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Dagger-6

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The hug line
« on: May 26, 2009, 06:54:26 PM »

I've been reading a lot of complaints about the line of people sporting "Free hug" signs over on the cosplay.com forums, so I figured that we could take feedback on it here.

How did you feel about it?  And people with signs in particular?

Are they harmless fun?
Are they annoying and kind of creepy?
Are they fine, as long as we better kept people in check so that they didn't heckle or run up and jump on people?
Are people holding signs just bad to begin with?

Theoretically they should not be heckling people or glomping them without permission, and if the rover's had received complaints we would have dealt with it.  To my recollection there were no actual complaints about this during con, but I'm seeing a lot of them cropping up now.  During con our main concern was the line of people blocking the walkway.  Now that con's over, let's see what the thoughts are for next year.
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Steven McIntosh

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2009, 07:13:41 PM »

Annoying as hell. I actually thought the signs had been banned. If people want to solicit hugs, let them hang out with the Jesus protesters on the sidewalk.
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Re: The hug line
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2009, 07:15:35 PM »

It is an incredible annoyance and creates a very intimidating environment. I was there with my 4 younger sisters and coming across a large mob of people screaming and holding out their arms begging for hugs was disturbing and unnecessary. Yes, the convention environment should be a warm one, but that doesn't mean that everyone's there to give out hugs/glomps to complete strangers. Signs should only be used as part of a costume and signs requesting money for any sort of service are out of line (charging for a mis-guessed gender? $5 for live yuri action? what?)

In short, I understand if you are socially awkward and you find Fanime as a great time to break out and experience physical contact with members of the opposite sex with little or no regard for the consequences...but don't make signs and don't push yourself on other people. Enjoy the con and maybe hugs will just come as a by-product of having a good time.
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Rette

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2009, 07:26:23 PM »

The hug lines were annoying. They did it in one of the narrower parts of the convention hall where there was a lot of traffic so they were hard to avoid.
Asking someone who's cosplaying your favorite character for a hug is perfectly acceptable, because permission is involved, and it's generally innocent. Being sad and pathetic holding a "Free Hugs" sign and charging unsuspecting people who have no desire to hug creeps must be discouraged. Perhaps next year Rovers can try and break up hug mobs if they arise.
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Stythys

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2009, 07:30:11 PM »

Quote
Are they harmless fun?
yes

Quote
Are they annoying and kind of creepy?
no

Quote
Are they fine, as long as we better kept people in check so that they didn't heckle or run up and jump on people?
yes

Quote
Are people holding signs just bad to begin with?
no

people need to chill....  :P
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suna_no_yoroi

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2009, 07:37:07 PM »

The people were ordered to stay against the wall so they wouldn't be in the way.  If you didn't want to be hugged you didn't have to.  I honestly thought it was a positive experience, people are so closed off and apathetic towards eachother in society anymore that I thought it was cool that people were willing to show a little love to all genders/orientations/cosplays etc.
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Re: The hug line
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2009, 07:42:50 PM »

How did you feel about it?  And people with signs in particular?
It was okay until it got really really big during either Monday or Sunday.
Are they harmless fun?
Kind of...
Are they annoying and kind of creepy?
I have to say yes... there were a LOT of people...
Are they fine, as long as we better kept people in check so that they didn't heckle or run up and jump on people?
Kind of... I mean, it was like, 20 attendees that all wanted hugs and stuff though. Heckling is bound to happen.
Are people holding signs just bad to begin with?
Not unless they're soliciting something, really. Signs are fine, free hugs are fine as long as it's not being shouted out like salespeople do imo. I prefer the ones wearing shirts who walk around instead of people who stand there expecting hugs and stuff.
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Re: The hug line
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2009, 07:45:02 PM »

The people were ordered to stay against the wall so they wouldn't be in the way.  If you didn't want to be hugged you didn't have to.  I honestly thought it was a positive experience, people are so closed off and apathetic towards eachother in society anymore that I thought it was cool that people were willing to show a little love to all genders/orientations/cosplays etc.

I'm sorry but while the intentions may have been good what it ended up turning into was an intimidating mob of attention whores...which is what sign pushers usually boil down to. I apologize if that comes off as harsh and encountering someone who's giving out hugs every once in a while is fine, running into a whole wall of them, being loud and obnoxious however, is not fine. Sadly, that's how it always turns out.

