drcpunk (drcpunk) wrote,

Thoughts on Readercon 2012

So, Readercon.

I used to go to it. I stopped because the hotel it moved to was very inconvenient to get to from NYC unless I could find someone who could supply a couple of lifts. So, I'm not currently in the pool of Readercon attendees.

Nevertheless, at this point, I could not in good conscience attend the convention if it were in easy walking distance.

A lot of people have said a lot of good things, better than I could, on the whole subject. After some thought, my current position is:

1. I agree that mistake number one was the no-zero tolerance policy in the first place.

2. I agree that, given there was such a policy, not following it was the second mistake. Apply the policy as written. Then, start considering whether to modify the policy going forwards, not retroactively. If a new policy is put in place and people are comfortable with it, then, maybe, one might consider revisiting old decisions. Or not.

3. I agree that there are times when following a standing policy would do more harm than not doing so. We do not get to follow rules mindlessly and absolve ourselves of responsibility. But, this was not one of those times.

4. I don't care how sorry Walling is. This is not about him. This is about people who made a decision not to follow their own written policy. I do not trust these people. I do not consider Readercon a safe place.

5. Other places are not safe. Readercon has probably not been safe for some time. That's irrelevant.

6. I do not want to be in Walling's presence. Had he accepted being banned from Readercon for life, I would still not want this. But, he would have been in a far better position to show, over the next months and years, that he understood and accepted that he had done something wrong and that he was trying to improve.

7. In this regard, the people who decided to ban him for two years, rather than follow the stated policy, have done Walling a disservice. Even if he is, right this very minute, understanding that he did something wrong, that he continued to do wrong, and that the decision was wrong, and even if he, right this very minute, said "Ban me for life -- it's the right thing to do" and meant it, it would be difficult for him to regain even the level of trust I would give to a stranger. I am not calling for compassion for him here. I am not feeling sorry for him. I am saying that those who chose to give him a lighter punishment than the policy called for have contributed to making it harder for me, and others, to trust him or to feel comfortable with him in the same room or the same convention.

8. I do not know which individuals chose to go with the two year penalty and which voted against it.

9. Given that, I cannot sign the petition here. I respect anyone who does; they are likely to know a lot more of the details than I do. I wholeheartedly support 1, 2, and 6. 3-5 touch on areas where I do not have enough knowledge.

10. To be able to consider attending Readercon, not only would I need 1, 2, and 6; I would also need to know more.

11. Future worldcons are an interesting question. It is easy for me to say that I will not attend Readercon as things stand. This is not a convention I can easily get to. I have memberships for the next two Worldcons. If Readercon had banned Walling for life, I think that I would not even wonder about whether I should attend Worldcon. Would I still be leary in his presence? Yes. Would I be listening for signs that he was continuing harassment at other conventions? Yes. And, I would hope that the people running those conventions would be as well. Would I be up in arms that a convention that has not yet happened has not banned him for something that he had done at a Readercon and had been penalized for, as per Readercon's stated policy? No. But, because the written policy was not followed, I feel less safe in a place where Walling is.

12. At Arisia, I was very, very disturbed to learn that a man told a woman he did not know that she should not look "so sad" unless "someone had died". Too many men seem to feel entitled to control what a woman does, what she says, what she feels, and how she looks, right down to the expression on her face. Any woman, whether or not they know her. Anyone who tells me that I am overreacting to the situation with Walling is someone who does not give a shit about my safety.

13. I would rather have a Readercon that I cannot attend because of its location than one I could not, in good conscience, attend even if it were in walking distance.

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