Pixel Scroll 4/13/17 Hark! What File Through Yonder Pixel Scrolls?

(1) ODYSSEY CON LOSES SECOND GOH. Honoring the reasons for the withdrawal of Monica Valentinelli, another Odyssey Con GoH has dropped out — Tad Williams made this announcement on Facebook:

I am sad to announce that I won’t be appearing at the upcoming Odysseycon. I feel a debt of conscience to guests of this con and to others whose complaints of harassment (and worse) at gatherings in our field have gone unheard and unresolved.

At the same time it seems to me and Deb that the issues are complicated and a lot of people must be having a very miserable time right now. We don’t want to contribute to the heat, and hope that things can be improved for everyone in the future. Odysseycon have been straightforward in their dealings with us, and gracious when we withdrew. I wish to extend my apologies to any members of the convention who will be disappointed by my not attending.

(2) TOOLMAKING. And today, Monica Valentinelli is looking for knowledge to make cons safer.

How can we…

  • …teach people not to harass?
  • …teach allies what to watch out for?
  • …foster healthy and safe communication about harassment?
  • …teach people how best to enforce harassment policies?
  • …address safety concerns that are not part of an official claim?
  • …share experiences between conventions so each con doesn’t live in a silo?
  • …implement better documentation policies so materials aren’t lost?
  • …help allies understand how to support victims?
  • …help victims have the confidence to come forward?
  • …guarantee that personal e-mails will not be posted publicly?
  • …help victims/allies mitigate the losses that come from making hard decisions?
  • …teach con goers how we take their safety seriously?
  • …teach con goers what to do next if something should happen?
  • …address what proper resolutions are and how they should be implemented?
  • …leverage our social communities better to review our convention attendance?
  • …help con runners decide how to implement training for their staff?
  • …help con runners understand how important it is to have the right people on staff to handle this?

I am 100% certain there are other questions I am missing, as I am speaking through the lens of my experiences. Regardless, I feel that the first step is to ask questions like these before they can be answered. Then, we need to have those hard discussions to take additional steps.

(3) TALKIN’ ABOUT M-MY REGENERATION. Beware, this will make your head spin — a video of every Doctor Who regeneration at Yahoo! TV. (The only bad part is you have to watch at least 30 seconds of a commercial before the video begins.)

(4) CARRIE FISHER. Is there anybody who hasn’t seen the Star Wars tribute to Carrie Fisher yet? Or who doesn’t want to watch it a couple more times?

(5) ROLLING IN THE GREEN. You might have said that’s a lot of lettuce to ask for a 50 pence coin, but the Royal Mint’s offering of a Peter Rabbit 2017 UK 50p BU Coin for £10 has sold out.

The Mint also put out a set of coins in 2016 to celebrate Potters’ 150th anniversary –

Features four coins depicting some of her best-loved characters: Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Squirrel Nutkin

(6) PKD FILM FEST. The fifth annual Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival takes place May 25-30 in New York City.

The program showcases over 100 films, premieres, panels, virtual reality demonstrations and celebratory gatherings as the festival continues its salute to the master of science fiction, Philip K. Dick.

Highlights include the world premieres of Maryanne Bilham-Knight’s A Life Gone Wild (2016) and Jean-Philippe Lopez’s III (2016), North American premiere of Adam Stern’s FTL (2017), USA premieres of Caroline Cory’s Gods Among Us: The Science of Contact (2016), Rasmus Tirzitis’s Vilsen (2016) and Ove Valeskog’s Huldra: Lady of the Forest (2016), east coast premieres of Niall Doran/Justin Smith’s Sixteen Legs (2016) and Renchao Wang’s The End of the Lonely Island (2016) and NYC premiere of Bruce Wemple’s The Tomorrow Paradox (2016).

The festival will also launch PKD Talks: Conversations with Luminaries, Visionaries and Mavericks, a new panel series discussing scientific, inspirational and world changing themes with industry professionals including author and physicist Dr. Ronald Mallett, acclaimed directors Maryanne Bilham-Knight and Caroline Cory, web host Joe Cerletti, astrophysicist Rudy Schild, computer scientist Jacques Vallee and more distinguished guests.

Check out the full schedule here.

(7) ATWOOD STORY ON TV. The Verge has seen the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and gives the show an enthusiastic endorsement.

