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(Comic) Con Anti-Harassment Project
August 26, 2008 11:18 AM   Subscribe

In the wake of some pretty nasty harassment directed towards women at San Diego Comic-Con, Rachel Edidin from the Inside Out blog at Girl Wonder has established a means of constructively dealing with the problem: the Con Anti-Harassment Project.

Is it crazy to think that in the year 2008, grabbing someone's ass just to see what they'll do (see first link) is unacceptable, or at least should be? Noting for the record that Edidin's idea is much better than mine, which was sending scantily clad women around the convention hall, handing out mace to women con-goers...
posted by bitter-girl.com (444 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's a really nice sensible looking page. I remember reading about this when the first "aren't they going to enforce their harassment policies?!!!?" talk started and I'm glad they got something out that is a little flat in tone but very clear about what they're trying to do. Thanks for linking to this.
posted by jessamyn at 11:23 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't unwanted touching assault? Call the police if the con isn't policing itself (or even if it is).

(That said, and at the risk of sounding like I'm concerned with my lawn, "a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night"?)
posted by DU at 11:28 AM on August 26, 2008


Wow, comic book readers acting immature? How could that possibly be?
posted by Zambrano at 11:29 AM on August 26, 2008


Isn't unwanted touching assault?

Battery.
posted by Pax at 11:33 AM on August 26, 2008


@Zambrano

Well, you know boys will be boys. Because male humans who are old enough to wander around unsupervised aren't responsible for their behaviour, as they can't help being seduced by women? Ummm...
posted by Phalene at 11:34 AM on August 26, 2008


at the risk of sounding like I'm concerned with my lawn, "a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night"?

Are you saying that it doesn't constitute harassment? If so, 'irascible old crank' is not what you are sounding like.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:36 AM on August 26, 2008


Especially when there are some women who are scantily clad in the room, Phalene! Don't forget it means you should behave like all of them are... snort.

The most appalling thing I read in following up links about this before the CAHP started was a woman who reported a sign at one convention (not SD) near the security desk that said "Pics or it didn't happen."

Yes, because of course women carry around cameras at all times in the expectation that someone's going to grab their asses. Ai yi.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:38 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Since I sadly haven't been to a con in twenty years, when these complaints first started getting lots of attention recently I was (maybe naively) surprised, but I cynically figured that, since it was the type of behavior no sensible adult would find acceptable, it would be one of those Internet discussions that was met with a little attention ("This thing sucks."), a lot of agreement ("Yeah, you're right about this thing sucking.!") but not a lot of action ("Let's continue to talk about this thing that sucks.").

It's rather refreshing to see the phrase "constructively dealing with the problem" applied to anything and am going to use this as a personal reminder for to attempt less complaining or passively listening to others complaints and more doing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:43 AM on August 26, 2008


(That said, and at the risk of sounding like I'm concerned with my lawn, "a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night"?)

Remember that "no means no" thing? It applies to dates, too. Once you've been told very clearly that she is NOT interested in balancing the you+her=date equation, asking over and over throughout the course of one evening is definitely harassment.

"If I bug her constantly all day, maybe she'll give in just to make me stop, and then we can have a highly awkward and uncomfortable evening together" is not an acceptable dating strategy.
posted by vorfeed at 11:44 AM on August 26, 2008 [15 favorites]


You know being a private function and all, all conventions of this type could evict people for any reason they see fit. A simple warning for some behavior with an eviction for repeat or multiple reporting sources would start solving many of the issues. Certainly people need to use common sense and not abuse it, but relying on "Pics or it didn't happen." is absurd.
posted by edgeways at 11:46 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


The most appalling thing I read in following up links about this before the CAHP started was a woman who reported a sign at one convention (not SD) near the security desk that said "Pics or it didn't happen."

That's a 4chan catchphrase. You can safely ignore all 4chan phrases* in real life.


* In some rare cases, POOL'S CLOSED does refer to an actual pool that is in fact closed.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:47 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of the essay at that first link, #1 is sexual harrassment; #2 is battery. #3 is just being a prick.

#1 and #2, definitely, kick those motherfuckers' ass, not to put too fine a point on it. (And kick the ass of all the assholes who stood around and didn't come to their defense.) But I do think #3 doesn't belong with the other two. Just my opinion.
posted by WCityMike at 11:47 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I also feel that it allows people to really talk about harassment in a more neutral context. So you're not dealing with one incredibly pissed off person saying "that guy did THIS." and a possibly defensive person saying "She's blowing it out of proportion!" You can decide what you as a community think is harassing -- and in line with the policies of whatever the umbrella hosting location is -- and what's not.

So, for example, "pestering for dates" is a little vague but it allows people to talk about this and decide how much of that sort of thing constitutes harassment and how much is just nerdy, geeky or socially awkward people being weird. People being nerdy in some aspects of their lives sometimes but not always means they can be clueless and awkward in other romantic-datey ways too. Since awkward can sometimes mean crossing the line into inappropriate, this is a good way to get people's ackowledgement that just the fact that it's a con doesn't mean that all nerdy clueless awkward behavior is permitted/okay.

I point again to the geek social fallacies document which I think outlines some ways in which social thinking in an all-geek society can normalize around beyhaviors that sometimes just plain don't work, esp in larger venues.
posted by jessamyn at 11:49 AM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Alvy Ampersand writes "Are you saying that it doesn't constitute harassment? If so, 'irascible old crank' is not what you are sounding like."

It doesn't sound like stalking, which is how the blogger described it. Maybe it's just me but this kind of sloppy over the top writing, like when assorted ***A use the world theft instead of infringement, devalues their case.

And his third bullet point is: Another friend of mine, a woman running her own booth: on Friday a man came to her booth and openly criticized her drawing ability and sense of design.

Which while impolite hardly constitutes sexual harassment. Even if he did criticize several women they haven't presented a case that this was systematic against women. Could be ten minutes earlier he was criticizing the guy across the hall. Unless he was calling her drawing "girly" or something in which case that should have been brought forward.

The ass grab though was totally unacceptable. I don't know why more women don't call the cops when this happens.
posted by Mitheral at 11:49 AM on August 26, 2008


I sympathize with Con organizers who don't want to be arbiters of these situations. Geek 1 inappropriately touches Geek 2, Geek 2 complains to Con Organizer... Then what? Con Organizer issues a warning that may not be taken seriously by Geek 1? Kicks Geek 1 out of Con based on heresay?

I would never, ever put forth the "she deserves it for dressing that way" defense, but when I see photos of scantily-clad folk (particularly women) at cons, I always wonder what they think about dressing so provocatively amidst a crowd of people who have a not-entirely-undeserved reputation for social awkwardness and juvenility.

If the "code of conduct" that is supposed to govern our behavior everywhere else in the world is somehow disproportionately ignored at Cons, how is a secondary code going to help? I agree that if you are assaulted or harassed at a Con, you should treat it the same way as being harassed or assaulted anywhere else: involve the police.
posted by chudmonkey at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


It doesn't sound like stalking, which is how the blogger described it.

If you'd be so kind as to e-mail me your work phone number, I'm pretty sure I could prove you wrong. How many times would she have had to say no before he realized she wasn't playing hard to get and that he should fuck off and let her do what she came to the Con to do?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:55 AM on August 26, 2008


Thanks for the 4chan heads up, burnmp3s. Needless to say, I don't really frequent that site. Still an asinine thing to post in that situation -- if the person posting it assumed everyone would be in on the joke, they assumed wrong -- and taken out of context, it's an awful thing to say, particularly somewhere with unclear policies or remedies re: harassment.

As for behaviors that don't work in larger venues (Jessamyn -- that geek social fallacies doc was really interesting!), I think the Open Source Boob Project is one example of that, for sure.

I've been to the convention center where San Diego Comic-Con is held (for the winter editions of my trade org's tradeshow) -- it's huge. Even if you called the cops, good luck getting them there on time. Even walking from the info booth into the main showfloor is a haul. So unless you start empowering people to lock ass-grabbers onto a floor fixture, community policing and behavioral modification is probably the place to start.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:00 PM on August 26, 2008


I sympathize with Con organizers who don't want to be arbiters of these situations.

Would you sympathize with organizers of a car salesmen convention if they didn't want to be arbiters of harrassment disputes among attendees? There's a very simple answer to this - escort any accused offender out of the conference and let the police sort it out. No arbitration necessary. It's called a zero tolerance policy. If the offending party feels they were unfairly treated, we have courts for that.
posted by spicynuts at 12:00 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


WCityMikeMe: "#1 and #2, definitely, kick those motherfuckers' ass, not to put too fine a point on it."

It occurs to me after posting this that using violent language is perhaps not exactly beneficial to the discussion. I just get rather perturbed at this sort of stuff. I'm a bit sick of reactions towards my gender being tainted by the actions of jerks who don't know how to behave like decent human beings. I appreciate the female body. But I know that there's a living human soul with feelings inside of that body and it's not just an object to play with. Why this isn't a common-sensical lesson that every frickin' single man on Earth accepts as a principle, a principle as basic and ground-in to them as the principle "the sky is blue" ... well, I just don't get it. I'm not saying every man on Earth needs to fit into the "nice guy" trope — it's not exactly the way to be most appreciated as a man, and you end up being a neuter most of the time — but man, the aggression alpha-male WOOOO-MANNN shit is just ... I mean, come on, women are living human beings! Why doesn't EVERYBODY get this by now?

I need some sleep. I get grouchy-ranty when I'm tired.
posted by WCityMike at 12:01 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's easy to peg this kind of behavior as simply being typically geeky missteps by the socially ackward, except that my girlfriend gets exactly the same sort of shit every time she leaves the house, from an incredible variety of men, all of whom should know better.

Besides, my awkwardness, when I was younger, was being afraid to talk to girls. Since when did awkwardness become "whoops, I accidentally oppressed you"?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:01 PM on August 26, 2008


Which while impolite hardly constitutes sexual harassment. Even if he did criticize several women they haven't presented a case that this was systematic against women. Could be ten minutes earlier he was criticizing the guy across the hall. Unless he was calling her drawing "girly" or something in which case that should have been brought forward.

Read more carefully: he was targeting women in the small press area. I was there and heard the same story from several women. He would walk past tables manned by men, stop and a woman's table, and trash her work.

I'm one of the people that originally posted John's essay. If this is just one guy's slice of what he saw and heard at the show, how much more is just being written off at the moment?
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:02 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


WCityMike: "But I know that there's a living human soul with feelings inside of that body and it's not just an object to play with."

Damn it, for want of a nail the kingdom was lost. Get rid of the word "just" there. Not even a Freudian slip, just a tired guy.
posted by WCityMike at 12:03 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Having been to my share of anime and manga cons in the past, I can attest to this. I don't particularly know what drives this sort of behavior. I've heard the idea bandied about that the sort of guys who are really into anime and manga aren't the type who have a lot of female interaction, and that they're socially awkward to start with, and that the male-to-female ratio at these things is heavily weighted on the male side, and so on.

I prefer not to reduce entire fanbases to a few simplistic clichés, but it is true that while there have been more female attendants at the cons, it is a predominantly male event. Seeing a girl appear in your predominantly male world might be novelty to some of these guys, and a very, very few act inappropriately. But it's because of these idiots that there needs to be some duh-level ground rules, and enforce them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:03 PM on August 26, 2008


I don't know why more women don't call the cops when this happens.

Because they'd do nothing at all? Or nearly nothing? Because it's embarrassing enough that you don't want to make a big deal out of it? I can think of many reasons.

As per Sars, a New Yorker who blogs at tomatonation.com, he best defense is always yelling "WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING MY A***?", which, at least, embarrasses them as well as you. But lots of women don't feel comfortable doing that.
posted by emjaybee at 12:04 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wonder what would happen if scantily clad women at these cons started punching socially awkward ass-grabbers in the dick? I mean, if "I'm a nerd with no social skills" is some sort of cultural license to ass-grab strangers, I bet that would stop pretty quick if the culturally appropriate response was a punch to the dick.
posted by rtha at 12:04 PM on August 26, 2008 [13 favorites]


Yet another reason why, really, anything to do with comics conventions that doesn’t involve sitting in a bar getting pissed with your mates is to be avoided.
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on August 26, 2008


Also: who is exactly hurt by a policy like this? Why is there so much hand waving and agonizing over this? Don't touch people who don't want to be touched isn't exactly waterboarding.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:06 PM on August 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


(I simplify too much, but that seems to be a common thing.)
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:08 PM on August 26, 2008


If you'd be so kind as to e-mail me your work phone number,

Yep, that's exactly the difference. If someone is hanging out at a bar (or some sort of other socially acceptable place for "picking up") and someone is repeatedly bothering him/her for a date, it's a social foul and, though it could be threatening, should generally not be considered grounds for harassment unless/until asked to stop -- and even then, the person getting the unwanted attention would probably just move to a different locale in order to ditch their suitor.

However, if someone is working or in some sort of situation where they can't necessarily leave, unwanted attention becomes a lot more troubling.

The problem is that one person's "unwanted, threatening stalker" can be one man's "charming rouge scamp."

As for the unwanted ass-grabbing, I'm fully in support of the cock punch response as well. Anything that discourages sexy people from dressing sexily offends me to my very core.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:10 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Kicks Geek 1 out of Con based on heresay?

Are you using hearsay as some sort of legal term? is this a trial? No, it's a situation where a woman is stating that someone assaulted and/or harassed her. Is there some specific reason her word is not enough to ask someone to either leave the premises or go into a different area? Because absent some sort of proof that there's a common issue with women just making this shit up, don't you think we should believe them?

As per Sars, a New Yorker who blogs at tomatonation.com, he best defense is always yelling "WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING MY A***?", which, at least, embarrasses them as well as you. But lots of women don't feel comfortable doing that.

This is a huge issue. Many, many women have been socialized to "not make a fuss." For me, one of the biggest tasks we have in the 21st century is to socialize girls and women to feel comfortable standing up for themselves, making a fuss, and saying "get the fuck out of my booth and if you come back I'm calling security." Assertiveness training, or whatever you want to call it-- but it just really shouldn't happen that a random guy tries to kiss a woman and she doesn't know what to do, and has to wait for her boyfriend to tell him off. I don't blame the victim, don't get me wrong, harassment is the responsibility of the harasser, but I really do think we women need to work on our responses to this stuff as well. Even if, as above, some people take our word as "hearsay" that needs corroboration, I do think responding aggressively is also better for your psyche, regardless of how others respond.
posted by miss tea at 12:13 PM on August 26, 2008 [13 favorites]


It's called a zero tolerance policy. If the offending party feels they were unfairly treated, we have courts for that.

This is an awful way to do things. Con security needs to take this more seriously, but ejecting anyone who is so much as accused of something, regardless of evidence, is a terrible way to handle it. And, hey, if the accusing party feels they were treated unfairly, we have courts for that. So it's all good, right?

By all means, eject anyone caught harassing people. But there needs to be some evidence they were doing so.
posted by Justinian at 12:14 PM on August 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


The level of misogyny in various nerd subcultures never ceases to amaze me. I see it on slashdot, I hear it at work (software dev), I see it at JUGs (not an unfortunate pun: Java Users Group), and I even see it at local comic shops.

What is it with misogyny and glibertarianism that gets the neckbeards all hot and bothered?
posted by butterstick at 12:16 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Anything that discourages sexy people from dressing sexily offends me to my very core.

The issue here is not a lack of eye candy for you.

The issue is women's ability to participate in a public event comfortably, without feeling threatened or assaulted.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:18 PM on August 26, 2008 [12 favorites]


But there needs to be some evidence they were doing so.

The statement of a woman who is harassed is evidence.
posted by miss tea at 12:19 PM on August 26, 2008 [22 favorites]


@Mitheral

Because the last guy who grabbed my ass proceeded to storm off when I wrenched his arm off (after yelling 'Don't be an asshole!' at me), and I didn't feel like chasing him down, telling campus security I was touched uninvited, explaining that I wasn't over reacting and that I didn't lead him on, and dealing with the reputation of 'screaming shrew' when the inevitable gossip happened. I had a friend pushed down the stairs by a drunken guy at a similar dance, and she had to forcibly drag one of the supervising police in before he got thrown out (and they were unwilling to help her press charges). These things tend to be pretty complicated.
posted by Phalene at 12:20 PM on August 26, 2008 [11 favorites]


The problem is that one person's "unwanted, threatening stalker" can be one man's "charming rouge scamp."

Show me a single, solitary woman (or man) who would feel this behavior was that of a "charming rogue scamp" when it was directed at them. It is completely unacceptable behavior.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:21 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's weird to me that people immediately say, oh my god, men who haven't harrassed are going to get kicked out, because women will lie.

You know, a zero tolerance policy is a zero tolerance policy; it shouldn't specify gender. But I have yet to hear anybody say, oh my god, a woman will be unjustly kicked out because a man lied about her harrassing him. Or, oh my God, a man will get kicked out because he will be falsely accused of harrassment by some other man.

Where did we get the idea that women are likely to lie about this? And that men aren't?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:24 PM on August 26, 2008 [24 favorites]


By all means, eject anyone caught harassing people. But there needs to be some evidence they were doing so.

Why does this keep coming up? As if girls at cons are just waiting for the chance to falsely accuse some guy of sexual harrassment, and get him booted. Please. Apart from the fact that these incidents usually do have independent witnesses, most girls are actually embarrassed about "making a big deal" about harrassment, as was pointed out earlier in this thread. You can rest assured they're not going to march through the con, pointing fingers left and right, ejecting one male cosplayer after another. If a girl is shaken to the point of having to go to a freakin' security guard for help, you can be 99.99999% certain that the guy was out of line.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:25 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


It's called a zero tolerance policy. If the offending party feels they were unfairly treated, we have courts for that.

Is that what the courts in America are for? Retroactively sorting-out squabbles between two voluntary, paying attendees customers at a convention? This kind of zero-tolerance policy doesn't work in schools or businesses where everyone is familiar to everyone else. I can't imagine it suddenly working at a con, where thousands of conflicting ideals of social decorum could collide, particularly when bunches of people are in costumes. Who will the organizers kick out when somewhere reports that Darth Vader grabbed their boob? A zero-tolerance policy is just an opportunity to level a false accusation against someone you don't like and have someone else get rid of them for you.

Even a system of warnings would create a huge logistical burden on organizers. They would require more staff and more systems to implement it, and this would raise prices all around. Perhaps higher standards and higher prices would attract a more affluent crowd and perhaps a more affluent crowd might be perceived as more respectable and safer, but I think we all know that affluent folk can be jerks and our-right criminals just like anyone else.

We all make our own decisions about the situations we enter. If you decide to attend a convention in a huge space with no police presense, along with tens of thousands of people, some of whom are in costume, you should anticipate invasions of your space or liberties with no recourse.

I was at PAX once, and me and buddy couldn't get through a hallway because a dozen snickering dudes were following a scowling girl dressed as Link from the Zelda games. I swear that more of her butt and breasts where exposed than were covered by the costume, and those where the two areas with the most coverage. Finally, I raised my voice and told the guys that there was plenty of porn available via the Wi-Fi if they needed some titillation, and that if Gabe or Tycho saw that display they'd be ashamed of the lot. Naturally, the crowd heaped me with verbal abuse, but most of the guys seemed to realize that their behavior was ultimately indefensible, so they buggered off. "Link" thanked me and told me she was getting sick of being chased around. I told her that she was reaping what she sowed, and that the only point of such an outfit was to garner the attention she was claiming to be annoyed by.
posted by chudmonkey at 12:26 PM on August 26, 2008


I've always found "if you touch me again, I will break your skull" said rather loudly to do the trick. I've also just started dialling 9-1-1 and informed them I was doing it. Hasty retreats occur.

Coping strategies aside, this kind of crap needs to be addressed by the venue and organizers, and offenders need to be bounced immediately upon accusation; no proof or evidence required, take it up with management later.

Regardless of what is displayed in practically every Judd Apatow movie, women hardly ever see it as "charming rouge scamp." They see is as "unwanted, threatening stalker." The scamp thing is an Apatow-wishful-thinking thing gone wrong on a big scale.
posted by electrasteph at 12:26 PM on August 26, 2008


These things tend to be pretty complicated.

This is why I prefer to smack offenders hard in the face, but I'm pretty big. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that if I were smaller, less enraged, or by myself in a group of guys who were comfortable enough with the situation that they didn't do the smacking themselves. If brass knuckles were legal I might rethink a couple of these exceptions.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:28 PM on August 26, 2008


Where did we get the idea that women are likely to lie about this? And that men aren't?

Usually from the same insecure neckbeards that cause this trouble in the first place. See also your average glibertarian slashdot comment regarding sexual harassment.
posted by butterstick at 12:28 PM on August 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


I'll disagree with you on this ...

miss tea: "Is there some specific reason her word is not enough to ask someone to either leave the premises or go into a different area? Because absent some sort of proof that there's a common issue with women just making this shit up, don't you think we should believe them?

Yeah, there is. Because this theoretical model we've been talking about is: GuySlimeGeek harrasses GirlGeek. GirlGeek complaints to ComicCon. ComiCon evicts GuySlimeGeek." This being a moral action depends on the first sentence — GuySlimeGeek harrasses GirlGeek — being a fact in all cases. This isn't a given and can't be assumed as same. It's why the criminal justice system requires evidence above simple testimony. Because ComicCon has no idea if the above model was at work or this model was: GirlSlimeGeek wants revenge upon GuyGeek for some past motivation we don't know. GirlSlimeGeek lodges false complaint to ComicCon. ComiCon evicts GuyGeek.

Is the probability extremely high that in any such complaint situation, the first is at play and the second isn't? Yes. But you don't sacrifice a rare amount of innocent in order to ensure universal punishment of the guilty.

But I'll agree with you on this ...

This is a huge issue. Many, many women have been socialized to "not make a fuss." For me, one of the biggest tasks we have in the 21st century is to socialize girls and women to feel comfortable standing up for themselves, making a fuss, and saying "get the fuck out of my booth and if you come back I'm calling security."

See, this is something I'm glad you said outright. As a guy I've never really encountered this socialization as any sort of norm. I knew that in earlier America, a more genteel version of "sit down and shut up" comprised the way women were "supposed to act" — but I'm really surprised that it didn't completely die out say around the '60s.
posted by WCityMike at 12:28 PM on August 26, 2008


I told her that she was reaping what she sowed, and that the only point of such an outfit was to garner the attention she was claiming to be annoyed by.

She asked for it. Classy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:29 PM on August 26, 2008 [20 favorites]


1. One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked [...] On Friday, just before the show closed, this same woman was...

One woman getting creepy, borderline assaultive attention from socially maladjusted nerds is no indication of a pattern.

Another friend of mine, a woman running her own booth: on Friday a man came to her booth and openly criticized her drawing ability and sense of design.

This is some strange definition of abuse.

Reports from others in the same section of the floor confirmed he'd targeted several women with the same sort of abuse and criticism.

Hearsay confirms nothing. And even if true, still not abuse. I question the neutrality of the author because there's no mention of whether or not he targeted male artists.

Look: just like any other kind of behaviour at a con, or, frankly, in any public space, if you can provide evidence of a crime to an authority, then you should seek redress. If it's not a crime, you shouldn't. If you don't have evidence, you shouldn't. And if the above examples are grounds for some kind of call to arms that'll turn into a witch hunt, you definitely shouldn't.

By all means, work to educate the arrested adolescents and Asperger's cases involved in the comics scene. But, y'know, I'm not comfortable going to an all-ages punk show because of the creepy, borderline assaultive behaviour of some attendees, so I just stay home.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:29 PM on August 26, 2008


ten pounds, see beaucoupkevin's comment.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:31 PM on August 26, 2008


The statement of a woman who is harassed is evidence.

Are you using evidence as some sort of legal term? Is this a trial? No, it's a situation where a person might have any number of reasons for wanting to screw with another con attendee, and potentially chooses to do so by abusing a zero-tolerance policy and launching an ejection-worthy claim against them falsely.

If someone's statement that they were assaulted is evidence that it happened, why is the alleged assaulter's statement that it didn't happen not also evidence? Because accusers are always honest and the accused are always defensive liars?
posted by chudmonkey at 12:33 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


And you can say "but it's a he-said / she-said thing!" - that's really irrelevant. You're not running a criminal justice system here; you're running a money-making event, and the safety of all of the participants is more important than parsing "evidence."

Err on the side of caution and throw out all accused when they're pointed out, before your event gets a reputation and women don't come at all because they don't feel safe, and before something serious -- like an actual rape -- occurs.
posted by electrasteph at 12:34 PM on August 26, 2008


But, y'know, I'm not comfortable going to an all-ages punk show because of the creepy, borderline assaultive behaviour of some attendees, so I just stay home

Well, that does solve the problem at comics conventions: The women stay home. Now what about every other place in the world where a woman is likely to be treated with unwanted and harrassing attention?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:34 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Of course, some people don't mind being asked out on dates, while others get very offended if it happens once. What is "harassment" in this context? Does it turn on the subjective feelings of the "victim"? Is security at a convention empowered to make a determination, or will the victim's complaints be taken at face value?

On preview: I see that the pervailing view is to take the complaints at face value. The retort "why would they lie?" is an interesting one. How about whether the conduct actually constitutes "harassment"? How about a truly innocent gesture being interpreted incorrectly? Does it never happen that someone touches another person accidentally in close quarters -- what if that person is accused (falsely) of harassment? Do they have no recourse? Does that bother you at all?
posted by pardonyou? at 12:34 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


By all means, work to educate the arrested adolescents and Asperger's cases involved in the comics scene.

Paging Dr. Frist, Dr. Frist to the Senate floor please! Nice diagnosis.

But, y'know, I'm not comfortable going to an all-ages punk show because of the creepy, borderline assaultive behaviour of some attendees, so I just stay home.

And that reaction is just what these people are trying to avoid. Comics are like the last growth sector of printed media in general, and the industry as a whole has been pursuing better gender integration for a while now. Both on the production and consumption side.
posted by butterstick at 12:35 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Alvy Ampersand writes "If you'd be so kind as to e-mail me your work phone number, I'm pretty sure I could prove you wrong."

MeFi'd. However even if you decided to phone me 20 times an hour it's not stalking. I have no reasonable fear of harm to me or my family.

spicynuts writes "There's a very simple answer to this - escort any accused offender out of the conference and let the police sort it out. No arbitration necessary. It's called a zero tolerance policy. If the offending party feels they were unfairly treated, we have courts for that."

Sure. Cause zero tolerance policies combined with vigilante justice haven't any problems. The avenues for abuse (and remember it can cut both ways) are broad and common. Some asshole who was harassing a woman can just as easily get her ejected by making a false claim as she can get him ejected.

beaucoupkevin writes "he was targeting women in the small press area. I was there and heard the same story from several women. He would walk past tables manned by men, stop and a woman's table, and trash her work."

Were people observing him before or after he left that area? It seems like there is a very small sample set here to be pinning sexual harassment on, especially if none of the comments was sexual/gendered in nature. I'm not trying to defend this guy if he was indeed a sexual harasser; however the presented case is weak.

miss tea writes "No, it's a situation where a woman is stating that someone assaulted and/or harassed her. Is there some specific reason her word is not enough to ask someone to either leave the premises or go into a different area? Because absent some sort of proof that there's a common issue with women just making this shit up, don't you think we should believe them?"

While obviously not a criminal procedure and rather a matter of policy shouldn't we have at least a little weight of evidence one way or the other. Why should one automatically believe the person filing the complaint rather than the defendant? Few if any of the specific participants of a Con are going to be known for harassing women. Why shouldn't we believe them if they say they didn't?
posted by Mitheral at 12:35 PM on August 26, 2008


Of course, some people don't mind being asked out on dates, while others get very offended if it happens once. What is "harassment" in this context? Does it turn on the subjective feelings of the "victim"?

I'm not sure how you overlooked it, but the complaint was not that a woman was asked out on a date, but repeatedly asked out a date after she said no.

But nice use of quotes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:36 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


"I told her that she was reaping what she sowed, and that the only point of such an outfit was to garner the attention she was claiming to be annoyed by."

Just because someone is scantily-clad doesn't mean that they're scantily-clad FOR YOU. They could be scantily-clad for EVERYONE BUT YOU and that would a perfectly legitimate way to dreass. Incorrect assumptions on your part don't get you off the hook for doing something wrong.
posted by electrasteph at 12:38 PM on August 26, 2008 [14 favorites]


I apologize, as the OP. Perhaps the better link to look at (other than the first one here) is the FAQ at CAHP. It has links to reports of much, much worse behavior, far worse than the ones we're plates-of-beansing. For example:
Brushing shoulders with someone on a crowded elevator is not likely to be seen as harassment. Deliberately touching someone's hair, face or body without permission is.

- Carrying a "Free Hugs" sign is not likely to be seen as harassment (individual con policy varies on this). Carrying a "Free Hugs" sign, continuing to ask people for hugs when they've said no, and moving closer to them is.

- Consensual spanking with a yaoi/yuri paddle in private is not likely to be seen as harassment (individual con policy varies on this too). Spanking people without prior permission or in public is.

