Public Statement By the Readercon Convention Committee

There’s a new statement by the folks at Readercon about the recent events surrounding the harassment of Genevieve Valentine by Rene Walling. The new statement is here.

The short version of it: The convention committee has given Mr. Walling a lifetime ban, consistent with its current policy, and has apologized to Ms. Valentine and others regarding the previous decision. If you’ve had any interest in the events as they went along, it’s worth catching up on.

93 Comments on “Public Statement By the Readercon Convention Committee”

  1. “All five members of the board have resigned.” WOW…..although I do find myself wondering if they had a sudden attack of conscience, or if it was an issue of “resign, or we’ll kick your sorry asses to the curb ourselves.”

    Overall, that was a very interesting statement. I hope they’re serious, and that they really do intend to follow through with everything it says. Getting rid of the board was a good start.

  2. Excellent. I like their plans for educating participants, helping with reports of harassment, and the LIFETIME ban of the harasser in question. Profuse apologies for not sticking with stated policy in the first place helped. The resignation of the board is a good call. Thanks Readercon.

  3. Thanks for posting this.
    In the time from when this story broke until now, I had not heard much in the way of news as to a resolution. I had spent some time writing e-mails to people I thought might be able to help rather than just venting in comment threads. I hope it did. Either way, Readercon is making a major effort to restructure and take appropriate steps. They even acknowleged and welcomed the fact that the Internet had dropped on their head. Good or bad, it makes an impression, but that’s a discussion for another time.

    I’ve never been to Readercon, may never have the chance to go, and frankly, am on the “Lowest difficulty” setting. I have never been harrassed at a Con, nor had anything less than a good time That in itself is why it was imperative for me to make some move to try to help. Every one should be able to go to a con and focus on the “good time” and not have to wonder how careful they have to be.

    Readercon stepped in it, deep. Then this morning, pulled themselves out. What we have to do now is help spray the debris off and support them as they clean off the rest of the muck. I’ll be standing over here with a stack of towels as needed.
    Thanks again,
    Jeff S.

  4. I’m pleasantly surprised* that Readercon’s concom actually went this deep into ‘well, this is a problem and we need to fix it’. Someone should point to this as to ‘how to deal with screwups regarding policy’ in general.

    * I’ve been disheartened by a lot of half-assed apologies when screwups happen.

  5. That’s pretty cool; I’m impressed. I don’t so much feel like the ZT policy was a twee bandwagon-jumping maneuver any more, certainly.

  6. Good to see this action to remedy the first, damaged reaction. My favorite line of the statement – “Please don’t send suggestions for how people can avoid being harassed or learn to cope with harassment.” – this, so much…

  7. I’m pleasantly surprised and impressed by Readercon’s response. This is how you handle a screwup. I also like it that they thanked people for holding them to a higher standard – that takes real class.

  8. My favourite part is the passage in which they invite input from people

    ‘who are known for their advocacy against harassment’

    which contrasts profoundly with a not very veiled threat in another quarter that people doing so will find themselves blackballed from conventions…

  9. THAT is an apology. No, “We’re sorry if you were offended,” no “But ultimately we stand by . . .”

    And I can’t help but think that, if not for all the backlash, this wouldn’t have come about. It was because people talked about it, supported Ms. Valentine, and posted and reposted outraged responses that something changed.

  10. Alice K, you are both correct and not correct. Those of us who are part of the ConCom or Programme committees were every bit as shocked. We are in the end many of the same people that you refer to (lousy grammar but I think it makes sense), We are fans and writers and women who have been harassed and people who speak up.

  11. I agree with Alice. It’s becoming increasingly rare to hear an official apology that is a REAL apology and not a half-hearted one couched in “I’m sorry IF anyone was offended…” It is a subtle difference, but puts the focus on the offended that basically says if you decide to be offended, the I guess I apologize. This one is a very clear, fully accepting responsibility apology. Good for them!

    And as terrible as it is that these women had to go through this, but this kind of situation faced head on can make Readercon one of the safer conventions. Sometimes going through something bad like this and having your faults exposed can make you far better than before as long as you face up toyour responsibility. Good for them!

  12. Wow. I’m impressed with this. I’ll have to make plans to attend Readercon 24, as a way of showing them they did the right thing.

