Plus I'm a horrible reprehensible human being in general, but if I like you then I'll want to be nice to you unless I feel you need some tough love and exhortation. And most of GITP is semi-vetted by that due to the community... not candor... eh ...je ne sais quoi.
I've kind of run into a similar issue where just knowing people who are geeky, they're OK, and the geeks I run into in places I want to be online, they're pretty cool, generally, but the social organizations and groups based upon a common interest are sort of... wonky and very hit or miss.
Though I'll admit that I've never actually managed to go to a con through one thing or another. x.x