But The Handmaid’s Tale is more than a political jab. In the first three episodes provided to reviewers, it’s a dystopia that manages to stand out in a television landscape already full of apocalypses and oppressive imaginary societies. It’s a colorful TV series about a woman negotiating domestic drama, and judging from its initial installments — all three of which will be released simultaneously on April 26th — it might be one of the darkest shows on television this year.

(8) THE EVENING NEWS. Problems with a furry convention have made it onto TV. That’s not surprising anymore, is it? But this is still a story that makes a fan’s hair (or fur) stand on end — “Amid allegations of unpaid taxes, neo-Nazism, and sex offender, Denver furry convention canceled”.

Head of company that operates RMFC exposed

But the letter was not signed by an attorney, nor did it contain language or punctuation consistent with those typically used by lawyers. But it did contain a red thumb print, sometimes associated with a movement the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as extremists.

And Kendal Emery, the man who signed the letter and the self-identified “Chief Executive Contract Law Officer” for Midwest Anthropomorphic Arts Corporation, is a convicted sex offender.

The Arvada man pleaded no contest to three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in 1993 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, near his native Carlsbad. New Mexico court records show he served at least probation and underwent out-patient counseling as part of his sentence.

But that isn’t the end of Emery’s issues: though he registered Mid America Anthropomorphic and Art Corporation in Colorado in 2005 at an Aurora address and also with the IRS, the IRS revoked the company’s status in May 2011 and has not reinstated it

(9) WHAT MAKES A WRITER REAL. Sarah A. Hoyt’s inspirational column “You’re real” ends:

A contract won’t make you real.  Writing more will make you real.  Indie and traditional both thrive on content.  The more you write the more you’ll make.  And in indie, this is all in your hands.  You don’t need anyone to give you permission.

Go write and publish.  Stop obsessing about being real.  I say you’re real, and in proof thereof, I’ve made the following certificate, which you can download, fill in and print at your convenience.

STOP GIVING AWAY part of you income for nothing, particularly to small presses of dubious value.  Write.  Publish.  Repeat.  Become a professional.

(10) EUROCON NEWS. The first announcement with details of 2017 ESFS Business Meeting has been made available on the European SF Society website.

The ESFS General Meeting for 2017 will take place at U-Con, the Dortmund (Germany) Eurocon, on June 16-18.


Scrabble Day

By far the best way to celebrate Scrabble Day is with Oxyphenbutazone. That’s right, Oxyphenbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – you already knew that – but it’s also the word that, in a single play, can give the highest possible score on a Scrabble board. The chances of it ever coming up are similar to the chances of winning this week’s lottery, as you’d need to join all seven of your tiles with eight already on the board across three triple word scores. Still, it’d be worth waiting for, scoring 1,778 points. You’d almost certainly win the game with that.


April 13, 1967 — In another reality, 50 years ago today would have been the end of Star Trek. The final new first-season episode, “Operation — Annihilate!,” aired April 13, 1967. Only an unprecedented letter-writing campaign, spearheaded by Bjo Trimble and other science-fiction writers and fans, got the show renewed for a second season.


April 13, 1970 — …disaster strikes 200,000 miles from Earth when oxygen tank No. 2 blows up on Apollo 13, the third manned lunar landing mission. Astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise had left Earth two days before for the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon but were forced to turn their attention to simply making it home alive.

(14) MATH OF KHAN. Why, this is heresy! Space.com says “Redshirts Aren’t Likeliest to Die – and Other ‘Star Trek’ Math Lessons”.

Grime first focused on an age-old assertion: that crewmembers wearing red shirts in the original “Star Trek” series, which denote working in engineering or security, are far more likely to be killed off than any other shirt color.

That claim, in fact, is false — more “redshirts” died on-screen than any other crew type (10 gold-shirted, which are command personnel; eight blue-shirted, who are scientists; and 25 red-shirted, Grime said), but that calculation fails to take into account that there are far more redshirts on the ship to start with than any other crew type.

In other words, we’re looking at the probability that you are a redshirt if you die (58 percent) — what we want to know is the probability that you die if you’re a redshirt, Grime said.

Grime used the “Star Trek” technical manual to find out how many of each crew type there were, which painted a different picture: out of 239 redshirts, 25 died, which is 10 percent. Out of 55 goldshirts, 10 died, which is 18 percent! So you are more likely to die as a goldshirt, Grime said.

