The Culture Wars Come To RavenCon

RavenCon attendees witnessed a flash of drama at Brianna Wu’s GamerGate panel on Friday evening, but it had nothing to do with the unnamed Hugo “hijackers” she publicly disinvited in a Tumblr post on Thursday. SP3/RP nominees in Richmond barely acknowledged Wu in social media during the first day of the convention.

Instead, the tweets exchanged by an attention-seeking GamerGate blogger and a RavenCon committee member throughout the afternoon promised a skirmish was brewing.

TheRalph, author of The Ralph Retort, announced on his website he was on his way to RavenCon looking for a confrontational interview with Brianna Wu. Once he arrived he continued to dispatch tweets about his plans.

The committee responded with its own ominous message:

The Ralph Retort countered —

Whoever was handling RavenCon’s social media replied with a mocking tweet that included a clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail about “the repression inherent in the system,” and it was game on.

A lot of vicarious Twitter activity followed. As more people piled on the committee explained the interview was denied because it had not been requested in advance.

The response snowballed. RavenCon sent out the text of its Con Rules, with its anti-harassment policy and other guidelines.

Come evening, TheRalph planted himself in the audience of Brianna Wu’s GamerGate 101 panel and got to work getting himself kicked out.

He wrote in the “Full Account of Big Baby Brianna Wu Having Me Tossed From Panel” —

I surreptitiously took few pictures, and decided to tweet one of them out. Now, I’m not a stupid man when not blind drunk, so I knew there was a chance someone would see this on Twitter. But, I did that shit anyway. Why? Well, I knew that they would look terrible for kicking me out over taking a picture of a panel speaker at a public convention. How big of a fucking baby do you have to be to kick out an adversary?

… Anyway, back to the story. Wu starts loudly bitching about them not having a DVI connection. Check your DVI privilege, bitch. But after that, she was looking hard at her phone. She then surveyed the room and locked eyes with me. She came up to my table and said “Are you the one who sent this?” I didn’t event try to deny it. I said yes, I was.

Wu had a member of the convention staff tell TheRalph to leave. He complied, while another person in the row behind him shot video of the episode.

TheRalph promptly retired to an Arby’s near the hotel to draft a story about this latest chapter in his epic journalistic career.

76 thoughts on “The Culture Wars Come To RavenCon

  1. But Mike, Ralph probably took his picture with a phone, too. Aren’t convention audiences always full of people with phones, taking pictures and posting them online?

  2. “…and the con was volunteers and volunteers never really know what to do,”

    And the majority of conventions since 1939 have been run by volunteers.

    Tell you what, roll up your sleeves and run a convention on your own.

    Out of respect for Mike, I won’t use the language I want to use at this point describing how much of a jerk you are being when you say that.

  3. “Hey, it’s her fault! If she hadn’t talked back/burned dinner/failed to treat me like a little tin god, I wouldn’t have had to beat her up!”

    It’s always the victim’s fault, isn’t it,

    How many cons has this brat Ralph been to, that he doesn’t know basic manners?

  4. This is why they push the threat/harassment narrative so fervently, it’s the most sure fire way to silence any critics (you never see CH Sommers shy away form tough questions or interviews).

    God forbid one of these paranoid narcissists ever use their undeserved soapbox to answer a difficult question, christ. How can anyone respect these people and look at themselves in the mirror? How can you even call yourself a journalist if you write this biased crap?

  5. @ Mick

    “Get a hobby, a real one. Being outraged at stuff being different than it was isn’t a hobby, or if it is it’s a bloody sad one!”

    So let me get this straight, you support SJWs but are scolding people for being outraged as a hobby? What side are you on again? You are clearly misinformed about GG, SJWs and probably all the acronyms involved. Educate yourself before you comment.