- Consensual sexual activity with a guest is not likely to be seen as harassment. Groping a guest is.
Etc etc. There's also links to things that happened at other events, and a FAQ answer on "What if I’m accused of harassment and I really didn’t mean to do anything? Won’t establishing a policy like this lead to a lot of vendettas and false accusations?", too.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:38 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yep, they need a policy all right.
posted by kalessin at 12:38 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


While obviously not a criminal procedure and rather a matter of policy shouldn't we have at least a little weight of evidence one way or the other.

Not if you want to protect your money-making venture, keep women coming to the show, and generally keep order and not have to deal with these situations. Unless you want to set up your own mini police dept/courtroom at the Con, a zero-tolerance policy is the cleanest, quickest way to stamp this out.
posted by electrasteph at 12:40 PM on August 26, 2008


Paging Dr. Frist, Dr. Frist to the Senate floor please! Nice diagnosis.

So are you implying that you need to educate the people whose development isn't arrested or who have mental health issues? It would seem to me that the well-adjusted healthy attendees are the ones you don't need to worry about.

the safety of all of the participants is more important than parsing "evidence."

Perhaps you're right. As such, both the persons being accused and all accusers must be ejected from the venue. It's the only way to ensure impartiality and fairness.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:42 PM on August 26, 2008


Were people observing him before or after he left that area? It seems like there is a very small sample set here to be pinning sexual harassment on, especially if none of the comments was sexual/gendered in nature. I'm not trying to defend this guy if he was indeed a sexual harasser; however the presented case is weak.

OK, so he's a harasser in general. Whoops, get off the floor, asshole.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:42 PM on August 26, 2008


I sympathize with Con organizers who don't want to be arbiters of these situations. Geek 1 inappropriately touches Geek 2, Geek 2 complains to Con Organizer... Then what? Con Organizer issues a warning that may not be taken seriously by Geek 1? Kicks Geek 1 out of Con based on heresay?

I'm on the ConComm of a small, fan-run science-fiction convention in the South. A few years ago we had a guy who was sexually harrassing female attendees. Nothing as overt as ass-grabbing, but definitely inappropriate touching, openly leering at women (fully clothed as well as scantily clad), and other suggestive behaviors that left the subjects of his attention very unhappy.

After a few complaints rolled in, we had members of the staff start watching him, and spread the word for fans to complain to us if he acted up. It took a few cons--this guy was slick--but eventually he overstepped and reduced a young volunteer to tears.

The chairs of the ConComm confronted this guy, pulled his badge, escorted him out of the conference center, and told him he'd better not ever return to our con.

If you have people who are being sexually harrasing at a con, encourage them to notify staff. If staff gets at least three complaints about the same guy, pull his badge (with no refund). If he fights you on it, ban him from the convention. If he hollers about lawsuit, call his bluff.

A few public bannings of these fools should do the trick.
posted by magstheaxe at 12:43 PM on August 26, 2008 [12 favorites]


Is the probability extremely high that in any such complaint situation, the first is at play and the second isn't? Yes. But you don't sacrifice a rare amount of innocent in order to ensure universal punishment of the guilty.

But here's the thing, WCityMike, it's not like the choice to do nothing doesn't punish someone too-- the woman and/or women who may be exposed to future harassment/assault by the same individual. Unfortunately there's no clean answer. So unless someone can show that false harassment accusations are rampant or a huge problem, or that women are just running around making this stuff up, why not take their word of what happened as adequate? We're not talking about a trial, where the accused is subject to actual punishment. We're talking about kicking someone out of a comiccon.

Are you using evidence as some sort of legal term? Is this a trial?

Don't be ridiculous. Read my damn comment. I was responding to the statement that the comiccon people need 'evidence' prior to acting on a woman's claim, and making the mild and inoffensive claim that the statement of a woman is evidence too.

If someone's statement that they were assaulted is evidence that it happened, why is the alleged assaulter's statement that it didn't happen not also evidence? Because accusers are always honest and the accused are always defensive liars?

I just can't help thinking this is such a straw man argument. Maybe if someone could show that there is a huge problem with women making false claims of harassment or assault is a huge issue, fine. But why put more weight on the denial than the claim? Because that's the logical outcome of your approach. Again, as noted above, we're not talking about a trial, or a legal proceeding. We're talking about a comiccon. Would it be so bad to err on the side of protecting women and creating a welcoming space for all if a few people get kicked out wrongly?
posted by miss tea at 12:45 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Jesus Christ, it's not a prison sentence people are looking at. So they get thrown out of a comics convention. So what? Give them their admission fee back. How about this: Instead of saying "If women don't like it, they shouldn't go," we instead say "If men are really SUPER-OPPOSED to a no-harrassment policy because they have a paranoid sense that they may be unjustly thrown out, they don't go."

It's not a huge price to pay to make people feel safe.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:45 PM on August 26, 2008 [47 favorites]


I'm not sure how you overlooked it, but the complaint was not that a woman was asked out on a date, but repeatedly asked out a date after she said no.

I wasn't talking about that particular case. In fact, you (obviously inadvertently) highlighted the problem: For the future, what definition of "harassment" do we use? Is it "repeatedly" asking out on dates? How many times is too many? Twice, three times, four? What about someone who doesn't like the way another person is looking at them. Is that harassment? If it's "zero tolerance," does the person get escorted out by security, no questions asked.

But nice use of quotes.

The quotes were to illustrate that the terms are vague yet important. But nice use of sarcasm.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:46 PM on August 26, 2008


chudmonkey: "I told her that she was reaping what she sowed, and that the only point of such an outfit was to garner the attention she was claiming to be annoyed by."

Are you kidding?

I got on a CTA bus a few evenings ago. An extremely busty woman walked on with a blue-patterned dress and a very low cut that showed said ample cleavage.

I appreciated the view. But all that dress "entitled" me to do was to cast a few furtive glances in her direction, and appreciate the view and her physique, trying not to be impolitely obvious while doing so.

It didn't entitle me to follow her and snicker or do things that would make her feel threatened.

Update after profile-checking: And the fact that you're a guy makes me even more a little ticked off at such a smarmy comment than I was when I was just dealing the concept on an intellectual basis.
posted by WCityMike at 12:46 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: She asked for it. Classy.

She did ask for it. I'm not making a general comment about women, men, rape, assault or anything like that. I'm simply saying that we live in a world where certain things can be considered probable or improbable. We can hope that people follow the law, and we can hope that people will be respectful, but every adult in the world knows that lots of people don't do these things.

If I leave my bike outside with no chain or lock, I should expect it to be stolen. If I go to China during the Olympics with a "Free Tibet" banner, I should expect to be arrested. If I don't wear my shirt or shoes to McDonald's, I should expect to not be served.

And when a woman wears a revealing outfit around a group of young strangers, she should expect that some of the males will ogle her and perhaps even make lewd comments upon seeing her.

Is bare ass an invitation to squeeze? No. But I think that a realistic adult can accept that it's more of an invitation than a fully-covered-in-loose-clothing ass and way more on an invitation that an ass safe at home among friends. We all have to take responsibility for the risks we incur.
posted by chudmonkey at 12:46 PM on August 26, 2008


I should clarify the first response was to WCityMike and the second two to chudmonkey.
posted by miss tea at 12:47 PM on August 26, 2008


Perhaps you're right. As such, both the persons being accused and all accusers must be ejected from the venue. It's the only way to ensure impartiality and fairness.

Maybe if impartiality and fairness is your goal. But if I'm running a Con where my goals are safety and public order, garnering repeat attendance, and especially encouraging attendance of women, I'm going to bounce the accused.
posted by electrasteph at 12:47 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Kicks Geek 1 out of Con based on heresay?
The statement of a woman who is harassed is evidence.
Are you using hearsay as some sort of legal term?


Yeah, there's some confusion about the concepts of hearsay and eividence; someone's account of what happened to him or her is not hearsay, it's evidence.

The level of misogyny in various nerd subcultures never ceases to amaze me.

I told her that she was reaping what she sowed, and that the only point of such an outfit was to garner the attention she was claiming to be annoyed by.

Barf.

Well I've never been to a nerd subculture event (at least, not since math league in sixth grade, where, despite being one of two girls in the place, no one grabbed my ass), but the ass-grabbing, the following, the nastiness happens at crowded bars full of typically-socialized men and women. How many non-nerd subculture women have had the lingering hands from guys "trying to get by"? The criticisms of outfits as "teasing," etc? I wonder if it's worse in groups of people described here as more awkward or whatever, because I've seen a ton of good-lucking, confident assholes doing the same thing.
posted by Pax at 12:48 PM on August 26, 2008


And because it's such a concise answer to that burning "OMG FALSE ACCUSATIONS!!" strawman, I'd like to call attention to #9 on the FAQ.
posted by butterstick at 12:49 PM on August 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


Why should one automatically believe the person filing the complaint rather than the defendant? Few if any of the specific participants of a Con are going to be known for harassing women. Why shouldn't we believe them if they say they didn't?

This has been pointed out repeatedly in this thread, but I'll say it again: for a girl at a predominantly male event to reach the point of having to go to security to take care of some idiot is a Big Deal. More often than not, they prefer not to make a Big Deal. Because making a Big Deal more often that not results in "What's that bitch's problem?" So a woman brought to the point of concluding that she has no other recourse but to seek an authority figure to moderate the situation takes something big.

And from where exactly are you drawing this idea that there's a "danger" of girls running about cons falsely accusing men of sexual harrassment? Are you privy to some phenomenon the rest of us aren't? In what other arena of social life has a sexual harrassment policy effective given a few sociopathic females rule by decree to eject men from the setting? I'll also second in other sentiment raised earlier: why is it assumed that this policy is going to turn the girls into god-damned liars, and men, the victims?

Lastly, places of business are not democracies. If a girl tells a bouncer at a bar that some guy grabbed her inappropriately, he's thrown out, usually. This is because the bouncer, like most everyone else, recognizes that it takes a Big Deal for a woman to reach that point of appealing for help, that false accusations are extremely rare at best, and having a zero tolerance policy for sexual harrassment at a con really does no one harm but the idiot who got out of line.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:49 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


Now what about every other place in the world where a woman is likely to be treated with unwanted and harrassing attention?

Exactly.
posted by Pax at 12:50 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm finding a lot of the tired old stereotypes flagged up by some of the posters above to be not only ignorant but bordering on the offensive. I expect better from MeFites. Please don't paint whole subcultures with the black brush because it appeals to your prejudices.

Sexual harassment is sexual harassment. There are unpleasant people out there in all walks of life who think they can get away with unpleasant things (and yes, that includes harassing cosplayers simply because they're wearing skimpy outfits) and I applaud any effort to stop them in their tracks.
posted by panboi at 12:50 PM on August 26, 2008


You're not running a criminal justice system here; you're running a money-making event, and the safety of all of the participants is more important than parsing "evidence."

Egads. As a guy who's been given a dirty look because someone else did the ole "reach oooover and pinch" routine (ha ha), I'd be pretty pissed if I paid a small fortune to attend some Con and got tossed out without recourse. Doubly so if I'd had to travel there to attend. But hey, they're running a money-making event so none of that matters.

As such, both the persons being accused and all accusers must be ejected from the venue. It's the only way to ensure impartiality and fairness.

That would be the equivalent of tossing out a pair of scufflers, regardless of who "started it". Which is also pretty unjust, since I should have the ability to defend myself. That's more of a practical compromise, since it's not always possible to determine who is the aggressor (and asking "witnesses" aka likely one of the guys' friends, is not going to clear anything up).

Maybe if someone could show that there is a huge problem with women making false claims of harassment or assault is a huge issue, fine.

Ok, Miss Tea. I was at an art gallery opening a few months back and got patted on the ass. I spun around and had zero idea who did it -- the place was packed. It could have been any of a half dozen people (male or female). Maybe if I'd been a bit more flustered (I was a bit) I'd have been less circumspect about doubting who it had been. As it was, I did nothing. Let's say instead I pick the guiltiest looking party. How should my complaint be handled?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:50 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


The quotes were to illustrate that the terms are vague yet important. But nice use of sarcasm.

Hm. So this sentence:

We have two flavors of ice cream: Chocolate and "vanilla"

Means that "vanilla" is, in fact, vanilla, but vanilla is a vague but important term?

Most people would read it and say, well, I guess that have fake vanilla.

In the same way most people would read you putting quotation marks aroung "harrassment" and "victim" and think, this author does not believe someone was harrassed or victimized.

If this is not what you intended, fair enough, but it is what you communicated.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:51 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe if someone could show that there is a huge problem with women making false claims of harassment or assault is a huge issue, fine.

There doesn't need for it to be a huge problem. People lie. They overstate. Their views are coloured by prejudices, and so on. Two people can view the same event and make two completely different reports.

Person A, regardless of gender, complaining about Person B, is not grounds for the sole censure, punishment, ejection or rejection of Person B, ever, under any circumstances, if Person A's complaint is the sole piece of evidence. Basically, you are advocating the position that Person A's complaint always be weighted more seriously than Person B's denial, and that just ain't right.

If Person B's denial is to have equal weight as Person A's complaint, then both parties must be ejected.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:51 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


So they get thrown out of a comics convention. So what? Give them their admission fee back. How about this: Instead of saying "If women don't like it, they shouldn't go," we instead say "If men are really SUPER-OPPOSED to a no-harrassment policy because they have a paranoid sense that they may be unjustly thrown out, they don't go."

This bears repeating.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:52 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


The problem is that one person's "unwanted, threatening stalker" can be one man's "charming rouge scamp."

Using romantic comedy social norms in real life always ends in tears (for the cock-punched, hopefully).
posted by bonehead at 12:52 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


And when a woman wears a revealing outfit around a group of young strangers, she should expect that some of the males will ogle her and perhaps even make lewd comments upon seeing her.

Why?
posted by agregoli at 12:54 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


But I think that a realistic adult can accept that it's more of an invitation than a fully-covered-in-loose-clothing ass and way more on an invitation that an ass safe at home among friends.

I'm a realistic adult - and I don't think that at all. It's not an invitation - not to you, not to anyone. Period. End of sentence. People have a right to dress how they like without having to accept unwanted interpretations about why from you - freedom of speech, freedom of action.
posted by electrasteph at 12:56 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


But all that dress "entitled" me to do was to cast a few furtive glances in her direction, and appreciate the view and her physique, trying not to be impolitely obvious while doing so.

I agree with this 100%. My argument is all about the reality that people don't always act in a way they are "entitled" to act. Jerkishness and out-right criminal behaviour EXISTS. When you deliberately act in a provocative manner around a bunch of strangers, you should anticipate the worst. And if you find the worst-case scenario unacceptable, you shouldn't undertake the risk.

Miss tea: thanks for responding as you are to my comments, but please recognize that I'm talking about people, not women. Men can be victimized by sexual abuse, harrasment and mis-applied zero-tolerance policies too. Maybe this issue is seen by many as about "protecting women", but we apply our rules pretty evenly in this society, so we have to consider their impact on everyone.

As for those who think I'm disgusting for thinking that a scantily-clad woman should know that she'll attract lascivious behavior from a crowd of un-policed anonymous strangers... perhaps you are confusing "anticipated" with "accepted".
posted by chudmonkey at 12:57 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll also second in other sentiment raised earlier: why is it assumed that this policy is going to turn the girls into god-damned liars, and men, the victims?

In my mind, it's that some men feel this is a threat to the status quo: namely, that they can treat women as they like with no possibility of consequence to themselves.
posted by agregoli at 12:57 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


To the "booth babes" who got harassed: Don't dress like a stripper in a room full horny nerds. I can't believe somebody has to say that.


Just because someone is scantily-clad doesn't mean that they're scantily-clad FOR YOU. They could be scantily-clad for EVERYONE BUT YOU
.... as she walks through a crowded convention center on the way to her boudoir shoot? Should we all think that the average person will gauge where we and how we direct the intentions of an outfit? Seriously?
posted by lattiboy at 12:57 PM on August 26, 2008


Why?

I'm curious about this too. I mean, it's one thing in a dark alley. Women don't deserve to get raped, and people don't deserve to get robbed, of course, but there are some places in the world that are unsafe and you're better off avoiding them, and, if you have no choice to go there, to behave in as defensive a manner as possible, just to limit your risk.

But it's not a dark alley we're talking about here. It's a comics convention.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:57 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


electrasteph writes "You're not running a criminal justice system here; you're running a money-making event, and the safety of all of the participants is more important than parsing 'evidence.'"Err on the side of caution and throw out all accused when they're pointed out, before your event gets a reputation and women don't come at all because they don't feel safe, and before something serious -- like an actual rape -- occurs."

A Con that gets a reputation for ejecting innocent attendees for no reason is going to be in trouble. Eject the wrong attendee, say somebody with some minor blog fame or connections, and the outrage meter is going to peg over so hard it'll break the needle off.

beaucoupkevin writes "OK, so he's a harasser in general. Whoops, get off the floor, asshole."

They only thing that made this guy a harasser is the claim he was targeting women. Unless being critical of a persons work at a con is harassment.

miss tea writes "Maybe if someone could show that there is a huge problem with women making false claims of harassment or assault is a huge issue, fine."

False reports of rape, a much more serious issue, run 2-50%.

miss tea writes "Would it be so bad to err on the side of protecting women and creating a welcoming space for all if a few people get kicked out wrongly?"

On this we'll have to agree to disagree I'm afraid.

I'm seeing a bit of a pattern here. There are some, like myself, who are in the "better a 100 guilty go free than 1 innocent person be convicted" camp. And others who think that combating harassment is such an important goal that a certain amount of collateral damage is acceptable.
posted by Mitheral at 12:58 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


I agree with this 100%. My argument is all about the reality that people don't always act in a way they are "entitled" to act. Jerkishness and out-right criminal behaviour EXISTS. When you deliberately act in a provocative manner around a bunch of strangers, you should anticipate the worst. And if you find the worst-case scenario unacceptable, you shouldn't undertake the risk.

So women should not get to enjoy going to ComicCon, or dressing up like all the guys do when they are there, simply because some asshole might act badly? Fuck that noise. Stop punishing the victims, and start punishing the criminals.
posted by electrasteph at 12:59 PM on August 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Maybe if impartiality and fairness is your goal. But if I'm running a Con where my goals are safety and public order, garnering repeat attendance, and especially encouraging attendance of women, I'm going to bounce the accused.

So what you'll get is a bunch of male attendees who bristle at this concept making false complaints against female attendees, to get them thrown out. Guaranteed. They'll do it to make a point. They'll back each other up. And then the con will have no choice but to ask, say, Jill Thompson to leave. And if they don't, they show the policy as toothless.

You won't get con organizers to agree to approach this in such a way that only men who are complained about will be ejected, after all.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


MCMikeNamara: "However, if someone is working or in some sort of situation where they can't necessarily leave, unwanted attention becomes a lot more troubling."

Well, the quote was: "One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time."

So the situation was exactly what you describe; working in a booth, and therefore not necessarily able to leave.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2008


People lie. They overstate.

They also make mistakes, especially when feeling flustered and/or threatened.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2008


To the "booth babes" who got harassed: Don't dress like a stripper in a room full horny nerds. I can't believe somebody has to say that.

This is the year 2008, not 1948. I can't believe somebody has to say that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2008 [22 favorites]


Ok, Miss Tea. I was at an art gallery opening a few months back and got patted on the ass. I spun around and had zero idea who did it -- the place was packed. It could have been any of a half dozen people (male or female). Maybe if I'd been a bit more flustered (I was a bit) I'd have been less circumspect about doubting who it had been. As it was, I did nothing. Let's say instead I pick the guiltiest looking party. How should my complaint be handled?

Security asks you if you know who did it. You say you're not sure but you think it was Joe over there. Security can ask you questions to assess your surety and make a decision.
posted by miss tea at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2008


MCMikeNamara: "However, if someone is working or in some sort of situation where they can't necessarily leave, unwanted attention becomes a lot more troubling."

Well, the quote was: "One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time."

So the situation was exactly what you describe; working in a booth, and therefore not necessarily able to leave.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


And when a woman wears a revealing outfit around a group of young strangers, she should expect that some of the males will ogle her and perhaps even make lewd comments upon seeing her.

Why?


Because a certain percentage of people in this world are jerks or sociopaths or just really, really unrefined. And when you join a large, anonymous crowd you should anticipate dealing randomly with such people.

Just because behavior is offensive or illegal doesn't mean you should assume it won't happen. And certain causes simply make certain effects more likely.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2008


To the "booth babes" who got harassed: Don't dress like a stripper in a room full horny nerds. I can't believe somebody has to say that.

More like, I can't believe somebody did say that.
posted by Pax at 1:02 PM on August 26, 2008 [13 favorites]


Because a certain percentage of people in this world are jerks or sociopaths or just really, really unrefined. And when you join a large, anonymous crowd you should anticipate dealing randomly with such people.

And you should expect that you have recourse when it happens, because you have done nothing wrong and they have done everything wrong.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:02 PM on August 26, 2008 [16 favorites]


In the same way most people would read you putting quotation marks aroung "harrassment" and "victim" and think, this author does not believe someone was harrassed or victimized.

If this is not what you intended, fair enough, but it is what you communicated.


It's not what I intended, and I completely disagree that it's what I communicated. My entire point was that there are many differences -- both between men and women, and among men and women -- as to what constitutes harassment, and who is a victim of harassment. And if you don't bother to define those terms -- and instead leave everything to "if it's alleged, throw 'em out" -- you're being awfully arbitrary. Maybe your personal balance of harms makes that OK for you. If so, more power to you.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:02 PM on August 26, 2008


You say you're not sure but you think it was Joe over there.

My point is that were I more flustered, I might have misinterpreted the look on any one of those half dozen people's faces as guilt, and acted accordingly. Where I say "I'm not sure" I -- or someone else -- might have said "THAT guy".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:04 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


A Con that gets a reputation for ejecting innocent attendees for no reason is going to be in trouble. Eject the wrong attendee, say somebody with some minor blog fame or connections, and the outrage meter is going to peg over so hard it'll break the needle off.

On the other hand, a Con that gets a reputation for leaving women open to sexual assault is going to be in trouble, too. Let one rape happen -- it's conceivable that it could -- and you could be screwed.

I guess a lot of it depends on what the organizers care about -- if they're actively trying to include women and attract more of them to the event (and everything I've read says they are) then they need to make it a safe place for women. If they're more concerned about Fanboyz, well, let it keep on the way it is.
posted by electrasteph at 1:05 PM on August 26, 2008


To be clearer, it seems to me that chudmonkey is sayign that there is no place at all in the world for a woman to go and be safe, except, perhaps, at home with friends. And if they choose to exit that environment dressed in a way that a creep finds suggestive, well, that's just the way of the world.

Maybe. But how does a woman know when she is dressed modestly enough to never invite the attention of a creep? When she has a burkha on? And shouldn't it be possible to create safe spaces where women don't have to feel like they have to dress like a schoolmarm to avoid creepy behavior?

It's a freaking comics convention. Women should be able to dress like superheroes without feeling like victims.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:05 PM on August 26, 2008 [26 favorites]


And others who think that combating harassment is such an important goal that a certain amount of collateral damage is acceptable.

This has always been a disturbing line of thought to me.

magstheaxe is the only one in this thread with a reasonable solution to this.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:06 PM on August 26, 2008


A Con that gets a reputation for ejecting innocent attendees for no reason is going to be in trouble.

A con that gets a reputation for doing nothing to protect women from being harassed - well, I guess that's the norm?
posted by agregoli at 1:07 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


chudmonkey: My argument is all about the reality that people don't always act in a way they are "entitled" to act.

You're talking about pragmatic reality. What's being discussed is the way things "should" be, and a codicil that encompasses that philosophy.

A woman may decide to dress in a sexy costume because she is proud of her physique and the outfit brings her confidence and makes her feel happy or playful or what have you.

She may know that dressing as Seven of Nine is going to mean that some guys are going to be rude to her.

That doesn't mean that, when they are rude to her, she bears any cause or culpability for — she has not "sown" anything — the act of their decision to forego the normal societal morals of how you treat a fellow human being.

agregoli: In my mind, it's that some men feel this is a threat to the status quo: namely, that they can treat women as they like with no possibility of consequence to themselves.

Oh come-the-fuck-ON.
posted by WCityMike at 1:08 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


LOOK HERE IS THE THING AND I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT I HAVE TO SPELL IT OUT.
  1. It took us nerds fucking decades to get a lot of hot girls to show up at our shows.
  2. Let's not let a few assholes screw it up now.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 1:08 PM on August 26, 2008 [15 favorites]


chudmonkey, I will NEVER assume I'm going to be harassed. I will not live my life that way. It's not how it should be. Women shouldn't have to feel that way, and we shouldn't be resigned to feeling that way - that we have no right to complain if we are harassed, because we should have expected it. Unfortunately, many women DO feel that way, thanks to attitudes like yours.
posted by agregoli at 1:09 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Astro Zombie writes "Jesus Christ, it's not a prison sentence people are looking at. So they get thrown out of a comics convention. So what? Give them their admission fee back."

Going to cover their hotel and airfare too? It's probably more than the entry fee.

butterstick writes "And because it's such a concise answer to that burning 'OMG FALSE ACCUSATIONS!!' strawman, I'd like to call attention to #9 on the FAQ."

FAQ #9 assumes the accuser is telling the truth about being harassed and it's just shorting the idea that the harasser didn't know they were being harassing as a defence.
posted by Mitheral at 1:09 PM on August 26, 2008


MCMikeNamara: "However, if someone is working or in some sort of situation where they can't necessarily leave, unwanted attention becomes a lot more troubling."

Well, the quote was: "One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time."

So the situation was exactly what you describe; working in a booth, and therefore not necessarily able to leave.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:09 PM on August 26, 2008


On the other hand, a Con that gets a reputation for leaving women open to sexual assault is going to be in trouble, too.

It hasn't been the case in the past. Cons in general already have such a reputation, and people keep showing up.

I guess a lot of it depends on what the organizers care about -- if they're actively trying to include women and attract more of them to the event (and everything I've read says they are) then they need to make it a safe place for women. If they're more concerned about Fanboyz, well, let it keep on the way it is.

Shrug. Me, I'd prefer that general interest venues work to attract people in general and not institute sexist policies.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:10 PM on August 26, 2008


And you should expect that you have recourse when it happens, because you have done nothing wrong and they have done everything wrong.

Of course. Everyone should have recourse. But we don't always get it. Lots of people in every part of the world are victimized in large and small ways and can't do anything except accept it. Robbers don't always get caught. Insurance doesn't always pay out. The Jury doesn't always send away the criminals.

If you go to a con without understanding in advance what their systems for dealing with crime or harassment on their floor are, or if you understand that there is no system beyond "call the police", then you make your decision to attend the con accordingly. This isn't a situation where we're taking away someone's recourse. My argument isn't even about recourse. It's about anticipating the likely consequences of your actions, even if the consequences represent an illegal or offensive act on someone else's part.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:11 PM on August 26, 2008


agregoli: In my mind, it's that some men feel this is a threat to the status quo: namely, that they can treat women as they like with no possibility of consequence to themselves.

Oh come-the-fuck-ON.
posted by WCityMike


Mike, remember when you apologized for some of those over-the-top reactions in the feminism threads? I'm feeling like it never happened. If you have some reaction to my perception in that statement, I know you can respond far more intelligently and respectfully than you just did.
posted by agregoli at 1:12 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


All right, well, I support the zero tolerance policy. That's the solution that women have come up with, and I just don't seriously believe that ANY men are going to be falsely accused of sexual harrassment and thrown out. I think it's more likely the guards are going to say, all right, I'll keep my eye on him, and then, when someone gets caught in the act, they'll be ejected.

But, you know, all the men in this thread are doing, for the most part, is protecting the stus quo by shooting down the one solution that's been offered (and "kick out both the offender and the accuser" is not a reasonable alternative; it is, instead, one that guarantees that nobody will ever file a complaint). So man up, fellas. Obviously harrassment is serious and threatens to alienate women from these conventions, and, further, without a policy in place could get the convention itself in trouble if something really happens.

What's your suggestion? How does this get resolved?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:13 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


Because a certain percentage of people in this world are jerks or sociopaths or just really, really unrefined. And when you join a large, anonymous crowd you should anticipate dealing randomly with such people.

It's funny - that shit doesn't happen to me at church. Or at work. Why? Because there are rules, and they're enforced by the venue -- but more than that - there's an expectation about personal behavior when people walk in; that shit like this is unacceptable. The tone is set by the venue.

Sure ComicCon is a large place, but they deal with all sorts of other situations there - stealing, vandalism, etc. They have policies and they carry them out for those behaviors. They can do it for this, too.
posted by electrasteph at 1:13 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's about anticipating the likely consequences of your actions, even if the consequences represent an illegal or offensive act on someone else's part.

Exactly! We agree! So the men who are mad that they got kicked out because they harassed a woman at the con, well, they should have anticipated the consequences of their actions. Namingly, that harassing women can cause you to get kicked out of a joint.
posted by agregoli at 1:14 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


To the "booth babes" who got harassed: Don't dress like a stripper in a room full horny nerds. I can't believe somebody has to say that.

The woman who got grabbed was dressed like a Ghostbuster, right? Hardly hawt unless you've got some kind of weird Dan Aykroyd or tan jumpsuit fetish, no?