Oh, so it’s actually true – this is just a lawyerly exercise in lying with statistics.

(15) FAN MAIL. Alastair Reynolds praised Erin Horakova’s Strange Horizons article article about Captain Kirk:

If you have a little time on your hands I commend this excellent Strange Horizons article by Erin Horakova on our changing (and inaccurate) perception of the character of Captain Kirk…

Regardless of the quality of the individual episodes, though, I quickly found myself wondering when this legendary bad Shatner was going to turn up, because all I was seeing – right from the outset – was an efficient and convincing portrayal of a man in a complex, demanding position of authority. Shatner isn’t just much better at playing Kirk than the popular myth would have it, but the character itself is also much more plausibly drawn than the supposed brash womaniser of the insidious meme.

Erin Horakova dismantles this false Kirk in expert fashion, while lobbing a few well-earned potshots at the reboot films.

(16) THE NEW NUMBER SIX. John  Scalzi continues Reader Request Week with “#6: Reading as Performance”.

  1. Recognize it is a performance. Which is to say that you can’t just go in front of a room, mumble your way through fifteen minutes of text, answer a couple of questions and go home (I mean, you can, but it won’t turn out the way you want it to). You actually have to be up and on, from the moment you get to the event until the moment you’re done. Which is draining, but can also be fun. When you read, don’t just read the text, act it. When you’re answering questions, don’t answer quickly, answer completely. When you’re signing, work to make it so the person you’re signing for feels like that those 30 seconds with you is a pretty good 30 seconds of their life. Know all this going in, and prepare.

(17) WAITRESSING FOR GODOT. Ann Leckie was prompted by Scalzi’s post to add her own thoughts – “On Performance and Sincerity”.

Now as it happens, I have a tiny bit of theater experience, along with that music degree, so I’m actually pretty comfortable onstage. But you know what else I think has helped me–years of waiting tables. I am a serious introvert, but working at waiting tables gave me practice interacting with lots of strangers for hours at a time, keeping my demeanor pleasant and mostly cheerful. It’s practice that has stood me in good stead for a lot of my non-writing-related life, actually. In a lot of ways waiting tables can be a really miserable job, but that aspect of it, learning how to be “on” very pleasantly and confidently, has been super valuable to me.

(18) WHAT GOES UP… Just don’t ask for an explanation: “Mysterious X37-B ‘space plane’ stays in orbit for 677 days – and no one knows why”.

A mysterious robotic ‘space plane’ has now been in orbit for a record 677 days – and America is remaining silent about what it’s doing up there.

The robotic Boeing X-37B craft – also known as Orbital Test Vehicle 4 – conducts long missions in orbit, carrying a classified payload.

Observers have speculated that the Space Shuttle-esque vehicle might be designed to destroy satellites – or work as a ‘movable’ satellite itself.

(19) LOST BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Evidently, Scotland’s witch prosecution records leave something to be desired. Atlas Obscura has the story — “Maggie Wall’s Memorial”.

A mysterious monument where a woman who records say never existed was burnt alive for being a witch.

…Outside of a small village of Dunning, nestled in the former parklands of Duncrub Castle, lies a monument. It’s a collection of stones about 20 feet high, topped with a cross and decorated with gifts left by visitors—pennies, feathers, shells, fluffy stuffed animals, and tiny tea candles. The stones bear the words in stark white lettering: “Maggie Wall burnt here 1657 as a witch.”

Scotland was home to nearly 3,800 people accused of witchcraft between 1500s and 1700s, the vast majority of whom were women. In the end, about 1,500 were murdered as a result of witch hunt inquisitions. However, mysteriously, there is no record of a woman named Maggie Wall being tried as a witch. What’s more, there’s no record of the monument itself until 1866, though a forest surrounding the monument called Maggie Walls Wood was documented as of 1829.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Michael J. Walsh, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contirbuting editor of the day Rev. Bob.]

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92 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/13/17 Hark! What File Through Yonder Pixel Scrolls?

  1. This is neither about “justice”, “redemption” nor “revenge”. It is about creating a convention that is safe for everyone and feels safe for everyone.

    If somone is well known to have a background as a serial harasser, the convention will not feel safe for persons that in their roles are forced to work with that person. Atonement can not mean “go back to how it was before as if the harassment never happened”. Because it did happen.

    Forgiveness are for individuals. For conventions, safety for guests, volunteers and visitors are more important. Including that they feel safe.