  6. Okay, let’s review – because context is a good thing.

    TheRalph announces that he’s going to a con to start some shit with one of its guests. He shows up and gets a badge. During panel setup, he announces his presence in the room by tweeting a photo of the person he’s there to harass. She sees that tweet, verifies TheRalph’s identity by asking if he took that picture, and goes to convention staff to let them know that the person who said he was going to start some shit is present, and she would like him ejected.

    Have none of you attended a con before? That’s how it’s SUPPOSED to work!

    TheRalph broadcasted his intentions and showed up to make good on them. Nobody is under any obligation to actually let the harassment begin, and the conventions I’ve been staff at would see it as their duty to remove him (from the panel, and perhaps the con as well) before he gets the chance to actually start trouble. In fact, given the Twitter exchange, I’m mildly surprised he wasn’t turned away at the door to the room, and considering how he’s behaved after the event, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if they’d kicked him out for THAT.

    I’ve been to cons where they’ll yank your badge at the first sign of trouble. Some of them are more lenient about it and will tell you to go talk to a senior staffer or the con chair at a later time to determine whether you can get your badge back, while others will kick you out right away. Most of the time, though, it takes someone notifying con staff to start the ball rolling. (If there’s a heated argument going on but nobody’s complaining about it, the staff is much less likely to get involved. Discussions GET heated sometimes.)

    This isn’t a pro/anti-GG thing, a conservative/liberal thing, or anything else related to political divisions or fandom factions. This is a textbook example of an anti-harassment policy in action, and TheRalph was completely in the wrong all the way through. He was wrong to want to start trouble, he was wrong to go to the event and get a badge so he could start trouble, he was wrong to go to the panel so he could start trouble, and he’s wrong to complain about how he was treated for attempting to start trouble.

    If I’d been on staff at the con and seen the Twitter exchange, I would’ve advocated not just ejecting him from the convention, but banning him from attending in later years. That’s what you DO when someone tries to sabotage your community: remove them from it. They obviously have no desire to participate, so why waste time putting up with their bad-faith shenanigans? (This is why countries have jails; putting criminals in jail os how you remove them from society. Rehabilitation is about getting them ready to rejoin that society. This is not a hard concept, folks.)

    Think about it this way. Suppose you throw a party and catch someone trying to set your house on fire. Do you let him do it, do you stop him but let him stick around, or do you kick his ass out and tell the firebug never to come back?

  7. So far TheRalph and his co-creeps have demonstrated that if you walk into another family’s house and piss on the rug, you get thrown out. The reason these guys are and will stay losers is precisely because they can’t muster up enough commonsense to understand why this keeps happening to them.

  8. “Are you threatening me?”

    As Robert Heinlein wrote, in I Will Fear No Evil, “Not threatening, judge. Prophesying.

  9. I’ve run conventions, Ed. I’ve volunteered at conventions, Ed. I’ve done guest management and audience experience. If you think most cons since 1939 have volunteers with professional security training and threat assessment training, then you run with a much higher paygrade of con than I have been a part of. Volunteers are instrumental – but professional event teams, they are not. By definition, they don’t know what they are doing, nor should they be expected to handle every contingency or prevent every possible fire. They just need to know where the water and buckets are.

    In this case, a professionally secured con is cost prohibitive and frankly unnecessary for Ravencon. It just means that they’ll also suffer the occasional unnecessary drama in a case like this, where the professionals would have created an environment where this type of disruption wasn’t possible: handlers and holders for the GoH, audience gathering, groundrules before intros, so on and so forth.

    They knew they were in for a doozy when Wu started sending signal flares to the high targets (who didn’t have anything to do with games) – and frankly, the volunteers handled the situation pretty well and got a little press out of it. You are the one who is seeing ominous shadows where I simply see what Mike described as a “flash” to be exactly that.

  10. ‘if you have a diva with special rules,’

    Because weeding out people who have announced their intention to stalk harass and disrupt is the special-snowflake-rules behaviour of a diva.

  11. Wu has been harassed by Ralph for months and months on end. Him using his twitter account to spread lies, to misquote to push her down. To mobilize his goons, damage her reputation.