  13. Very well handled, the right, legal and logical thing to do. The establishing of a safety committee is a really good idea. Good for them and good for Valentine for sticking to her guns. Hopefully, other cons have watched this and will fix holes in their own systems on the issue.

  14. I just read the whole statement: Damn. I’m impressed. Not just a real apology, but a plan for going forward and an invitation for participation in the process. That’s the best handling of a fuck-up I’ve seen in quite a while, particularly if they follow through.

  15. Thanks, John, for getting the word out. Hope you can make it to the con some year. I am very proud of the concom (I’m on it), the con chair (a friend) and the program chair (to whom I’m married) for the statement.

  16. Josh Jasper:

    I’ve been before (in 2006, and it’s where I met Mary Robinette Kowal) and enjoyed it very much. Look forward to coming back some year when my schedule isn’t completely insane.

  17. I am curious – since the Board consists of members of the convention committee, voted into being each year – have these board members resigned their committee positions, as well, or just their service on the Board? I would be impressed by the former, but I suspect it’s the latter.

  18. These people need to hire themselves out to professional athletes for “how to apologize: 101”. I’m not much of a con goer, but they have put themselves on my radar in a positive way with this.

  19. @Tracey it’s a mix of both, from what I understand. Some have resigned entirely from everything, some are still on the concom, but Readercon is going to at its next meeting probably work out some bylaws for whether or not resigning means you can’t ever be on a board, and the other bits. This process isn’t over by a longshot, but this apology is a very good first step — one of the best handled-apologies I’ve seen in response to an issue like this, in fact.

    As a note, keep in mind that two members of the board -did- vote against the 2 year probation ruling. With any luck those are the two members still on the concom, but I can’t be sure.

  20. This is an excellent apology apology (as opposed to a non-apology apology, which is distressingly more common), with, as others have stated, a plan for going forward and…well, everyone’s said why this is as good as it gets, and I agree. We are the chorus, etc. Nothing really to add, except to say that it lifts my heart to see a group of people acting so honorably. Thank you, Readercon concom.

  21. I was very impressed with the statement even though I have no idea what initiated it. Most people are quick to dispense blame rather than accept it. For some inane reason, this statement just made me feel good. try explaining that!

  22. I’m going to pile on and say “well done”. As my Gran used to say: It’s better to have nothing to apologize for in the first place” but credit where due that Readercon really listened to what the community was saying, took absolute and unconditional responsibility for its fail, and responded with genuine accountabilities, sincere apologies to the real victims, and a response to the basic problem that is both concrete and measurable.

    When it comes to harassment, it’s too easy for people to say “oh this was a rogue/outlier” instead of asking some difficult questions about the culture harassment exists in. Thanks to Readercon for getting that abusers don’t exists in isolation, and deciding to be an active part of the solution instead of a passive enabler deep in the River Denial.

  23. Well, given no one contests harrassment took place, certainly not the worst possible outcome.

    I know a guy (personally, not like a guy who knew this other guy who heard from a friend about….) who spent a week in jail, spent thousands of dollars on lawyers fees, and had to deal with several court appearances (and a restraining order restricting his movement) for a number of months because a woman accused him of rape. He didn’t do it, and the charges were eventually dropped, but, damn, it was scary for a while.

    Anyways, it’s been a while since I’ve been. I should go back to Readercon and check out the new vibe.

  24. I’m going to add a hearty well done here – I know it’s redundant, but it’s great to see these things done right. It’s a triple-jump apology: “we’re genuinely remorseful; we know exactly what we did wrong and we are taking steps to see it doesn’t happen again”, and such things are all the more effective because they are so very rare.

    Best to the Readercon committee and the new Board, going forward.

  25. Greg, I’m glad you see this as “not the worst possible outcome” and hope you do attend the convention and enjoy it. But what on earth moved you to include that story in the middle paragraph in this context? It reads as textbook subject-shifting, especially when the facts of the matter in this harassment are not in dispute, as the harasser admitted his wrong-doing.

  26. Greg, I’m also curious. Was that deliberate, or just free association (by opposites, since the facts in this case were not in dispute)? It’s really inflammatory and at best insensitive. I can’t imagine why you would set such a fire on purpose.

  27. Christopher: It reads as textbook subject-shifting

    Everyone agrees Walling committed harassment, but the word “rape” occurs about 20 times in the previous thread. Including someone who said “As for Welling, I won’t be at all surprised if it comes out he raped someone.” If you take issue with “subject shifting”, I’d say you’re about four hundred posts too late.