  2. @Lorcan Nagle: “Wasn’t the X-37 how JBF gets into orbit in Seveneves?” – That sounds suspiciously familiar to me.

    @Iphinome & @Joe H.: OMG! 😀 Thanks for that teaser trailer link – awesome!

  3. @rcade, et al: Ty Franck was GRRM’s personal assistant for a number of years, and I seem to remember Martin all but cheerleading for Leviathan Wakes back when it was coming out.

  4. I’ve never been a contirbuting editor before. I don’t even know how to contirb! 😀

    Oh, I just e-signed some key paperwork in the real estate deal. The property should go on the market at the beginning of the month. This is literally the largest amount of money I’ve ever been directly involved with.

  5. “Keeping the ‘ape’ in ‘apricot'” –There’s a motto for a business. I wonder what business that would have to be….

  6. Tentative congratulations, Rev. Bob.

    Thanks for the SW heads-up, Iphinome and Joe H.

    Hugo-reading: I tried to start The Dark Forest yesterday, but I’m either having some crazy allergies or a nasty sinus cold or flu or whatever you call it, and I just could not concentrate enough to make any worthwhile progress. So I started out on Gladstone’s Craft Sequence. Now there’s a reading-while-sick kinda story. And one that both checks the White Male Author box and the Fun Story box :p . At least, so far.

    Aside: has anyone else been getting notifications from Amazon about books they may enjoy, and those notifications point to one or another of VD’s sad *ahem* attacks on his more successful object of obsession? I seem to get one once a week or so, among the daily “here are a bunch of books you probably won’t enjoy but we’re pushing for some reason or other” emails I get from Amazon.

  7. I get email everyday from Amazon around the same time in the afternoon. They’re still recommending stuff based on things I bought many years ago. Unfortunately, they also occasionally recommend things based on my looking at Forbidden Thoughts when it was being discussed here.

    I really should go remove that from my browsing history.

  8. Chip Hitchcock: @OGH: \part/ of the concom isn’t the concom as a whole; knowledge doesn’t always get distributed internally.

    I’ve been through the committee list and matched up people to previous news items reflecting their involvement in various WisCon-related controversies. How many hits do you require before it’s appropriate to say they knew?

  9. I’ve only been to a couple of Cons in the last half decade. Most of what I do at Cons is game or attend the occasional panel. I’ve never seen/heard of anything at the specific events (i.e. sessions, game being played, etc….). Many of the game sessions have a lot of people under 18, but I’ve still never heard of any problems.

    What specific types of things are the harassment that individuals are getting banned for? I’m guessing that it is not rape or battery or something that is an obvious criminal offense.

    Is it grabbing/hugging strangers? Following someone around for hours when asked to leave? What? Is this related to people getting drunk or stoned at parties?

    Many of you are active in Cons, con management or SMOFs. Brief explanation would be appreciated. I’ve read some of the links, but they don’t discuss specifics of what constitutes harassment.

  10. @Airboy – it looks to me like Frenkel was accused of harassment, not assault (ETA though there’s at least one accusation of him groping in an article I saw, as well). If you google it, you’ll find a link to File770 reporting on it, and another link in the comments with specifics, though some of the specifics have been removed at the request of the harassed. Sounds like he generally acted like an asshole and refused to leave people alone when asked, and that this was behavior that went on for years.

  11. @airboy:

    That is in part because if you try to mil-spec* a concept like harassment, you’ll get rules lawyer creeps who find loopholes. In general, if the behavior would get you censured by Human Resources and you didn’t get consent, it’s safe to assume that’d qualify.

    * Take a look at the level of detail in the specs for even the most mundane military supplies. Canned pumpkin and glass ashtrays are popular examples.

  12. Hugo reading: I finished “A Taste of Honey” by Kai Ashante Wilson, and…feel almost betrayed. Pretty much every aspect of the setting I enjoyed, every plot point that drew me in, turned out to be window dressing. Aww.

    Beginning Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer. Ain’t that title page something?

  13. @Dawn Incognito

    Yes, really interesting setting, but the story set in it annoyed me for spoilerific reasons that I would guess are very similar to yours.

  14. (14) gold shirt=high value target, but there are more red shirts available as potential targets.

    @steve davidson–

    @Rose: I believe that it needs to be addressed simultaneously – if only because getting locked out permanently, forever, could be construed as business interference or other such legalities that could then turn a relatively simple incident into a huge and on-going one.