    Then he tweets that he’s coming to the con ONLY for her sake. He’s not interested in the con (he left it when he couldn’t attend her panel). He’s a stalker. That is what this is about, He’s also a semi professional harasser, one who makes money on this stalking and harassment and keeps inciting other peoples blood thirst.

    Of course he was thrown out of the panel.

  12. If you watch the video, Wu demanded more than just that he be removed from the panel, but that he be marched immediately out of the Con. That’s not Wu’s decision to make.

    The Con only excluded him from the panel, but he left anyway, having been thwarted from his only purpose in being there (or, having accomplished it).

    Neither exactly covered himself in glory.

  13. ‘Neither exactly covered himself in glory.’

    When it comes to stalker and stalkee, their behaviours must be held as equivalent.

  14. Ralph writes on this subject, and used investigative journalism techniques to prove that Wu fleeing his house was a lie. Stop accusing people of being criminals, Nigel. Ralph has broken no laws. Heck he didn’t even break a convention rule.

    My lesson learned today is that many people who call themselves “grownups” (grups?) Don’t understand what rules are…or even what they are for.

  15. Ralph stalks using classic stalking methods to attack, to harass, to undermine, to lie about. Month after month, same targets. This is not journalism, not in any way.

  16. RavenCon was a great convention, as always. The RavenCon staff were friendly, professional, and responsive, as always. And obnoxious GamerHate asshats are obnoxious GamerHate asshats, as always.

    In a fast-changing world, it’s good to know that there are some things on which one can depend.

  17. @Mick: “This Australian feels annoyed-at you and the rest of your controversy chasing, neoconservative hijackers. You look like a bunch of attention seeking kids blowing spitballs and shouting swearwords because you aren’t the centre of attention.”

    I wish I knew your real name, sir, so I could track you down and applaud this personally.

  18. ‘Ralph has broken no laws’

    Well he acts like a stalking harassing disruptive scumbag arsehole, but I certainly didn’t assert at any stage he’d been convicted of anything. Is there a rule about how you shouldn’t tell someone not to do something they didn’t do? Or without a written rule do you not know to not do that?

  19. I would say that a stalker automagically breaks the rule against harassment just by appearing. And then, even before appearing, sending out tweets to incite against the panelist? Nono, not acceptable. Good riddance.

  20. Isn’t it time we denied these e-thugs the oxygen of publicity? Or perhaps, to quote the much-missed Linda Smith, “the oxygen of oxygen”?

  21. What’s interesting to note here is that – from the con’s point of view as expressed in their summary of the event – everyone reacted appropriately in the room at the time of the event. The guest was uncomfortable and asked staff to remove an attendee from the room. The staff asked the attendee to leave. The attendee left and he did so without making a scene or inciting a confrontation. Thereafter the guest asked the staff to remove the attendee from the Con – and the staff (according to the Ravecon website) ultimately refused to do so.

    What’s the fuss?

  22. Mike, here’s the other problem I have with this — why is it a big deal that this Ralph guy took a picture and posted it, when as you say there are other cameras going, and per the view on the ejection video, not being especially surreptitious about it?

    I saw this video under TheRalph’s channel… but who actually shot it?

    And my question still stands — how did she know to look for the twitter post so soon after it was posted?

    There’s something more going on here than one person being a dick and the other being a diva. To me, it smells of collusion.

  23. @Reziac: “how did she know to look for the twitter post so soon after it was posted?”

    Because TheRalph had been gleefully tweeting about his antics all along. It’s not like he just showed up and got booted. He announced his intentions to be disruptive; it is in no way bizarre that Wu would have found out about that and been watching for him to show up.

    From what I can tell, it’s not “this guy is taking pictures” that’s the problem. Rather, it’s “some guy said he was going to be disruptive, this photo he tweeted shows me THIS is that guy, and I don’t want him to disrupt the panel.” Which is eminently rational.

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