  28. If you take issue with “subject shifting”, I’d say you’re about four hundred posts too late.

    That other people may have done it and are open to criticism is not relevant to whether you did it and are open to criticism.

  29. I don’t know, Greg. We’re in this thread, not another one. And the only talk of rape I’ve seen is yours. This thread is about the fantastic job the Readercon convention committee did in rectifying a wrong-headed decision and the great steps they’re taking going forward.

  30. Wow! That gentlemen and women is how you address a problem. I’m extremely impressed with the thoroughness and completness of the apology and resolution. That is the new bar for sincere apologies.

  31. Ah, but Christopher, Greg was told to step off the other thread. Naturally he’s continuing the argument that resulted in that (and a threat of more frequent malleting) in this thread.

    Greg, a better example of following the letter of the law while flouting the spirit could not be found, except that you put in one more comment in the other thread after JS told you to step off. From here it looks like this:

    Xopher: Greg, you’re walking toward the edge of the cliff! Look out!
    Greg: Well, this is really more of an escarpment than a cliff. *keeps walking*

  32. Xopher: Was that deliberate, or just free association

    I’m glad Readercon didn’t let the two-year ban stand because I said multiple times I thought two-years was too short. A lot of times I get dinged for repeating myself around here, so I didn’t mention it yet again. But to reiterate, I don’t think lifetime ban is universally accepted as the right thing and I would have supported something at a 5-to-10 year ban or more. Looks like they went with the “or more”.

    Christopher: And the only talk of rape I’ve seen is yours.

    You haven’t been reading much about this incident then.

    This thread is about the fantastic job the Readercon convention committee did in rectifying a wrong-headed decision and the great steps they’re taking going forward.

    They took responsibility for everything that happened and didn’t blame anyone, which, as apologies go, is pretty impressive.

  33. Greg, that still seems completely unconnected. Discussion of rape, ISTM (and IANJS) is out of place on this thread, which is about the release from the Readercon committee, which contains no discussion of rape at all. I for one do not appreciate your bringing in fights from a more contentious thread into this one.

  34. Xopher, Greg, a better example of following the letter of the law while flouting the spirit could not be found

    Xopher, I’m not trying to flout anything. I made a comment about Readercon giving a lifetime ban. I said it’s not the worst thing that could happen. I mean it. I’ve already said multiple times I would have gone with a 5 or 10 year ban as a minimum. Are you going to contest anyone who says anything but “Yay! There are no downsides to this whatsoever?” Because it feels like you’re arguing with me not because I’m being impolite, or unfair, or uncivil, or malletable, but because I have a different opinion than you.

    I think the decision was OK. Yeah, they did a great job taking full responsibility in their apology. But as far as the decision goes, I’d say it was OK.

    if there is anything impolite about me saying that, I will fully apologize and retract whatever needed. But if the problem is you don’t agree with me, then I can’t satisfy you.

    So, in short: Great apology. OK decision. Maybe they’ll address the mandatory lifetime ban in the future. Given the uproar, probably not. Think I’d like to go to Readercon again and check it out.

    If you disagree with that, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. But I don’t think me saying that was impolite or flouting any rules or being uncivil.

  35. Xopher, I was able to find ISTM on an acronym site, but you’ve stumped me with IANJS.

    Greg, I’ve followed this incident and its fallout very closely, I was referring to this thread.

  36. Greg, everything you said about the apology was fine. You’re responding as if I’d criticized that, which I haven’t. It’s the irrelevant and inflammatory story about your acquaintance who was falsely accused of rape that has me annoyed.

    Christopher, IAN stands for I Am Not. Most often in IANAL, which means I Am Not A Lawyer. In this case, it was my way of stating my lack of intention to usurp the authority of Our Host, Mr. John Scalzi.

  37. Christopher:the acronym IAN is usually “I am Not” (as in IANAL for I am not a lawyer). JS? Scalzi, I s’pose.

    Tangentially: Maybe if you and Xopher stop feeding Greg, he’ll go back under his bridge?

  38. Aha! Okay. IANJS either. Don’t wanna be ursurpin’ that cat, for sure.

    Strongly agree that Greg’s response to you is some kind of clumsy rhetorical switch-up, but also wonder if we’re a couple of goats kicking food under the bridge at this point, if you take my meaning.

