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The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 143): Panel Discussion of: Readercon, Harassment and Making Positive Changes

In episode 143 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester gathers a panel to discuss Readercon, Harassment and Making Positive Changes,


This week’s panel:

This episode is sponsored by Borderlands Books. Listen for a special coupon code to take 10% off your order from Borderlands.

© 2012
Featuring original music by John Anealio


About Patrick Hester (527 Articles)
Patrick Hester is a writer, blogger, podcasting dude, Denver transplant and all around Functional Nerd. Don't hate him cuz he has a cool hat.

12 Comments on The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 143): Panel Discussion of: Readercon, Harassment and Making Positive Changes

  1. most cons that i have been to have security, if you are feeling harassed and uncomfortable by a person or persons find the nearest security person and report the situation. the con cannot do anything about a situation it doesen’t know about. Telling your friends may make you feel safer and better but does not do anything for the next person. Most conventions hold the right to remove anyone behaving in ways disruptive to the convention. But the Con has to know in order to act.

  2. Yes, I read down to the end, Patrick 🙂

  3. Thank you for a most informative and excellent podcast.

    As a member of another community that frequently holds conventions/parties/gatherings, I’ve been aware of the harassment outlined in the podcast (and worse) and also conscious of the fact that it has been a long running problem. I think all communities are starting to awaken to the situation and finally make a concerted effort to put a stop to it. Unfortunately there will always be some resistance but I believe things are moving in the right direction vis a vis policies in place that are clear and known. I don’t know if it will ever go away fully but at least the people who do these sorts of things can be better taken care of and removed from the opportunity to do it again and again.

    Kudos to the panelists.

  4. You might want to check Rose Fox’s and Crystal Huff’s blogs about the structure of Readercon.

    The Readercon board derives its power from the members of the convention committee. The concom elects the board from its ranks, and has a mechanism by which a sufficient majority of the concom can overrule (and one would assume, in an extreme case, remove) the board. It’s not a common structure for a corporation running science fiction conventions. It is the common structure for clubs and associations (such as homeowners’ associations that hold the common property of a planned development).

    A 5-person board can debate a situation and make a decision much more quickly than a 30-person voting membership. And in most cases, that’s fine, and the board delivers a decision that the membership can live with. Here we got to watch how an unacceptable decision played out.

  5. Good discussion, to which I’ve got nothing to add other than something kind of peripheral, kind of not.

    The Readercon ConCom statement linked to in the ‘show notes’ is, quite aside from its value as a sensible and appropriate response to events, about as well-drafted, high quality an Official Apology as I think I’ve ever seen, anywhere. Anyone involved in managing difficult situations from an organisational perspective could probably benefit from studying it, but it’s an interesting read for anyone generally interested in clarity of written communication.

    It’s clear, precise, unqualified, calm but self-evidently sincere. No ambiguity, no excuses, no attempts at contextual justification, just a detailed acknowledgement of who needs apologising to, specific statement of steps to be taken and a clear forward-looking statement of intent.

    Kudos to all those involved in drawing it up (and actioning it, of course).

  6. Thank you all for doing this. Silence and inaction is the real killers here.

  7. Joerg Grau // August 14, 2012 at 10:56 am //

    Shocking! As a man, I have to say I am enraged that this kind of crap happens anywhere, convention or not! Other men should be standing up so such f*&^ heads!

    What is wrong with people?

    Sadly, it sounds like we will need police at every party soon…

  8. To answer the question raised in the podcast about Readercon’s internal structure:

    The convention committee is the primary organization that’s in charge of making Readercon happen. Board members are elected from the committee, and the board handles business matters such as the disbursement of funds. The committee can overturn board decisions by a majority vote.

  9. jennygadget // September 16, 2012 at 3:51 am //

    Regarding people possibly being merely socially awkward: are women never socially awkward? or naive?

    If the people being harassed (and the people that are there to enforce the rules) have the responsibility to be sensitive to potential harassers being socially awkward, then doesn’t everybody – socially awkward potential harassers included – have the responsibility to be sensitive to the fact that potential victims may be socially awkward? And may not have the skills or courage or experience to tell a complete stranger (who is often larger than them) that what they are doing feels threatening and/or disrespectful? In a way that is not likely to make the situation escalate or lose them social points?

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