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09 Dec 2008 - 09:588406
Should Signs should be Banned at Events?
The thread "Age, lack of social boundaries, or a gap in generations" had a nice chat going about the use of and makeing of hand made signs at events. I Thought it would be a good idea to open a thread up for this subject.

--It seems at many events and conventions here in the UK there is an over abundance of people making and holding signs. Normally I do not care however, it has become rather annoying. Some signs are good such as the ones that go with a cosplay other are not.

I am all about freedom of expression
however; some of the signs are downright rude and offensive.

For Instance (these are the tame ones)

Will do Yoai for food

Warning Glomper

Free Kiss’s

Free fan service just ask

GLOMP ME!

And the infamous Free Hugs!

Other signs have included peoples personal information. Such as hotel room number, phone number and email. While this is ok under certain circumstances people have been known to use this info for other reason than the intended one. Some are also forms of advertising that violate local laws and venue rules.

Most conventions in the USA and Japan have long banned the use and act of making signs.
For instance, Anime Boston and many other events have rules against the making and holding of signs. They have found they add to the amount of trash left by people and often offend people who dont understand what the sign is.

Some have been even found to be sexual in nature, hardly fitting in with the family friendly setting of a Professional event/con.


Freedom of expression is something well all hold near and dear to us in free society. Never the less we must use it with a dose of common sense.


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Last edited by nadesico81 (09 Dec 2008 - 10:03)
09 Dec 2008 - 10:418408
There are some I wouldnt mind.
Such as if it was to do with a cosplay, as you said yourself. Or if it were to help promote a particular seller (Like a 'ask me for directions to the ___ stall!'

But most of them have gotten to the point of annoyance, especially the free hug signs.

I thought the October Expo was really bad for it, we had one guy who just didnt seem to move at all from a single spot, and all he was doing was holding up a 'free hugs' sign whenever I saw him.
Then of course there was the ever increasing number of people going round with the free hug signs.

I dont think its so bad outside of the expo itself, at least then people have some more space/freedom, but in the expo itself, when people are trying to trek through busy crowd to get to a particular stall, the last thing you need is someone fighting to go through the other way, or just standing there expeting people to come and hug them.

I think the 'free hugs' thing should be controlled to some degree.
I remember outside the midlands expo in september, there was someone who shouted out free hugs around where the hyper/suger-fuelled folks were, causing a mass rush of people going to tackle whoever it was.
It looked like a bloody stampede at one moment, and im pretty sure some people got caught in the middle of it.
(No one was seriously hurt, but I know a few people were knocked down and got some minor injuries/bruises)


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09 Dec 2008 - 10:448409
Yes.

The end.


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09 Dec 2008 - 11:318412
Very much agree, I think they should be banned.

Fair enough that some signs might be amusing, an entertaining addition to a costume or something, but the overwhelming majority have no beneficial purpose. They’re not funny, and can even border on indecent. Another problem is just the sheer volume. What might once have raised a laugh isn’t going to when you’ve got a hundred similar signs around.

I’d say it’s also the behaviour of the people carrying the signs that is an issue. You get people blocking the way because they’re standing around with a sign. They encourage retarded activity, rude behaviour and so on, like over-enthusiastic free-hugging idiots.

On the topic of free hugs, I don’t necessarily have a problem if people want hugs, but it is a problem when half the attendees at an event are shoving a sign in my face to demand them. Signs are entirely linked to that. Maybe if there weren’t signs, and people just had to interact like sane human beings and just ask nicely for a hug, then I wouldn’t hate it so much. And that does demonstrate that having no signs wouldn’t affect the activities already going on at cons; you can actually talk to people without using a sign to do it for you.

When it’s affecting others enjoyment of an event, I think it’s clear signs should be banned.


09 Dec 2008 - 11:348413
I want to say yes because it's really annoying now but I don't think it's fair to ban something because it's annoying/overdone/not funny anymore (freedom of expression, as you said).

Edited in reply to Angelphie:
Quote Angelphie:
Fair enough that some signs might be amusing, an entertaining addition to a costume or something, but the overwhelming majority have no beneficial purpose. They’re not funny, and can even border on indecent. Another problem is just the sheer volume. What might once have raised a laugh isn’t going to when you’ve got a hundred similar signs around.

