Last week I finally put together a response for the WisCon survey. I know that my experience isn't indicative of failure on their part, but I wanted to give them my data point. And I had a couple ideas that might make it work better for someone more like me:
1. Be more aware of what people know because it's said through official channels, and what people know because people just know. The PoC dinner, for example, which might have been an official event, or maybe not? I'm not sure? It felt kind of like a non-official, official thing that wasn't publicized except by word of mouth. And the dessert salon, which is traditionally a fancy dress event (optional, of course), but the only way to learn that and pack accordingly, is to know someone who's already been. I would have been unhappy to learn that on the spot, but I couldn't find anywhere on their website that said so.
2. Have a few parties/events/rooms, especially early on, with a social activity that's easy to jump in and out of. Like card games, pictionary, bananagrams. Something so that there is something to DO with other people, and not just somewhere to BE with other people. Walking into a room full of strangers who are standing around in clumps talking to each other, and inserting myself into one of those conversations, is really hard. Especially when the room is labeled "for people who like X" and I haven't heard of X. Or belong to the group that is X. Walking into a room with an activity and joining the activity is much easier. And when the activity is a social one (as opposed to crafting or watching movies) then I can start to make connections.