I understand that anime fans of the high-school demographic typically have trouble in social settings, but that doesn't mean you get to do whatever you want at an anime convention. I feel like they get set loose on Friday and kind of go wild all weekend. While it is a weekend for fun and sharing in the anime community, it's also embarassing when these same people do things like form hug lines, chase people down for glomps and other unnecessary things.

Then again maybe I"m just getting old and no fun anymore...I just know that I had my younger sisters with me and they didn't think it was a welcoming environment, they all sort of clung to me as we made our way into the dealers hall lol.
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Mordyan

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2009, 07:49:37 PM »

It wasn't a "positive" experience for many people.

First off many people in the hug line weren't in costume and sometimes even went shirtless.
They were screaming at the top of the lungs for hugs. This is very intimidating behavor.
Even pushed up against the wall it caused a traffic jam because everyone who was trying to avoid them had to crowd along the one side.
Signs that solicit for money or hugs or whatever are pathetic. Sorry. This has been on ongoing problem and has been banned at most cons and I thought ours too.
Some of the "huggers" got real aggressive. This ruins it for the cools ones.
The giant line created a mob mentality which in crowded convention settings is a bad thing.

Is asking for hugs bad? No. I was asked by other random roving huggers who where polite and not trying for some pathetic attempt for attention. They got hugs from me.
Personally if you want to get groped by random strangers you should try going to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. :)


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kaizoku

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2009, 07:50:34 PM »

If you don't want a free hug, you don't have to get it. : /

People need to lighten up.  It's the ones who are afraid of hugs that truly have trouble in social settings.
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FanFicGuru

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2009, 07:57:15 PM »

If you don't want a free hug, you don't have to get it. : /

People need to lighten up.  It's the ones who are afraid of hugs that truly have trouble in social settings.

I disagree. This isn't about "lightening up" this is about common courtesy. As I said earlier, it's fine if there are a few people walking around giving out hugs, politely. More power to them...

when you have 40-50 people standing in a line screaming with no shirts on for hugs, that is not a good environment. Also, I resent the assumption that just because I don't want to be hugged by a complete stranger that makes me socially awkward, lol.

Anyways I'm going to walk away from this thread now because I have a feeling it's going to turn south very soon now...
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Rette

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2009, 07:58:18 PM »

If you don't want a free hug, you don't have to get it. : /

People need to lighten up.  It's the ones who are afraid of hugs that truly have trouble in social settings.

It's not that people are afraid of getting hugs, but getting asked for a hug by a random shirtless guy who can be very intimidating, to a point where the person being solicited might be too intimidated or too shy to refuse. Especially so for minors.
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suna_no_yoroi

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2009, 08:05:43 PM »

I can see where everyone is coming from.  I just happen to be from the perspective where this is an improvement over previous years.  My first time was at Fanime 2007 and literally my first 15 minutes I had screaming girls run up and glomp me.  From a safety perspective I think people against the wall with hugging optional is alot safer.  As far as shirtless people go... it is pretty bad especially if they haven't showered or anything.  Minors wise.. there were kids in the 10-12 range at some point joining the hug lines, so I guess it's all up to your own personal comfort level where hugs are concerned, I do have friends IRL that don't like them even from their own friends.
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Mordyan

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2009, 08:06:39 PM »

If you don't want a free hug, you don't have to get it. : /

People need to lighten up.  It's the ones who are afraid of hugs that truly have trouble in social settings.
Sorry no one has said that they are afraid of hugs. Just shirtless, shouting idiots who think they are furthering world peace by hugging.
Polite huggers are great. The guy with the t-shirt is cool. He gets everyone to sigh it afterwards.

Here is a simple test... would those same people stand around in a mall and do the same thing? Would the mall let them do it?
The answer would most likely be no to the first question and the mall would most definitely not let it happen in the first place.
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idontknow

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2009, 08:17:06 PM »

If you don't want a free hug, you don't have to get it. : /

People need to lighten up.  It's the ones who are afraid of hugs that truly have trouble in social settings.

i disagree. REALLY disagree. it's not that i'm scared of hugs. for example, in high school a random girl came up to me and said "can i please have a hug? :)" she was so cute so i gave her a hug and that actually made my day. however, at fanime, there were random girls/boys that just WALKED right in front of me and practically threatened me to give them a hug.

i don't mind the people that ask for hugs. as long as they stay on the sides and give everyone a chance to at least avoid them then i'm a-ok. i mean, if you want a hug, don't force them to give you one. it's kind of like comparing between a bum that sits on the side with a hat in front of him asking for money and a bun that just JUMPS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU and says "can you PLEASE give me money!!!"

in other words, it just gets really annoying and rude

Dagger-6

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2009, 08:21:04 PM »

I didn't have too many issues with the hug line, but when I was around they stayed against the wall.  I didn't have anyone yelling at me or blocking my pathway, as other people seemed to have issues with.