On the other hand, a Con that gets a reputation for leaving women open to sexual assault is going to be in trouble, too. Let one rape happen -- it's conceivable that it could -- and you could be screwed.

Wait, wait...didn't that already happen at a past con? On Googling: I think this is what I'm half-remembering.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:15 PM on August 26, 2008


Make that if something really bad happens.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:15 PM on August 26, 2008


False reports of rape, a much more serious issue, run 2-50%.

I'm aware of those statistics. We're not talking about rape, particularly acquaintance rape.

There's a difference. (I'm not going to argue those statistics, although I could, except to say that a range light that sort of undermines your point, don't you think?)

My point is that were I more flustered, I might have misinterpreted the look on any one of those half dozen people's faces as guilt, and acted accordingly. Where I say "I'm not sure" I -- or someone else -- might have said "THAT guy".

Yeah, I get what you're saying. Look, I am not advocating that security or whoever not do ANY investigation, or that if one of the accused has an alibi or something that shouldn't carry any weight. But you're getting into a really attenuated hypo here. There are going to be some mistakes, probably. That sucks. But what others are advocating is that the woman's word, alone, is not enough to get someone kicked out for assault. I'm trying to make the point that there are generally two options in those situations (I'm ignoring the "kick then both out" theory):

1) Believe the accuser, and act accordingly (note that this does not mean that the security person shouldn't assess what she alleges and see if it rises to the level of the policy; for example, if the guy who was going around insulting women's drawing skills should be kicked out). In this situation there are occasionally going to be men wrongly accused who get kicked out wrongly. However, again, I still haven't been convinced that false accusations in this type of situation are or would be rampant.

-or-

2) Believe the accused, and let that person continue to spend time in the con, feeling even more empowered to behave like a thug. In this situation many accusers will have their sense that they are not viewed as fully valid human beings be reinforced. However, the small percentage of those falsely accused will be able to stay and continue at the con.

I'm just trying to reiterate that there is no neutral option.
posted by miss tea at 1:16 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


And others who think that combating harassment is such an important goal that a certain amount of collateral damage is acceptable.

I think men going to a con knowing they will have to tolerate a zero-tolerance sexual harrassment policy is a less serious affront than women going to a con knowing that they may have to tolerate being sexually harrassed without any real recourse at their disposal. But screw 'em - the girls can stay home if they don't like it, right?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:17 PM on August 26, 2008 [10 favorites]


What's your suggestion? How does this get resolved?

Unlike tossing out the scufflers, where witnesses are likely to be on one side or the other, you might consider witnesses to any kind of sexual harassment to add weight to the claim -- for the person complaining only. If we're talking about isolated women amongst a lot of guys with frat-boy mentality, it would be trivial to have other guys stick up for the offender. But if another woman present or another guy said "yep, I saw it -- he did what she said" that could be enough.

That would help rule out malice and mistake.

But an accusation alone? No way.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:18 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why the false dichotomy, Marisa?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:18 PM on August 26, 2008


Does going naked to a Comic Con presuppose a post- feminist agenda?
posted by plexi at 1:19 PM on August 26, 2008


To be clearer, it seems to me that chudmonkey is sayign that there is no place at all in the world for a woman to go and be safe, except, perhaps, at home with friends.

Except that she's not. Most rapes happen to women in their own homes. I was raped in my own home by a guy who had been stalking me and broke into my house when I was asleep.

Women should be free to go wherever and do whatever men are able to do - without fear - and everyone has a responsibility to create that environment.
posted by electrasteph at 1:19 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


"kick out both the offender and the accuser" is not a reasonable alternative; it is, instead, one that guarantees that nobody will ever file a complaint

Does no such thing. It ensures that no frivolous complaints will be filed. It's a completely reasonable alternative.

I'm ignoring the "kick then both out" theory

Shrug. I'm used to dishonest debate on issues of gender.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:21 PM on August 26, 2008


Why the false dichotomy, Marisa?

Because harassing women is wrong -- so the onus of responsibility should be on men to not do things that are wrong, not on women to be on guard for men behaving wrongly?

That's not really a false dichotomy.
posted by electrasteph at 1:21 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Does going naked to a Comic Con presuppose a post- feminist agenda?

Is it naked if you're wearing clothes?
posted by jessamyn at 1:21 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why the false dichotomy, Marisa?

I'm not hearing any other real alternatives to a zero tolerance sexual harrassment policy, and the argument was already put forward that women who don't like having their asses grabbed can just stay home. Hope that clears that up for ya!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:22 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


(By the way, many many apologies for the triple post thing going on. My browser is lagging something terrible and it/I must have spazzed.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:24 PM on August 26, 2008


When you deliberately act in a provocative manner around a bunch of strangers

Who judges what "provocative" is? I've been catcalled and whistled at and had my ass grabbed on crowded buses when I'm wearing oh-so-provocative clothing like baggy sweatpants and a ratty sweater (early morning we've-got-no-milk-for-coffee run) or khakis and a button-down (going to/from work).

Apparently, the provocative act is "being female."

It's bullshit. And you know it. And saying "but that's just how things are" is just a couple notches up from "boys will be boys." (Maybe not even a couple notches.)

If the scantily clad woman hadn't been scantily clad, but was being harassed anyway - because, you know, that actually happens - then the fault lies exactly where it does if she's scantily clad: with the harassers.
posted by rtha at 1:25 PM on August 26, 2008 [21 favorites]


I'll also second in other sentiment raised earlier: why is it assumed that this policy is going to turn the girls into god-damned liars, and men, the victims?

agregoli: In my mind, it's that some men feel this is a threat to the status quo: namely, that they can treat women as they like with no possibility of consequence to themselves.

WCityMike: Oh come-the-fuck-ON.

agregoli: Mike, remember when you apologized for some of those over-the-top reactions in the feminism threads? I'm feeling like it never happened. If you have some reaction to my perception in that statement, I know you can respond far more intelligently and respectfully than you just did.

Yes, I used the word "fuck", agregoli. If you desire it, then sorry for that, although it was the seventh time the word "fuck"'s been used in this thread. I stand by the "oh, come on," because that was just outrageous. Characterizing men's fear that a blanket acceptance of harrassment accusations will lead to false and undeserved imprisonment as a desire for an unfettered right for harrassment is not only nonsensical, it's extremely offensive. And the "oh, come-the-fuck-on" was an expression of my disdain and offense at such a out-of-left-field outrageous remark and characterization.
posted by WCityMike at 1:25 PM on August 26, 2008


Damn it, damn it, damn it.

imprisonment action against them
posted by WCityMike at 1:26 PM on August 26, 2008


Shrug. I'm used to dishonest debate on issues of gender.

I'm sorry you feel that way. What, exactly, was dishonest? I ignored that suggestion for the sake of argument, and stated that I was doing so.

You might want to get your outrage-meter recalibrated.
posted by miss tea at 1:27 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


electrasteph: I was responding to Marisa's last comment which, I think I can safely say, poses a dichotomy, and second, I claim, is false, because there are other alternatives. Maybe you should calm down a bit.

I should add that I do think it's very important to have serious and visible consequences for sexual harassment because -- I hope we all realize -- consequences set the tone, and (some) people take their cues from them. However, and not to derail terribly here, but the idea that unjust or overly broad measures are ok because "it will only affect a few" is a pretty pernicious modern issue, and it seems increasingly like a lot of people will support such measures because the chance of it happening to them or someone they care about is vanishingly small. That doesn't make it right. And yes, in the name of safety.

on preview: Marisa: Hope that clears that up for ya!

Dunno. Was my suggestion, above, worth considering?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:27 PM on August 26, 2008


If there's a zero tolerance policy, it's going to be taken advantage of. Period. That's just a statistical inevitability. Some people have had unjust experiences with such policies (or easily would have were they in place) and are understandably critical of them. I don't think it's fair to say that anyone not in favour of a zero tolerance policy is saying that women are "god-damned liars".

I'm in agreement that the safety of all involved is the #1 priority. Shutting your critical thinking and judgment off, however, is probably the worst thing you can do if you want to make sure people are safe.

A Comic convention isn't a government or a publicly funded entity, so they should be able to institute such a rule if they feel it is in their best interest. I'd prefer a more reasoned case-by-case approach, but I understand that not everyone has the time or resources.
posted by ODiV at 1:29 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


You might want to get your outrage-meter recalibrated.

A shrug is outrage, eh? Hopefully none of the complainants at cons make overstatements that ridiculous.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:30 PM on August 26, 2008


"kick out both the offender and the accuser" is not a reasonable alternative; it is, instead, one that guarantees that nobody will ever file a complaint

Does no such thing. It ensures that no frivolous complaints will be filed. It's a completely reasonable alternative.


What planet are you on? Why would anyone levy a just accusation knowing full well that they were to be punished for being a victim?


Shrug. I'm used to dishonest debate on issues of gender.


So where does the serious part of your argument start?
posted by butterstick at 1:30 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


agregoli: I have never suggested that women should feel compelled toward silence when they are harassed. I have never suggested that anticipating harassment is the same as accepting harassment.

You say that you will "NEVER assume [you're] going to be harassed". Will you NEVER assume you will be robbed, and therefore never lock your doors? Will you NEVER assume you will be defrauded and therefore never read your contract with your phone company/ Will you NEVER assume that you will be assaulted and therefore walk the streets of a foreign city alone at night?

I accept culpability if I haven't expressed my viewpoint clearly, but I think your suggestion that attitudes like mine are suppressing womankind somehow is out of left field.

So, my attitude:

1) All people have the right to dress however they want, within the laws of their community.
2) Harrasment & assault, particularly of a sexual nature, are serious crimes and victims should have the support of police and other relevant authorities.
3) Responsible members of society should never condone or endorse harassment or assault of the sort we are discussing, and should actively discourage those engaging in said behaviour and lawfully assist the victims and police as needed.
4) All people are safer in certain situations than in others, and people should pro-actively evaluate the risks associated with their voluntary activities, and determine in advance what they will and will not accept and what recourses are available to them.
5) Zero-tolerance policies, as with any over-simplified system, are open to abuse.

I hate living in a world where any women are scared of men. I hate thinking that I contribute to this in anyway. My guilt may not be warranted, but it's real. If I'm walking towards a woman on a dark, empty street, I cross the street in the hopes she won't be afraid of crossing my path. Yeah, once I called a spade a spade and told a woman she should expect a bunch of socially-cloistered young men to act like idiots if she only wore 45 cubic centimeters of clothing in their presence, but that wasn't a defense of the idiots or a refutation of her right to dress that way.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:31 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe you should calm down a bit.

I'm perfectly calm. Are you trying out a "hysterical female" dismissal here? That's cute.
posted by electrasteph at 1:32 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


"Zero tolerance" doesn't mean "every report of unacceptable behavior is automatically believed and acted upon," people. It means "every report of unacceptable behavior that's deemed by the constituted authorities to be well-founded is acted upon."

If you don't like the way the authority is constituted, or you don't agree with the guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable behavior, you would do well to avoid the gathering with those policies.

Who has the "better that 100 people should get away with sexual harassment and assault than 1 person be erroneously accused of same" in a situation where the potential penalty is being asked to leave a convention?

I mean, what? No, it's not better that 100 people who are either doing their jobs or attending a convention be assaulted, just so that one innocent person doesn't get asked to leave the convention because of an erroneous or malicious accusation.

The "better 100 guilty should escape than 1 innocent face the penalty" argument only works for the death penalty. Applying it to something where the consequence of being railroaded is a financial loss and/or a hassle is pretty bizarre.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:32 PM on August 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


A shrug is outrage, eh? Hopefully none of the complainants at cons make overstatements that ridiculous.

You're a real charmer. Please, enlighten us with more of your insights!
posted by miss tea at 1:33 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Zero tolerance" doesn't mean "every report of unacceptable behavior is automatically believed and acted upon," people. It means "every report of unacceptable behavior that's deemed by the constituted authorities to be well-founded is acted upon."

Oh, well that's completely different. Thanks Sidhedevil.
posted by ODiV at 1:34 PM on August 26, 2008


electrasteph writes "So women should not get to enjoy going to ComicCon, or dressing up like all the guys do when they are there, simply because some asshole might act badly?"

Well to be nit-picky I've never seen a picture of a guy at a con wearing nothing but paint or a banana sling and a couple pasties so they aren't all dressing up like the guys do.

Astro Zombie writes "All right, well, I support the zero tolerance policy."[...]"think it's more likely the guards are going to say, all right, I'll keep my eye on him, and then, when someone gets caught in the act, they'll be ejected."

I've got no problem with that as a solution. But it isn't a zero tolerance policy as laid out up thread.
posted by Mitheral at 1:34 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dunno. Was my suggestion, above, worth considering?

Let's re-cap:
Unlike tossing out the scufflers, where witnesses are likely to be on one side or the other, you might consider witnesses to any kind of sexual harassment to add weight to the claim -- for the person complaining only. If we're talking about isolated women amongst a lot of guys with frat-boy mentality, it would be trivial to have other guys stick up for the offender. But if another woman present or another guy said "yep, I saw it -- he did what she said" that could be enough.
This supposes two things: one, that there aren't already witnesses to this behavior (the accounts mentioned in the OP's links, for example) and two, that there is a real danger of false accusations being thrown around. Both are untrue and, as Astro Zombie astutely pointed out, more than likely security is going to keep an eye on the accused. It's not like you're going to be taken to Gitmo or whatever. People tend to get thrown out of places when they act like pricks, even when they've paid money to get into those places.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:34 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sidhedevil: ""Zero tolerance" doesn't mean "every report of unacceptable behavior is automatically believed and acted upon," people. It means "every report of unacceptable behavior that's deemed by the constituted authorities to be well-founded is acted upon."

Um, no, it doesn't. Very often the "deeming" of the "constituted authorities" is entirely bypassed and their hands are most often tied.
posted by WCityMike at 1:35 PM on August 26, 2008


electrasteph: Then a knowledge gap, perhaps? Here.

I'm perfectly calm. Are you trying out a "hysterical female" dismissal here? That's cute.

Oh, sorry, I should have asked if you might want to re-tune your outrage meter, like the comment directly above mine. But thank you for demonstrating how seriously your comments should be taken, troll.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:35 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


ten pounds of inedita writes: Shrug. Me, I'd prefer that general interest venues work to attract people in general and not institute sexist policies.

And by "sexist policies" of course you aren't including cons that do nothing to address women's complaints of rampant sexual harassment.

Because that's not a policy, that's the status quo.

(Do we even want to get into how you just said you prefer venues that work to attract "people in general" when we're talking about a venue whose previous policies have been deterring women in droves?)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:35 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, once I called a spade a spade and told a woman she should expect a bunch of socially-cloistered young men to act like idiots if she only wore 45 cubic centimeters of clothing in their presence, but that wasn't a defense of the idiots or a refutation of her right to dress that way.

I believe you when you say you don't want to contribute to a world where women fear men. But here's a question-- what do you think that woman thought you were saying? She deserved it? She should be more careful? She was lucky she wasn't raped?

I don't know and you don't know, but I think that's something missing in your analysis of what you said to her, and I think that's what many of the people here are responding to.
posted by miss tea at 1:36 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Now I want to know what kind of lame policy was there to begin with.

Will read more when I'm not working.
posted by ODiV at 1:36 PM on August 26, 2008


What planet are you on? Why would anyone levy a just accusation knowing full well that they were to be punished for being a victim?

I guess you haven't been to a K-12 school lately, where it is common practice to punish everyone involved in a fight regardless of who started it or who complained about it. Joey hits Billy. Billy doesn't hit back, and tells a teacher. Billy and Joey both get detention.

That's how zero tolerance works.

What you are advocating is a system whereby Joey would get detention but Billy would not, and where Joey would get detention even if he only tapped Billy on the shoulder, or accidentally tripped Billy, or was in a crowd of nearby people when someone else hit Billy, or if Joey's twin brother hit Billy, or if Joey had an axe to grind against Billy, who was on the other side of the campus.

I know which is a more reasonable stance to take. But, remember, I'm not advocating either policy. But if you're gonna have a zero tolerance policy, it must be the former and not the latter.

So where does the serious part of your argument start?

Right after you go back to directing the argument at the debate and not at me.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:37 PM on August 26, 2008


Look, chudmonkey has it right at #2:

2) Harrasment & assault, particularly of a sexual nature, are serious crimes and victims should have the support of police and other relevant authorities.

It's the use of inappropriately lenient measures that permits people to muck around with passingly important issues like guilt and innocense. If you're sexually assaulted, involve the police. If you, as security, are made aware of such an incident, involve the police. You don't get to play jury and judge because it's easier that way.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:37 PM on August 26, 2008


Guys are jerks, especially the basement-dwelling types. And no, not all of them go to cons, but simply harass women wherever they find them. I'm talking to you, good looking. You know who you are. Yeah you do.

Anyways, my advice is to either hire a bodyguard (Adam Baldwin available?), or avoid places where GROUPS OF MEN WILL CONGREGATE UNHINDERED BY SOCIAL NORMS. Like cons.
posted by jsavimbi at 1:37 PM on August 26, 2008


I said: "Zero tolerance" doesn't mean "every report of unacceptable behavior is automatically believed and acted upon," people. It means "every report of unacceptable behavior that's deemed by the constituted authorities to be well-founded is acted upon."

ODiV said: Oh, well that's completely different. Thanks Sidhedevil.

If this is sarcasm, I don't get it.

The call is for every complaint to be "investigated and acted upon." One of the ways that complaints are acted upon is that they're dismissed for lack of merit.

Nobody is suggesting that no claim can ever be dismissed for lack of merit, from what I can see (and I read all the links). They're suggesting that every claim should be investigated.

What is freaking people out about this so much?
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:38 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


WCityMike: "Um, no, it doesn't. Very often the "deeming" of the "constituted authorities" is entirely bypassed and their hands are most often tied."

As mystyk could tell us.
posted by WCityMike at 1:38 PM on August 26, 2008


This is an interesting situation for me as I was once accused of having grabbed a girl's butt on the dancefloor - at a work Christmas party!

I fairly often dance with my hands behind my back and had backed into her backside - I definitely felt I'd done that but immediately stumbled forward and apologized... I didn't even know she was there!

I calmed her down but she didn't really believe me. I was lucky I had my girlfriend there. I didn't stay around long. There weren't any repercussions at work.

So there are definitely honest mistakes in this area.

That said, I think that "encouraging people to speak out" and then "giving people one warning" should be fine. The point that people have travelled to get there is pretty significant, unless it's egregious there should be a warning.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:38 PM on August 26, 2008


Socially incompetent guys act inappropriately towards women. Shocking. I wish we had formal charm school for guys, teach them how to act right around girls.**

[T]he complaint was not that a woman was asked out on a date, but repeatedly asked out a date after she said no.

I can totally see this scenario -- best imagined with zombie Chris Farley cast in the role of "Geek" and '90s Pam Anderson in role of "Girl":
Geek: Hey, you wanna... maybe... do something later?
Girl: Sorry I'm busy, but thanks sweetie! (Geeze, that's the 5th loser today!)
Geek: [Ooo, she SMILED at me! I might have a chance!!]

(Geek confers with geek friends, all agree he should have asked her for a drink. That's how you ask a girl out, nimrod!)

Geek: Um, hi... me again... You, uh, wanna get a dr... I mean, can I buy you a... a drink? Or something?
Girl: Oh, you again... No, I said I'm busy. (minor leave-me-alone scowl, looks around)
Geek: Ohh.. right. (slinks off confused -- the guys said this would work!)

(Confers with geek friends, all agree they need to observe him "in action" to see what he's doing wrong.)

Geek: H-hhey. How's it going? You want to...
Girl: LOOK, asshole. I'm NOT. INTERESTED!!
Geek: Bitch...!

Fin.
Girl feels threatened and harassed, vents to other female booth workers, has to get a cab to her car 2 blocks away cuz she's worried about freeky geek stalking her. Geek's feelings are hurt, further cements negative opinions about women, retreats back into his fantasy world of comic books and WoW, won't "ask a girl out" for another 18 months.

** But given the hate-on people have for any self-help material that purports to help socially awkward men interact with women, it won't happen.
posted by LordSludge at 1:39 PM on August 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm a guy and I totally support these new policy suggestions. I have absolutely no fear that I would be falsely accused of harassing a woman at a comic convention. But then again, I'm a nice guy who treats people with respect and spends most of my time digging through boxes of 50%-off trades anyway.

It makes me wonder why so many guys are afraid they would be falsely accused.
posted by turaho at 1:39 PM on August 26, 2008 [14 favorites]


I said: "Zero tolerance" doesn't mean "every report of unacceptable behavior is automatically believed and acted upon," people. It means "every report of unacceptable behavior that's deemed by the constituted authorities to be well-founded is acted upon."

WCityMike said: Um, no, it doesn't. Very often the "deeming" of the "constituted authorities" is entirely bypassed and their hands are most often tied.

I'm sure that people do "Zero Tolerance" wrong a lot of the time.

However, if you look at the specific thing we're talking about, the call is for every claim to be investigated and acted upon. Not for every claim to be automatically accepted and acted upon.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:40 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


I wasn't offended that you used the word "fuck." Fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck. I was questioning that you had nothing substantive to say but belittlement.

Characterizing men's fear that a blanket acceptance of harrassment accusations will lead to false and undeserved imprisonment as a desire for an unfettered right for harrassment is not only nonsensical, it's extremely offensive.

Why is it nonsensical? I can't think of another reason that some men fight so strongly against such policies with the "what if I'm falsely accused?"doctrine, which, with the vehemence of many of these claims, implies that it's completely COMMON for women to go up to security guards, police, and people of authority and claim that a completely innocent man has been harassing them. As many people point out, this is not a rampant problem. Women generally have a darn good reason for approaching a security figure with this type of complaint.

The only reason I can think of that some men jump to this conclusion is that the very IDEA of these policies is strange to them - why is it necessary? Won't that lead to some RISK of ME being accused, even when I didn't do anything? Well, yes, I admit it does. But balanced against the very real risk that women face of being harassed every day simply by going outside...well, it's not that comparable. It's strange and odd to some men, I imagine, to feel that they could at all be victimized in that manner. That is opposite the status quo - that men behave as they wish, and women don't usually get to say anything about it, or at least do anything to change their behavior.

So when I see a man using that argument strenuously, "Why do we need this policy? Aren't guys going to be falsely accused? What if women lie about being harassed?," I can't help but feel that these men feel insecure about their behavior and are worrying about women using their new-found "unfair" advantage.

And the "oh, come-the-fuck-on" was an expression of my disdain and offense at such a out-of-left-field outrageous remark and characterization

Yeah, I got that you were full of disdain and offense (who wouldn't?) What I didn't get was any reason why you would think my feelings were outrageous or out of left-field. I think you need to step away from the computer for a minute when you get that angry, because "come the fuck ON" isn't helping the discussion. Thank you for clarifying.
posted by agregoli at 1:41 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well to be nit-picky I've never seen a picture of a guy at a con wearing nothing but paint or a banana sling and a couple pasties so they aren't all dressing up like the guys do.

Ah, yes, the ever-apropos "men and women have identical standards of dress" argument. Tell me, how is the 24th century? Say hello to Dr. Beckett for me!
posted by vorfeed at 1:41 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sidhedevil: Completely sincere.
posted by ODiV at 1:41 PM on August 26, 2008


Well to be nit-picky I've never seen a picture of a guy at a con wearing nothing but paint or a banana sling and a couple pasties so they aren't all dressing up like the guys do.

Without knowing too much about it, I have to wonder how many of the female characters are designed as non-revelaing?
posted by Pax at 1:41 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can I just third the request to tone down the "basement dwelling nerd" stereotype? I'm starting to feel like I'm trapped in a bad National Lampoon film.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:42 PM on August 26, 2008


Now I want to know what kind of lame policy was there to begin with.

None. That's the problem. And that's why the CAHP has set out some suggested starting points, which are rather measured, all things considered, even taking into account some of the not-exactly-everyday-behavior factors such as cosplay, and other things you probably wouldn't encounter in the proverbial dark alley.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:42 PM on August 26, 2008


turaho: "It makes me wonder why so many guys are afraid they would be falsely accused."

If you don't have anything to hide, you won't mind if we search your house, will you? Because you don't have anything to hide, right?
posted by WCityMike at 1:42 PM on August 26, 2008


women's complaints of rampant sexual harassment.

I implied in my first post that I don't think that it's a rampant problem. It wasn't when I was a con-goer some twenty years ago when the gender disparity was much higher, and I've seen no evidence that it's rampant today. And, again, I don't see the linked story as particularly compelling evidence.

Do we even want to get into how you just said you prefer venues that work to attract "people in general" when we're talking about a venue whose previous policies have been deterring women in droves?)

I don't think there's much evidence of this. All the evidence points to an increasing participation by women at cons, and that this participation is increasing at an accelerated rate.

In any case, a policy that gives more weight to complaints by one gender would be a sexist policy.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:42 PM on August 26, 2008


It's not like you're going to be taken to Gitmo or whatever.

Ugh. Another person I'm glad is not in charge.

People tend to get thrown out of places when they act like pricks, even when they've paid money to get into those places.

You must have more interesting Cons in your town. I can't picture any one I'd want to attend that didn't involve a (probably international) flight. This isn't your local movie show.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:43 PM on August 26, 2008


What planet are you on? Why would anyone levy a just accusation knowing full well that they were to be punished for being a victim?

Exactly -- if I'm going to be thrown out automatically for making a complaint, I'm never going to make one. Why would I? You're presuming guilt on the part of the accuser, and punishing her accordingly, rather than presuming guilt on the party of the accused.

There simply aren't "more alternatives." I'm sorry but you DO have a dichotomy here -- you can either invest in an actual courtroom and try every accused - hire CSI and defense attorneys -- or you can have a zero-tolerance policy. With anything else, you leave the door open for allowing the harassment to continue.

Let's throw this scenario into the mix, and see if it changes your mind: a guy is walking around grabbing the asses of men at ComicCon, or intrusively asking for dates, or any of the other behaviors noted -- what do you say to that? If you're the target -- what do you want the venue's policy to be?
posted by electrasteph at 1:44 PM on August 26, 2008


the call is for every claim to be investigated and acted upon. Not for every claim to be automatically accepted and acted upon.

Now there's a policy.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:44 PM on August 26, 2008


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the whole reason this was even coming up is that the venue had said that harassment was in some way 'against the rules" but then when confronted by people saying "okay we think there is harassment going on... here's our story" they did nothing, essentially saying they had a policy that they were not enforcing. The FAQ on the original site bitter-girl.com linked to explains some of this. It basically suggests outlining

- what harassment is and is not
- what steps should be taken if one thinks harassment has occurred
- what to do in case something you did inadvertently was seen as harassment [as lupus_yonderboy mentions above a sincere apology is a good first step, but sometimes it's still messy, warnings are good]
- how to deal with venues w/r/t their policies

Most of this is education intent on making it much more clear what is an is not acceptable on ALL sides of this issue, not just "okay we put up with shit and now we're not going to..." It seems to me that one of the main hopes is that it will make venues more aware of their policies, sort of how the civil union movement in Vermont was really just pointing out that civul unions were an extension of the non-discrimination policy Vermont already had on the books.
posted by jessamyn at 1:44 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


I agree with the idea that there will not be a huge rash of 'vendetta-ing' on the part of ladies who were not the subject of unwelcome attention. But on the other hand, I am reminded of a friend in college who was incorrectly identified as being a Peeping Tom by the victim. He was at a party across town when the event occurred. Dozens of people saw him at the party, but because there was pot around and under 21 drinking, nobody wanted to come forward immediately to vouch for him. So he was expelled and criminal charges were filed. Even when a few did step up, the college did not believe them ("You're lying for your friend!") and my friend remained expelled. It took a lot of legal wrangling and the eventual identification of the actual Peeper to get his expulsion lifted and criminal charges dropped, but by then it was too late - he had no interest in returning to that school and instead transferred what credits he could to a different one. Between the legal wrangling time and those credits that did not come over, he lost about three semesters and a whole lot of drive to pursue his education.

So yeah, people should speak up if they're abused or made uncomfortable by other people's behavior, but if a pretty large college couldn't get it together enough to fully investigate the accusation, I doubt a loose association of con volunteers could do any better. While the stakes are much, much lower (being kicked out of a con, losing admission fees, etc) once the police get involved there is a potential to seriously impact the accused's life. I hope whatever system is put into place to ensure that a con is a safe place for everyone takes this into account.

All that said, I admit to being extremely bashful around beautiful women in revealing outfits. I am so worried about oogling them that I look away. This makes booth babes perform the opposite function (keeping me away), causes me to cross the street a whole lot in the summertime, and is the reason I cannot tell you what color my wife's eyes are.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:45 PM on August 26, 2008


I've seen pictures of guys at cons in banana-hammocks. When they're COSPLAYING A CHARACTER WHO WEARS ONLY A BANANA-HAMMOCK.

ODiV: I do get people's reaction to the buzzword "Zero Tolerance" and agree with WCityMike that people often do it wrong, so wrong (kids being expelled from school for having scissors, mystyk's saga, etc.)