^ the same could mostly be said about overdone cosplays (naruto/bleach/deathnote). I know what you mean though, I find it really annoying and the novelty has worn off but I don't think that should be the basis of banning it.

Signs with personal information should definatly be stopped because it's stupid and dangerous. As should signs that advertise if they are against the venue's rules, and signs that are rude/offensive.

I think it's the attitude that comes with the signs that need to stop. If, for example, they clean up after themselves instead of dumping their sign on the ground at the end of the day, they don't stand in inappropriate/crowded areas getting in everyones way because they are so damn desperate for a hug, they don't think that because they have a sign saying 'I WILL GLOMP YOU'/'FREE HUGS' it means that they can glomp/hug anyone they like, they might have a chance.

I don't think taking the signs away will stop the attention seeking behaviour, that's just people and you can't ban personality But I don't think it's fair that if they continue to act this way, people who want to use signs as part of a cosplay may end up not being able to do so!


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Last edited by Hypnic_Jerk (09 Dec 2008 - 11:49)
09 Dec 2008 - 11:428415
Quote Hypnic_Jerk:
people who want to use signs as part of a cosplay may end up not being able to do so!




Agreed some if not most event that is the only exception to the rule. The cosplay must be backed up with a photo reference (no photoshop) of the character with the sign. For instance, Seta Noriyasu in Love Hina has a sign saying Professor or a certain facial expression in some episodes.

I view this exception as being ok.


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09 Dec 2008 - 11:458416
sorry double post


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Last edited by Hypnic_Jerk (09 Dec 2008 - 11:45)
09 Dec 2008 - 12:068421
Ban them. There are very few cosplay-related signs and to be honest, in favour of getting rid of the ridiculous amounts of unintelligent, repetetive, annoying, rude and outright offensive signs, I think those minority cosplay-related ones can disappear.

I don't think there should be any exceptions to the rules, as all it takes is for one person INSIDE THE EVENT to see a cosplay-related sign and to go over to the drawing area, write their own sign and then just cause more trouble for the event.

So I say: No Signs!


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09 Dec 2008 - 12:388423
I agree with the banning them sentiment about 99%.

The 1% that wavers is the fact that its sad that some people, who put a lot of effort and thought and time into free hugs signs get tarnished with the brush of these retards who just wave a scrap of paper around.

I don't know if anyone else saw this guy (or even if I just imagined him because I only saw him briefly over someone's shoulder) at October Expo, but he had an A3 sized sign, all cut out beauitfully and mounted on card, with a really detailed manga drawing and Free Hugs on it.
He wasn't shoving the sign in people's faces. He was just carrying it around and talking to his friends. I actually liked his sign; so banning them would mean people who actually put effort into their signs (few and far between as they are) would loose something they enjoy.

All because of some tweens who have no idea what NO means.

But thats really the only thing that stops be from agreeing whole-heartedly. The few people who are curteous, and actually listen when you say no and put effort into their signs.

Aside from them, I say ban them, and ban them good!


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09 Dec 2008 - 13:298424
The one thing with free hugs sign, the moment somebody picks one up, their whole sense of decency goes straight out of the window.

Example: At Midlands Expo I'd avoided the free huggers all day because I had my dream cosplay on, and somebody picked me up and wouldn't put me down until I told him to get the f*** off me. They wouldn't do that outside of a convention, nor walk around screaming free hugs and shoving a sign in somebody's face in the street, so why is it okay to do that at a convention/expo/etc? I think free hugs have got totally out of hand now, and I agree on banning altogether.

Silver, I see where you're coming from, but if one person is the exception to the rule just because they've put a large amount of effort into a sign, other people are gonna start complaining. It's a full ban or continue letting everyone run wild with signs...



