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A gopher or gofer is a volunteer who helps out at a con, sometimes in exchange for a membership refund or a chance to crash in the Gopher Hole. — vi. To serve in such a capacity.

Gophering is a good way to way to get involved in conrunning and meet fans. You don't need to know anything about cons or fandom to do it. Very often, you can volunteer once you get to the con (gophers who volunteer early sometimes find themselves concom instead). The kind of jobs gophers do include checking to be sure everyone who enters some con function has a badge, helping out with foodservice or cleanup in the consuite or green room, setting out tent cards in program rooms, assorted toting and hauling, and running errands on behalf of gohs or concom.

The term comes from mundane slang, according to the STET 9 Lexicon by Leah Zeldes Smith, and dates to the 1950s; it was used in the 1953 movie She's Back on Broadway. A gofer is a junior employee who "goes fer this" and "goes fer that." Fans liked it better with the H in it.

See also: Creatures of Fandom.

Fanspeak 1950s
This is a fanspeak page. Please extend it by adding information about when and by whom it was coined, whether it’s still in use, etc.