But somehow we went in this thread to an argument about how the "Zero Tolerance" mindset can lead to abuses to an assumption that the goal of the CCAHP is to have Con security and management instantly act on every complaint without investigating whether or not it was accurate.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:45 PM on August 26, 2008


LordSludge, it's also important to note that the booth working woman in question had to get one of her friends to physically chase the man away. That sounds a bit less innocent than your situation, though I'm sure it happens that way most of the time.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:45 PM on August 26, 2008


The thing is, I'm not necessarily in favor of zero-tolerance policies, because they generally make really shitty policies (like, your kid brings an aspirin to school and gets suspended for three days because they violated the policy on no drugs in school). Stupid.

But my work - and yours too, probably - has policies on harassment, theft, drinking/using drugs on the job etc. There are procedures to be followed if one is accused of breaking any of those rules. I don't think that policies like that would be workable for two- or three-day cons like these.

But the importance of the policies in setting the tone that These Things Are Not Acceptable can't be overstated. I haven't been to a con like this, but I presume that it's culturally unacceptable to do certain things - sell bootlegs on the floor (as opposed to discreetly out of your hotel room), or show off your plagiarised comic and try to sell it, etc. There are rules against this stuff. The rules are both set in black-and-white and in the culture, yes?

It's up to organizers to set a tone, and a place to start is in the packet of crap stuff you get when you register. Along with "No plagiarism" "No bootlegs" and "No Smoking", how hard would it be to add "No Unwanted Touching, Grabbing, Following"?

And if more guys who think this behavior is gross and unacceptable would say "Cut that shit out" when they see it happening, and if more women would adopt punch-them-in-the-dick as a response, then the culture would adapt pretty quickly.
posted by rtha at 1:45 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Sorry, chudmonkey, I still don't get what you're saying at all. I'm not going to accept that as a woman, I am subject to harassment and that's just the way it's going to be. To even be TOLD that is an affront to my sensibilities as an equal citizen of this country, and an inhabitant of the world. Just because some people feel the need to be assholes doesn't mean I'm going to accept it as normal behavior towards me. It's even better to fight against because attitudes towards women CAN be changed, unlike the burglar - people are still going to burgle. But woman aren't barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen any more, we have rights the same as men, and I'm not going to just accept that women will forever and always be harassed and that we must accept it as a matter of course.
posted by agregoli at 1:45 PM on August 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Let's throw this scenario into the mix, and see if it changes your mind: a guy is walking around grabbing the asses of men at ComicCon, or intrusively asking for dates, or any of the other behaviors noted -- what do you say to that? If you're the target -- what do you want the venue's policy to be?

Well, there was a decent enough chance it was a guy who grabbed my ass at the gallery. As I said I was flustered, but you already read my reaction. How should it have gone? Why do you think your little hypothetical should change everything?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:46 PM on August 26, 2008


You must have more interesting Cons in your town. I can't picture any one I'd want to attend that didn't involve a (probably international) flight. This isn't your local movie show.

So exactly how much money buys you the right to act like a pig then? Otherwise, I don't really get why you even bring the cost of this into the equation.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:47 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm glad sensible and interesting discussion of this is happening, because I think it's important that awareness of this as a problem is raised and people acting like dicks get a talking to and eventual booting.

(That said, the sensible and interesting discussion certainly isn't happening here. )
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I guess you haven't been to a K-12 school lately, where it is common practice to punish everyone involved in a fight regardless of who started it or who complained about it. Joey hits Billy. Billy doesn't hit back, and tells a teacher. Billy and Joey both get detention.

And this doesn't strike you as stupid, unfair and juvenile? Because it is. Especially considering we're talking about adults here, not children on a playground.

That's how zero tolerance works.

Well gee, if you say so. Sounds to me that judging by this thread there are plenty of ways to interpret it, none of which really matter though since the proposed solution/policy is fairly detailed.

So yeah, I'm still waiting for the serious part of your argument. Nothing you've put forth yet has seemed all that relevant.
posted by butterstick at 1:49 PM on August 26, 2008


I said: the call is for every claim to be investigated and acted upon. Not for every claim to be automatically accepted and acted upon.

Durn Bronzefist said: Now there's a policy.

Again, I'm missing the point if this is sarcasm.

Checking out the validity of complaints by one con-goer against another for a violation of the con-rules both had agreed to seems like an excellent policy to me. What would your problem be with it?

One very common action taken upon the investigation of complaints is to dismiss the complaint. Another common action is to issue a warning. This is what actual police do in the public arena; I think that con security is also capable of taking either or both actions when they're found to be warranted.

And going to a con means agreeing to play by their rules, as enforced by their referees (con security).
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:49 PM on August 26, 2008


Here's a woman sentenced to 90 days in jail for false rape claim.

Which is strange, as within the Rape Culture, acts of "harmless" sexism are commonly employed to validate and rationalize normative misogynistic practices like talking to Darrk Raven.
posted by plexi at 1:50 PM on August 26, 2008


So exactly how much money buys you the right to act like a pig then? Otherwise, I don't really get why you even bring the cost of this into the equation.

How much money buys you the presumption of innocense, Marisa? My comment was pretty straightforward. YOU played the "no big consequence" card, so why I should "bring cost into this" is pretty obvious unless you're being intentionally dense.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:50 PM on August 26, 2008


Durn Bronzefist said: Now there's a policy.

Again, I'm missing the point if this is sarcasm.


It was not.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:50 PM on August 26, 2008


Durn Bronzefist: electrasteph: Then a knowledge gap, perhaps? Here.

I know what a false dichotomy is. I'm saying it's not false. I acknowledge that she's presenting a dichotomy. So am I.

And I'm not responsible for the comment directed at you by someone else.
posted by electrasteph at 1:51 PM on August 26, 2008


If you don't have anything to hide, you won't mind if we search your house, will you? Because you don't have anything to hide, right?

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. I'm saying that I don't think that someone will falsely accuse me of harassment.

Your statement implies that instituting this policy will lead to every man will be falsely accused? Or that since I don't think I'll be falsely accused, I've somehow permitted people to falsely accuse me? Or something? Maybe you could respond without the withering sarcasm and we'd communicate better.
posted by turaho at 1:52 PM on August 26, 2008


The only reasonable(?) argument that I could make to not implement a 'no tolerance' policy would be the potential for that to be used to get rid of an overly effective business competitor. A possibility only, but systems are gamed. Bottom line, whats wrong with drawing the line at witnessed physical contact for the policy - no ass grabbing etc, other stuff dealt with more informally. (eg dick punch?) I don't expect an overt ass grab or its ilk to be unnoticed, but a non-restrictive open no tolerance policy is going to be a bear to enforce for the organizers IF the behavior is as prevalent as posited by the blog.

One rub, I guess the dick punch would fall under the no tolerance rules.

Shite. Back to the drawing board.
posted by sfts2 at 1:52 PM on August 26, 2008


Ah. Well, Durn Bronzefist, I'm confused by what I (mis?) read as your opposition to the CCAHP, then.

But I may just be confused in general by this thread.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:53 PM on August 26, 2008


miss tea writes "There's a difference. (I'm not going to argue those statistics, although I could, except to say that a range light that sort of undermines your point, don't you think?) "

Why? Because on the low end it's only 1 in 50 accusations that has someone falsely accused being ejected? Or because on the high end it's 50%? Or are you saying that because the range is so large it never happens? Any point on that range is unacceptable to me.

Sidhedevil writes "The 'better 100 guilty should escape than 1 innocent face the penalty' argument only works for the death penalty. Applying it to something where the consequence of being railroaded is a financial loss and/or a hassle is pretty bizarre."

I don't agree. But I'm interested where you'd draw the line. Is it really only in capital cases? How about life imprisonment? 10 years? 2 years? House arrest? Bankruptcy? An annual fine consisting of 50% of earnings for the rest of your life? Banishment from a group of cons? Banishment from a local con? A beating? Humiliation? A stern lecture?
posted by Mitheral at 1:55 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oops, hit "Post comment" a bit early there. What I mean to say is this:

When everyone is made aware of what's acceptable behavior and what isn't, that's a good start. When females attendees can feel that they have real recourse if they are sexually harrassed, that's even better. When the action taken is investigation, and a security guard keeping an eye on the someone accused of sexual harrassment, I don't think some horrible infringment of human rights is being crossed. I think that's all that's being put forth here. And the cost of attending such an event, as well as these "what if" scenarios, don't really seem to counter what is for all intents and purposes a perfectly reasonable policy. Why must we blow a gasket over this?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:55 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


I realize that no one is reading this thread wondering what chudmonkey is going to get out of it, but I want to state that I've changed my thinking a little bit in the past hour and i really appreciate the people who have taken the time to reply specifically to my posts.

I don't understand what being a woman must be like. I was always taught, and I've always believed, that women are equal to men. But I guess I make a mistake when I think that "equal" means "the same". I've always been naive in thinking that the society you get is the one you act like you have. But this is an easy ideal for me to hold, because I'm white, male, fairly affluent, large and kind of ugly in the traditional sense. For me, discrimination is something I try not to inflict upon other people, not something I try to protect myself from.

I want us all to live in a world where we all assume the same legal protections, all assume the same courtesies (or lack thereof) and all assume the same capacity to stand up for ourselves, but I see that some women (among other groups, I'm sure) simply can't see the world in that way. Not because they are inherently weak by any means, but because the real world is a place where their freedoms haven't always been rigorously protected or respected.

I guess the heart of it for me is that I don't want to think of men as assholes or women as victims, but all generalities aside, I now recognize this as a common enough dynamic in specific circumstances that it should be specifically addressed by rules.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:55 PM on August 26, 2008 [12 favorites]


So exactly how much money buys you the right to act like a pig then? Otherwise, I don't really get why you even bring the cost of this into the equation.

I'm not the person who wrote the original, but I'd like to reply. If the policy allows someone to accuse me in error and that accusation, weighted more heavily than my denial, will get me ejected, I can laugh off a $30 Saturday entry fee and pick up sushi on the way home.

If I've spent $1500 on travel and hotel to go to SDCC? Well, I'm a pale, doughy guy in his 30s with dubious fashion sense, so I look like about half of the other male attendees. If I get accused in error and get ejected, I've wasted $1500 and my week's vacation.

And I'm gonna be pissed. Not only am I never coming back, but in a con that size I won't be the only one ejected in error. Guaranteed that the fallout from that will be worse than if a handful of busty cosplay enthusiasts get ogled.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:55 PM on August 26, 2008


The only reasonable(?) argument that I could make to not implement a 'no tolerance' policy would be the potential for that to be used to get rid of an overly effective business competitor.

People could do this now by accusing them of having bootlegs or smoking or any of the other things that have already been explicitly spelled out as Against The Rules, yes?

I mean, with the bootlegs, there's physical evidence right there. Smoking is ephemeral, though, so someone from con security would have to look into the relative credibility of the allegations of smoking and the denial of smoking, see if anyone had witnessed anything, etc.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:56 PM on August 26, 2008


Agregoli, in the aforementioned MeTa thread, I apologized for some heavy mad-on behavior in my past. That doesn't mean that I will perpetually be the Embodiment of Sweetness and Light in threads. If someone says something that I believe to be a very prejudicial characterization of my entire gender, then I do reserve the right to respond with offense, and I don't believe the mere act of being offended and responding with a remark conveying, emotionally, that offense is in any way similar to the irrational mad-on behavior I was apologizing for previously.

Now that we've addressed your arguments directed towards the person and not the subject, let's shift the focus off me and back onto the theories being discussed, eh?

What you are talking about is codifying a system by which women are given an unfettered and absolute power to create a heavily negative circumstance for men. All a woman would have to do in order to kick a man out of a convention is merely accuse him of misbehavior, and he is evicted.

And you are then going about, as I said perviously, characterizing men's fear of that power being abused as a defense of an unfettered right for harrassment.

I'll use myself as an example. I would fear going to a convention where any woman could accuse me of something and I would get kicked out. I would not fear this because I plan to go around making questionable sexist behavior towards women. Nor would I fear this because I feel that I should have ... God, I'm offended just typing this ... nor would I fear this because I feel that I should have an unfettered right to harrass women. Good bleepin' grief.

The fact that such abuse would be rare is not a mitigating factor in the injustice of such a setup.

Honestly, agregoli, if you feel I'm not respecting your opinion, it's because I'm not respecting your opinion. That doesn't mean I'm not happy to be in the marketplace of ideas with you, that doesn't mean I don't respect you as a fellow human being equal to me, that doesn't mean I won't respect prior or future opinions of yours, it means that I simply don't hold the quality of respect in my mind or heart for that particular opinion of yours.

We've got tens of Mefites in this thread going around in about three hundred different circles based on varying differences because people are trying to arrive upon absolutes, and the fact is that absolutes don't work. You don't put the power in an aforementioned zero-tolerance, absolutist policy, because said policies don't fit. You put the power in the hands of the Con organizers. Or, hell, as earlier mentioned, you take it out of their hands and put it into the hands of law enforcement.
posted by WCityMike at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Thanks, chudmonkey, for that.
posted by agregoli at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


"False reports of rape, a much more serious issue, run 2-50%."

Sweet Jesus, what a misleading statement. It should read: In reports from local police departments that are forwarded on to the FBI, the FBI has determined that roughly 8% of accusations are unfounded, intentionally or accidentally. Journalists have given, and no citation is given for these "journalists," or articles, which may well be opinion or anecdotal pieces, numbers between 2 and 50 percent. The highest incidence with citation is 41 percent, but the researchers note that this is in a peculiar environment and don't encourage extrapolation.

By the way you've framed it, you might legitimately conclude that the range was of equal weight, or that there was legitimate science backing the 50 percent. Or even, equally erroneously, split the difference and decide that one in four accusations of rape was false.

And this all ignores the very pertinent semantic issue at the core—you don't know that these were all necessarily false reports, but only that they were recanted.
posted by klangklangston at 1:57 PM on August 26, 2008 [22 favorites]


Thanks, chudmonkey, for that.
Yes. Very nice.
posted by Pax at 1:58 PM on August 26, 2008


Sorry to confuse, Sidhedevil. I am completely on board with your approach. A policy is needed, and a policy to act on every complaint is, I think, necessary. How action is taken and on what basis is what's being hashed out. I can see how that comment might have seemed, in print, sarcastic.

What gets my goat is the "hey it isn't Gitmo" and "it will only affect a few" lines of thinking that seem to be so popular these days. No big deal I guess if there's really no chance of it being you. I appreciate that people feel put upon -- in a way that I did not to the same extent when faced with this situation -- but maybe people should be clearer when they speak of "zero tolerance" what they mean. Because there have been some pretty vivid examples of "automatic action" type policies that jump to mind when this stuff idea gets thrown around.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:59 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


chudmonkey, you're not getting the whole "blaming the victim" thing. It's really really simple:

If someone does something offensive/harrassing/etc to you, they are the problem, NOT the person who has been offended/harrassed/etc...

What you are suggesting is the same thing as suggesting that anyone who is taken advantage of is at fault for not protecting themselves better. People mugged on the street are at fault for not carrying weapons, people who are robbed in their locked house are at fault for not using state-of-the-art security. You have basically said that people who have done nothing wrong are at fault for being wronged, and that's the most generous interpretation of your argument possible. The less generous interpretation, the one I hope is not more accurate, is that you think it's wrong for women to dress a certain way, and that therefore they HAVE, in fact, done something wrong. If this is the case, then not only are you misunderstanding the whole idea of blaming the victim, but you are actively contributing to the continued oppression of women and their right to express themselves in safety.
posted by shmegegge at 1:59 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. At the beginning of the thread I said that mere accusation shouldn't be enough to get someone tossed out of a paid event; there should be at least some investigation. And I'm disagreed with and all sorts of nasty insinuations are made (such as the one that people are trying to somehow protect a male "right" to harass) and then later on in the thread people like misstea say oh OF COURSE they didn't mean that you immediately throw somebody out without even a modicum of investigation.

Color me flabbergasted. That's all I said; that you don't haul out somebody and toss them on their ass without doing a little investigation. Hey, have somebody from con security follow 'em around and watch them for a bit. Whatever.

If we're saying the same thing, why the offensive insinuations and such?
posted by Justinian at 1:59 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


stuff
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:59 PM on August 26, 2008


In any case, a policy that gives more weight to complaints by one gender would be a sexist policy.

I don't think the policy actually being discussed weighs complaints that way.
posted by Falconetti at 1:59 PM on August 26, 2008


My comment was pretty straightforward. YOU played the "no big consequence" card, so why I should "bring cost into this" is pretty obvious unless you're being intentionally dense.

The "no big consequence" of being ejected from an event for sexually harrassing female attendees, Durn. Your counter to this was to talk about the cost of an international flight. Which is beside the point, because as I'd already said - twice now - that those accused of harrassment would in all likelihood get watched by security should there be no immediate evidence. Sorry if this is so maddeningly unclear to you.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:00 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I find it completely mind-boggling that there are men in this thread arguing that no punitive action should be taken against sexual predators at public events.

And this, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is why the neckbeards will dwell forever in the nether regions of their parent's homes. Not because they are foolish and socially inept, but because they are vocally so.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:01 PM on August 26, 2008


If the policy allows someone to accuse me in error and that accusation, weighted more heavily than my denial, will get me ejected

WHY ARE PEOPLE MAKING THE ASSUMPTION THAT AN ACCUSATION IS GOING TO BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY THAN A DENIAL?

I mean, WTF?

It's not like sexual harassment is the only thing that can get someone ejected from a con right now. Why, when it's sexual harassment, does the specter of false malicious accusation suddenly become the crux of the matter?

People do make false, malicious accusations of sexual harassment. They also make false, malicious accusations of stealing and intellectual property theft and drug use and every other thing that might get someone in trouble.

If a con's dispute-resolution policy is constructed so that all accusers are automatically believed, and all denials from the accused are automatically disbelieved, this is a bigger problem than just in the sexual harassment arena.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:01 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll use myself as an example. I would fear going to a convention where any woman could accuse me of something and I would get kicked out. I would not fear this because I plan to go around making questionable sexist behavior towards women. Nor would I fear this because I feel that I should have ... God, I'm offended just typing this ... nor would I fear this because I feel that I should have an unfettered right to harrass women. Good bleepin' grief.

This is my point. You've listed the reasons why you wouldn't fear being falsely accused. I'm interested to know why you actively fear that you would be falsely accused.
posted by turaho at 2:01 PM on August 26, 2008


From the linked Website: OSWBEOUP(&GA) isn’t affiliated with CAHP (which is a gender-neutral project)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:01 PM on August 26, 2008


That, TBH, is not what I'm getting from you so far. But it is fairly sensible.
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on August 26, 2008


Justinian said: At the beginning of the thread I said that mere accusation shouldn't be enough to get someone tossed out of a paid event; there should be at least some investigation

And that's what the CCAHP calls for too.

So you've got no beef with the CCAHP on that front.

There seem to have been an awful lot of strawmen created in this thread. We should put on a production of The Wizard of Oz. Or The Wicker Man, maybe.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:03 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


WHY ARE PEOPLE MAKING THE ASSUMPTION THAT AN ACCUSATION IS GOING TO BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY THAN A DENIAL?

I mean, WTF?


It does seem a little like some peopple have flat out stated that it should be.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on August 26, 2008


Baby_Balrog: "I find it completely mind-boggling that there are men in this thread arguing that no punitive action should be taken against sexual predators at public events.

There are? Honestly? Linkage, please?
posted by WCityMike at 2:04 PM on August 26, 2008


Hmm. I'm beginning to suspect that eevryone here is about 99% agreed on everything, unsure on what the 1% is, and under the impression that everyone else is shouting "All women are hookers" or "all nerds are rapists".
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on August 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


So you've got no beef with the CCAHP on that front.

Absolutely not. I have no beef with CCAHP at all. People in this thread were arguing that the mere accusation... with no investigation... should be enough to get someone tossed.
posted by Justinian at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2008


it's obvious there is a problem here to be addressed and it is encouraging to see such constructive work being done.

In regards to this thread,
I agree that zero-tolerance policies are bad ideas
(particularly as we seem to be defining it as presumption of guilt upon accusation)
in this context and pretty much any other -
and I really don't buy that "With anything else, you leave the door open for allowing the harassment to continue."

how about the ideas presented here among others?

it seems to me one can still have a balanced approach to addressing this issue
posted by sloe at 2:07 PM on August 26, 2008


WHY ARE PEOPLE MAKING THE ASSUMPTION THAT AN ACCUSATION IS GOING TO BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY THAN A DENIAL?

I think it's the argument that an accused has a lot of incentive to deny, whereas people are questioning the incentive of making a false accusation, thus making a false accusation less likely and an accusation more believable generally.
posted by Pax at 2:08 PM on August 26, 2008


I think I agree with you, Artw. Most people seem to be agreeing. But there's one or two people on either side saying crazy stuff.
posted by Justinian at 2:08 PM on August 26, 2008


"Zero tolerance" doesn't mean "every report of unacceptable behavior is automatically believed and acted upon," people.

Some people in the thread are calling for that very thing, though, which is what others are reacting to.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:08 PM on August 26, 2008


Well, I'm almost to bingo.
posted by FunkyHelix at 2:09 PM on August 26, 2008 [11 favorites]


WHY ARE PEOPLE MAKING THE ASSUMPTION THAT AN ACCUSATION IS GOING TO BE TAKEN MORE SERIOUSLY THAN A DENIAL?

Because miss tea wrote earlier: "But why put more weight on the denial than the claim?" under the false impression that if an accusation is not acted upon, the denial is therefore weighted more highly. This is not the case; in truth, it means that they were weighted equally.

Thus, if someone has been ejected, the accusation has been taken more seriously than the denial. QED.

If a con's dispute-resolution policy is constructed so that all accusers are automatically believed, and all denials from the accused are automatically disbelieved, this is a bigger problem than just in the sexual harassment arena.

Might want to re-read the thread. Some people are advocating such a system. That's why I advocated the "both of you get out" resolution for such a zero tolerance approach.

BB writes: I find it completely mind-boggling that there are men in this thread arguing that no punitive action should be taken against sexual predators at public events.

Who said what now?
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:09 PM on August 26, 2008


Chudmonkey, although I don't agree with everything you've said here, I utterly appreciate your candor and willingness to have a reasonable discussion. You're a great example of why MeFi can be a wonderful place.
posted by miss tea at 2:10 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Absolutely not. I have no beef with CCAHP at all. People in this thread were arguing that the mere accusation... with no investigation... should be enough to get someone tossed.

I didn't read it that way, but maybe it flowed too quickly and I missed something. And I tend to agree with most of what you say, Justinian.
posted by Pax at 2:10 PM on August 26, 2008


turaho: "This is my point. You've listed the reasons why you wouldn't fear being falsely accused. I'm interested to know why you actively fear that you would be falsely accused."

Practically speaking, I have no reason to believe that any behavioral tendency that I'm aware of would trigger a false accusation. However, I can explain my fear by using a metaphor. If a police officer walks into the room with a gun in his holster, you tense. You tense not because you have any sort of rational belief that the cop will employ that weapon in a way that will hurt you (either by crossfire or direct shot). You tense because there is a possible threat to you, and you don't know how that threat is going to be employed: it is a variable. Obviously, a threat of eviction from a gathering is a far less threat than a gun, holstered or no. But there are even more variables: you are not dealing with the judgment or sanity of one wielder; you are dealing with the judgment and sanity of hundreds of different women. I make no implication that poor judgment or poor sanity are somehow more common to women; I say this because in any general large crowd you are going to get people of both genders on a wide spectrum of judgment and sanity, and if some of them are "armed" with the ability to evict you based on just their muse, then there is a threat in the room.

Again, I am not arguing for absolutism. I am not saying women should not have a right to accuse and have that accusation weighted heavily. I am merely saying that (i) judgment needs to be employed by the judging party, and not a zero-tolerance party; and (ii) that this is not an unreasonable fear born out of a desire for unfettered harrassment.
posted by WCityMike at 2:10 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


That doesn't mean that I will perpetually be the Embodiment of Sweetness and Light in threads.

I don't expect you to. I expect, however, that MeFites will actually be a part of the discussion, instead of just hurling disgust at each other.

If someone says something that I believe to be a very prejudicial characterization of my entire gender, then I do reserve the right to respond with offense, and I don't believe the mere act of being offended and responding with a remark conveying, emotionally, that offense is in any way similar to the irrational mad-on behavior I was apologizing for previously.

Well, here's where you flew off the handle unnecessarily. Where did I indict your entire gender? I was very careful to say some men, because I do NOT believe that all men think this way.

What you are talking about is codifying a system by which women are given an unfettered and absolute power to create a heavily negative circumstance for men. All a woman would have to do in order to kick a man out of a convention is merely accuse him of misbehavior, and he is evicted.

How did I suggest that? "Unfettered and absolute power" - to what? Tell a security guard to watch this guy cause this is what he did? To maybe approach him and tell him that he's being warned? No where in this thread did I say a guy should be automatically thrown out of a comic con because a woman pointed at him. So you accusation of what I am supporting is false. Next?

And you are then going about, as I said perviously, characterizing men's fear of that power being abused as a defense of an unfettered right for harrassment.

What *some* men espouse is what I consider to be an irrational amount of fear of being falsely accused. Where does this fear and suspiscion of women lying about harassment come from? When I see it, I conclude what I already stated - that they are uncomfortable with the possibility of women having any kind of power to reject being treated the way these men might want to treat them.

I'll use myself as an example. I would fear going to a convention where any woman could accuse me of something and I would get kicked out. I would not fear this because I plan to go around making questionable sexist behavior towards women. Nor would I fear this because I feel that I should have ... God, I'm offended just typing this ... nor would I fear this because I feel that I should have an unfettered right to harrass women. Good bleepin' grief.

Good for you! You don't fall into the category of people I'm talking about. However, I do still wonder if it would be a persistant fear for you - it's not going to keep you up nights while you wait for the comic-con, is it? I would think not - probably just enough of a worry to discuss on a message board. I understand a small amount of concern. But that FAQ page on the posted link says it all - frequently asked about women lying? Frequently asked why does there need to be a policy at all? Policies like this actually help BOTH sides. It's clearly stated. Hopefully the security guards will be fair. It's all up-front. I can't help but see this sort of thing as good.

Honestly, agregoli, if you feel I'm not respecting your opinion, it's because I'm not respecting your opinion.

And you can do that with disagreement, not straight up dismissal of my thoughts with a throw-away comment.

That doesn't mean I'm not happy to be in the marketplace of ideas with you, that doesn't mean I don't respect you as a fellow human being equal to me, that doesn't mean I won't respect prior or future opinions of yours, it means that I simply don't hold the quality of respect in my mind or heart for that particular opinion of yours.

And that's fine. So show me. Use your words, as you have here. Otherwise, I'm going to assume you don't respect me enough to bother to post a response besides belittlement. That's all I wanted to point out to you - how you initially came across didn't express any of that last quoted paragraph. Thanks again for hanging in there.
posted by agregoli at 2:10 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Clarifications of my comments:

I said:
'The problem is that one person's "unwanted, threatening stalker" can be one man's "charming rouge scamp."'

small_ruminant responded:

Show me a single, solitary woman (or man) who would feel this behavior was that of a "charming rogue scamp" when it was directed at them. It is completely unacceptable behavior.

Sorry I wasn't clearer in this -- what I meant is that some guys are being assholes when they think they are being charming. No matter what they think, I agree they should be told they are assholes.


I said:
Anything that discourages sexy people from dressing sexily offends me to my very core.

And jason's planet responded

The issue here is not a lack of eye candy for you.

The issue is women's ability to participate in a public event comfortably, without feeling threatened or assaulted


And I couldn't agree more. But I think it's important to realize -- and hell, even celebrate -- that (1) my enjoyment of someone wearing a sexy outfit and (2) thinking guys who harass those in sexy outfits are assholes are not mutually exclusive positions.

Maybe I'm not sensitive enough because my faggot-ass is more prone to enjoy men as eye candy, but I don't see a problem with the idea that ANYONE making ANYBODY uncomfortable with their decision to dress in a sexy way can offend me BOTH as a humanitarian and as a horndog.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:11 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


agregoli: "And that's fine. So show me. Use your words, as you have here. Otherwise, I'm going to assume you don't respect me enough to bother to post a response besides belittlement. That's all I wanted to point out to you - how you initially came across didn't express any of that last quoted paragraph. Thanks again for hanging in there."

You know, I really, really, really, really, REALLY hate to admit it, but you are entirely correct on this point.

You have my sincere apologies.

*argh*
posted by WCityMike at 2:14 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


My moneys on 600+ comments and 1-2 flame-outs.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2008


My husband was accused of sexual harassment after rejecting a woman who made an unwanted move on him. Consequently, I can see why the possibility of female con-goers doing this keeps coming up. It happens.

miss tea: I am not advocating that security or whoever not do ANY investigation, or that if one of the accused has an alibi or something that shouldn't carry any weight.

No, but you are advocating that in the absence of any evidence, the woman be believed over the man--as far as I can tell, simply because she's a woman and why would she lie.