I guess the radio, earpiece, and armband help deter that.  Or maybe I'm just not huggable enough.  Or both.

There was a shirtless guy giving out hugs in the morning before the lines formed.  The first hug..okay.  Second hug, I got an handful of sweat which was kind of disgusting.   :-X
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Yukari Kaiba

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2009, 08:22:39 PM »

I found the hug line to be annoying as hell everytime I walked back to the Hilton side of the convention center to get to my hotel room. My friends and I were called racist by someone in that line because we denied them hugs. Didn't appreciate people jumping in front of us out of no where asking for hugs either.

I'm totally ok with people asking for a hug if I'm cosplaying a character they like as long as they are polite about it. But asking for hugs randomly from just about anyone who's walking by makes you look desperate for attention in my opinion.
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bagfreak247

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2009, 10:02:13 PM »

Honestly, I think the "free hugs" thing was wierd at first. Then I actually met some of the people who advertised it and they were all pretty cool. Which got me to do it (not the line thing but I did hold up a sign too). I will admit that the "hug line" was pretty ridiculous. That was just going over board! I prefer the ones that held a sign next to them or attched to them as they walked around con, for I was one of them HAHAH!

My sign said:
"Free Hugs and Pics, Just ask please!"

and the other one said

"If you think FanimeCon Rocks, Hug Me! Thanx! ^-^v"

It was pretty wierd when people just jumped at me from outta nowhere, but all those that asked, were hella cool. I think that the hugs thing is pretty wierd, but if you reli look into it, it provides the atmosphere with goodness (yes, it will be intimidating to those who don't like getting hugs from strangers or even hugs at all BUT for the most part it's just reli cool of someone to hug people, SOMETIMES ITS CALLED FOR ^____~) and also a more relaxed environment. It was said before but if you didnt want a hug just AVOID THEM AND LOOK AWAY *ignores* mwahahahahahahaha and ppl are cool with that for the most part. Just like me, you could meet hella cool people.

Maybe not so much the line (is what im trying to say) but just hold up a sign as you walk or attach it urself like me and other ppl did. Its NOT BAD, unless there is a negative  otive behind the hugs. But mostly its all good!

HUGS ARE NICE!
-AJ


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Kender

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Re: The hug line
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2009, 11:39:44 PM »

I had to pass the line several times and so I saw it as it went from just a couple people to a whole huge crowd of people.

Personally, I wasn't bothered.  Every time I passed, they were all polite and asked if I wanted a hug.  If I was in a hurry I generally declined and the response was always very accepting of my decision.  And when I was in a "omg, get out of my way" hurry, I never even heard them ask because I had the world tuned out and completely ignored their request (not to be rude, of course, I just had my mind else where).

I only experienced a couple people come up and give me hugs that were not initially given permission for and were a little more... enthusiastic (read: I was picked up and spun), but I knew these people from last year and they knew I didn't mind from them (anyone who was around heard them calling me "panda lady").  The other huggers even seemed to grasp this was a special, previously agreed upon permission and no one else attempted to follow their example with me.

Also, none of those who hugged me, even one of the shirtless guys, smelled like "nerd," so to speak.  All I encountered smelled like they showered.

Then again, I may not have had the headset and Rovers tag, but I did have a very visible staff badge hanging from my panda stuffy on my head.  So that might have deterred people.

I do agree they got a little loud towards the end of the weekend as their numbers grew, and it probably was not the best place for them to hang out, but my personal experience and opinion is that I found nothing overtly harmful about them when I passed.  Perhaps, for next year, have them move to a more open hall or be more spread out?


Honestly, if they do bother people I really think complaints should be submitted at con to have things broken up rather than waiting until after con to address issues.  It would be far more effective and would save those who were troubled by the hug line a lot of grief and annoyance hopefully.
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Re: The hug line
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2009, 11:44:57 PM »

I'm going to choose my words carefully here.

1) Signs are banned if they solicit something. I.E. 2 dollar deluxe hugs, 5 dolla hugz, etc. Will Yaoi/Yuri for something.

Free hugs or something of that nature is fine (but after this con, that may or may not change)

2) During con, Rovers were told to simply keep the walkway clear as much as possible. This eventually turned into something that took a lot of time away from other duties, which potentially may affect policy for next year. We shall see.
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