Rose Fox at Genreville has advanced the harassment prevention discussion in her post “What Conventions Are and Aren’t.”
She develops several lines of thought that ought to be useful to anyone trying to comprehend fandom and conrunning. Our own implicit assumptions sometimes make it hard to listen to someone else’s point of view til they’re triggered, we become conscious of them, and decide how to address them. This piece isn’t so much about solutions as it is about illuminating things that get in the way of finding solutions:
Conventions are not communities in the traditional sense of the word. They are not townships. The conchair is not the mayor; the head of safety or security is not the chief of police; the concom and the board are not tribunals or juries. The organizing bodies are not directly or representationally elected and are almost never demographically representative of the convention-attending population. I think that treating conventions as in some way parallel to real-world communities governed by law is a really bad idea, especially when we get into these crime-and-punishment discussions. Conventions are not in the business of dispensing justice. They aren’t designed for it or equipped for it, and no one–especially not anyone involved in running a convention–should behave as though they are, even for a moment.
What conventions are designed for and equipped for is helping people to have fun. That’s the business model! And I think that is what conventions should stay focused on when someone pops up and starts making their spaces less fun for their customers.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]