    No, really, I think “business interference” because someone ceased being welcome at a con is just not going to fly. You, generically, have no obligation to do business with anyone unless your reason is an illegal reason. Engaging in behavior that makes you or the con targets of harassment complaints, especially multiple instances of it, is not an illegal reason for a con deciding it doesn’t want you around. Aside from that, not having someone as a GoH isn’t business interference. Taking out ads calling someone an harasser likely could get you in major legal trouble, but the normal flow of information between conventions? I don’t see how. Trying to cover up information, on the other hand, just helps the harassment problem to spread.

  15. @ Rev. Bob
    That is in part because if you try to mil-spec* a concept like harassment, you’ll get rules lawyer creeps who find loopholes.

    I work for the Army. The definition used by the organization I work for:

    “Harassment includes, but is not limited to, any offensive conduct such as slurs, jokes or other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance and creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

    Sexual harassment is defined in law and regulation. It is a form of gender
    discrimination that involves unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is present when such conduct is made a condition of a person’s job, or used for employment decisions affecting that person, or when it creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment, or interferes with the performance of Soldiers or civilians. Any Soldier or civilian employee who makes deliberate or repeated unwelcomed verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature is engaging in sexual harassment.”

    I am required to attend training on this subject twice a year. “Required” as in my annual rating, upon which my pay and continued employment depend, is significantly adversely affected if I don’t complete the training. (But realistically, it never gets that far. If I miss the session that my group is assigned, it is noted by my management, and they “counsel” me to take the next available session. Their good ratings depend on all of the people they supervise completing training.)

    It is possible that these definitions could be rules-lawyered, but I’d be hard pressed to improve them. I think that if you took the first paragraph, and replaced “work performance” with “participation in the convention”, you’d have a usable definition that would work in convention codes of conduct.

    @airboy — if you want to know details about specific behaviors that have gotten people banned, google (add “harassment” to the search field):
    Dustin Hennessey, Arisia, 2014
    Rene Walling, Readercon, 2012
    Jim Frenkel, Wiscon, 2014
    Jeffrey Tolliver, Context, 2014
    Scott Windorski, Evercon (gaming con) 2017

  16. I am not a lawyer, and all that, but it seems to me that there might conceivably be a “business interference” argument if a con banned a business from the dealer’s room, it would be much more of a stretch to call it that if the con said “Of course Interstellar Widgets and Fudge can have a table in the dealer’s room, for the usual fee. The owner of the business is banned from the con, yes, but surely he knows somebody he can hire to run it for the weekend.” (That’s ignoring the fact that if he is allowed in, the woman who runs Super-planetary Books and Bagels is losing income because she doesn’t feel safe in the dealer’s room; why should the victim be the one who has to hire help? But IANAL and I don’t know whether that argument from justice would be legally relevant.)

    However, I very much doubt that you could make a case for “business interference” because someone wasn’t made guest liaison for a convention, or told he couldn’t staff the information desk. After all, if Jim Frenkel is guest liaison, seven and a half billion other people aren’t, and at least one of them might also have been interested in the job.

  17. kathodus on April 14, 2017 at 11:38 am said:

    Tentative congratulations, Rev. Bob.

    Thanks for the SW heads-up, Iphinome and Joe H.

    Hugo-reading: I tried to start The Dark Forest yesterday, but I’m either having some crazy allergies or a nasty sinus cold or flu or whatever you call it, and I just could not concentrate enough to make any worthwhile progress.

    I found it hard to make head way after the first few chapters. It has perked up again past the halfway point but there was an awful lot of then-another-thing-happened.

  18. @Camestros – I think I’ll put off reading that one for a while, then. I have a lot of books to at least try out in the next few months, anyway.

    @Dawn @Mark – I just finished that one, as well (a couple days ago). I’m torn about it. I can see the ending annoying the heck out of people.

  19. Well, here’s one possibility for a “path” to atonement or forgiveness. It took me 15 seconds of googling to find some institutions that offer sensitivity training for sexual harassment.

    I would suggest that someone experiencing consqeuences for harassing behavior voluntarily seeki training at such an institution. For example, a con could research programs and choose one (or more) to refer harassers to, as part of the con’s standard resolution of a harassment complaint. I think that completing such training would be a relevant step in seeking reintegration to the community or repair of one’s own reputation.