  39. Xopher: that still seems completely unconnected. Discussion of rape, ISTM (and IANJS) is out of place on this thread.

    Look. I like you Xopher. But on this particular point, I don’t believe you. I’m willing to wager money that if someone else had posted “Yay! Awesome decision! Awesome apology! Another win for feminism! Another loss for Rape Culture!”, you wouldn’t have batted an eye about someone bringing up the word “rape”.

  40. Point well taken, vian and Christopher. I’m finding it hard to think of Greg as…infrapontic. But the principle is good, even if he’s better than that (which I persist in believing).

  41. IMO, it took a lot of guts for the Readercon concom to apologize, admit to wrongdoing and set forth a plan to change. I sent them an email applauding their apology (though not the original board decision). I think if other people do the same, their commitment to safety will be more likely to stick. They also sent really nice thank you notes back. This is where I sent my email:

  42. Thank you for linking to our statement, Mr. Scalzi.

    I would like to assure everyone, we are very serious about the actions delineated in this statement. We as a concom hashed them out over a week of online discussions, followed by a 6 hour meeting yesterday. Rose Fox, the program chair, and Kim Riek, my assistant conchair, were particularly invaluable in this process. We care tremendously about how we go forward from here, and felt that it was important to start with an apology that every one of us on the committee could sign onto. That takes time, but I think was an incredibly valuable part of the process, and means that every person on the committee pledges to uphold it.

    Readercon as a concom means every word of this statement, and will do our best from here on in.

  43. Greg:

    Jesus Christ, are you trying to set a land speed record for derailing a thread? Step off this thread, too. I don’t have time or energy to deal with you.

    In fact, take a week off from commenting here. You clearly still have things to sort out.

  44. I do think that an important part of all this was that the harassment was not rape, was not even all that aggressive as harassment goes. Readercon and the SF community at large are going on the record as stating that harrassment of any kind is _not acceptable_. No, not even a little bit of harassment. No, not even unwanted touching on the shoulder. No, not even if you’re tring to apologize (after being told to leave the person alone). No, not even if you were clueless rather than malicious. Not acceptable, loud and clear and unarguable.

    And also, I’ll join the chorus singing that this was a model of a true apology and should be studied by politicians and others who need to make one, I will be very interested to watch the concom follow through on their commitment, and to see how this is taken up by other cons.

  45. I was extremely impressed with the statement. So often, we see “apologies” sprinkled with lots of “if you were offended” type comments which pretty much render irrelevant such a half-assed attempt at placation.

    This was different. It seemed to be very well thought out and genuine, especially considering the plan for participant education and for reevaluation of the policy. I’m also happy to see that they were appreciative of all of the feedback they received, which I imagine was quite overwhelming. I like to think that stories like the following, which relays how the extreme harassment experienced by a young girl at a con has affected her life for over 25 years, helped to sway the concom to make the right adjustment to their previous decision:

  46. @ Greg

    You’re not upsetting people by having a different opinion. You’re upsetting them by rekindling an argument from another thread which John told you to drop because the tone of your arguments was getting snide and you were accusing others of debate tactics you yourself were using. No one in this thread (and I doubt on the other one, but I don’t recall the content of every single comment) has suggested that it’s totally okay to falsely accuse anyone of anything. But that is not what this is about, which is why people who don’t know you can’t drop an argument perceiving you as trolling. You’re not winning hearts and minds by not listening to how your comments are received.

    @ vian (re: Christopher Rowe)

    Tangentially: Maybe if you and Xopher stop feeding Greg, he’ll go back under his bridge?

    Greg’s not trolling, just being incredibly insensitive and not watching where he steers the train ff the rails.

    @ Xopher Halftongue

    But the principle is good, even if he’s better than that (which I persist in believing).

    Me too.

    @ diachronic

    Readercon and the SF community at large are going on the record as stating that harrassment of any kind is _not acceptable_.

    And that selective enforcement is a Really Bad Idea.

  47. I agree that Readercon’s statement is very impressive. Thorough, professional, thoughtful… corporations. politicians, and various celebrities could learn from this.