As a completely anecdotal data point, I have been attending sci-fi conventions since my teens (roughly 20 years or so). In that time, I have never been harassed. Not once. Not even when dressed like this [probably NSFW]. To my knowledge, none of my female friends have either.
posted by elfgirl at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2008


To the people who think are against the zero-tolerance policy for harrassment:

I get where you're coming from. I wonder, since we're talking about convention policy, if you realize that there's a policy statement inherent in your argument. What I mean is that, okay let's say that an allegedly harassed woman's word is not evidence enough, what would be? what are the circumstances that could merit action on the part of the convention security? In an ideal world, maybe the same things that work in law enforcement. DNA evidence, fingerprints, detective testimony, etc... Okay, but we know that's not possible. That all depends on government financing law enforcement, and cons are not capable of that, and the police can't donate the manpower necessary to police a 40,000 to 250,000 person con all weekend. So what's left? What evidence is it possible for the con to gather on its own? eyewitness testimony? should they have detectives questioning hundreds of thousands of attendees? should it be up to the allegedly harassed person to collect eyewitnesses to the event? If she did, what if she got a bunch of her friends to testify falsely against the accused? Surely if it's possible for some crazy woman to make false accusations against an innocent con attendee, then it's also possible for her to have collaborators for her fraud. What then? It seems that we're left with a policy where, unless the act has been caught on camera nothing can be done. Is this really what you think the most reasonable policy is? Let's imagine that someone is attacked, whether it's a guy beating another guy up, or rape or whatever. But imagine that it happens where no one else sees it. Are we really going to say that the only policy the con should take is to call the cops and hope for the best? Is there some other policy you guys have in mind that makes more sense? Because I find it hard to believe that anyone believes that the best policy is "pics or it didn't happen."
posted by shmegegge at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


ten pounds of inedita writes: "women's complaints of rampant sexual harassment."

I implied in my first post that I don't think that it's a rampant problem.


Well, okay, that's wonderful for you. But the facts of the matter are that the organizers of the Con itself feel otherwise, and I assume they know more about the situation than you do.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:15 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't help thinking this:

thanks for responding as you are to my comments, but please recognize that I'm talking about people, not women.

tells me all I need to know. Judging by the posts that came after, anyway....
posted by emjaybee at 2:16 PM on August 26, 2008


Thanks, Mike. No worries.
posted by agregoli at 2:16 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd rather an innocent was ejected from a convention with a refund (no rights are violated) then someone good at not getting caught on tape wandering about sexually molesting and harassing people.

No, this is not analogous to incarcerating innocent people at the expense of public safety.
posted by edgeways at 2:19 PM on August 26, 2008


Make that 1000+

Remember, if anyone minorly disagrees with you then you have to assume that their position is the polar opposite of everything you stand for. You are obliged to re-read every comment they’ve made in this twisty turny thread and parse everything with maximum-uncharitability – jump on anything you find lacking as evidence of their utter stupidity and evilness. There is nothing in between, only right and wrong, good and evil, black and white.

Now go get them!
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on August 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


agregoli: "Thanks, Mike. No worries."

Thanks for being gracious and even-tempered about it. And, hell, most of the rest of that reply is on target, too. Sometimes in these larger-scale threads, I get people's arguments a bit merged together, so I think I was attributing a few opinions to you that you weren't holding. So on a good number of your other points I concede as well ...
posted by WCityMike at 2:20 PM on August 26, 2008


Marisa: The "no big consequence" of being ejected from an event for being accused of sexually harrassing female attendees, Durn.

FTFY, etc. Could you miss the point a little more? You would have to have not actually read the thread. I'm not sure you have.

Again, I'm more concerned with mistake than with malice, though I think there are enough messed up members of both sexes out there that any complaints policy that doesn't expect a modicum of proof is asking for trouble.

Surely if it's possible for some crazy woman to make false accusations against an innocent con attendee, then it's also possible for her to have collaborators for her fraud.

Possible, but less likely. I don't see how you can play the probability card by stating that false accusations would be rare, and then trot this out.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:20 PM on August 26, 2008


HYPERTHETICAL ABSOLUTES OR IT DOESN'T COUNT!
posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Because the last guy who grabbed my ass proceeded to storm off when I wrenched his arm off

Holy fuck. Tore it right out of the socket? Will you have dinner with me? If I ask you four times?

Convention organizers ought to hand out a souvenir whistle to each female participant with instructions to blow the whistle only if being harassed. (No joking allowed.) At the opening of the convention, tell everyone about the whistles and tell them that if they hear a whistle nearby, they should go and see if there's anything nonviolent they can do to help the woman and they should immediately train their cameras on whoever is around the woman or running away from her. Imagine all of the would-be superheroes who would try to be first to rescue the woman in distress.

The sight of a nice shiny souvenir whistle hanging around every woman's neck would repeatedly remind men that horrible embarrassment and shunning and ejection and maybe legal proceedings and so on would follow any ass-grabbing or similar idiotic action. I have the feeling that no whistling would be necessary. The convention would get good PR and each woman would go home with another souvenir.
posted by pracowity at 2:21 PM on August 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


Well, okay, that's wonderful for you. But the facts of the matter are that the organizers of the Con itself feel otherwise, and I assume they know more about the situation than you do.

Really? I don't see anything from the con organizers suggesting this. I see some noise from a couple of bloggers and CAHP. Where's SDCC's press release decrying the rampant harassment, now? Did I miss it?

Or is it just a semi-organized group of attendees with an agenda whose point of view is no more or less vald than anyone else's?

Or were you just hoping to get away with an Appeal to Authority? Not the best trick, even if you actually have an authority to which you can appeal.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:23 PM on August 26, 2008


Also we need more typo-trolls. Where are our typo-trolls?
posted by Artw at 2:23 PM on August 26, 2008


Sidhedevil writes "I've seen pictures of guys at cons in banana-hammocks. When they're COSPLAYING A CHARACTER WHO WEARS ONLY A BANANA-HAMMOCK."

I was going to quip "pic or it didn't happen" but on second thought, ya, I ain't following that link anyways. I'll take your word (and rule 34) that it happens.

klangklangston writes "Sweet Jesus, what a misleading statement. It should read: In reports from local police departments that are forwarded on to the FBI, the FBI has determined that roughly 8% of accusations are unfounded, intentionally or accidentally. Journalists have given, and no citation is given for these 'journalists,' or articles, which may well be opinion or anecdotal pieces, numbers between 2 and 50 percent. The highest incidence with citation is 41 percent, but the researchers note that this is in a peculiar environment and don't encourage extrapolation.

Sweet Jesus I don't care what the actual rate is unless you believe it's essentially zero. Even if the actual rate of false reports, by whatever metric you choose, was 25% of the lowest number in that range (IE: 0.5%) under a policy that "escort any accused offender out of the conference and let the police sort it out. No arbitration necessary. It's called a zero tolerance policy" it would result in 1 in 200 innocent defendants being ejected. Like I said this kind of collateral damage fighting sexual harassment isn't acceptable to me. I can understand that it is acceptable to others.

turaho writes "I'm interested to know why you actively fear that you would be falsely accused."

Because it would ruin my vacation, cost me a lot of money, and possibly tarnish my reputation.
posted by Mitheral at 2:23 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sidhedevil writes "I've seen pictures of guys at cons in banana-hammocks. When they're COSPLAYING A CHARACTER WHO WEARS ONLY A BANANA-HAMMOCK."

I was going to quip "pic or it didn't happen" but on second thought, ya, I ain't following that link anyways. I'll take your word (and rule 34) that it happens.


I was just at a con in Toronto where a dude was dressed as Namor the Submariner. It happens.
posted by shmegegge at 2:25 PM on August 26, 2008


pracowity: "tell everyone about the whistles and tell them that if they hear a whistle nearby, they should go and see if there's anything nonviolent they can do to help the woman and they should immediately train their cameras on whoever is around the woman or running away from her."

Speaking strictly in the realm of theory, I don't think this is a bad idea, although it's got some problems (cameras focused on someone who's just been sexually abused, etc.). Speaking in the realm of expectable human behavior, there is absolutely no way that nonviolence would remain the order of the day in about 99 out of 100 instances, and that torpedoes the practicality of the idea (at least IMHO).
posted by WCityMike at 2:26 PM on August 26, 2008


There should have been a comma after the word "also," art.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:27 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Artw: "Also we need more typo-trolls. Where are our typo-trolls?"

Usually there should be a comma after "also." *just wanting to make Artw happy*
posted by WCityMike at 2:27 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was just at a con in Toronto where a dude was dressed as Namor the Submariner. It happens.

He'd only be Namor if he had the ears and eyebrows. Otherwise it's some dude in underwear.
posted by Artw at 2:28 PM on August 26, 2008


*snicker* Is this where we're supposed to say "Jinx," Astro Zombie?
posted by WCityMike at 2:28 PM on August 26, 2008


FTFY, etc. Could you miss the point a little more? You would have to have not actually read the thread. I'm not sure you have.

Dude, no, that is not at all what I'm trying to say here, so you don't get to edit my words. This is now the third and final time I'm saying this:

Someone accused of sexual harrassment, the vast majority of the time, there are witnesses to the event in question, as evidenced in OP's link. The money these people spent to get there is of no great concern to me. If there are no cooberating witnesses or otherwise any evidence, they will get followed by security. This is my point. Thanks every so much, but this is getting a little tedious. If we could kindly get back on track, I'd appreciate it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:28 PM on August 26, 2008


The Internet is a varied and wonderful thing.

It's where lots of different opinions collide. I firmly believe that our dialogue here will make all of us more aware that there are opinions that differ from our own, and that people who have these opinions are passionate about them.

I feel, as a person who is a self-identified feminist, queer rights activist, sex and gender activist, fat acceptance activist and an anti-racist and civil rights activist that we could all be a tiny bit more tolerant than we are inclined to be.

I believe in generally taking a moderate line and trying to make peace between every party involved.

I think that while chudmonkey could stand to express himself a whole lot more politely and moderately, folks who dress provocatively should be able to take care of themselves (i.e. they should be able to walk with authority, act with authority, protect their self interests with authority, take command, and don't let little poorly behaved prats terrorize us - and I mean everyone who dresses provocativley here, including folks with short skirts, tight clothing & revealing clothing, folks wearing kilts, folks wearing politically charged T-shirts, people wearing American flag shorts, flamboyant drag queens and pretty much anything else you can think of).

If you are thinking of dressing provocatively and don't trust either your intended venue or yourself (and/or allies) to see to your basic safety and sanity, my advice is not to dress provocatively. Or go in expecting to earn battle scars for your trouble. Go into potentially dangerous situations with eyes wide open and with brass knuckles (or your choice of street fighting gear) on (or good, supportive friends and allies) and at the ready.

I also think that folks who are impulsive and selfish should probably learn to control their impulses a lot better and not make the situation into a problem where people start saying that he or she asked for "it". No one wants to be put in the position of even having to argue against bullshit like that. chudmonkey, if you don't know that argument is bullshit, you should go back to Internet kindergarten and reexamine your assumptions.

I am absolutely enthusiastic about policies. Not only does a good, well-enforced policy allow folks who bother to read the policy to have a good idea of what to expect, but it can also make the difference in any unfortunate legal proceedings and help guide attendant law enforcement about how they should do their jobs (as rent-a-cops or as independent law enforcement agents). It also gives conference organizers a central mission statement to enforce, marching orders, and a good, solid fallback position both with the attendee community at large as well as within private meetings with both policy violators and the folks those violators have harmed. Policies are a good thing.

All that said, if someone sexually harasses me or my loved ones, I don't care what that (harassing) person's definition of harassment is. Mine and my loved ones' definitions are the only ones that personally matter to me during any incident, and if my or my loved ones' responses are immediate and forceful, so much the better for correcting poor behavior.
posted by kalessin at 2:28 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Can I just third the request to tone down the "basement dwelling nerd" stereotype?

Sure. But request denied. Sometimes the only option available for self-policing is verbal harassment. Like most things men do, it doesn't work all of the time, ostracizes the socially vulnerable and can contribute to a culture of elitism, but we're not perfect and can't be there all the time to mete out an asskicking to the deserving few who give most of us a bad name.

Not everyone is a born a rockstar.
posted by jsavimbi at 2:29 PM on August 26, 2008


WCityMike:

HA! BURRRRRN.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:29 PM on August 26, 2008


pracowity, I see where you're coming from. But I think it's really sending the wrong message to outfit every woman with a whistle - it's saying to them, "look. you've got to be on the lookout here, where you think you might be safe, because in reality you should be ready to be victimized because of your gender."

Perhaps a better solution would be to give every person, male and female, a whistle?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:30 PM on August 26, 2008


But the facts of the matter are that the organizers of the Con itself feel otherwise, and I assume they know more about the situation than you do.

Ummm. Actually, no. They haven't made a peep, which is why the CAHP came about after this year's show. The argument, of course, is that lacking a stated policy, pretty much anything goes -- and the drive here is to get cons to adopt written policies and make them clear, not to throw out every person who accidentally brushes his or her hand against some overly touchy person's ass in a crowded venue.

See? No smoking, no pets, keep your fake weapons holstered... no problem. It's all made clear. But there is no stated policy on harassment, on how to report incidents, etc. And that's the problem. So let's say, for argument's sake, that you know a show's organizers will not eject someone you consider to be harassing you. You believe it is serious enough to call the cops. You know that's what you're going to HAVE to do if event organizers have said "we don't get involved in interpersonal problems."

That's good, in a way, if only because it clarifies where all parties stand. Lacking any documentation on policies = problems, even if they should be pretty self-evident such as "don't touch other people's asses uninvited."

I think zero tolerance policies are stupid but I think everyone should at least start from a level playing field of knowing what's ok and what's not. CAHP has posted Anthrocon's policy as an example.
This policy includes clear guidelines to unacceptable behaviour, and offers clear steps for harassed persons to take to indicate their discomfort (”say no; if they don’t leave you alone after that, inform us”). It also guards against the minor possibility of false harassment complaints by promising to treat those as an act of harassment.
"Clear guidelines" are really the key, don't you think?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:31 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


please recognize that I'm talking about people, not women.

tells me all I need to know. Judging by the posts that came after, anyway....


emjaybee: I ask this with all seriousness, no snark intended: Please don't paint me as anti-women because I could have written that sentence better. I know that it would have been more clear if I'd written ...not just women...", but I also think that the sentence is clear enough in context. When you quote it out of context you make me seem like a monster.

Maybe I need a thicker skin if I'm going to do the whole "serious thread" thing. If I've somehow minimized women with my comments in this thread, it was only because I wanted to discuss things from the perspective of all people being equal. I think I'm going to feel guilty about the opinions I expressed for a while, but I'm not sure why.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:33 PM on August 26, 2008


it would result in 1 in 200 innocent defendants being ejected. Like I said this kind of collateral damage fighting sexual harassment isn't acceptable to me. I can understand that it is acceptable to others.

I get why it's not acceptable to you, so I'm not saying anything about that. But at this point, I'm hoping someone has a figure on how often sexual assault, harrassment and the like is reported to authorities at a con. If i had to guess, I'd say it was less than 15 times per event, but I could easily be wrong. If I'm right, the figure the FBI was quoted as using (8%) would mean that one guy at every con could be ejected under fraudulent circumstances. for what it's worth, I'm more comfortable sitting on the side of 1 falsely accused guy having his money handed back to him and being escorted off the premises than I am on the side of 14 people being harassed without anything being done about it.
posted by shmegegge at 2:33 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's so striking to me about all the folks focusing on OMG-an-innocent-man-might-get-thrown-out is that the ones saying this appear to think an innocent guy maybe being tossed is so much worse than numerous innocent women being sexually harassed. I think that's why some of the pro-zero-tolerance people are so flabbergasted by what some of your are saying. Like the "better for one guilty to go free" argument that Mitheral used. It could be reframed as "better for 100 women to get sexually harassed than for one innocent man to get kicked out of a con." And I, like many others in the thread, just don't see it that way. And as long as some of you value the hypothetical victimized men over the non-hypothetical victimized women, I think everyone is talking past each other.

Plus, from reading some of the links, male celebs have been inappropriately groped by female fans, so I don't think any harassment policy would be the Man-Hating Revenge of the Lying Scantily Clad Chicks some of you are painting it as. Poor James Marsters!
posted by Mavri at 2:34 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm really hung up on this false accusation fear and I think I have it reduced down to three scenarios.

The first is that guys want to act like scumbags and don't want anything to stop them, so they're playing the "false accusation!" card. I don't think any of these guys are in this thread. Even if they were, this position is clearly untenable.

The second is the "give women the opportunity to get men kicked out and they'll take it" argument, otherwise known as the "Zero-tolerance policies, as with any over-simplified system, are open to abuse" argument. And while I can agree with the general sentiment, I'm sure most women who attend conventions go there to (surprise, surprise) have a good time and not to get men kicked out. (There's a weird subtext of "women are bitches who get their kicks out of falsely accusing men" there that I'm not going to bother getting into.) I think this is a non-issue.

The most likely fear, I'm guessing, is the "honest mistake" that gets blown up into something bigger. Like squeezing your way through a crowded convention aisle, accidentally brushing against a woman dressed as Red Sonja and getting kicked out. I would like to think that both the accuser and the management of the convention would use their best judgment in these situations. (A man who brushes against one woman is most likely an honest mistake. A man who brushes against five women should be kicked out.) The nice thing about this policy is that now both sides will have an opportunity to be heard, as opposed to the old way, which was to shrug and say "there's nothing we can do."

In practice, I think this policy will often work like this (using one of the examples above): A con-goer asks a "booth-babe" out for a date and she declines. He asks again and she declines again. He goes in for a third time and she reports him to convention management. Now where before they would do nothing about the situation, with this policy in place they can now pull the guy aside, explain to him why his behavior is considered harassment, point out that this behavior is not tolerated, and explain that if he continues this behavior he will be ejected. Guy skulks off, woman is happy that she finally has some avenue to stop harassment, and turaho can buy his god-damned 50%-off trade paperbacks in peace.
posted by turaho at 2:34 PM on August 26, 2008 [11 favorites]


chudmonkey: "Maybe I need a thicker skin if I'm going to do the whole "serious thread" thing. If I've somehow minimized women with my comments in this thread, it was only because I wanted to discuss things from the perspective of all people being equal. I think I'm going to feel guilty about the opinions I expressed for a while, but I'm not sure why."

Some people just see the opportunity to try to score zinger-points off things that are quite obviously just wording mistakes, chudmonkey. MeFi loves its snark and so zinger-points are a lusted-after goal, unfortunately.
posted by WCityMike at 2:36 PM on August 26, 2008


oh shit, I just realized I missed an important comment from chudmonkey before I responded to him. my bad. completely my bad.
posted by shmegegge at 2:36 PM on August 26, 2008


Really? I don't see anything from the con organizers suggesting this. I see some noise from a couple of bloggers and CAHP. Where's SDCC's press release decrying the rampant harassment, now? Did I miss it?

ten pounds of inedita, you're correct and I apologize. For some reason I thought CAHP was directly involved with the Comic-Con.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:37 PM on August 26, 2008


I don't really want to know what a banana hammock is. Is it worse than I'm imagining?

Marisa: Someone accused of sexual harrassment, the vast majority of the time, there are witnesses to the event in question, as evidenced in OP's link.

I'll assume that's a typo. If there's a witness, then, as per my previous suggestion, I have no problem with it. What I do have a problem with is the continuing suggestion that accusation = deed. You said no big deal, it's not Gitmo. I said, no, but a lot of cost can be involved if we're talking about conventions. You said why bring consequences into this?!

If you can't deal with being quoted, maybe be more careful with what you write. So, uh, dudette, you don't get to tell me what I don't get to do. In this instance. Blech.

So contrary to what Justinian, pax, and Sidhedevil noted, there is a strong suggestion in this thread that an unsubstantiated accusation should be good enough. I don't think so. We're probably going to have to agree to disagree on that, because that is a dichotomy I can't split. Though I have no problem with lesser forms of action (eg: security watches you) based only on an accusation. Do I even have to say this? Consequences do make a difference.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:37 PM on August 26, 2008


agregoli writes "What *some* men espouse is what I consider to be an irrational amount of fear of being falsely accused. Where does this fear and suspiscion of women lying about harassment come from?"

Speaking anecdotally here, I'd bet at least half of men over 30 have a story, either personal or of a good friend, where a perceived false accusation of some sort plays apart. Divorce proceedings and child custody battles are the usual examples but there are a few sexual crimes spread around for flavour. Perjury, obstruction, making a false police report are not uncommon crimes across the board. Why should that be any different at a con?
posted by Mitheral at 2:38 PM on August 26, 2008


Anthrocon's policy strikes me as being really not very useful. It says:
In general, we can take no action to prevent a person from attending the convention unless that person has made a specific and credible threat toward the convention itself.
So you can complain all you like, but ejecting the offender isn't on the table. So I don't know what the con organizers plan to do about valid complaints. Make them wear a sandwich board that says "I am an asshole"? Refuse to allow them to wear their special squirrel yiffing outfit?

Solon: We cool.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:39 PM on August 26, 2008


turaho: "In practice, I think this policy will often work like this"

Yeah, that? No problem with that policy being implemented whatsoever, I can get behind that with zero problems whatsoever. (But that is not what a "zero-tolerance" policy is.)
posted by WCityMike at 2:40 PM on August 26, 2008


Random tasings of anyone who looks too nerdy and who is therefore sexist. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by Artw at 2:42 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well to be nit-picky I've never seen a picture of a guy at a con wearing nothing but paint or a banana sling and a couple pasties so they aren't all dressing up like the guys do.

I have - at least, I've seen guys in nothing but short shorts (very short shorts), body paint, and animal ears. They were some of the fittest furries I'd ever seen.
posted by jb at 2:42 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Clear guidelines" are really the key, don't you think?

Absolutely agreed 100%. We can all pretend that there is some all purpose standard of what constitutes appropriate interaction between two people. The problem is that it's not true. Some women like to be ogled and propositioned (please do not deny that this is true). Some women abhor being ogled and propositioned, and feel like they need a shower when someone looks at them funny. Some men go to conventions hoping to meet women. They may be socially inept. They may stare. They may ask someone out (twice, even!) Isn't it a little crazy to throw up your hands and say: "Anytime a woman subjectively feels she's been harassed, toss the bum out!" But if you have clear guidelines, at least the attendee has a choice to either comply with the guidelines or not (and, if not, to face the consequences).
posted by pardonyou? at 2:43 PM on August 26, 2008


I think that while chudmonkey could stand to express himself a whole lot more politely and moderately, ...chudmonkey, if you don't know that argument is bullshit, you should go back to Internet kindergarten and reexamine your assumptions.

kalessin, I didn't express any opinions in my comments there that you didn't agree with in yours. We're not on different sides. Why do you say I was impolite or immoderate? I didn't decry anyone else's opinions, and I didn't say anything dismissive to anyone like you did to me. If you're the teacher or principle of Internet Kindergarten, I think I'll stay away.
posted by chudmonkey at 2:43 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mavri: "Like the "better for one guilty to go free" argument that Mitheral used. It could be reframed as "better for 100 women to get sexually harassed than for one innocent man to get kicked out of a con.""

Mithreal was "better 100 guilty go free than 1 innocent person be convicted." Which makes your comparison make a lot more sense than "one guilty go free".
posted by WCityMike at 2:44 PM on August 26, 2008


So contrary to what Justinian, pax, and Sidhedevil noted,

Damn, I got un-capitalized. It's because I'm a chick, isn't it.

I kid, I kid.

posted by Pax at 2:44 PM on August 26, 2008


God, there's a lot of stupid in this thread.

OK, first off, folks who support this project: Stop calling it Zero Tolerance. Zero Tolerance is a really negative term, and one that doesn't accurately reflect what you'd like to achieve. Zero Tolerance is kids getting suspended for having aspirin at school, because it's a "drug." Zero Tolerance does mean that any accusation of harassment would have to lead to expulsion, charges, etc. That's not what the project states as a goal, that's not what you want, etc. I know that what you believe you're arguing for is "zero tolerance for harassing behavior once a behavior has been codified as harassing," which makes sense. We should have no tolerance for actual harassment. But that's not how you're being read, and that's not what FAQ #9 says either.

Second off, as the project notes, these are calls to develop anti-harassment policies. These policies are by no means set in stone, and there is no need to rail against this perceived boogeyman of Zero Tolerance if you actually take the time to read what the folks here and there are saying. If you are truly concerned about this, well, it's trivial to contact the folks behind the project and give your input or request clarification. This is the internet, after all, and (rather by definition, given that you're on the internet and arguing about comic cons) you are nerds.

Third, given a reasonable policy, the proper response to a "false" allegation is to say, "Hey, sorry about that. Didn't realize I was coming across as a creep. Didn't mean to." You'll then get a little bit more scrutiny, to make sure that you're not a repeat offender.

Fourth, all the bullshit about how consent to these policies is somehow equivalent to consenting to have your house searched at any time or is somehow giving up your rights? Knock off the hyperbole—it makes you sound like a tone-deaf dick who's more concerned with the freedom to be an asshole than with the inherent conflict with everyone else's rights around you. Organize a 4Chan con instead.

Fifth, the suggestion that both parties should be thrown out, or that it's somehow sexist not to? Fucking bullshit. The solution to complaints about harassment is not to make it harder to complain, it's to establish a system for evaluating and dealing with complaints. Anyone but a moron should be able to see that throwing out both parties does not solve the problem, and arguing that there will be assholes who intentionally game the system will only make things MORE sexist, not less (the rare guy getting harassed will then immediately be assumed to be making a "point"). I know guys who have had weird obsessed girls follow them at cons (including one guy who had a woman who had a crush on him try to smear him with spit every time she saw him, out of some bizarre "pagan" belief), and their complaints were taken seriously. I'd like to not erode that.

Sixth, this can be seen in small part as a problem of scaling—as cons have gotten bigger over the last couple decades (I haven't gone in a while, but I used to go to gaming cons every year, and the numbers for the local ones I went to have sky-rocketed), the communal enforcement of norms that protect folks has in some senses waned. When there are only 20 folks who run a con and everyone knows pretty much all of the attendees, it's easier to not have a formal policy. As things scale up, not only do you get more raw numbers of weirdos, but they're able to both factionalize (thus providing reinforcement for bad norms) and more opportunities for harassment. You also get more women who are not used to the sometimes-abysmal behavior of creeps at cons, and who don't have traditional community ways of conflict resolution.
posted by klangklangston at 2:46 PM on August 26, 2008 [16 favorites]


If you can't deal with being quoted, maybe be more careful with what you write. So, uh, dudette, you don't get to tell me what I don't get to do. In this instance. Blech.

I said "edited", incidentally.

If there's a witness, then, as per my previous suggestion, I have no problem with it. ... Though I have no problem with lesser forms of action (eg: security watches you) based only on an accusation.

So we're in agreement, then. Great. So, you think they'll make a third season of Rozen Maiden?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:46 PM on August 26, 2008


Yeah, that? No problem with that policy being implemented whatsoever, I can get behind that with zero problems whatsoever. (But that is not what a "zero-tolerance" policy is.)

Well, that's the policy that the CAHP is advocating. They're not asking for a zero-tolerance policy where anyone who is accused of harassment is instantly kicked out. I'm really confused why people think that's what they want.

I'm guessing some people saw "we will not tolerate harassment" and read it as "we will enact zero-tolerance policies".
posted by turaho at 2:49 PM on August 26, 2008


Yeah, that? No problem with that policy being implemented whatsoever, I can get behind that with zero problems whatsoever. (But that is not what a "zero-tolerance" policy is.)

I'd wager that turaho's policy is something most people (even "zero-tolerance" supporters) in this thread could get behind.

I think that perhaps the term "zero-tolerance" is used so often that it has become watered-down in some peoples' minds. I, at least, attended a high school with a zero-tolerance policy that in reality was enacted with much more tolerance. So to me, and I guess others, it suggests less of the "you WILL be punished right away" sense it was meant for and more of a "we're really serious about this being a problem, okay?" one instead.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:49 PM on August 26, 2008


And I'm gonna be pissed. Not only am I never coming back, but in a con that size I won't be the only one ejected in error. Guaranteed that the fallout from that will be worse than if a handful of busty cosplay enthusiasts get ogled.

I'm still finding this argument very hard to take seriously. You are aware that in some cases we're talking about criminal assault? The fallout from that sounds much worse to me.
posted by butterstick at 2:51 PM on August 26, 2008


kalessin writes "All that said, if someone sexually harasses me or my loved ones, I don't care what that (harassing) person's definition of harassment is. Mine and my loved ones' definitions are the only ones that personally matter to me during any incident, and if my or my loved ones' responses are immediate and forceful, so much the better for correcting poor behavior."

Well this is a problem. If the harassee gets to define harrasment then the system is set up for fail from the beginning. There are irrational people of all sorts out in the world and I refuse to give them the power of deciding when they've been wronged.

Mavri writes "Like the 'better for one guilty to go free' argument that Mitheral used. It could be reframed as 'better for 100 women to get sexually harassed than for one innocent man to get kicked out of a con.' And I, like many others in the thread, just don't see it that way. And as long as some of you value the hypothetical victimized men over the non-hypothetical victimized women, I think everyone is talking past each other."


turaho writes "I would like to think that both the accuser and the management of the convention would use their best judgment in these situations. (A man who brushes against one woman is most likely an honest mistake. A man who brushes against five women should be kicked out.) The nice thing about this policy is that now both sides will have an opportunity to be heard, as opposed to the old way, which was to shrug and say 'there's nothing we can do.'"