    There are people who are untrainable, untreatable, just have bad characters and will always wind up exercising bad behavior. But there are also people who don’t know any better, make mistakes, act on learned behavior they’ve never really thought through, etc. I think attendance and completion of a program where they’re actively learning to change and think through certain behaviors is more convincing than simply saying, “Well, we left this person alone for x years and haven’t heard other reports about him, so he’s welcome back.”

    There are other things to be done, but that one strikes me as a proactive option for a person changing or becoming aware of the problems with his own behavior that led to a harassment complaint.

  20. Camestros Felapton: I’m reading The Dark Forest now — about two-thirds through — and for the most part it’s been an unrelenting series of infodumps. Only at the halfway point in the book did the ideas in the infodumps start to approach the stuff that grabbed me in Three-Body Problem, but there’s still a problem of nearly everything being told rather than shown.

  21. I agree with Rose that a key problem of con culture and harassment is that the narrative does indeed keep prioritizing “how do we not osctracize the harasser or make him feel bad?” INSTEAD OF “how can we best pursue a harassment-free environment at our convention?”

  22. BTW, with Frenkel’s name re-emerging through this incident, I was told by a friend that he is now the literary agent for John C Wright. I googled it and saw, yep, that’s accurate. (I have no idea if that’s a new situation or has been the case for years.)

  23. @Laura Resnick. I saw Michael Damian Thomas joking about that on twitter and how Odyssey Con if they decided to double down on Frenkel awfulness could and should invite Wright as the new GOH thereby. I thought he was *kidding*. Eep.

  24. @Bill – Most of the searches came up with descriptions. Very creepy. Easy to see why the individuals were banned.

  25. I have no idea if that’s a new situation or has been the case for years.

    Frenkel was the agent who sold Wright’s first novels to Tor. Then Tor hired Frenkel, and Wright switched to being repped by Jack Byrne. So presumably, he switched back to Frenkel at some point after Frenkel got departed from Tor, but it’s a long association.

  26. (I’ve nothing against David Tennant himself, but his version of the Doctor was definitely very convinced of his own wonderfulness.)

    This is one reason why his season with Donna was my favorite–he needed someone who wasn’t awestruck (or lovestruck, or any -struck) by him.

  27. WRT ‘second chances’ for harassers.

    1) Person must acknowledge they offended. Maybe they didn’t realize it at the time, but once it is explained to them, they need to accept it. As I was taught in years of corporate anti-harassment training, on the first offense the person must have it made clear to them that the victim was offended, and that the victim’s feeling of being harassed is what counts. Then the harasser must accept this.
    2) Person must offer sincere apology (maybe not in person if their victim has no desire to be in same room with them again. Maybe not even in written form. ) that acknowledges their responsibility.
    3) Person must acknowledge that the offensive behavior will not recur. And then not recur.

    We’ve had discussions about what constitutes a sincere apology, so I won’t rehash that.

    Key point: Accept responsibility, change in behavior. Create a long enough baseline of changed behavior.

    Frenkel and his enablers seem to ignore all of these. So, no, not a lot of room for second (or third or fourth) chances here. Clearly this guy isn’t going to change. Whether it’s from ‘sincere’ cluelessness or malice doesn’t matter. It’s the behavior that matters.

  28. Mike Glyer on April 14, 2017 at 1:38 pm said:

    Camestros Felapton: I’m reading The Dark Forest now — about two-thirds through — and for the most part it’s been an unrelenting series of infodumps. Only at the halfway point in the book did the ideas in the infodumps start to approach the stuff that grabbed me in Three-Body Problem, but there’s still a problem of nearly everything being told rather than shown.

    It feels churlish of me to complain that a story has too many events in it but yeah, it’s just one thing after another, most of which don’t really seem to matter.

    I did enjoy the ‘fairytale’ bit though.

  29. I’ve been following the discussion of harassment policy with interest. Want to second on Laura Resnick’s comments that having process that is the same for everyone is important. I would also recommend that cons hire someone to train everyone involved in enforcement. That training needs to include scenarios where the one accused of harassment is GoH, a friend/family member. The proper completion of the process must be the same no matter what.

    Re path to forgiveness, I think that depends on the nature of the harassment. Was this a first offense? Did it involve threatening behavior or physical contact? I can’t support a lifetime ban for a dumb 15 year old who might still learn better. The things I did laboring under a crush as a young teenager gets people into serious trouble now. Of course, I also stopped behaving that way once I was old enough to date.