    Also, thanks for Malleting Greg. I haven’t been commenting on these threads, because I didn’t want to attract his attention, god forbid. Reading his comments to others was already enough to make my jaw spasm.

  48. Just adding on to the positive feedback for ReaderCon’s statement. It will be interesting to watch them follow through on their stated goals and see what kind of effect that has on the rest of of the community.

    Which reminds me of this one other committee I know. Committee said they was going to do some stuff publicly. And committee’s constituency got all rowdy when committee didn’t. But the thing was, committee *DID* do the stuff and constituency was just saying committee didn’t because you know how constituency are. (Greg, WTF, man?)

  49. Good for the con committee – the board screwed up, and they fixed it. Their apology was classic – no ifs, ands or buts, but a comprehensive and sincere apology. Would that more institutions had their moral courage. And thank you for keeping the conversation on target. Not to derail, but I just wanted to add, I read Redshirts this weekend – I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for writing it.

  50. Actually, when it comes to discussing Greg’s motivations I think Hershele Ostropoler’s awesome comment on the original thread is of assistance:

    “If you step on my foot, you need to get off my foot.

    If you step on my foot without meaning to, you need to get off my foot.

    If you step on my foot without realizing it, you need to get off my foot.

    If everyone in your culture steps on feet, your culture is horrible, and you need to get off my foot.

    If you have foot-stepping disease, and it makes you unaware you’re stepping on feet, you need to get off my foot. If an event has rules designed to keep people from stepping on feet, you need to follow them. If you think that even with the rules, you won’t be able to avoid stepping on people’s feet, absent yourself from the event until you work something out.

    If you’re a serial foot-stepper, and you feel you’re entitled to step on people’s feet because you’re just that awesome and they’re not really people anyway, you’re a bad person and you don’t get to use any of those excuses, limited as they are. And moreover, you need to get off my foot.

    See, that’s why I don’t get the focus on classifying harassers and figuring out their motives. The victims are just as harassed either way.”

  51. I’m glad. I went to my first ReaderCon last year and had a great time; I was looking forward to taking my girlfriend to share it with me next year, but the sexual harassment glitch had me a little unsure about going. I was cautiously optimistic that the apparently thoughtful and competent people running things would sort this problem out, and I’m glad they did. I assume there’s lots of hurt feelings and bad mojo behind the scenes – how could there not be? – but they are doing the classy thing in not bringing their dirty laundry out on the lawn, and that speaks well of them.

  52. Yay! Also joining in the praise for an actual apology.

    May check it out next year, time and finances depending: it seems like a pretty neat event, and maybe a good dipping-the-toe-back-in start for me, now that they’ve affirmed their policies.

  53. “I do think that an important part of all this was that the harassment was not rape, was not even all that aggressive as harassment goes. Readercon and the SF community at large are going on the record as stating that harrassment of any kind is _not acceptable_.”

    I think that’s important as well, and not for the reason that someone insisting on making distinctions between harassment and rape would seem to think. It seems that much of the time, when a someone, often a woman, makes a complaint about some form of harassment, if it’s not rape or assault, the complaint is often not taken as seriously because “hey, at least you weren’t assaulted or raped, just suck it up because it’s not that big of a deal.” Which is wrong – harassment of ANY KIND is unacceptable, and I’m pleased to see Readercon is making this point clear.

    For me, what really made the apology was this:

    “In addition, we wish to make it clear that we do not in any way view anyone as having wronged us by publicly calling out our failures and flaws. The program participants who have criticized us remain on our invitation list, and everyone else who has criticized us is more than welcome to attend future Readercons. We welcome scrutiny of our continued efforts to make Readercon a safer and better convention, and will increase our accountability with greater transparency and documentation of our processes and actions.”

    Having followed the many discussions occurring in the convention world regarding sexual harassment policies and their implementations, I’m really, really glad to see that Readercon took the time to state unequivocally that Valentine and Kligman are not to be blamed at all for calling attention to the whole situation. So often victims are told that they’re only making things worse by shining a spotlight on problems like this and that the resulting kerfuffles are their fault – it contributes horribly to victims staying silent and/or not following through with complaints of harassment. It’s heartening to see that Readercon recognizes this as a problem and made sure to address it.

  54. farah3, that makes perfect sense, and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before. Of COURSE the people running a convention are part of fandom, part of the discussion. Of COURSE it’s the fact that those on the inside Get It that something changed, and this marvelous apology was posted.