Last edited by Mungojerrie (09 Dec 2008 - 13:29)
09 Dec 2008 - 13:558425
The free hugs stuff is a little out of control, I actually think it was better this expo than previously so I'm not *as* concerned but, yeah.. What did annoy me was the number of "lost the game" signs, both around the floor and in every. other. skit. Not as personally intrusive but good god that joke was old about 5 years ago

'No advertising or soliciting signs, without approval' would work and allow stalls to have signs still, but would be difficult to explain to the free hugging 11 year olds.. Bah. Or you'd end up with having to have "officially sanctioned sign" stickers XD

I'd say a simple first-step solution rather than an outright ban off the bat would be banning any 'paper signs', it's still obvious to tell a paper one from not so there'll be no arguments, and it'll narrow down free huggers to those prepared and willing enough to go through the effort of making a proper sign, by which point they're already likely to be the less annoying variety.. They can't just thieve some paper from the artists alley and come up with one.


Optimistically I'd like to think that as soon as that kind of ban is enforced, anyone noticing it or being caught with it is going to ask why, and either be told, or figure out that free hugs really is annoying attendees to this level.. and things will calm down.


I realise, of course, that this would be in a fantasy world where truth and love reign supreme and the local currency is chocolate buttons and sunshine.. but I can dream.

In honesty there's no reason for 99% of signs anyway, I'm just generally against the idea of outright bans to catch one (well, okay, several) particular subset.. That and, if someone ever cosplays Genma, they MUST be allowed a wooden sign dammit


09 Dec 2008 - 15:318427
Quote nert:

'No advertising or soliciting signs, without approval' would work and allow stalls to have signs still, but would be difficult to explain to the free hugging 11 year olds.. Bah. Or you'd end up with having to have "officially sanctioned sign" stickers XD

In honesty there's no reason for 99% of signs anyway, I'm just generally against the idea of outright bans to catch one (well, okay, several) particular subset.. That and, if someone ever cosplays Genma, they MUST be allowed a wooden sign dammit


Agreed 100% however many large events that have that rule still have trouble enforcing it. If you ban signs, there are still people who make them use them. However, the rule does serve to stem the flow of dodgy signs to an extent.

The London Expo for instance does not have many rules for the attendees in my onion unless it specifically pertains to marketing or solicitation. For instance, they clamp down with an IRON fist of Justice on people handing out UN authorized flyers inside the Excel Center. However, outside the ExCel seems to be fair game.

The question I have for those who make the signs is this, Why do you make them and what are you looking to get out of makeing said sign?


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Last edited by nadesico81 (09 Dec 2008 - 15:33)
09 Dec 2008 - 15:448429
I have to agree with many of the above posts, the signs are going too far now. Free Hugs I can cope with, until they shove it in my face and insult me because I decline either because I'm in a non hug-proof costume (which is usually the case) or because the hugger needs a wash. Free Pocky again I can cope with (only if there is free pocky!)

But the ones offering 'free r*pe' took it waaaay to far. I found that very offensive and disgusting.

I think banning paper signs (as was mentioned earlier) and limiting what can be said (yes I know this is a free country, but if you carry a sign offering services which are illegal than you should be stopped. Crime is not a joke) Then we should see a decline in signs. If not only allow them in certain parts of the expo. Then we could just avoid them.


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09 Dec 2008 - 16:528432
Quote GunstarVixen:

But the ones offering 'free r*pe' took it waaaay to far. I found that very offensive and disgusting.

Crime is not a joke


AGREED

I find it disgusting to think people find this funny! If you were to walk around anywhere else with a sign saying 'free rape' you would probably have the police on you - you just wouldnt do it!

So why the hell does it make it ok to do it at an expo? Iv noticed this on a lot of the threads recently, about inappropriate behaviour, expo is a public event, and signs like this should not be acceptable.

In the future I dont think I am going to hold back anymore if I say signs like this shoved in my face.


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09 Dec 2008 - 16:578435
Although I do agree with the idea that there are far too many signs going about conventions nowadays, and the indicent ones just shouldn't be allowed at all, I actually feel I should just make a point about the 'Free Hugs' signs which everyone is frustrated about.

I know that I get annoyed with Free Hugs signs, especially if they look at you and expect you to hug them, but so far if I haven't wanted to, I normally just decline them, or say no and so far that has worked for me. Now I want to make a point about my sister, it was her first Expo in October, and she had never ever been to anything quite like it before, so the whole thing was indeed quite a shock. I helped her make an Edward Elric cosplay and she got plenty of compliments and photographs she has already gotten giddy with deciding what to cosplay for May!

