May was a month unexpectedly filled with sad and controversial news items. The most widely read story told how SFWA removed Mercedes Lackey from the annual Nebula Conference for a code of conduct violation the day after celebrating her as their latest Grand Master.
In the second most-read story, Balticon 56 Chair Yakira Heistand apologized for staff’s mistreatment of Stephanie Burke, an author taken off panels following a CoC complaint by what Heistand calls an “overzealous volunteer” who Burke says spoke to her “with much disrespect” and then “proceeded to yell at me.”
Thoroughly overshadowed was what started out to be the month’s top story. Jon Del Arroz’ attempt to join the Game Manufacturers Association was met with protest from members, resulting in his ouster. And shortly afterwards JDA also was bounced from Twitter (“JDA Out of GAMA, Suspended by Twitter”).
Here are the 10 most-read posts of May 2022 according to Google Analytics.
- Mercedes Lackey Removed from the Nebula Conference
- Balticon Chair Apologizes After Author Stephanie Burke Removed From Panels
- Mercedes Lackey Publishes Apology
- SFWA Asks New Grand Master Mercedes Lackey to Clarify Past Statement on Writing Trans Characters
- Pixel Scroll 5/23/22 Cosplaying And Straying In Pixel Scroll Land, To The Sounds Of The Pixel Scroll Band
- Several GAMA Members Protest Addition of Jon Del Arroz to Organization
- Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask: A Column of Unsolicited Opinions #65
- Numerous Russian SFF Writers Support Ukraine Invasion in Open Letter
- SFWA Members-Only Directory Info Exposed
- SFWA Announces the 57th Nebula Award Winners
Post 8 is from March
The list is of the 10 posts with the most hits in May. But not necessarily published for the first time in May.
Post 3 was from November 2021. It was pointed out in post 2 as part of Mercedes Lackey’s history, which is the reason it has so many hits.
Post 8 from March was linked in May by a European writer which attracted a new round of readers.
First Mercedes Lackey, then Stephanie Burke.
This needs to change.
First, I have zero tolerance for zero tolerance. That phrase implies everyone should be perfect at all times, and outside of fanfic, that does not exist. We’re human. We get tired. We say something different than what we think. People make mistaken assumptions.
Zero tolerance, and punishment after one complaint is, in my view, a violation of the code of conduct by those punishing the accused.
Second, when someone is accused of violating a code of conduct, there needs to be a process. The following is my first thoughts.
1. The accused NEEDS TO BE INFORMED. I, personally, got an apology a few years ago, two weeks after a con, where someone had put in a complaint, and when they finally asked the accuser, they were told it was not me. The apology was the first I knew of anything.
2. The accusation should be by someone the accused will not view as as someone who already dislikes them. That person should, if possible, have at the very least viewed deescalation videos, as well as have the anti-harassment training.
3. Give them a chance to deny, or apologize, at the first complaint.
4. At a second complaint, the accused needs to be spoken to, in private (not a public forum), by one or more persons who have all known information as to the event.
5. No one should just be pulled out before a third complaint, and that after neither an apology or denial from the accused.
As I said, these are my first thoughts.
@Mark, in my opinion, there are some situations where a con committee should have the accused of harassment removed from the Convention without a chance. Still, by then, the police should have been called and been the authority to remove the person.