    I’m not glad that the situation cropped up in the first place, but I am glad for its resolution and the quality of the apology, so much so that I’m seriously considering attending next year.

  55. All I have to say that the Reader Con statement was excellent as is their plan going forward. It’s heartening when people do the right thing.

  56. I want the Readercon statement cast in bronze and made into a monument, where everyone from politicians to athletes can be required to go study it to learn how to do it correctly.

  57. Scalzi says to Greg: Jesus Christ, are you trying to set a land speed record for derailing a thread?

    Well, this is during the Olympics. Maybe some folks got confused and thought they were competing in the 100 meter derail instead of a discussion about Readercon? ;)

  58. Very pleased with the thorough and comprehensive apology and correcting of the situation from concom. This kind of ‘we screwed up, we are going to fix it and improve things in the future’ response is the sort of thing the world needs more of instead of mealy-mouthed notpologies that seem to be the standard in so much of life. Good on you concom, you may have saved your conventions reputation.

  59. I just wanted to add that Rose Fox was amazing throughout, there may have been other committee members around, I have no idea, but the threads I was reading when someone wanted to know something about the committee or how they work or what they were doing, it seemed always to be Rose Fox showing up, telling us what we wanted to know, and also reassuring people that certain things *weren’t* going to happen. I got the impression she drafted the apology but she may have just put together what the con-committee decided to say, rather than writing it herself.

    I haven’t seen anything that was a threat against the victims being blackballed, it seemed to be against the noisiest of the protestors. Well, one of them was the previous victim of a Readercon creeper who did get banned permanently, who put together and managed the big petition, so there’s that. There’s a possibility the person really didn’t mean it to sound the way it did, but it’s kind of hard for me to believe. But again, Rose showed up and told us that wasn’t happening at Readercon anyway.

  60. erikagillian said: “I haven’t seen anything that was a threat against the victims being blackballed”


    “What I’m saying is that I help throw a big party (5 or 6 or 8 times a year)
    so that newbie authors can become big name authors one day. And it’s
    generally considered rude to curse at your host & her guests.”

    Genevieve is, of course, an author…

  61. I wonder what Rene Walling does for a living. A simple google search will cost him a lot of jobs. I am a software developer and I have to undergo a background check for any job I do. This kind of thing would render me almost unemployable in my profession. A company couldn’t take the risk that I would do something like this at work since they would get sued for it.

    I said before, that not getting a lifetime ban at first ended up being worse than getting one because his name is now all over the internet. This is way worse. In a sense Genevieve got 10x more than she originally wanted. He deserved the ban(especially since other women came forward also), but I am not sure he deserved the public humiliation. The board should have just banned him and then everyone could have just moved on.

  62. In a sense Genevieve got 10x more than she originally wanted.

    As I understand matters, what she wanted was for Walling to leave her alone, so no, I’d venture to say she didn’t get what she wanted.

  63. Guess

    But then everyone could have just moved on to a situation in which other attenders at other cons could have been targeted by Mr Walling, who is a very high-profile figure in fandom. The better path would be not harrassing anyone in the first place, but since he did it is likely that liability issues of the kind you mention would arise in any event…

  64. @Stevie: It doesn’t sound like he ‘targeted’ anyone. He seems like a guy who has no social skills. The vast majority of people who commit actual crimes get less web publicity than this guy. He acted stupid and clearly broke the rules so he deserves his penalty. He doesn’t deserve to have his whole life ruined. He probably would have gotten less publicity if he beat someone up or robbed someone at the con.

  65. Guess, et al:

    This is a conversation that’s already been had in other threads and it’s not especially productive to have it again, so let’s go ahead and table it.

  66. @Guess If you read the last comment thread, and several of the blog posts following this incident, you’ll find at least a couple hundred examples of people explaining why “no social skills” isn’t an excuse for anything (above and beyond the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that Walling lacked social skills), and why Walling’s feelings, quite frankly, don’t matter. He’s a serial harasser with a lot of connections in the community. This sort of person thrives on anonymity. The priority here is preventing future incidents, and depriving Walling of a shadow to hide in is one good way to do it. If he didn’t want to be humiliated, he could have prevented it by not sexually harassing multiple women at multiple conventions.

