any panelist well versed in debate will have a solid chance to strike back. It should also be noted that Actually Guy also possesses strong arrogance and a powerful ego, which fuels his motivations (which often lie in the realms of self-gratification through trolling inexperienced panelists and attendees). This will also cause him to make mistakes during the course of dialogue, which any skilled panelist can take advantage of. Puncturing holes in his arguments, or disproving them outright, can potentially turn off all future “contributions” to the panel.

Cautions: There are Actually Guys who actually DO mean well. These will often be less abrasive, and genuinely willing to assist the panelist after the panel with plugging up holes in the material. Normally they can be identified by responding to polite requests to save comments for the end, or even through observing methods of polite interjection (like raising a hand and waiting to be called on), followed closely by comments phrased as questions. These types of Actually Guys should be treated respectfully, because they might actually know more about the topic at hand, and are in the panel for perspective’s sake. 

It should also be noted that some Actually Guys have the potential to either turn hostile or become Panel Jackers. These must be dealt with swiftly, or the repercussions will be dire for all those involved. This subtype of Actually Guy is also far more likely to engage in conversation crashing than other types.