And

Durn Bronzefist writes "So contrary to what Justinian, pax, and Sidhedevil noted, there is a strong suggestion in this thread that an unsubstantiated accusation should be good enough."

It's not just a strong suggestion. It was outright advocated by spicynuts here. No judgement would come into play under spicynuts policy; accused = ejected.
posted by Mitheral at 2:52 PM on August 26, 2008


klangklangston: "Fourth, all the bullshit about how consent to these policies is somehow equivalent to consenting to have your house searched at any time or is somehow giving up your rights?

Since I was the one who used the house metaphor, note it was a metaphor, not a direct comparison or likening. The person to whom I was responding said he saw no need for protection against false accusation because he himself had no fear of being falsely accused because he was such a nice guy. The "searching your house" thing is a fairly commonly used riposte for people advocating that there's no need for a form of protection because they themselves never perform any act that requires that protection. It was not equating con ejection with house searches, and that is fairly obvious from the original comment.
posted by WCityMike at 2:53 PM on August 26, 2008


Is it possible for fat women to perpetrate male harassment through weight alone?

No.

In the same way that a scantily clad woman does not exist for men's pleasure, a fat woman does not exist for men's derision.
posted by cereselle at 2:53 PM on August 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'd wager that turaho's policy is something most people (even "zero-tolerance" supporters) in this thread could get behind.

I think that perhaps the term "zero-tolerance" is used so often that it has become watered-down in some peoples' minds. I, at least, attended a high school with a zero-tolerance policy that in reality was enacted with much more tolerance.


Count me among the high schoolers who experienced the non-turaho version of zero tolerance. It sucked. And was about the furthest thing from justice as can be imagined. ... Ok, not these days. As could be imagined. By me. At the time.

So we're in agreement, then. Great. So, you think they'll make a third season of Rozen Maiden?

*consults wikipedia* Ha. That was not what I was expecting. I'm afraid I haven't caught up to anything past the second season of Rome. I may try The Wire next to get people to stop raving about it at me.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:53 PM on August 26, 2008


It's not just a strong suggestion. It was outright advocated by spicynuts here. No judgement would come into play under spicynuts policy; accused = ejected.

Missed that. Ok, so we're not all on the same page. What Klang said.
posted by Pax at 2:54 PM on August 26, 2008


The zero tolerance policy would be a bad idea in this (as it is in just about every area where it's applied) - how about taking everything on its own merits? So maybe there's a man (perhaps developmentally disabled or socially badwards, may not realise how his actions make others feel) who keeps asking a particular woman for a date - you talk to him, and about what is appropriate, and he says sorry then maybe it's all square. And if there is someone who is systematically harassing or even assualting people, you kick them out or even ban them for all time. They need a policy, but it doesn't have to a cut and dry one. I've been harrassed at cons - I never wanted the harrasser kicked out. I would have much rather someone (older, possibly male and/or in authority) sat down with him and talked with him about why what he was doing was making people uncomfortable. Had I been assaulted, I'm sure I might have felt more strongly -- the whole thing is that most concoms are intelligent enough (or at least they should be, though they can be more bureaucratic than actual bureaucracies) to deal with this on a case by case basis, based on a general "Harrasment is bad, mmmkay? (and assault is illegal, so don't risk it)" policy.

for a good example of convention handling someone who really is a problem - see magstheaxe's comment above. "After a few complaints rolled in, we had members of the staff start watching him, and spread the word for fans to complain to us if he acted up." They took the complaints seriously, and dealt with it in a calm way that removed a problem without going overboard.
posted by jb at 2:54 PM on August 26, 2008


I think it's awesome when people identify their posts as not worth reading in the first eight words. Thanks, Klangklangston! You go join Artw in the kid's pool, K?

It's the "cool kids pool", thank you very much.

You may now go back to your stupid argument. Whoever wins*, you lose!

* No one wins, it's the internet.
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on August 26, 2008


From their FAQ No. 9:

Moreover, one of the benefits of a convention having a clear anti-harassment policy means that everyone involved has had the opportunity to be aware of what counts as harassment and what doesn’t, and that the people assessing the harassment report will have been trained to recognize it.

It is interesting (and a general issue when harassment discussions come up) they say "aware of what counts as harassment and what doesn't" when their FAQ No. 1 includes vagueness such as:
  1. unwelcome sexual remarks, jokes, or taunting
  2. requests for sexual favors
  3. Consensual sexual activity with a guest is not likely to be seen as harassment
from which convention attendees may be aware with great clarity:
  1. that they are allowed to make welcome sexual jokes, but not unwelcome ones
  2. trying to hook up at the con is forbidden
  3. if you find yourself hooking up anyway, that's probably OK if it's all consensual, but no promises
The example policy they quote seems rather sensible, though:

If people tell you “no” or to leave them alone, your business with them is done. Leave them alone. Do not follow them or attempt to disrupt their convention experience in any way. If you continue to attempt to have contact with those people, you may be removed from the premises. ... Conversely, any attempt to have an innocent person removed from the convention by falsely accusing him or her of threats will be itself treated as an act of harassment and will be dealt with appropriately.


Notably, while I didn't do a thorough perusal of everything linked, I notice calls for a zero-tolerance one-person's-word instant-expulsion only in comments here, not from this movement.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:57 PM on August 26, 2008


What you are talking about is codifying a system by which women are given an unfettered and absolute power to create a heavily negative circumstance for men. All a woman would have to do in order to kick a man out of a convention is merely accuse him of misbehavior, and he is evicted.

And you are then going about, as I said perviously, characterizing men's fear of that power being abused as a defense of an unfettered right for harrassment.

I'll use myself as an example. I would fear going to a convention where any woman could accuse me of something and I would get kicked out.


One could just as easily say that the "women could lie" argument is an attempt to perpetuate the status quo: a system in which men are given an unfettered and absolute power to create a heavily negative circumstance for women. For example, the insistence on "evidence"/"pics or it didn't happen" means that all a man would have to do in order to harass a woman is merely to be sure that either no one else sees him doing it, or that no one else will be willing to speak up. At a con -- otherwise known as a confusing maze of people, booths, rooms, and elevators -- this is really easy, especially when the con is the kind of boyzone where people actually, openly suggest that women cosplayers should expect to be groped. When the de facto community standard becomes "huh huh gurls lol", as it already is at many cons, you don't get any witnesses to harassment, because they don't think it's harassment. Thus, any accusation of harassment needs to be taken seriously -- "automatic ejection" isn't reasonable, but IMHO the community needs to make it very clear that this behavior, even if accidental, is not acceptable and must not happen again.

In short, men's "fear of going to a convention where any woman could accuse me of something and I would get kicked out" does not trump women's "fear of going to a convention where any man could harass me and I'd have no recourse". Especially since the latter isn't a widespread problem, even at cons with a harassment policy, and the former is (sorry, but in the realm of Con Reality, the false-accusation thing is a much less frequent issue than harassment is. "But it happens all the time, why should it be any different at a con?" Because a con is not divorce proceedings or child custody battles, it's a gathering of people who mostly do not know each other, and thus are lacking the usual personal motivations for a false accusation.)

The fact that several people in this thread have suggested that "women are afraid to go to cons" is not only the situation, but should be the situation, is flabbergasting.

IMHO, there is pretty clearly a middle-ground here. As others have said, all that's needed is a clear policy and con staff who are willing to follow it fairly, with appropriate warnings and observation for people who are accused of crossing the line, and appropriate punishment for those who persist or those who are caught in the act. You know, pretty much the exact same policy cons already have for smoking, stealing, bootlegs, drugs, weapons, etc etc.

The whole "women could lie, therefore we cannot have any strict harassment policy" argument strikes me as highly suspicious. It is telling that no one ever brings up vindictive accusations as a reason why cons shouldn't have a policy on bootlegs or underage-drinking...
posted by vorfeed at 2:57 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Damn, I got un-capitalized. It's because I'm a chick, isn't it.

I kid, I kid.


Oops. I erroneously capitalized miss tea earlier. You can have her caps, if you like.
Glad I didn't turn you into pox, at least.

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:58 PM on August 26, 2008


@chudmonkey,

You said this:
"I told her that she was reaping what she sowed, and that the only point of such an outfit was to garner the attention she was claiming to be annoyed by."

What I said was decidedly not as one-sided or as irritatingly privileged as that.

What I said was in fact based on principles of self-defense that a lot of activists who fight sex-based discrimination use and espouse that is based on self-protection and self-protective decision-making in an unfair and unsafe world.

We activists like to think we fight for worlds that we envision will be more fair and more safe, where perhaps this current necessary level of self-protectiveness will not be required for personal safety or sanity.

What you said actually seems to presume that the current world is okay and that what people get, they deserve. That's why I was dismissive of what you said because I found what you said to be deeply disrespectful and unfairly stated.
posted by kalessin at 2:58 PM on August 26, 2008


Fifth, the suggestion that both parties should be thrown out, or that it's somehow sexist not to? Fucking bullshit. The solution to complaints about harassment is not to make it harder to complain, it's to establish a system for evaluating and dealing with complaints. Anyone but a moron should be able to see that throwing out both parties does not solve the problem, and arguing that there will be assholes who intentionally game the system will only make things MORE sexist, not less (the rare guy getting harassed will then immediately be assumed to be making a "point"). I know guys who have had weird obsessed girls follow them at cons (including one guy who had a woman who had a crush on him try to smear him with spit every time she saw him, out of some bizarre "pagan" belief), and their complaints were taken seriously. I'd like to not erode that.


For those few people in this thread that think anti-harassment policies somehow imply that one gender gets preference over another. Read the proposed guidelines. There's nothing in there about the gender of the people involved.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:00 PM on August 26, 2008


Well to be nit-picky I've never seen a picture of a guy at a con wearing nothing but paint or a banana sling and a couple pasties so they aren't all dressing up like the guys do.

Once I went to a con as Devilman, wearing only bodypaint, crepe hair and a little bit of foam latex.
posted by Tenuki at 3:00 PM on August 26, 2008


I'm still finding this argument very hard to take seriously. You are aware that in some cases we're talking about criminal assault?

You are aware that I'm talking about people being ejected in error? You're not finding my argument hard to take seriously, because it's not my argument. I don't know what you're reading, but it ain't what I'm writing.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:00 PM on August 26, 2008


The person to whom I was responding said he saw no need for protection against false accusation because he himself had no fear of being falsely accused because he was such a nice guy.

Just to clarify, I never said I didn't need protection against false accusation. I said I believed the likelihood of me being falsely accused is low because I tend not to do things that could be mistaken as harassment. If anything, I've been arguing in this thread that these policies will protect everyone, not merely the accusers.

Please don't misrepresent what I'm trying to say.
posted by turaho at 3:02 PM on August 26, 2008


Reading is over-rated. Just scan and get the gist of how what the other person is saying might offend you, or better still just make it up in your head!
posted by Artw at 3:03 PM on August 26, 2008


You are aware that I'm talking about people being ejected in error? You're not finding my argument hard to take seriously, because it's not my argument. I don't know what you're reading, but it ain't what I'm writing.

Do you or do you not equate the wrong received by being wrongly ejected from a con with the wrong received from being sexually harassed or groped (assaulted)?
posted by butterstick at 3:07 PM on August 26, 2008


Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of people turning multiple viewpoints into a monolith to argue against. Please try not to conflate multiple related viewpoints by different people into one argument.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:07 PM on August 26, 2008


Yes, Arwt, we get it.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:10 PM on August 26, 2008


(Oh man. Artw. Apparently I don't get it.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:10 PM on August 26, 2008


Well this is a problem. If the harassee gets to define harrasment then the system is set up for fail from the beginning. There are irrational people of all sorts out in the world and I refuse to give them the power of deciding when they've been wronged.

Come on. There pretty much is no objective definition of harassment -- the very word means "the act of annoying or offending someone", and "annoying" and "offending" are inherently subjective. What one person finds harassing, another might welcome, so there's little point is trying to draw up some ironclad list of Things Which Must Not Be Done. It'll just end up being undermined by a billion exceptions to the rules.

Besides, I've been the accuse-ee of a Crazy Irrational Accuser before, and I was ever so glad to have been shown that he was crazy before he did something really crazy. As long as both sides of the issue will be fairly examined, it is better to expose these accusations to light than it is to let them fester until they become a much larger problem.
posted by vorfeed at 3:11 PM on August 26, 2008


Do you or do you not equate the wrong received by being wrongly ejected from a con with the wrong received from being sexually harassed or groped (assaulted)?

I don't know what you're on about and don't care anymore. Carry on.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:11 PM on August 26, 2008


I kind of feel sorry for the people behind this movement. Because I’m sure that, in addition to wanting to deal with incidenst like the ones mentioned, they kind of wanted to show the world that the majority of people involved with comics are the kind of people who take this sort of thing seriously, and want to do the right and responsible thing. I mean, you don’t see people who go to monster truck rallies or hair-metal cover band concerts doing this sort of thing do you? And the world took one look and said “Ha ha ha, NERDS! They look funny and THEY’RE ALL SEXIST!” and basically pissed all over that idea.
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well you've been defending those accused of harassment with such vigor, I'm just wondering where these wrongs weigh in the context of the victims. Is it better than groping but worse than verbal harassment?
posted by butterstick at 3:15 PM on August 26, 2008


klangklangston writes "Third, given a reasonable policy, the proper response to a 'false' allegation is to say, 'Hey, sorry about that. Didn't realize I was coming across as a creep. Didn't mean to.' You'll then get a little bit more scrutiny, to make sure that you're not a repeat offender. "

I'm more worried about the situation where Jack and Jill have a messy break up a week before the Con and Jack goes to the organizer three hours after the start saying Jill was glomping him and in other ways harassing him with the result that Jill gets ejected without ever seeing Jack.

Dang it missed a response: Mavri writes "Like the 'better for one guilty to go free' argument that Mitheral used. It could be reframed as 'better for 100 women to get sexually harassed than for one innocent man to get kicked out of a con.' And I, like many others in the thread, just don't see it that way. And as long as some of you value the hypothetical victimized men over the non-hypothetical victimized women, I think everyone is talking past each other."

I'm not saying that at all. I'm railing against an authority punishing innocent people at random. And ya, I think that is just as bad as someone having their ass grabbed or being asked out repeatably. Both are despicable and antisocial. However the insult to injury on the first is the authority and on the second the sexual nature of the misbehaviour. Neither should be sacrificed for the other. Would you be ok with a hundred innocent con goers being ejected for every person harassed? A 1000? 1:1? What is the harm ratio in these two injustices?

I'm reminded of this totally over the top potential rapist AP story. And the a.h.b-of-u followup.

vorfeed writes "Besides, I've been the accuse-ee of a Crazy Irrational Accuser before, and I was ever so glad to have been shown that he was crazy before he did something really crazy. As long as both sides of the issue will be fairly examined, it is better to expose these accusations to light than it is to let them fester until they become a much larger problem."

Would you still be glad of that knowledge if it had you ejected from a con? I agree that cool and rational judgement is needed and not a knee jerk "toss the bums out". A policy that endeavours to be fair rather than simple.
posted by Mitheral at 3:19 PM on August 26, 2008


kalessin: Thank you for your activism. I'm sure that you serve the disadvantaged and disenfranchised very well by engaging in the same rhetorical devices that "other activists" " use and espouse", regardless of the situational necessity of doing so. I further presume that your ego, as evidenced by your repeated description of yourself as an activist, is a valuable tool in your crusade against discrimination.

I was upset when you described me as impolite and immoderate, but now that I realize you have no concrete defense for having done so, the sting is neutralized. Your time in Internet Kindergarten should be focused on learning to dispute arguments with meritous counterpoints rather than weak and ill-founded personal condemnations.
posted by chudmonkey at 3:19 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well you've been defending those accused of harassment with such vigor

Artw was right, clearly.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:23 PM on August 26, 2008


That’s right, I’m right about everything and you should do what I say. Now what you need to do next is compile a list of all the people who are being “offensive” by disagreeing with you and do a big call-out post on MetaTalk. Come on, you know you want to.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on August 26, 2008


Does anyone know what the actual policies are at cons concerning things like shoplifting, drug use, threats of violence, actual violence, and other crimes?

I've always assumed that if an exhibitor wrongly thought I was shoplifting and called security, I'd probably get kicked out. Sure, I don't have the comic on me, but I may have passed it off to a friend. Sure, nobody "saw" me but the exhibitor, but why would they doubt the exhibitor?

This policy, if it exists, doesn't bother me. I mean, I'd probably think bad thoughts about the accuser, but I wouldn't blame the con. If their con became known as The Con Where You Can Safely Shoplift Stuff, that would be disastrous to them.

Might the exhibitor make an honest mistake? Sure. Might an exhibitor theoretically get pissed off at me for not buying anything and make a false claim for revenge? Uh...sure. I guess. I mean, I'm sure it's happened to someone at some point.

I feel pretty much the same about sexual harrassment. Before reading this I would have assumed that if someone decided to accuse me of playing grab-ass, security would escort me from the building unless there was a good reason to disbelieve the accuser. If that happened to me, I'd probably be pissed at the accuser, but I wouldn't blame the con for the policy.

What seems weird to me is that so many people seem to be saying this is a matter of principle and has nothing to do with women versus men. They seem to be saying that nobody should ever get kicked from a private event based on one person's accusation.

So okay, great. If that's so then you're not sexist, you're just deluded. But then why is it that more people take this supposedly non-sexist stand when it's sexual harassment being discussed. Would we even be having this discussion if Comic-Con didn't have a written anti-shoplifting policy?
posted by lore at 3:27 PM on August 26, 2008 [11 favorites]


I think you've got me confused with that guy from Toronto who's into gymnasts.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:28 PM on August 26, 2008


"Crimes" maybe should have been "offenses" up there. The things I listed were crimes, but I also suspect there are a number of perfectly legal things I could do at a con and get tossed out.
posted by lore at 3:29 PM on August 26, 2008


lore writes "Would we even be having this discussion if Comic-Con didn't have a written anti-shoplifting policy?"

Nope, because it wouldn't garner a movement to generate a wide spread anti-shoplifting policy.
posted by Mitheral at 3:31 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've always assumed that if an exhibitor wrongly thought I was shoplifting and called security, I'd probably get kicked out.

Weird. I've always assumed otherwise. But I live in a world where, without additional evidence, one person's word against another's isn't a compelling call for action.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:31 PM on August 26, 2008


"Sweet Jesus I don't care what the actual rate is unless you believe it's essentially zero. Even if the actual rate of false reports, by whatever metric you choose, was 25% of the lowest number in that range (IE: 0.5%) under a policy that "escort any accused offender out of the conference and let the police sort it out. No arbitration necessary. It's called a zero tolerance policy" it would result in 1 in 200 innocent defendants being ejected. Like I said this kind of collateral damage fighting sexual harassment isn't acceptable to me. I can understand that it is acceptable to others."

This is why you shouldn't be allowed to muck around with statistics. That .5% wouldn't result in 1 in 200 being ejected, but rather 1 in 200 accused harassers would be innocent.

And this assumes that there's just as much a reason to accuse someone of harassment—the motivations noted in the FBI study don't really apply save that of vengeance, and there's no breakdown regarding relative contribution to the total cases. And that's easily mitigated by a bit of investigation and moderation in the application of punishment.
posted by klangklangston at 3:31 PM on August 26, 2008


Would you still be glad of that knowledge if it had you ejected from a con?

First of all, most Crazy Crazies tend to come off as sort of, you know, crazy, so their accusations often fail to begin with. And second, I don't think that a "both sides of the issue will be fairly examined" policy is likely to end up in an ejection for the non-crazy party; a warning is much more likely, followed by voluntary avoidance of Mr/Ms Crazy for the rest of the con.

But at any rate: yes. Assuming that someone is seriously nutso enough to get someone else kicked out for nothing, I would much rather be kicked out of the con than run into some of the craziness-related situations I've been in at cons. I can think of a couple cons that I sort of wish I had been kicked out of, in hindsight. Irrational, attention-seeking people tend to escalate their behavior.
posted by vorfeed at 3:36 PM on August 26, 2008


klangklangston writes "This is why you shouldn't be allowed to muck around with statistics. That .5% wouldn't result in 1 in 200 being ejected, but rather 1 in 200 accused harassers would be innocent. "

Yes I got the innocent qualifier in the wrong place, it's kind of an awkward sentence too. What I meant is what you said, IE: 1 in 200 of the people kicked from the event would be innocent of wrong doing.

klangklangston writes "And that's easily mitigated by a bit of investigation and moderation in the application of punishment."

Sure. But some have advocated that accused = ejected without any stops for investigation or moderation.
posted by Mitheral at 3:37 PM on August 26, 2008


Weird. I've always assumed otherwise. But I live in a world where, without additional evidence, one person's word against another's isn't a compelling call for action.

Objectively, you don't live in that world. I once asked a lawyer friend what would happen if someone robbed me in an alleyway and I picked him out of a lineup. What would happen? Would the guy go to jail if it's just my word against his? The answer: "Sure, if the jury believes you over him."
posted by lore at 3:37 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


But I live in a world where, without additional evidence, one person's word against another's isn't a compelling call for action.

Really? What world is that? I ask because, outside of Law enforcement, that's enough to merit action in plenty of cases. If you're on a college campus and you file a harassment complaint, SOMETHING is done. If you're in a store and someone accuses you of shoplifting, the store does something even if it's simply to have a store employee follow you around. Is there really a world where accusations of wrongdoing are simply completely ignored? I'm beginning to doubt these peculiar extra-planetary explorations of yours.
posted by shmegegge at 3:39 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


And hell, go into a dive bar. Figure out who's a regular. Follow him into the bathroom, and sock him in the arm when you two are alone. Assuming he goes to the barkeep or bouncer instead of socking you back, do you really think the person in charge is going to say "I dunno, Barry. On the one hand, I could believe you, a guy who's been coming here for years, or I could believe this guy who I've never seen before. I guess I'm just going to have to do nothing."

Obviously not completely parallel to sexual harrassment, but also obviously a circumstance where your word against his isn't going to help you.
posted by lore at 3:46 PM on August 26, 2008


"For those few people in this thread that think anti-harassment policies somehow imply that one gender gets preference over another. Read the proposed guidelines. There's nothing in there about the gender of the people involved."

Uh, I was responding to the ten pounds of inedita's unworkable plan.

"I'm more worried about the situation where Jack and Jill have a messy break up a week before the Con and Jack goes to the organizer three hours after the start saying Jill was glomping him and in other ways harassing him with the result that Jill gets ejected without ever seeing Jack."

Really? You're seriously worried enough about that to argue that policy should be made on the basis of outliers? I'd say, frankly, that this goes along with your not understanding statistics.

"Yes I got the innocent qualifier in the wrong place, it's kind of an awkward sentence too. What I meant is what you said, IE: 1 in 200 of the people kicked from the event would be innocent of wrong doing."

And this seems like a problem to you? A bigger problem than the 199 people who have to be thrown out of a con for sexually harassing others? It would suck to be that one, sure, but you wouldn't feel more angry at the other 199 that precipitated the policy?

"Sure. But some have advocated that accused = ejected without any stops for investigation or moderation."

As a better step than the current accused = no action environment, I can understand that. But since, as I noted, this is a call to develop policy, why not say "Hey, I understand your concerns, but why don't we look for ways to mitigate this risk to make the policies more workable?"
posted by klangklangston at 3:54 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bcause it allowes less room for grandstanding and making fucking stupid analogies?
posted by Artw at 3:55 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Read more closely. One person's word against another's. Until you've got the other person's word, of course action can be taken. And I don't know what kind of lawyer you know, lore, but one person's statement followed by one suspect's denial (again, without additional evidence) isn't going to make it to pre-trial, much less to a jury.

Save the fiction for the paying markets, K?
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:58 PM on August 26, 2008


What about when the Joker BROKE HIS OWN NECK to frame Batman? Obviously it’s not a complete parallel, but really, what then?
posted by Artw at 4:00 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


That was so badass that Batman shoulda just taken the rap.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:03 PM on August 26, 2008


ten pounds of inedita writes "If I've spent $1500 on travel and hotel to go to SDCC? Well, I'm a pale, doughy guy in his 30s with dubious fashion sense, so I look like about half of the other male attendees. If I get accused in error and get ejected, I've wasted $1500 and my week's vacation.

"And I'm gonna be pissed. Not only am I never coming back, but in a con that size I won't be the only one ejected in error. Guaranteed that the fallout from that will be worse than if a handful of busty cosplay enthusiasts get ogled."


But as far as I'm concerned, if you participate in, embrace or support bike protests women-harrasing con-goers, fuck you. The evidence is mounting that these are not isolated incidences, and I've got no sympathy for protesting cyclists getting the shit beaten out of them by the cops, pervy men getting thrown out of cons, even if they're factually innocent. If it scares enough cyclists men to stop participating, so much the better. It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that these cyclists men are organized and violent pervy and are providing false testimony to support each other. Yeah, the guy who got roughed up in New York thrown out of CosPlayCon may not have deserved it, but I betcha one of his buddies would have.

Nah. Centesimation is still a useful tool in some situations. We punish people all the time who aren't factually guilty of those crimes. If you rob a bank with your buddies and one of your buddies kills someone, you go down for murder. If a hundred of your buddies go out and riot to a Con and one of them assaults someone, why shouldn't the punishment be applied to someone at random if they can't pick out the guilty party?

Hmm. The shoe fits tighter when it's on the other CosPlaying foot, huh ten pounds?
posted by orthogonality at 4:12 PM on August 26, 2008


ALLEGATIONS OF HARRASSMENT ARE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY BY [insert convention name here] AND ALL INCIDENTS WILL BE REPORTED TO AUTHORITIES

In big bold fuck-off text, right at all the entrances, and then scattered throughout the floor. I mean, since we're doing a lot of generalising anyway, if there's one thing male comic book/manga/gaming nerds are, more than socially maladjusted, it's fearful.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:16 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


klangklangston writes "And this seems like a problem to you? A bigger problem than the 199 people who have to be thrown out of a con for sexually harassing others? It would suck to be that one, sure, but you wouldn't feel more angry at the other 199 that precipitated the policy? "

Like I said before; yes I see a problem with innocent people being punished. Can I be angry at both the asshole harassers and the injustice of punishing the innocent or does it have to be one or the other?

klangklangston writes "I'd say, frankly, that this goes along with your not understanding statistics. "

I understand statistics just fine, nice ad hominem though.

klangklangston writes "You're seriously worried enough about that to argue that policy should be made on the basis of outliers?"

Yes. Good policy doesn't sacrifice a portion of the population for the greater good. It's the whole reason, in theory anyways, we strive for objectivity and rationality in justice rather than mob rule and vigilantism.
posted by Mitheral at 4:20 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


So no one has any thoughts on a third season for Rozen Maiden? I mean, they started the manga again. That's a good sign, right?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:25 PM on August 26, 2008


Really? What world is that? I ask because, outside of Law enforcement, that's enough to merit action in plenty of cases. If you're on a college campus and you file a harassment complaint, SOMETHING is done. If you're in a store and someone accuses you of shoplifting, the store does something even if it's simply to have a store employee follow you around. Is there really a world where accusations of wrongdoing are simply completely ignored? I'm beginning to doubt these peculiar extra-planetary explorations of yours.

from what I read, very few, if any, in this thread are arguing that in the event of an accusation of sexual harassment, NOTHING be done

rather, most seem to agree that NOTHING being done was a reprehensible de facto policy which must be changed

what some are taking exception to, is the idea that kicked out upon accusation is the
appropriate way of handling this or, in fact, the only way

again, the organization does not seem to advocate this view,
and it's kind of a crummy derail

(note also, that in your examples, guilt is not presumed to the level of enacting the full punitive consequences upon accusation only - rather a measured response similar to the one some are arguing for in this case as well)
posted by sloe at 4:28 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


A better sign would be if manga and anime were banned from import just like khat, and that fansubbers and fandubbers working from newly illegal copies were fed to pigs.

I mean, uh, sorry, no opinion.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:28 PM on August 26, 2008


ten pounds of inedita writes "Hi, ortho! Hope you're having a lovely day!"

It'll be a great day when you can explain why you're enthusiastically for police beating up and falsely accusing an innocent protester, but find it so terribly wrong that a con might eject a falsely accused innocent person.

What's the difference? Any reasonable person knows that a beating and a frame-up on false charges under color of law is a greater harm, both to the person accused and to a society that can therefore no longer trust its police. But you're for that, yet manifestly against the smaller harm of an innocent losing a $30 con badge.

So is there any reason that to you the latter is bad while the former is laudable, other than that only the latter might affect you personally?
posted by orthogonality at 4:31 PM on August 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


It's not even apples and oranges, ortho. It's apples and imaginary truck parts. You not only don't find them at the same store, you don't even find the two stores in the same dimension. You just have an axe to grind, and I'm done with you.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:33 PM on August 26, 2008


[plexi, that's enough. come back tomorrow and rejoin the discussion]
posted by jessamyn at 4:33 PM on August 26, 2008


I have to say that I agree with Mitheral. One of the reasons we prefer guilty men to go free than innocent men to be found guilty is that we are not responsible for other people's moral failures, but we are responsible for our own even if we have good intentions. The people who bear moral responsibility for harassing women are the asshole harassers. But, if we institute a policy of tossing people out on the basis of an accusation without any investigation, we (ok the con organizers) bear the responsibility for any negative consequences of that decision.