    (Liked the idea of requiring sensitivity training as one step to proving remorse). I have no problem with immediate lifetime bans of anyone over 30 because they know better. I will never believe that a grown adult doesn’t understand it’s wrong to touch strangers. Immediate loss of that year’s membership is always appropriate but these things would have to be adjucated a lot faster than they are for that to happen.

  30. (Liked the idea of requiring sensitivity training as one step to proving remorse)

    I think it’s a proactive step beyond proving the harasser feels bad. It’s taking actual real world steps to make a time-and-effort commitment to STOP HARASSING and to NOT DO IT AGAIN and to RECOGNIZE WHAT HARASSMENT IS.

    In fact, I would say that if a convention decides that a harassment complaint against a person has merit, then sensitivity training ought to be a flat-out requirement for that person if s/he ever wants to return to the con. In instances of lifetime ban from a con, it could be recommended so that the person might attend such training in hopes of going to other cons without harassing people there, too, but there’s no point in a con =requiring= training of someone they’ll never deal with again.

    But if someone is the subject of a harassment complaint that’s deemed valid, then however nice or genuine or reassuring their remorse about their behavior might be, it seems to me that the con, as a responsibility to all of its attendees, ought to require that you take concrete steps (such as voluntarily undergoing anti-harassment training or sensitivity training, as people in workplaces are often required to do) to demonstrate a willingness to eliminate this behavior from your repertoire, and to provide proof (such as a certificate from the program in question) that you have completed real-world steps toward change.

    If someone isn’t willing to go to the time and expense of attending a seminar or course to change behavior that got them ejected or banned from a con, then I think it’s reasonable to assume that attending the con again is not actually important to them and/or continuing their problematic behavior is MORE important to them than attending the con.

    Also, if someone simply doesn’t do well in their sensitivity training (do people get a pass/fail or something at such seminars?), that’s reasonable evidence that admitting this person to the con again is not in the best interests of anyone ELSE attending the con.

  31. Laura Resnick, more good points. I think you get a certificate of completion. I’ve never attended one that actually quizzed you to see if you learned anything. But I’ve only attended ones at work.

  32. World Weary on April 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm said:
    We got certificates of completion at work. (Online classes: take the recorded class, pass the quizzes and the test at the end, get the certificate, email the certificate – it’s a PDF – to whoever is in charge of tracking them. Harassment, safety, basic records management, basic anti-trust law, FERC and CPUC compliance (“no, you can’t talk to those people”), and, after I retired, “classroom” driver training. Those are the ones I remember, and they’re annual.)

  33. @OGH: you appear to have read my remarks as saying that OdysseyCon had an excuse for not knowing; this is incorrect. I argued that their lack-of-excuse comes from a different vector than your argument’s.

    @various: the comments about The Dark Forest are making me less unhappy about not voting in this year’s Hugos; I’d to skip a followon to a winner (and have only skipped one other nominee in 30+ years of voting), but it sounds like I’d have even more difficulty with it than I had with t3BP.

  34. Chip Hitchcock: I argued that their lack-of-excuse comes from a different vector than your argument’s.

    I understood that, but at the time I had yet to think of the legal analogy that was driving my reply.

    Are you saying they would have had actual knowledge of the Frenkel matter*, or constructive knowledge?

    I’m now thinking we’re both discussing people with actual knowledge, and the difference is how we would demonstrate they had it. Several people on the Odyssey Con committee were actors in the WisCon debate whether to ban Frenkel. Others undoubtedly were privy to what was going on.

    But the approach “how could they not know?” would be an argument about constructive knowledge.

    * To be clearer, I’m not speaking of direct knowledge of the harassment, but direct knowledge of WisCon’s proceedings in dealing with it.

  35. @OGH: IASNAL (although I used to hang out with lawyers-in-training, that was over 40 years ago), so I had to look up “constructive knowledge”. I was certainly not thinking of Wikipedia’s definition of such when I said everyone on the committee should have known; W speaks of not asking about suspicious circumstances, where my read was that only a Holmesian focus (~”whether the Earth goes around the Sun or vice versa is irrelevant to my work and I shall do my best to forget you told me which”) could have prevented OCon committee members from knowing as much as they needed to act on.

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