When she saw all the Free Huggers around, she was a little shy and nervous at first, but then after seeing one particular person in cosplay of a character she really truly liked holding a free hugs sign - I forget what they were cosplaying I'm afraid - she hesitantly went up to them and hugged them, then came back practically glowing saying how happy she was she did it.

Throughout the day we passed by many free huggers, and due to the fact she was dressed as Ed there were plenty of Ed fangirls with Free Hugs signs running up and asking for hugs, which she happily obliged with. She even initiated hugs with people holding signs as well, running over to them and hugging them, before running back to us and the rest of the group. At the end of the day she said to us, "Next time I want to make a Free Hugs sign for myself!"

After Expo she said how much she enjoyed herself and how nice everyone was being and that everyone was really friendly. Even though I personally find free huggers annoying, she found them as a way to immerse herself in the enjoyment of Expo. The idea of just hugging people as a nice thing and disappearing just seemed to have an almost peaceful idea about it - unless you get the ones which go all grumpy if you say no - but I have yet to come across them at all, so I can't say it is the majority.

So overall I don't think ALL signs are bad. Some can be annoying and others downright rude - this particular lot I agree should be gotten rid of. But free hugs? I don't really see a problem with it unless someone is causing a problem with it, then they just need a good talking to.

I guess this post may get some backlash for actually saying that there isn't too much of a problem with Free Huggers ^^; I guess that's sort of to be expected as it seems to be quite a tentative subject. But I figured both sides of the argument should be stated, otherwise its simply not fair (Sorry for the long post btw.)


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09 Dec 2008 - 17:218438
@Monkey

I found that really interesting to read.

Free hugs signs are fine if its innocently just asking for a hug from your favourite character. I think thats actually quite sweet that she found that helped to break the social barrier at an expo. In this case I see nothing wrong with it, if its just harmless fun.


I think those who are opposed to free hugs, which I am one of, are those who make non-huggable costumes and have probably had a run in with a free hugger.

Iv been hugged inappropriately at every expo, at this October one I had 2 girls just come up to me and hug me when I quite clearly said no to them. I find this to be just plain rude and inconsiderate behaviour!Its also quite horrible when you have rather pervey old men ask for a hug when your in a revealing or skin tight costume!

My housemate who comes along with me to expo to do photos even gets people hugging him and hes not in costume, I think its probably because hes a good looking guy who does resemble Sasuke without even cosplaying! He had 5 girls during the day just run up to him and hug him. He looked very bemused by it and found it very uncomfortable.


So I think that free hugs are fine if it is done an a totally innocent way amongst one another. Its just when huggers seem to think its ok to do it without permission


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09 Dec 2008 - 17:268439
LMAO YEA TALKING ABOUT FREE HUGS LAURA next time i stop at you im charging you to hug me LMAO but yea

I do agree i mean at the expo october gone i seen someone standing near the koei stand in the same place with a free hug sign ALL DAY i was like WTF goes through your mind when you decide that and like everyone said , an innocent ohh thats my fav character hug is ok but yea it is kinda strange grown men asking and quite worrying lol


09 Dec 2008 - 17:468443
Not quire related to signs, but to do with personal space, which seems to be an issue.

Someone asked to take a photo with me as Ivy. Bit of an older guy, but I said okay. But then he puts an arm around my shoulder to take the photo.

I kinda grabbed the hand and was like "Don't touch the costume, it's fragile." Proper fuck off like, because a photo is fine, using it as an excuse to touch me isn't.

But my point is- would you ever even consider touching someone dressed up as a character if you'd just met them on the street?

The answer is no, and that is the problem that we're faced with when it comes to these events- suddenly all the social boundaries go down, and people think that everyone is their best mate.

...hmm. This had a point somewhere. I'm sorry if it got lost in the story.