It's not right for us to commit unfair or immoral acts even if we do so in an attempt to ameliorate other people's harassment.
posted by Justinian at 4:34 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


(Thanks, Greasemonkey!)
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:34 PM on August 26, 2008


But, if we institute a policy of tossing people out on the basis of an accusation without any investigation, we (ok the con organizers) bear the responsibility for any negative consequences of that decision.

Fortunately, the proposed ideas from the original post advocate no such thing.

I do love all this lofty discussion about human rights whenever the topic of sexual harrassment comes up, though.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:47 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just searched the thread, and 'human rights' has only been mentioned twice. Both times by you. I wouldn't exactly call that lofty discussion, but if you love it, enjoy.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:50 PM on August 26, 2008


I don't know why people would be upset at the idea of random tasings, since no one here has actually suggested it.
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just searched the thread, and 'human rights' has only been mentioned twice.

Ctrl F =/= finding ideas.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:52 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fortunately, the proposed ideas from the original post advocate no such thing.

I'm not talking to the people who wrote the original post, I'm talking to the people in this thread who advocated tossing people out immediately based on an accusation. Why must I restrict myself to a discussion with someone not even present?
posted by Justinian at 4:54 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not talking to the people who wrote the original post, I'm talking to the people in this thread who advocated tossing people out immediately based on an accusation.

Since you were talking about this matter as it pertains to the con organizers, I was just trying to put your mind at ease about what's actually being proposed to said organizers. I'm not at all saying you can't address others in this thread.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:00 PM on August 26, 2008


...one person's statement followed by one suspect's denial (again, without additional evidence) isn't going to make it to pre-trial, much less to a jury.

Actually, it can get you executed. One witness, no physical evidence, appeals denied.

Another example. One witness, no physical evidence, appeals denied.

"It is well established that a conviction can rest upon the testimony of a single credible witness." "The record shows that B.A.F. gave firsthand testimony that Foreman assaulted her with a deadly weapon. That evidence, if believed, is sufficient to support a conviction for second-degree assault."

"The testimony of a single prosecution witness, where credible and positive, is sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. There is no law which requires that the testimony of a single witness has to be corroborated"

"The uncorroborated testimony of a single witness may be sufficient by itself to
sustain a conviction on appeal.”

posted by lore at 5:01 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


I have to say that I agree with Mitheral. One of the reasons we prefer guilty men to go free than innocent men to be found guilty is that we are not responsible for other people's moral failures, but we are responsible for our own even if we have good intentions. The people who bear moral responsibility for harassing women are the asshole harassers. But, if we institute a policy of tossing people out on the basis of an accusation without any investigation, we (ok the con organizers) bear the responsibility for any negative consequences of that decision.

It's not right for us to commit unfair or immoral acts even if we do so in an attempt to ameliorate other people's harassment.


My comment was going to start out on this point, but Justinian captured it superbly. In addition, we already have laws against sexual assault, assault and battery, etc. Those laws are available everywhere to protect everyone from that sort of treatment. If an assault occurs, we even have an organization known as the police whose job it is to see that such laws are enforced; furthermore, our tax dollars pay to support a judiciary tasked with ensuring that, if someone's guilt is proven by evidence, they are punished for their conduct. I'm not sure why the rights of the accused should be abrogated in order to guarantee swifter retribution, harsher punishment, or relaxed standards of proof.

And with respect to bemoaning the fact some female attendees were harshly criticized by some male patrons, I can only hope that those women someday part with the notion that they are entitled to be protected from unpleasant interaction with other people under the aegis of "sexual harassment." They were not assaulted. They were not threatened. They were not even exposed to derisive epithets based on their sex. To somehow suggest that we need special rules to ensure that female conference guests are insulated from criticism of their work in order to further the cause of equality is patently absurd.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 5:02 PM on August 26, 2008


"Like I said before; yes I see a problem with innocent people being punished. Can I be angry at both the asshole harassers and the injustice of punishing the innocent or does it have to be one or the other?"

When setting a policy based on conflicting interests, you do have to choose one interest as more important than the other. This doesn't mean that you can't have secondary concerns, but it does mean that if you don't, you're left with the essentially meaningless statement that you're angry at both parties, without any relative weighting or positive action. It simply sounds like your answer is Gee, those harassers are bad people, but let's not do anything because doing anything could carry the risk of doing infrequent injustice, rather than addressing the current frequent injustice. And this statement, especially from a position of societal power, is itself unjust.

"I understand statistics just fine, nice ad hominem though."

You haven't shown it. Likewise, you haven't shown that you know how to use "ad hominem."

"Yes. Good policy doesn't sacrifice a portion of the population for the greater good. It's the whole reason, in theory anyways, we strive for objectivity and rationality in justice rather than mob rule and vigilantism."

Wow, that's wrong on both counts. First off, when civil goods conflict, good policy always chooses the greater good. It's practically a tautology. I mean, it feels good to say, but it has absolutely no relationship to any actual policy making, no matter the setting—if everyone agrees on what's good, no policy is needed. Second, it's not why we strive for objectivity and rationality, nor why we eschew mob rule and vigilantism, though those are all bound up in the idea of what justice is. The only way to avoid any sacrifices for a greater good is hard libertarianism, and that's pretty much a state of war at all times—nasty, brutish, short, to cop a line from Hobbes. We strive for objectivity because it implies an external reality upon which all can agree; we strive for rationality in part because humans are rational creatures (generally) and in part because it provides reasons for any course of action, and those reasons may be made explicit, thus garnering consent. The reasons why we don't accept mob rule or vigilantism are the perceived lack of objectivity, the inflammation of emotions, the "expected value," where risk of making a mistake is multiplied by the consequences of that mistake… But these have nothing to do with not sacrificing part of the population for the common good. When a mob or vigilante makes a mistake, the common good is not served, just as when our formal and institutionalized justice system makes a mistake. We prefer the institution not because it doesn't make mistakes, but because there are ways of mitigating those mistakes.
posted by klangklangston at 5:02 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


I think it's pretty reasonable that the Con would want to do nothing about behavior that didn't threaten the Con.

It's not a government, or even a quasi-government, and every enforcement mechanism that applies outside the doors of the Con applies inside as well. If people are committing crimes, you can call the police. If people are committing torts, you can try to sue them.

You know, like everywhere else.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:03 PM on August 26, 2008


BTW, thanks for an excellent post, bitter-girl.com. Please do not consider any sarcasm, derision, out-right name calling or basically-just-trolling of the awful thread that followed to be a judgement of it’s quality.
posted by Artw at 5:03 PM on August 26, 2008


At first they came for the ass-grabbers, but I said nothing, etc.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:06 PM on August 26, 2008



Mrs. notreally was a self described "Convention Events Planner"
She did three conventions a year in Atlantic City. The same three every year for 22 years. Her method of dealing with the "Lester the molester" types was quite simple. Bouncers. Yeah. Sounds problematic. But she says it was never a problem. One complaint was a warning. A second complaint resulted in an embarrassing and humiliating accident/incident.
posted by notreally at 5:07 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Much love, lore, but those few examples are so far out in left field, farther out than the furthest of outliers, that I can't agree that I live in that world, anymore than the fact that one woman was killed by a meteorite means that we live in a world where the threat of meteorites killing you is a compelling reason to take action with lead sombreros.

Plus, of course, you miss the important fact that those trials and convictions were not based solely on one witness and one denial; they had evidence. That is, a dead body with a bullet in it. We're talking about (say) shoplifting. Where's the missing comic book? Or sexual assault. Where's the pinch mark?

One witness and no body = no trial. If you want to keep shifting the goalposts, take up sports management. Or at least quit it with the lame analogies that hold water about as well as a diabetic who's just finished two litres of Coke Zero.

Mitheral, you're arguing with a machine that converts reason into spite and doesn't have an off switch. Don't bother.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 5:19 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rachel Edidin is my hero - Dark Horse assistant editor, moderator of one of the best comics forum out there, blogger, comics scholar, zine creator, now this. I'm sure she's got several other things up her sleeve, too. And yes, she's an incredibly nice person as well.
posted by bettafish at 5:20 PM on August 26, 2008


Seriously? In the year 2008 an event as large as ComicCon doesn't have a sexual harassment policy? Wow. Ok, they need to get on that pronto, and I suppose a few people have graciously drawn one up for them for free, so that oughta save them a nice chunk of change. Unless they want to hire someone to develop a policy for them (this can easily be done). Either way, I don't think any of us here are going to be the ones to do it, so whatever. The only meaningful thing I can really say on that front is that they need to get that shit cleared up yesterday.

Now then, gentlemen, I am going to address you for a moment. I am not excusing myself from this remonstration because I know I haven't been living up to my end of the bargain just as much as the rest of us haven't. We are able to choose who we allow in our scenes. We can define what is straight up unacceptable, and we have done this in the past. We need to do it again. Girls are coming to cons! This is big news! This is what we've said we always wanted. And right here we are poised to blow it in such an epic way that Homer might write about it. Let's make the extra effort to make women feel comfortable in this scene. Let's risk something for it. Hell, let's suffer a little bit for it! I'm willing to contend with a mistaken/false accusation at a con if it means that there's structures in place for the real assholes to get dealt with. Seriously, what we'd be giving up is nothing compared to what we'd be gaining.

And, just to be clear, what we'd be gaining is a whole bunch of really cool people who have all sorts of new and interesting perspectives on this medium and subculture that we care a lot about. It's a fair trade off, and one I would implore that really means a lot to us. I know how cheesey that sounds, and I would be remiss to ignore the fact that it sure is nice to have nice lookin' women walking around your con, but if you can bring yourself to steady your breathing, speak respectfully, and actually look at a woman's face for ten goddamn seconds you will also find that a great many of them are quite a bit of fun to talk to in addition to them being nice looking! Holy shit!

Now, ladies, on to you. Some of us have your back. I mean that in the most literal sense. Bring this petition up over and over again and tell them how you want your con. There will be men, I've seen 'em in this very thread, who will stand behind you and say, "yes, they've got it right." Sure, there will be guys who grouse about loosing something or other to the "kuhrazy feminazis", but, as I've mentioned above, we really should do something more about those guys anyway. And hey, if we do something to make them show themselves, removing them (or separating their bullshit from them) will be that much easier.

In conclusion: Men, having females at our cons is nice and if they choose to dress up that is especially nice and we should do more to make sure that this is able to be done in a safe environment. Women: please don't give up on cons yet, you are still welcome and are implored to make your concerns known early and often.

This is One Nerd With No Pull With Anyone At All Really signing off.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:21 PM on August 26, 2008 [11 favorites]


"I think it's pretty reasonable that the Con would want to do nothing about behavior that didn't threaten the Con."

I think it's pretty reasonable for people who believe that it is in their interest to go to a harassment-free con to try to convince the cons that it is also in the cons' interest to be harassment-free.

If comic cons want to be mainstream events and have access to the much broader revenue stream that comes with that, harassment policies will have to be adopted. If they don't, I think it's pretty reasonable for people to complain about that. Especially when, given the general expectations of public society, most other businesses also have non-governmental options for mitigating sexual harassment.
posted by klangklangston at 5:22 PM on August 26, 2008


Doublewhiskeycokenoice, I applaud your eloquence, if not your taste in beverages.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:23 PM on August 26, 2008


Justinian said: I'm not talking to the people who wrote the original post, I'm talking to the people in this thread who advocated tossing people out immediately based on an accusation.

I agree that that would be wrong.

And it's also not what CCAHP is advocating.

We seem to be going around and around with this because people are conflating that assertion, with which only 1 or 2 people seem to agree, with the assertion that the CCAHP guidelines are a step in the right direction (with some flaws folks have pointed out) and that, yes, it is very helpful for conventions to have clearly-spelled-out policies about investigating harassment complaints just as they have policies about investigating shoplifting complaints and smoking complaints and bootlegging complaints--with which, as Artyw has already said, it seems like almost everyone in the thread agrees.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:25 PM on August 26, 2008


"Much love, lore, but those few examples are so far out in left field, farther out than the furthest of outliers, that I can't agree that I live in that world, anymore than the fact that one woman was killed by a meteorite means that we live in a world where the threat of meteorites killing you is a compelling reason to take action with lead sombreros."

AND YET YOU THINK THAT EVIL TRICKSTER WOMEN MANUFACTURING HARASSMENT CHARGES IS A BIG ENOUGH RISK TO ARGUE AGAINST A SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY?
posted by klangklangston at 5:25 PM on August 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


I think it's pretty reasonable for people who believe that it is in their interest to go to a harassment-free con to try to convince the cons that it is also in the cons' interest to be harassment-free.

I don't disagree.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:25 PM on August 26, 2008


I'm not surprised this has turned into a debate, but as far as I can tell, there is no room for debate about the actual project. I mean, throw hypotheticals back and forth all you want, but in essence, all this is doing is saying that laws -- not convention rules, but actual laws that exist in the real world -- will be treated as though they matter, so don't be an asshole, and nobody will kick you out of the con or...and this is maybe just a little more serious...subject you to criminal charges. These are laws that existed well before someone decided to act the toolbox at SDCC last month, and no one really cares how you feel about them. They exist. Break them and you get in trouble. How the fuck is that so complicated? All this does is put forth the notion that the convention will act as though these laws are meaningful, which it should have been doing anyway. It's not a Temporary Autonomous Zone; it's a goddamned comic book convention.

In talking to The Author of This Very Post last week on this subject, I wondered out loud how exactly it came to this point. Obviously, there's poor socialization -- men who know women largely through porn, comics, and (maybe) real-live titty bars -- but that doesn't explain all of it, because I doubt this is how these guys would behave, say, at work. Something would hold (most of) them back -- and that something, of course, is fear. Fear of losing their jobs, fear of being charged with sexual harassment...logical, intelligent fears. I'm not saying they wouldn't want to act skeevy, just that (most of them) would know better...would know there could be consequences. So how is this different?

I think that these guys see a comics con as something that's coded as a male environment -- much like a strip club -- meaning that any women who are there are there for their entertainment. I'm not saying this is anything they're really consciously aware of -- I tend to doubt they've given it all that much thought -- but I think that's the source of it. The booth babes who clearly are there for male entertainment wouldn't help that perception. And there may be an element of hostility toward their boys' club being breached as well. But mostly I think they're doing it because it's an environment where they feel safe doing it. I don't see any problem with taking that feeling of safety away.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:26 PM on August 26, 2008 [10 favorites]


You just have an axe to grind, and I'm done with you.

Actually, from my perspective, knowing neither of you or your relationship with each other, it looks to me like orthogonality caught you in a massive, absolutely bewildering example of intellectual hypocrisy.

But you know, fuck the bikers and fuck women, man. Fight the power.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:29 PM on August 26, 2008 [8 favorites]


I think that these guys see a comics con as something that's coded as a male environment -- much like a strip club -- meaning that any women who are there are there for their entertainment.

Yeah, alright, but even if that were true or acceptable (I'm not saying anyone here thinks it is) even at a strip club there are standards of what is acceptable behavior and consequences for violating those standards. Actually, this brings up a rather darkly comic irony. A woman is arguably safer from unwanted touching on the floor of a tittie bar than she is on the floor of Comic Con. I'll leave you with that.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:31 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Actually, this brings up a rather darkly comic irony. A woman is arguably safer from unwanted touching on the floor of a tittie bar than she is on the floor of Comic Con. I'll leave you with that.

Yeah, I was gonna say "a bordello," but I thought that might sound, I dunno, inflammatory.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:33 PM on August 26, 2008


All this does is put forth the notion that the convention will act as though these laws are meaningful, which it should have been doing anyway.

Have the conventions been interfering with the normal function of law enforcement? I'm genuinely asking--I don't know.

The impression I got from the FPP and discussion was that the conventions were simply not enforcing the law, which isn't so surprising to me, since I don't enforce the law either.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:33 PM on August 26, 2008


C'mon, guys.

Who here likes mudkips?
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:35 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow what a thread, let's synth a little:

1) Behavioral aspects
-Scantly clad dress is a provocation that suggests some behavior is acceptable (external attribution,
she/he caused my actions)
-Maladaptive social behavior caused by social insecurities (self sheltered people)
-Maladaptive social behavior caused by learned Misanthropysm/Misogynism (machoism, extreme feminists,
religious extremists)
-Context suggests acceptable behavior (bar scene is not Con scene)
- Unaddressed misunderstanding entrenches misunderstanding
("woman are bitches" "man are pervs")

2) Cultural aspects
- Girls taught "not to make a fuss"
- Sexism may be considered harmless and used to rationalize some behaviors into validation and acceptance.
- Women more likely to play the victim role

3) What constitutes harrasment?
-Asking over and over again to have a date
-Targeting a group, interfere with their work

4) What constitutes battery?
-Undesidered annoying physical contact

4)Who should address battery/harrasment?
- Con's management responsability
- Police
- Self defence

4a) Economical aspects of /of addressing b/h
- Increased cost for security making access to event less affordable to many
- Bad perception of a Con decreases attendance and revenue.
- False harrasment claims, strict Zero tolerance disappoints/alienate audience
- Some guests behavior disrupts workers efforts.
- Scantly dress attracts some audience.
- Zero tolerance statistically unlikely to affect many innocent guests.

4b) Social and legal aspects of addressing b/h
- Zero tolerance is open to abuse of authority , likely to be enforced with superficial care.
It can also be enforced reasonably, also with guest partecipation into singling out abusers.
- What constitutes evidence of b/h, how to collect it.
- Harassment claim without actual harrasment (honest mistake, deliberate accusation)


5) How to address b/h
- Eject the disturbing people.
- Kick his/her ass.
- Mass behavioral education.
- Assertivenes.
- Avoid context suspected to be hostile.
- Zero tolerance enforcement.
posted by elpapacito at 5:36 PM on August 26, 2008


Doublewhiskeycokenoice: this brings up a rather darkly comic irony. A woman is arguably safer from unwanted touching on the floor of a tittie bar than she is on the floor of Comic Con.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! San Diego Comic Con 2008 had, according to several attendees, rules about "smoking, live animals, wheeled handcarts, recording at video presentations, drawing or aiming your replica weapon, and giving your badge to others."

But they did not have the Boobie Bar Prime Directive.

Now, how could adding the Boobie Bar Prime Directive be a bad thing?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:36 PM on August 26, 2008


I had my long, pointless argument already this week, Steve. Hit me up next month and I'll see what I can do for you, all right?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:38 PM on August 26, 2008


AND YET YOU THINK THAT EVIL TRICKSTER WOMEN MANUFACTURING HARASSMENT CHARGES IS A BIG ENOUGH RISK TO ARGUE AGAINST A SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY?

No. I just think that for an editor, you sure aren't very good at reading, and it's always predictable that every time you open your yap to disagree with someone, you treat them like an enemy. The latter probably informs the former.

I actually haven't argued one way or the other about whether or not such policies should exist. So I'l be explicit: I think they should.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 5:39 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


The obvious solution is to ban all women from attending cons -- either as workers, attendees or talent. This means no booth babes, no guest appearances by actresses or writers, and even no waitresses, barmaids, cleaning staff, nothing. Staff the whole fucking thing with men, right down the line.

All-male conventions would insure that all the male attendees would be free from false accusations, public humiliation and slander, and could enjoy their experience in perfect comfort and safety.

I have no doubt attendance would skyrocket once you got rid of all those dangerous, icky female things.

Seriously:

The rules being objected to are the norm in every bar, nightclub, mall, hotel and non-geek convention on earth, and are about as controversial as 'don't piss in the potted plants' and 'don't start fights'.
posted by jrochest at 5:39 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I had my long, pointless argument already this week, Steve. Hit me up next month and I'll see what I can do for you, all right?

Uh, OK. Nobody was asking for an argument of any sort. I just asked a question.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:40 PM on August 26, 2008


"I don't disagree."

UR GHEY 4 ME.
posted by klangklangston at 5:40 PM on August 26, 2008


First, these aren't analogies. I'm not saying they're like anything, I'm saying you're wrong about living in a world where you can't be convicted based on being accused of something without other evidence. I'm also saying you're wrong about living in a world where "without additional evidence, one person's word against another's isn't a compelling call for action."

Secondly, one of those links deals with assault. No body, just someone who got a gun aimed at her. Another was a 13-year-old girl who was felt up. If those are evidence by your standards, then the existence of an ass and a hand are also evidence.

Thirdly, you can define outliers however you want, but I think "well established" refutes your definition.

Fourthly, come on, you're the one moving the goalposts. You've changed the definition of "world" for heaven's sake.

Lastly, come on, man. I ignored your crack about writing fiction. I'm trying to see if we can understand each other's point of view.

I think I understand where you're coming from. If I thought that getting booted from a private event on someone else's say-so was nearly unheard of throughout civilized society, I'd probably be pretty pissed if people wanted to make an exception for sexual harassment.

Now try to look at it from my point of view. It's not at all unusual. It happens in private events (see notreally, above). It happens in courts of law. Whether or not you feel that's just or ideal, applying those standards to sexual harassment is perfectly inline with societal standards.

By now I should probably know better than to try to reach understanding with other people on the Internet, but I'm hoping you'll be able to step away from counting coup and accusing me of making things up, and actually have a conversation.
posted by lore at 5:40 PM on August 26, 2008


I had my long, pointless argument already this week

I hear that.
posted by nola at 5:40 PM on August 26, 2008


Mr.PresidentDr.Steve&c. wrote:The impression I got from the FPP and discussion was that the conventions were simply not enforcing the law, which isn't so surprising to me, since I don't enforce the law either.

No, the San Diego Comic Con administrators and security folks were enforcing some laws (e.g., "No smoking in the con space," "No bootlegged merchandise") and some rules (e.g., "Don't give your badge to someone else," "No handcarts in this area"). But they were apparently not prepared to enforce existing laws about sexual harassment, and there were no convention rules about sexual harassment.

And that's why it's different from the "We only take action if there's a threat to the con" kind of approach in my opinion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:41 PM on August 26, 2008


Actually, this brings up a rather darkly comic irony. A woman is arguably safer from unwanted touching on the floor of a tittie bar than she is on the floor of Comic Con. I'll leave you with that.

I have a few friends who've worked as dancers. 'Arguably,' hell -- it's true. At those clubs, the bouncers ARE the law. And there's no arguing with them. You touch what you're not supposed to in a way you're not supposed to, and you're out, pal.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:46 PM on August 26, 2008


Everyone needs a hug
posted by Artw at 5:47 PM on August 26, 2008


No, the San Diego Comic Con administrators and security folks were enforcing some laws (e.g., "No smoking in the con space," "No bootlegged merchandise") and some rules (e.g., "Don't give your badge to someone else," "No handcarts in this area").

I see. Bootleg merchandise and badge-trading both seem like they would directly hit the bottom line, so no surprise there. The smoking thing might actually be part of their lease, and even if it's not, it's easy to enforce. There's no ambiguity about whether someone's smoking, and it's easy to spot. The handcarts mystify me, but it's also easy to enforce.

The point is, though, they're not trying to enforce all laws just because they're laws. They enforce a few rules that they think, rightly or wrongly, make the convention run more smoothly, and they probably think that a sexual harassment policy would just be more trouble than it's worth.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 5:55 PM on August 26, 2008


they probably think that a sexual harassment policy would just be more trouble than it's worth.

Well, they're about to find out otherwise, I would guess.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:58 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fourthly, come on, you're the one moving the goalposts

No you!

I acknowledge that I am being dismissive here: it's not that I haven't looked at it from your point of view, it's that I don't think you really have a point of view, that you're arguing for the sake of personal entertainment and that, yeah, you're making shit up and moving goalposts, and that you don't really care about any point of view, much less my own.

Which is fine, because I don't really care about my point of view, either. I disdain and mock cons and fanboys and don't care how many fanboys are ejected from cons by some nebulous possible harassment policy. String 'em all up. Start with the Whovians. I'm just being contrarian; I opened the thread and just about the first thing I saw was someone calling for a policy of ejecting attendees if someone complains about them like some kind of zero tolerance Bushie wet dream. All of my arguments in this thread have been based from that one comment, and everything else has been a sidetrack, red herring or irrelevancy. Like your comments; I'm on a tangent so far from what I was originally talking about that I am mathematically unable to care. My caring gland doesn't work in these non-Euclidean realms.

But, in the final analysis, I shouldn't even have stepped in on that zero tolerance issue, because as far as I'm concerned, you can give every woman at the con a handgun filled with hollow-point ammo and the directive to kill any motherfucker who looks at them the wrong way or just smells funny or has bad fashion sense or prefers dubs to subtitles, and in the grand scheme, I don't really care. I'd be more interested in how good their aim was.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 6:03 PM on August 26, 2008


The handcarts mystify me

Union rules.
posted by Tenuki at 6:03 PM on August 26, 2008


Well all right then.
posted by lore at 6:04 PM on August 26, 2008


Well, they're about to find out otherwise, I would guess.

Could be.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:06 PM on August 26, 2008


But, in the final analysis, I shouldn't even have stepped in on that zero tolerance issue, because as far as I'm concerned, you can give every woman at the con a handgun filled with hollow-point ammo and the directive to kill any motherfucker who looks at them the wrong way or just smells funny or has bad fashion sense or prefers dubs to subtitles, and in the grand scheme, I don't really care. I'd be more interested in how good their aim was.

"Looks at them the wrong way" seems really...murky. I'm kind of uncomfortable with that.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:08 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


As someone who has worked security for a variety of events in a variety of venues, I 'm kind of surprised and a little appalled that there isn't an explicitly stated harassment policy for cons that are expected to be this large and densely packed. Not only does having a stated policy let attendees know in advance what kind of behavior is expected and what kind of actions will not be tolerated, it gives staff and security a set of guidelines for the actions they should be taking. To have NO policy is not the utopian ideal some people seem to think it is -it leaves security in the weeds, leaves the harassed with no recourse, and leaves the organizers more vulnerable to lawsuits.

Bouncers. Yeah. Sounds problematic. But she says it was never a problem. One complaint was a warning. A second complaint resulted in an embarrassing and humiliating accident/incident.

I don't know if I would put it so dramatically (replace "accident/incident" with ejection from the venue with a refund") but a lot of what I was thinking as I was reading the articles and the thread was specifically related to my experience with nightclub security, when we frequently had to eject male patrons for assgrabbery and other such harassment. False accusation wasn't really the problem; harassment was, if anything, badly underreported. Women who go out to have a good time don't want to be seen as being oversensitive prudes, so things would have to get pretty bad in order for them to talk to us.

See, that's what security is there for. That's our job. It's what we do. We aren't merely powertripping funwreckers/ action movie cannon-fodder. If someone is harassing, stalking, threatening or assaulting you,regardless of your gender, you should feel comfortable telling security. You should feel like you will be taken seriously, and that something will be done about it, up to and including the ejection of the offending party from the venue and, if appropriate, the summoning of law enforcement. Most likely, they'll get a Stern Talking To and won't do it again (they usually don't.)

If they do get the stern talking to and do it again because, say, they feel like they have a God-given right to harass a scantily clad cosplayer because clearly she wants it or she wouldn't dress that way, then perhaps the untold thousands they spent on hotel and travel can be considered their tuition at the University of Don't Be an Asshole.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:11 PM on August 26, 2008 [19 favorites]


I don't really care about my point of view, either...I'm just being contrarian

Useful to know.

I'm fairly new at this Internet thing, but that's what the kids these days call "trolling," isn't it?
posted by neroli at 6:12 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I really don't understand the people who are falling all over themselves to defend the hypothetical innocent man.

People are imperfect, and any systems that they create will be flawed systems. Therefore, there are always two choices: a flawed system, or no system. If you are unwilling to accept the possibility that an innocent person may come to harm, you are defending the latter option. But that is not a choice that any civilized society has ever made. Our legal system puts innocent people in prison ALL THE TIME. We put protections in place (when practical) in order to make this as rare as possible, and it does not happen in most cases, but it does happen despite our best efforts and we accept that because the alternative is to make NO attempt to prevent and punish crime, and that is unacceptable.

The Con question is the same problem on a much smaller scale. We can do nothing and allow the members of the Con community to break the rules without attempting to stop or punish them, or we can attempt to do something to curtail and discipline rule-breaking. If we do this, it is possible (and likely, given a long enough span of time) that at some point, the system we set up to deal with rule-breaking will fail and someone who is innocent will suffer a consequence. That is the price we pay for civilization.

Also, please realize that your outrage, if it is genuine, is misplaced. If you are so upset by the thought that a woman's word could get you kicked out of a convention, you need to start a grassroots campaign to overhaul our legal system, because the status quo is that any person, male or female, can go to the police, file a false claim against you, and have you arrested. Sometimes, if the accuser is a particularly good liar or has successfully fabricated some convincing evidence of your alleged crime, you may even be found guilty of a crime you did not commit -- anything from petty theft to murder! That's right, a confused person, an angry person, a sociopath, could LIE and you might end up in jail for the weekend or in prison with a felony conviction. Obviously, this state of affairs poses a far greater danger to you than the proposed comic con policy. Start voting out these crazy policymakers!
posted by prefpara at 6:17 PM on August 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Thank you, louche mustachio. It's EXACTLY the same as nightclub security, and it needs to be developed and enforced for precisely the reasons you give.
posted by jrochest at 6:18 PM on August 26, 2008


I'm fairly new at this Internet thing, but that's what the kids these days call "trolling," isn't it?