  67. My vague understanding is that the committee is around thirty people who are in charge of organizing and putting on the con and are volunteers willing to perform the duties of the committee. The Board of Directors are the officers of that committee (treasurer, etc.) and in charge of overseeing what is done, but are answerable to the committee. I’m not sure if the Board is elected or not by the committee or just offer to fill the posts and these offers are accepted by the committee. There have been committee people on this thread, so they could probably explain it better. It’s not an unusual design though.

  68. @ Xopher Halftongue

    According to Rose Fox over on the Readercon LiveJournal blog (specifically the thread discussing this so-far well-remedied debacle), the concom is the general organizing community from which and by whom the BoD is elected. If fan conventions are run anything like the trade shows committees I’ve been on, the BoD has fiduciary power akin to a corporate BoD elected by stockholders. Here is the link Christopher Rowe provided in the previous thread:

  69. Faith in humanity: restored, as they say. Very glad the concom stepped up and did the only right and good thing.

  70. Well done, Readercon!

    I’m sure elsewhere there will be more handwringing about how actually taking harassment seriously will lead to the Great Oppression of well-meaning dudes who made it to age 30 without learning that it’s not OK to paw strangers. Those folks should be reassured; the official statement contains a lot of things that make it clear they are committed to an open, transparent and fair process, including training of volunteers by an area rape-crisis center. Training on handling harassment claims, by the way, also includes training on taking reports, investigating and resolving those claims – because maliciously false accusations are themselves a form of harassment.

  71. I’m sure elsewhere there will be more handwringing about how actually taking harassment seriously will lead to the Great Oppression of well-meaning dudes who made it to age 30 without learning that it’s not OK to paw strangers.

    Ha, yes.

    Y’all: if your response to being told that getting touchy-feely with strangers or asking women out in elevators at 3 AM or whatever is to whine about how this will make it so much harder for you to date? YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

    And by “it” I mean everything. Ever.

    Including debate. Because as far as I’m aware, the ability of mouthbreathers to get their dicks wet is not a cause a lot of people are gonna rally behind.

  72. I’m not well informed although it seems that harrassment is a dangerous thing to start excluding or punishing over. If there was no law broken what exactly justifies kicking a person from the event? I’d hope it was an explicit action and not just somebodys complaint. It would seem the 2 year exclusion is also more apropriate than an outright lifetime ban.

  73. Sorry – is this where we cast our votes for the most infrapontic comment of all time, ever? Because I think Joe, above, has put in a really strong contender. Seriously. There aren’t enough Billy Goats Gruff in the world.

  74. Ignore him, vian. John will Mallet him if appropriate. If he gets away with this one, it will embolden him to behave similarly in other threads, and this will lead to a complete ban. I don’t really see a downside.

  75. Joe:

    “I’m not well informed”

    You should have put a period after “informed” and left it at that, Joe.

    Otherwise, before you offered up an opinion, you should have become informed so you had something of value to add to the conversation.

    At the moment, what you’re adding to the conversation is “I know nothing about the incident at hand but that won’t stop me from saying things that only reinforce I have no idea what I am talking about.” This is neither of value to you (who comes across as ignorant) or to anyone else (to whom you come across as ignorant).

    Do better before you comment here again, Joe. We’ll all be happier for it.

  76. [Idiotic comment comparing sexual harassment to drunken geek-bro hijinx, from someone who clearly does not recognize that he is the problem, deleted — JS]

  77. I wanted to apologize to John and everyone on the thread. I did not intend to offend or derail.

    It seemed relevant, but the fact that it happened to someone close to me (I took a day off from work a couple times when he had court appearances) and that it happened quite recently (he’s still trying to get the restraining order against him removed, and he’s still paying back all the money he had to borrow for lawyers) apparently has affected me. For a while, it was pretty much the only conversation I was involved in when I wasn’t at work, and even then there might be a phone call during the day. Apparently, it’s kiltered my perspective more than I would have thought.

    That isn’t an attempt to shirk responsibility or not apologize for causing trouble. Just me trying to understand… me. Anyways, it wasn’t my intent to cause a problem. I’m sorry I did.

  78. I believe this is the first time I’ve ever read or heard a public apology that wasn’t in some way weaselly. The readercon concom apology shines out as the very opposite of weaselly, if there is such a thing.

    PS: loved the it’s-a-word-Now infrapontic.

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