Let me preface this by saying that everything I write here is not meant to be hate. It is honest criticism that comes from a place of deep hurt and disappointment. It's not meant to tear down, but to build up, hopefully better and stronger than it ever has been.
I never went to RTX for the autographs. I am one of the lucky community members who was here when this place was a thriving, bustling hub of activity. Groups were super active, there were 100s of journals posted every day, and there were maybe a dozen spambots to deal with in a week. By the time I went to my first RTX in 2014, I had made a ton of friends. I was going to see them, to see panels they were on, to have fun. I don't recall even considering autographs that year.
After that it felt like, bit by bit, the community crumbled. Things stopped receiving the attention they deserved, people started dropping out... And then, of course, the site switch. We've all ranted enough about that, I won't go into it, but suffice it to say... We lost a lot of that community feeling.
I didn't get a pass for this RTX that came with a signing so I have no idea how the process worked this year. I do think there was a distinct lack of communication on RT or Frontgate's part when it came to pointing people to the link to sign up. I hope that's corrected next year. In addition, I fully acknowledge that there's no way we could ever possibly wipe out the complaining entirely. However, I think there's a lot RT could do to mitigate this situation in the future.
Would people have been as upset if autographs weren't the only thing they were looking forward to doing at RTX? If the focus were on the community, would we be in this mess? I think the answer is an unequivocal "no." This issue is fundamentally tied to the way the community has disintegrated in the past 2 years. If there were a concerted effort to bring this community back to life... If more attention were given to the community and the site (including all the community-building tools we used to have)... If RT did more to help us connect to each other rather than just try to grab the attention of the staff, maybe we'd all be excited for more than just autographs.
I guess what I'm saying is, I totally understand why you'd be upset at not getting an autograph. The culture of RTX, and the community, is not about connecting people anymore. Lots of us are trying to keep it that way, but we really can't get anywhere without it coming from the top down. Just don't get me started on the community panels this year. That would take a separate journal of its own.
I don't know... Maybe I'm talking out of my butt here. What do you think?