Tab


09 Dec 2008 - 17:488444
Quote ryaoki:
LMAO YEA TALKING ABOUT FREE HUGS LAURA next time i stop at you im charging you to hug me LMAO but yea

I do agree i mean at the expo october gone i seen someone standing near the koei stand in the same place with a free hug sign ALL DAY i was like WTF goes through your mind when you decide that and like everyone said , an innocent ohh thats my fav character hug is ok but yea it is kinda strange grown men asking and quite worrying lol



psh I aint hugging anyone =P

Yes there was a guy standing there all day with a handcuff on as well I think.. holding a free hugs sign. A grown man doing that is perverted no matter what anyone says. I was consistently being the protective 'man' around kaka that day and shot dirty looks at anyone eyeing her up for hugs! I know those hands would have wondered!


Quote Uber-Nerd:

But my point is- would you ever even consider touching someone dressed up as a character if you'd just met them on the street?

The answer is no, and that is the problem that we're faced with when it comes to these events- suddenly all the social boundaries go down, and people think that everyone is their best mate.


100% agreed with this, I dont understand why its suddenly seen as acceptable by some people to act like this at these events!


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Last edited by Sands (09 Dec 2008 - 17:51)
09 Dec 2008 - 19:218446
I'm going to create a lot of enemies and say I don't think we should BAN signs at events. Agreeing with MattDark I think they should be controlled, the free hugs ones are fine, the signs are not harmful themselves. However the rude and offensive ones like "Free rape" should definitely be taken off for obvious reasons.

I personally find them rather annoying when they gang up on you, but otherwise they aren't too bad. Most of them will wander off somewhere else if you say no to them, it's only every now and then you get those rude types that won't leave you alone.
Am I right in thinking that signs are only a problem at expos?
I never hear any complaints about signs at a convention. I think signs are there to keep people amused, there isn't much going on at expos apart from shop, shop... and more shopping [and masquerade if your lucky enough to get a spot]. It's to provide entertainment for themselves. The previous October we dragged along a friend which was her first expo, she was fascinated with the free huggers and raved on about them in the car journey home. It can be a refreshing experience and lets be honest, expo feels like a fantasy world to real life, you rarely get any of that stuff happening in real life [Although it was rather amusing to see a free hugger in the middle of Taunton lol].

At my second expo when I first encountered a free hugger I was rather nervous but thought it was kinda cool. Fourth expo I decided to try it out, I really enjoyed myself. It was more relaxed than it is now, it's a bit OTT now but still not banned just controlled.

I'm sure eventually signs and free huggers will die down, lets just hope it's just a phase and it'll pass sooner or later. Besides if they ban signs I'm sure some new craze will pop out. Or they simple shout "FREE HUGS" in the middle of expo without the sign.

TL;DR version:
No ban; but controlled!

Yes I am sure my post doesn't make sense. I'm not thinking straight today xD; I blame to much sleep >_>; [yes, too much!]


09 Dec 2008 - 19:278447
Quote Uber-Nerd:

But my point is- would you ever even consider touching someone dressed up as a character if you'd just met them on the street?



Hm.. actually on that point I don't think it's so black and white - not in that it's fine to go around and molest people without permission or warning - but I don't think putting an arm around their shoulders for a single photo is that uncommon, expo-goers or not..

I do think people should ask first or at least make it obvious they'd like to - so you can stop them before they go ahead if you're uncomfortable with it - invasion of personal space is not fun, but I don't think people in general see it as any different from getting a photo with some giant mascot at disneyland.. They want a photo of them with your character, not a photo of them standing awkwardly at a respectful distance from them, essentially.. There are right and wrong ways to go about doing it though -_-


I figure the easiest way to dissuade if you're in a costume like Ivy is take the initiative when asked and pull off a pose that involves them but doesn't invite their touch XD Much like the Stormtrooper guys, mock-threaten them with weapons for the camera or something. Or if they're already moving in to get a photo with you, stand behind them rather than beside them and loom, no room for unwelcome hands there

That's my take anyway..


09 Dec 2008 - 19:518448
Nert raises a great point about it.

If somebody asks, politely, then I don't mind. If it is clear they are a fan of my character then I will always pose for a photo with them or give them a hug.

