Chicon 7 Issues Code of Conduct

All Worldcons have a collection of policies about photography and recording, insufficient funds transactions, sales on the premises, wearing membership badges, not carrying realistic weapons, and adhering to the hotel’s rules. Chicon 7 does, too – plus a major addition it has made in the aftermath of the Readercon controversy, a policy titiled “Respect for Others.”

Respect for Others

All Chicon 7 events should be a space where everyone feels welcomed and comfortable.

Discrimination (based on, but not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical / mental disability) is not tolerated. Harassment of any kind is not tolerated. If someone tells you “no” or asks you to leave them alone, your business with them is done.

If you feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed, or if you notice someone behaving inappropriately (such as violating hotel or convention policies), we respectfully suggest the following:

If you feel comfortable doing so, point out the inappropriate behavior to the person(s) involved. Often this will solve the problem immediately.

If you do not feel comfortable talking with the person(s) involved or if talking to them does not resolve the issue, please report the situation immediately to any Chicon 7 event coordinator (i.e., Board Members, Convention Committee Members, or Operations Staff). Try to provide a name, badge name / number and / or physical description of the person(s) involved. Note that we need to know about any incidents during the event in order to take action.

Other conventions have been developing anti-harassment policies over the past few years. For Worldcons, this is new territory. The words “harass” and “harassment” do not even appear on the websites of the past several Worldcons. 

What I like about Chicon 7’s policy is its clear language and pragmatism. I also feel it has a sense of sense of immediacy and engagement that is far superior to passivity of the Anthrocon policy so widely commended in recent online discussions – which really doesn’t commit Anthrocon to do anything unless a court has already issued a restraining order (!).

The awkward part is how Chicon 7 has amalgamated all of its policies into a Code of Conduct that read collectively like the “thirty-one crash landings,” a resemblance heightened by the multiple warnings that violations “may result in revocation of membership privileges.”

Repeatedly brandishing the hammer overshadows the array of responses listed within the Code of Conduct itself:

Failure to adhere to any of the above policies may result in possible consequences that include but are not limited to:

Talking with all parties involved and attempting to mediate a solution
Issuing verbal warnings
Revoking memberships and requesting that the person(s) leave the event
Involving hotel or facility staff or security
Contacting local law enforcement
Banning of attendance and membership to future Chicon 7 events, including any post-Chicon 7 events.

Admittedly, the hammer-waving may help Chicon 7 achieve its purpose of assuring members that harassment is not tolerated. The full range of issues covered by the Code of Conduct calls for a flexible range of responses, but people fresh from reading Elizabeth Bear and Catherynne M. Valente are likely to be skeptical about mediation or verbal warnings and more interested in hearing about the hammer.

7 thoughts on “Chicon 7 Issues Code of Conduct

  1. I find the sentence “Chicon 7 reserves the right to amend these rules at any time without prior or posted notice and reserves the sole right of interpretation.” disturbing, as it seems to invite exactly the kind of “we changed our minds because we like you” post-hoc reinterpretation that the Readercon board was accused of.

  2. The version of Anthrocon’s Standards of Conduct quoted on the Con Anti-Harassment Project page is from several years ago, and only the “Harassment” section was quoted. Since then it has been refined. Not quoted was the “Rule 0” as well as the introduction to explain the convention’s position on troublemakers in general:

    >>>>>
    The following general rule supersedes all others listed below and may be invoked at any time:

    Any action or behavior that causes significant interference with convention operations, excessive discomfort to other attendees, or adversely affects Anthrocon’s relationship with its guests, its venues or the public is strictly forbidden and may result in permanent suspension of membership.

    Introduction

    The primary purpose of Anthrocon is for our attendees to have fun. To ensure that the greatest number of people achieve this objective we have established certain rules of conduct. By them we seek only to ensure that the behavior of any one small group does not disturb the membership as a whole, nor does it detract from the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere of the convention. Anthrocon welcomes all parties with an interest in anthropomorphic animals; however, the convention’s management reserves the right to deny or revoke the membership of any individual at any time for any reason. Anthrocon, Inc. also reserves the right to amend these rules at any time without prior or posted notice and reserves the sole right of interpretation. In any dispute, the general rule above will apply. If you have any questions, please contact the convention operations staff for assistance.
    <<<<>>>>
    Harassment of any kind, including physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, or unwelcome physical attentions, will not be tolerated. If people tell you “no” or to leave them alone, your business with them is done. If you continue to attempt to have contact with those people, you may be removed from the premises.

    Anthrocon is not responsible for solving any interpersonal problems that may arise between individual members. In general, we can take no action to prevent a person from attending the convention unless that person has made a specific and credible threat toward the convention itself or if another individual can produce a legal restraining order.
    <<<<<

    It's impractical to incorporate social lessons into the Standards of Conduct — it's already over 2200 words, and must address the essentials. Anthrocon has FAQs and an active forum on its web site where many of the points noted from the Chicon policy are discussed (report situations immediately to the staff or security crew, get badge name/number and description of the person, etc.).

    It all boils down to: "Don't be a jerk."

  3. Thanks for pointing out the full text. It now appears that the fans whose comments I read discussing Anthrocon must have been aware of it but for some reason linked only to the excerpt.

  4. Chicon 7: “Members of the press who have not been issued a Press Badge may not conduct interviews or take photographs or audio or video footage without an escort.”

    But it’s okay for non-members of the press.

    And Chicon 7 can distinguish between who is and isn’t a member of the press when they haven’t been issued a Press Badge by what means?

    Are you a member of the Press, Mike? How does Chicon 7 determine which blogs or LiveJournals are “press” versus not, when they haven’t applied for a Press Badge? Are all members forbidden to write down con reports wherein they mention any Q&A with any member?

    This may not be the wisest phrasing or bit of policy. Policies need to be enforceable and consistent.

    (Yes, it’s there because of Rachel Moss. I know that.)

  5. Some fan editors and fans do conduct interivews with pros for zines, which has been ongoing since tape recorders became portable and easy to use. The pro can comply, if he wants, or he says “no.” Simple as that.

    The rules as presented will need to be revised and reveiwed since iron clad rules for over 4000 people is a bit much.

  6. The policy says, “Video and audio recording and photography for personal archival use only is generally acceptable […]” which implies that video/audio recording for public consumption is deemed to be a function of the press.

    This policy is hardly unusual as conventions go. It’s normal practice under such a policy to issue a press button/badge to fanzine writers (although not a free membership; it’s assumed that if you were a fan, you were probably going to attend anyway even if you weren’t reporting on the con).

    I’m planning to do some video blogging from Worldcon once again, and I’m presuming that under this policy I’ll need to stop by the press office for a few minutes before doing so. I don’t see it as a big deal.

  7. I had to sign a release (on behalf of the company that owns Lisa and my video equipment, Tsuki Systems LLC) to be allowed to record the WSFS Business Meeting, even though it’s a WSFS-authorized function and we plan to give it away and am not being paid to do it. I rather expect that people who just show up and record are less likely to have the Video Police chasing them.

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