However, if it is just a hyperactive person wanting a hug because "that's what everybody else is doing" then it's going to be a "no" I'm afraid.

I'm a guy, so we don't get it half as bad as the girls. I've never been groped inappropriately or anything similar, but I do keep an eye out for it on friends/partners etc.

Fan of your character asking for a hug = A-Ok!

Going around with a sign because you're shy = Not something I am keen on (just ask, it comes across so much nicer).

Being creepy and inappropriate/doing it because it is the "cool thing" or the "hugged" is attractive = Not okay.

Word!

*gangsta pose*


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09 Dec 2008 - 20:008449
Oh! And to make myself a bit of a target here...

I think that some people (I am guilty of this myself) are being very prejudice towards anybody with a sign. We lump anybody with a sign into the same category and really it isn't fair.

Two people on this thread have told us stories which are pretty innocent and in a way "nice".

To some of us, Expo is just another event to show off a costume. To others it *is* a Fantasy land where everybody is their best friend and they want to break free of the social taboos which make them feel outcast everywhere else.

Like I said above, if somebody comes up to me for a hug because of the character I am cosplaying I think it's quite nice and sort of sweet. I try to oblige as they were polite enough to ask and like the character.

If somebody wants to give me a hug for no reason at all... not something I am comfortable with (not a very huggy person with my friends generally) and will say no.

People who don't ask will get a very stern telling off! >:O

So, I know I am going to try and judge everything on a case by case basis.

---

As for the signs being banned. I like CrystalNeko's point.

Ban the rude/explict ones. As for banning "Free hugs" I don't think it's necessary, you can ignore it if you want to.

Anybody who just glomps/hugs you? A quick shove to get them off and then a calm (but stern) explanation as to why it isn't cool is a good start.

~M


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09 Dec 2008 - 20:038450
I think one of the other problems with sign-wavers is that so many of them have a rotten attitude about it. Even some of the ones who ask first will completely fail to understand the concept of someone not wanting a hug from a stranger (or any other invasion of their personal space) and get all rude and indignant when you tell them no (however politely).

I'm not going to postulate as to whether this is a sign of people in general being ruder and less considerate, or if the sorts of people who like waving signs around are inherently more likely to lack any kind of social common sense. But it certainly doesn't endear them to me (or anyone else, I expect).


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09 Dec 2008 - 21:048453
Of course some of these points are stereotypical or prejudice...but in my opinion, you kind of have to be.

I have met several lovely people with a free hugs sign that asked politely, I hugged and then they chatted to me for a bit and they were really friendly. I've also seen people with really well-made signs, one of which was on posterboard with wooden dowel to hold it with and that's totally cool.

But then, for every one lovely person, you've got 10 hyperactive/annoying/rude people and when it's in the above and beyond majority, I think it's ok to generalise.

Mark's right in that men don't get it nearly as bad as the women...but then, think about that for a minute. Why is that? Obvious answers are obvious LOL (I know, there are other answers too, social, psychological etc etc but again, majority wins)

I remember one of the first Free Huggers that came up to me last expo said "Free Hugs!" and I replied, "Oh, so you know what the Free Hug movement is then?" I got a blank stare then some abuse ¬_¬

And that's my main problem. I have no problem hugging people. Hell, nine times out of ten I'll hug anyone that asks but someone that waves a sign in my face and shouts "FREE HUGS!!!" in my ear is getting a no. And most of the time when I say no, I get called stuck-up, elitest or, more often, a string of expletives and THAT is what gets to me. Like it isn't my right to object to it.

Another thing is the offensive signs which have been touched upon. I briefly saw a sign with the goatse picture on it last expo and that is HIGHLY disturbing.

The funniest thing is, I've seen young women (or girls, as there were 12 year olds with signs last time) who hold up the signs then look scared when anyone approaches them for a hug. What do they expect!? Plus, there were a lot of young girls who were hugging people much older and it was a little worrying to see in all honesty...

As far as I'm concerned, you don't need a sign to hug someone. If someone comes up to me at an expo and asks for a hug, of COURSE I'll say yes unless I'm currently doing something.

So I say, ban the signs and if people still want to hug others, they can learn to actually vocalise that request


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