Some might, but they'd be using the word wrong. Trolling is intentionally trying to disrupt a discussion or to provoke an emotional response by being deliberately inflammatory. Klangklangston, for example; not me.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 6:19 PM on August 26, 2008


bitter-girl.com writes "I have a few friends who've worked as dancers. 'Arguably,' hell -- it's true. At those clubs, the bouncers ARE the law. And there's no arguing with them. You touch what you're not supposed to in a way you're not supposed to, and you're out, pal."

This isn't a perfect analogy though as the dancers automatically have greater credibility being employees rather than some random customer. I'd imagine that even at cons without specific harassment policy grabbing the ass of a organizing committee member would get you ejected.
posted by Mitheral at 6:31 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


the status quo is that any person, male or female, can go to the police, file a false claim against you, and have you arrested. Sometimes, if the accuser is a particularly good liar or has successfully fabricated some convincing evidence of your alleged crime, you may even be found guilty of a crime you did not commit -- anything from petty theft to murder!

And if they're found making shit up, they face a mischief charge. Which is another reason why police matters should be left to the police. Letting people handle things "administratively" means not having the kind of checks and balances -- as inadequate as they can sometimes be -- factoring in. It's a much smaller deal to push past that nagging doubt that this was really the guy who grabbed your ass in that crowd, if you're not going to be held accountable for your accusations in some rather public way. A bit of embarassment all round wouldn't do the situation any harm, as an incentive for both parties to take such accusations seriously.

But this is all beside the point. I don't see anyone arguing "no system" over flawed system. You and several others here seem intent on foisting one particular system on people in the guise of it being the only option. That ain't so. Goodnight.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:39 PM on August 26, 2008


You ... seem intent on foisting one particular system on people in the guise of it being the only option.

I do? What system is that?
posted by prefpara at 6:42 PM on August 26, 2008


Sorry, sarcasm was my initial response, but it is not usually an effective method of communication.

I proposed the radical system "any." I described it as an attempt to "do something." Please don't accuse me of trying to foist things on you without a better basis than that.
posted by prefpara at 6:44 PM on August 26, 2008


Sorry, pref, if you weren't one of those pushing for the version of zero tolerance argued for above. Several times in this thread we've heard that we can have that, or nothing, which is ridiculous.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:46 PM on August 26, 2008


Or more disingenuously "you'd rather have" (X heinous act) than a zero tolerance style policy.

I was mentally attaching your status quo observation to one made earlier. Apologies.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:47 PM on August 26, 2008


To reply to it directly, though:

there are always two choices: a flawed system, or no system.

Well that's a strawman. No one is advocating this.

If you are unwilling to accept the possibility that an innocent person may come to harm, you are defending the latter option.

Sure, ok. And the devil is in the details. Most of this thread is about the details. And the status quo re: criminal charges, has some disincentives built in. Not strong ones, but they're there.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:50 PM on August 26, 2008


The people who don't think a zero-tolerance system will be abused are idiots. Who's more likely to make an accusation - the girl who's shy and just wishes the guy would leave her alone, or the harassing guy who has already established he's an asshole and is pissed off at being rejected five times? In a zero-tolerance system, any accusation must be treated as serious, even ones that are obviously bullshit (but don't have any perfect counter-evidence handy.) Zero-tolerance systems are routinely abused in schools this way by bullies to take care of anyone who fights back (since they don't have the discretion to not get caught while doing it.)

Also, what do you do about counter-accusations?
posted by Mitrovarr at 6:52 PM on August 26, 2008


> Actually, from my perspective, knowing neither of you or your relationship with each other, it looks to me like orthogonality caught you in a massive, absolutely bewildering example of intellectual hypocrisy.

Gotta agree with AZ here. And the response was really traditional, too. I can't tell you how many times first on BBSes and then on the 'Net I've seen that exact response. A: "Wait a minute, what about ... [really bad skewering]?" B: "You know what? [Choose one or more of the following: (i) You're not worth talking to anymore. (ii) My time is worth more than this. (iii) Fuck off. (iv) I am a superior being to what you are. (v) I'm not going to feed the trolls anymore. (vi) {insert your own creation here}]." Same as it ever was; same as it ever was.
posted by WCityMike at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'd imagine that even at cons without specific harassment policy grabbing the ass of a organizing committee member would get you ejected.

Well:

One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time.

I mean, I guess SDCC Inc. isn't signing her checks or anything, but she is working there. And furthermore, if a woman or group of women walk into a strip club is seems fairly obvious that it's incumbent upon the men to behave or get their arms broken. At least at your classier tittie bar.

Look, it shouldn't take threats of violence to get men at cons to behave. It will, but it shouldn't. I guess that's a longer term goal or something. The bigger picture seems to be why is it that strip clubs, of all places, seem to be the one place a woman can display her body with an understanding of, and expectation of adherence to, standards of proper and improper conduct? I think this is where the power trip thing really clenches it for all time. At the strip club, and at no other place, is the female body displayed explicitly for the male gaze (yes, women go to strip clubs too, let's not quibble we all know what we're talking about). Everywhere else, on the street when she's got a miniskirt on and at the con when she's wearing Leia's metal bikini, she's not engaging in some sort of business deal involving her body and your money. Now she's got her body out there on her own terms and that takes away the power that comes from the exchange of money and spectacle in the strip club. So, I guess, in order to "level" the playing field, these guys decide that since they're not paying for it, they don't have to go by the strip club rules anymore. I hope it doesn't come down to having to employ people to break the arms of those who insist on maintaining this perversely justified mistaken assumption.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 6:57 PM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


Jesus, that parenthetical came of waaaaaaayyy snarkier than I wanted it to. That wasn't pointed at you, Mitrovarr, but a general hurf durf dude who always brings up that counterargument to derail the discussion.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 7:02 PM on August 26, 2008


I haven't read most of this thread and don't have time to. But this sort of behavior shouldn't be tolerated at all, be it at a comic book convention or on the street. It's good that some steps are being taken and even if they turn out be the wrong steps, hopefully lessons will be learned and different steps taken. 'Cause this shit ain't right.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


But this sort of behavior shouldn't be tolerated at all, be it at a comic book convention or on the street.

Or at a football game. I wonder how well a Stadium Anti-Harassment Project would be received.
posted by Tenuki at 7:11 PM on August 26, 2008


I cannot believe our society has degenerated to the point where people are seriously suggesting, with no hint of insincerity, taking one person's word over another's because of their gender. In anything.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:14 PM on August 26, 2008


This isn't a perfect analogy though as the dancers automatically have greater credibility being employees rather than some random customer. I'd imagine that even at cons without specific harassment policy grabbing the ass of a organizing committee member would get you ejected.

Agreed, Mitheral, but I have a problem with making it that specific -- why do you have to be a person in position of [perceived] authority (such as an organizing committee member) to make it unquestionably not OK / result in something like getting kicked out? I'm thinking ass-grabbing is ass-grabbing.

(Also, if we're going to continue with the strip club comparison, in your better strip clubs, yup, the guy gets booted asap. In the skeevier ones, management sometimes does the "hmmm, Customer X spends a lot of money every week...hey, girl, go back to the dressing room for a while and chill" thing. So maybe not the best comparison, but there you go).

Pointed out by my comic-book-guy boyfriend: a post by Mark Evanier about this very problem (and an earlier post on the same topic). This part stuck with me:
Still, any violation of anyone's personal space and body is unacceptable and I'm glad it's being discussed. I just don't think announcing a policy in a program book is going to make a bit of difference and might even mislead people into thinking the threat has been somehow handled. For one thing — and I'm only half-joking about this — nobody reads convention program books. I know this to be so. I'll betcha I have the world record for the most articles, bios and certainly obits written in comic convention program books and I can't recall anyone ever saying anything to me that would indicate they ever read any of them.

More realistically, the problem is not that goons think that in the absence of an announcement to the contrary, sexual harassment is permitted. It's that they think what they're doing is not sexual harassment or, as I think it should be more effectively identified, molestation. That's if they even care about some convention's policy, which they clearly do not. What they might care about, and what might get them to keep their oily little hands to themselves, is if they think there's a decent chance of getting arrested and prosecuted.
Given that he's been going to SDCC for about a kazillion years, it's an interesting take on it...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:21 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, from my perspective, knowing neither of you or your relationship with each other, it looks to me like orthogonality caught you in a massive, absolutely bewildering example of intellectual hypocrisy.

Of course, being part of an activist mob is exactly identical to being part of a paying audience.

Oh, wait, no. It isn't. I was caught in a bewildering example of...his and your imagination. Your perspective might be valid if you, y'know, knew what you were talking about.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 7:28 PM on August 26, 2008


I see what Mark's getting at, bitter-girl.com, and I think he's for the most part right. However, I think that louche mustachio nails is that it's really important for security to know what's up. Of course just writing the policy down does not, by itself, solve the problem. That's why the law needs cops, and the cops need the law written down. Once you have the rule you've gotta enforce it, and this is as it should be. What is going to get through the goon's skull is not words on a page, it's being escorted from the premises in a full nelson in full view of Dave Sim and everyone.






Does Dave Sim even go to cons?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 7:30 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shunning is an underrated form of enforcing cultural norms.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:31 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh god, not Dave Sim again.

And yeah, just writing it down doesn't do it, but having a written policy to refer to helps enforcers (whether police or private) if it comes to that. Especially in an environment where so many people working are volunteers.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:40 PM on August 26, 2008


Hey wait... that reminds me of this comment I made in that Dave Sim thread... I bet the ol' DS! treatment would get rid of unwanted touchers and molesters but quick...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:43 PM on August 26, 2008


Your perspective might be valid if you, y'know, knew what you were talking about.

Or if either of you you actually understood what 'hypocrisy' means. Hint: it doesn't mean consistency in belief.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 7:51 PM on August 26, 2008


Mitrovarr: I cannot believe our society has degenerated to the point where people are seriously suggesting, with no hint of insincerity, taking one person's word over another's because of their gender.

Not "because of their gender". It's because (to paraphrase Mavri), there are plenty of documented and witnessed instances of actual women being genuinely harassed in these venues. Whereas the hypothetical person who's hypothetically also in these venues, whose hypothetical word some have been defending so vigorously is...hypothetical.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 8:26 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


cybercoitus interruptus: Not "because of their gender". It's because (to paraphrase Mavri), there are plenty of documented and witnessed instances of actual women being genuinely harassed in these venues. Whereas the hypothetical person who's hypothetically also in these venues, whose hypothetical word some have been defending so vigorously is...hypothetical.

I don't care what kind of person they are or what kind of trends have in the place they are. In this society, we don't take one person's word over another. Or at least we didn't USED to.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:31 PM on August 26, 2008


"I cannot believe our society has degenerated to the point where people are seriously suggesting, with no hint of insincerity, taking one person's word over another's because of their gender. In anything."

What's it like to be kicked in the balls?

(I cannot believe that our thread has degenerated to the point where people are seriously suggesting, with no hint of insincerity, that people are thinking that people are suggesting taking one person's word over another's because of their gender.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:34 PM on August 26, 2008


Mitrovarr: I don't care what kind of person they are or what kind of trends have in the place they are. In this society, we don't take one person's word over another. Or at least we didn't USED to.

Actually, we do. Everyday, in courts of law everywhere. In the workplace. In Bars, in schools, in churches and convents. We've done so for centuries, and will probably continue doing so, at least for the forseeable future.

We evaluate the claims made, and the credibility of the people involved. It has drawbacks (it's easy to accuse someone with a lengthy criminal record of theft, and hard for them to defend themselves against that accusation, for instance), but we're sort of stuck with that.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:36 PM on August 26, 2008


klangklangston: (I cannot believe that our thread has degenerated to the point where people are seriously suggesting, with no hint of insincerity, that people are thinking that people are suggesting taking one person's word over another's because of their gender.)

There's people above seriously suggesting that their opponents in the debate are actually trying to defend sexual harassment. That's worse.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:38 PM on August 26, 2008


"I don't care what kind of person they are or what kind of trends have in the place they are. In this society, we don't take one person's word over another. Or at least we didn't USED to."

Oh, since I don't preview, I missed that you were declaiming from Northern Madeuppistan. Here in the rest of the world, people's "credibility" is often called into question, and always has been, for both good and ill. Perhaps you're confused because, instead of, say, traditional patriarchal values where woman's word was worthless without male corroboration, in this case a woman's word may be taken over a man's. That's because we finally decided that women are people too, just like us (I know, I know, I had some reservations too, but it seems to be working out OK).
posted by klangklangston at 8:39 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


"There's people above seriously suggesting that their opponents in the debate are actually trying to defend sexual harassment. That's worse."

Really? I saw people saying that their opponents were defending a status quo in which sexual harassment occurred, rather than working to fix that.

I realize I'm being a total dick about this, but the breathless rhetoric from you makes it hard not to be. (My own failing.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:41 PM on August 26, 2008


Actually, from my perspective, knowing neither of you or your relationship with each other, it looks to me like orthogonality caught you in a massive, absolutely bewildering example of intellectual hypocrisy.

From my perspective, it seems just a bullshit "Gotcha!" comment not designed to argue the merits of one thing or another in this thread, but a way for orthogonality to be a dick.
posted by Snyder at 8:43 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


klangklangston: Really? I saw people saying that their opponents were defending a status quo in which sexual harassment occurred, rather than working to fix that.

I can understand wanting to fix it, but the solution you are proposing essentially witch-hunts - where's a person's accusation is taken as golden no matter how unfounded or illogical it is. Society has tried that, and I don't remember it working out terribly well - particularly not for women, if you'll remember.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:49 PM on August 26, 2008


Ok, is anyone in this thread saying there is no need for any kind of policy? Can someone volunteer or point out a post? Because I have this crazy feeling that people are arguing about things they actually agree on, when the conflict is probably based on more inflammatory statements from early in the thread.
posted by Snyder at 8:52 PM on August 26, 2008


Wow this shit is still going on! So, what prefpara said, plus what Klang said and probably what Justian said. But especially what Klang said.
posted by Pax at 9:11 PM on August 26, 2008


Also, what Shmegegge said at like 7 or 8pm.
posted by Pax at 9:13 PM on August 26, 2008


I can understand wanting to fix it, but the solution you are proposing essentially witch-hunts - where's a person's accusation is taken as golden no matter how unfounded or illogical it is. Society has tried that, and I don't remember it working out terribly well - particularly not for women, if you'll remember.

That's not the solution being proposed. Nowhere on CCAHP will you find an exhortation to witch hunts and someone's word being taken over another simply on the basis of gender. What CCAHP is asking for is:

Cons that respond promptly and consistently to harassment complaints and make it clear that harassment complaints will be investigated and acted upon. The main complaint from the administrative standpoint was that when these women asked con organizers and officials, as well as security personnel, what the policy was regarding claims of sexual harassment they mostly got shrugs and "pics or it didn't happen". Those two things are not acceptable responses to their question and we both know that. The con is responsible for coming up with a framework to deal with the problem of sexual harassment at their event. At the end of the day, it's their event so policy decisions rest on their shoulders. What con goers have a responsibility to do is exhort the bigwigs up top to take their concerns seriously and fix problems in policy where they exist. Where one con goer has a problem we all do, and that's the one bit of nerd mentality that's good to keep with ya.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:13 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I can understand wanting to fix it, but the solution you are proposing essentially witch-hunts - where's a person's accusation is taken as golden no matter how unfounded or illogical it is. Society has tried that, and I don't remember it working out terribly well - particularly not for women, if you'll remember."

Essentially witch hunts?

AND WHEN WE CATCH THE WITCH WE WILL GIVE HIM A STERN WARNING!
posted by klangklangston at 9:19 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Articulated sexual harassment policy:witch hunts::"I've never been fond of matzo":Hitler
posted by klangklangston at 9:24 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Ugh.

There really isn't anything witch-hunty about it. What is essentially being explored here is the novel idea that cons should have the same policies and procedures as any other function of similar size and density. If you were to go to a club and were to grab a woman's ass, you would be ejected from the club. If you repeatedly asked a bartender out and she asked you to leave her alone three times, security would tell you to leave her alone, and if you persisted, you would be ejected from the club. It's not that unusual. Sure, there is occasional false accusation, but even in a really loud and chaotic environment, it's pretty easy to tell the bullshit accusations from the real ones.

Nobody is talking about automatically taking a woman's word over a man's simply because she is a woman.Nobody would be getting thrown in jail, nobody would be having their arms broken, we're not talking about legal repercussions. We're talking about having consistent policies for asking people to leave a private event because they've violated the stated policies against hassling or assaulting patrons- policies that everywhere else seems to have in place. Leaving these policies undefined is obviously not working.Not creating a consistent policy because an innocent person might get a stern talking to or might be asked to leave this private function is not an acceptable trade-off.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:30 PM on August 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ugh. I am not responding to the linked site. I am specifically responding to the comments above that suggested people should be thrown out on the weight of accusations alone. They're up there, go look.

Actually I thought the policy of the linked site was quite reasonable.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:00 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


thank you Doublewhiskeycokenoice

"Cons that respond promptly and consistently to harassment complaints and make it clear that harassment complaints will be investigated and acted upon."

about 1/2 the debate in this thread revolves around whether or not to include the "investigated" word

Personally, I'm a fan of it

(actually, on reading carefully, the quoted sentence is incomplete - the relevant section reads:

"Act:

Cons should act upon their verbal and physical harassment policies.

Cons that respond promptly and consistently to harassment complaints and make it clear that harassment complaints will be investigated and acted upon further deter potential harassers and encourage safety and mutual respect among con-goers.

We encourage cons to support their anti-harassment policies by implementing clear procedures for addressing complaints, and to train their volunteers and staff to respond to complaints of harassment or related problems."


I suppose we're hammering out the "clear procedures" aspect for them)
posted by sloe at 10:03 PM on August 26, 2008


I followed this thread from near the beginning, and it was pretty hard: Starting at around 3 pm, comments were coming it faster than I could read them. That's also when I think we got into a heated discussion, not about the contents of the links, but about the interpretation of some early comments.

Let's hope cooler heads can prevail now that things are going a bit slower.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:19 PM on August 26, 2008


That's not the solution being proposed. Nowhere on CCAHP will you find an exhortation to witch hunts and someone's word being taken over another simply on the basis of gender. What CCAHP is asking for is:

Heh. I think I underestimated. If we keep switching back and forth like this and keep snaring in new people the thread can top 1000 easily.
posted by Artw at 10:21 PM on August 26, 2008


"If you'd be so kind as to e-mail me your work phone number, I'm pretty sure I could prove you wrong [about what constitues stalking]."
>MeFi'd. However even if you decided to phone me 20 times an hour it's not stalking. I have no reasonable fear of harm to me or my family.


Oh, I didn't mean to give the impression that I was going to be the one calling. That would be anticlimatic.*

PS. What does "MeFi'd" mean?

*Given the way this thread's gone since I last commented, I should probably make it clear that I have no desire or intention to harass Mitheral or his family.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:25 PM on August 26, 2008


"Zero tolerance" seems like a huge mistake. I've seen such policies implemented in other venues and they're typically a disaster if they're really carried out in practice as-written. Any policy that doesn't have as a sort of 'safety valve', some kind of review by a disinterested person on the actual merits of the complaint (and not simply whether the complaint exists) and the effect the decision will have, typically leave themselves open to abuse. Plus, they can lead to nasty Catch-22-esque situations where everybody realizes that the outcome demanded by the rules isn't right, but nobody is empowered to stop it because the rules were written to be absolute.

While it may be satisfying to craft an iron-hard policy, those policies really suck out in the real world, where all sorts of messy stuff happens. Inflexible rules are trivially manipulated by assholes in ways you probably don't want them to be, for one, and they can create huge amounts of collateral damage even when there's nobody trying to put a wrench in the system. (Which, of course, they will be.)

There's a big difference between "if someone files a harassment complaint, we'll throw you out," and "if someone files a harassment complaint and we think you're being a dick detracting from the con, we'll throw you out." The former leaves itself trivially open to abuse, because there's no review, no 'person in the loop' to provide a sanity check and make sure something really unjust isn't happening because of blind rules-following. The latter lets people know that they can't file bogus, merit-less complaints, while still providing a way for problem individuals to get thrown out.

Even if the 'review' is as simple as a bouncer making a judgment call one way or the other on whether somebody is being a jerk or just accidentally overstepping the bounds of propriety, it's important to have that review happen somewhere. Automaton-like 'zero tolerance' enforcement is no way to run anything, be it a bar, a school, or a comic con.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:28 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am not responding to the linked site. I am specifically responding to the comments above that suggested people should be thrown out on the weight of accusations alone. ... Actually I thought the policy of the linked site was quite reasonable.

I'm starting to notice a pattern here. And I think if we keep responding to comments made miles and miles back, while ignoring the actual idea of the OP, by God we can keep this thread going til Christmas!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:22 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


A good point made unpleasantly and then passed around on the shoulders of a cheering crowd is enough to make me detest it and support the antithesis of whatever that crowd would cheer.

So now I support convention policies that allow male attendees to walk around naked from the waist down and which explicitly state that the harassment policy is "go tell it to the Marines."
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 11:40 PM on August 26, 2008


Pantlessness.

The very pith of freedom.
posted by jrochest at 11:59 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing writes "And I think if we keep responding to comments made miles and miles back, while ignoring the actual idea of the OP, by God we can keep this thread going til Christmas!"

One of the reasons for derail (though a pretty mild one), and it happens a lot, is the main link isn't the first link. Instead the post had a slanted link to a call for action blog post followed by a link to a con's homepage, a generic blog link, and a generic blog aggregator link. Then a penultimate link to a specific post on the generic blog (which introduced the meaty link). Only then did what your assuming the OP wanted us to talk about get linked. We've got a short attention span, get to the point. The heavy editorializing in the MI didn't help either setting a tone of agree with the linked site or be branded crazy.

Maybe something like this would have been better:
The Con Anti-Harassment Project. Prompted by reported harassment at the San Diego Comic-Con, Rachel Edidin from the Inside Out blog has proposed a "three step action plan" to designed to help make conventions safer for everyone.
No editorializing, no slanted words, minimal gratuitous linking to girl-wonder.org, and the hoped for subject of discussion isn't buried at the end or half way down. The posting page actually encourages the most important link first format.

Having said that though I don't think, especially in cases of outrage filter, that MetaFilter should strive to talk only about what the OP wants. Frankly there isn't much about the CAHP action plan proposal specifically to discuss besides a bunch of group hug, ya that looks great comments. It's well thought out, uncontroversial, and managed to avoid the stereotype that harassment is inflicted by males on females (almost). I'm fine with someone proposing their own solution to the perceived problem in the comments even if I don't agree with the solution. I would have been fine with an outpouring of harassment (sexual or otherwise, first person or FOAF) stories. I'd like to say I'm shocked at the cavalier, ends justifies the means opinion of some but I've seen it lots before and I can understand where they're coming from even if I don't agree with it.
posted by Mitheral at 1:37 AM on August 27, 2008


I've read every single comment here... and I'm pretty sure a fairly significant number of readers skimming the thread will be walking away with the impression that some crazy group is trying a force a Con anti-harassment policy in which anybody accused of harassing someone will be automatically be kicked out of the convention, no questions asked.

I can't help but think that this is because there are some people who don't like the idea of a no-harassment policy in any form, but can't reasonably argue against the actual terms of the proposal ("respond promptly and consistently to harassment complaints and make it clear that harassment complaints will be investigated and acted upon"), and it suits them to muddy the waters and get people riled up and outraged over a fake premise rather than discuss the merits of the actual proposal.
posted by taz at 2:02 AM on August 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


I've read every single comment here... and I'm pretty sure a fairly significant number of readers skimming the thread will be walking away with the impression that some crazy group is trying a force a Con anti-harassment policy in which anybody accused of harassing someone will be automatically be kicked out of the convention, no questions asked.


I can't help but think that this is because there are some people who don't like the idea of a no-harassment policy in any form, but can't reasonably argue against the actual terms of the proposal ("respond promptly and consistently to harassment complaints and make it clear that harassment complaints will be investigated and acted upon"), and it suits them to muddy the waters and get people riled up and outraged over a fake premise rather than discuss the merits of the actual proposal.


No, it's because some (most?) people didn't read every single link in the post, or were responding to a very specific comment and defenses of such. These are simpler explanations for people's criticisms of a zero-tolerance policy, especially when there are examples of people saying that they do, in fact, agree with the CCAH policy while disagreeing vehemently with zero-tolerance policies.

You have a very uncharitable view of some of the people in this thread, especially since the premise wasn't "fake," since it was actually proposed and discussed in this very thread. A dubious and uncharitable interpretation of your post, in the spirit of your, would be to accuse you of some agenda not based justice and the safety of con goers, but some other ideology or point scoring. This interpretation, like yours, would be not only wrong to make, but probably incorrect, especially since it is more likely that you simply read the thread quickly, or didn't read the whole thing.
posted by Snyder at 2:58 AM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Dismissing honest criticism is as good as being RIGHT (I am pleased that this is a comic from yesterday, so it must be topical, right?)

chudmonkey, as long as Internet Kindergarten doesn't have you in it, I'm sure it'll be an enjoyable vacation for me.
posted by kalessin at 3:06 AM on August 27, 2008


So, Comic Cons are just an excuse for people to get fucked up and make asses of themselves? Whodathunkit.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:33 AM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Snyder wrote: Ok, is anyone in this thread saying there is no need for any kind of policy? Can someone volunteer or point out a post?

Yep. Mr.PresidentDr.SteveElvis&c. has been suggesting he thinks it makes sense for cons not to create or enforce any such policy, as in his post above:

I see. Bootleg merchandise and badge-trading both seem like they would directly hit the bottom line, so no surprise there. The smoking thing might actually be part of their lease, and even if it's not, it's easy to enforce. There's no ambiguity about whether someone's smoking, and it's easy to spot. The handcarts mystify me, but it's also easy to enforce.

The point is, though, they're not trying to enforce all laws just because they're laws. They enforce a few rules that they think, rightly or wrongly, make the convention run more smoothly, and they probably think that a sexual harassment policy would just be more trouble than it's worth.


Now, I don't think that MrPresident&c.'s comment suggests that he is in favor of sexual harassment AT ALL. But he clearly doesn't think that sexual-harassment policy or enforcement is necessarily the appropriate business of a convention's management or security.

And I disagree.

Taking all the other "zero tolerance!"/"witch hunt!"/ "my cousin's neighbor was sexually harassed"/"my neighbor's cousin was falsely accused" static out of it, these are the core questions to me:

A) Should fan conventions have written sexual harassment policies for their attendees?

B) If so, what are the best ways for convention management and security to enforce these policies? How should they respond to complaints that an attendee or employee has violated the policy?
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:32 AM on August 27, 2008


A) Should fan conventions have written sexual harassment policies for their attendees?

B) If so, what are the best ways for convention management and security to enforce these policies? How should they respond to complaints that an attendee or employee has violated the policy?


a) Yes.

b) By taking complaints seriously, and setting policies that both take into account the individual circumstances of each case, but also demonstrate that harassing other members of the convention in any way is not acceptable behaviour.

And putting it in the convention book does matter - it says in black and white (or whatever colour paper they are using) what is or is not acceptable at the con; it sets the tone for the social norms of the convention. People do read those books - what else do you do during the boring panels?
posted by jb at 8:51 AM on August 27, 2008


Sorry, I know I wasn't specific in the b answer, but I think that as someone said above, you need firm but flexible policies. Maybe something like first complaint, get a warning, second complaint against you, more serious consequences. But then, you might have a case where the first complaint is serious enough to warrent ejection immediately, especially if it involves an assault or a minor.

Having the policy and clearly stating it is the first step, and an important one. Saying something is unacceptable isn't just hot air - it really does mean something - it reassures people that complaints will be taken seriously, and lets other people know what are the acceptable boundaries of behaviour for that social situation.
posted by jb at 9:00 AM on August 27, 2008


Yep. Mr.PresidentDr.SteveElvis&c. has been suggesting he thinks it makes sense for cons not to create or enforce any such policy, as in his post above:

Yeah, I seem to have forgotten about him posting that, thanks for pointing it out. I read the entire thing, and it's easy for me to forget stuff. I stand by my assertion that most people in this thread agree more than not, but I see that there was at least one person not seeing an obvious need for a harassment policy, so that argument was not as much a mirage as I thought. Mea Culpa.
posted by Snyder at 10:46 AM on August 27, 2008


I still can't beleive no-one called me out on "HYPERTHETICAL".
posted by Artw at 10:53 AM on August 27, 2008


Anatomy of a MeFi meltdown

1 - Poster A objects to something he believes is being proposed in the OP, but actually isn’t
2 - Poster B defends the non-existant proposal as actually quite reasonable
3 - Poster C objects to the proposal which Poster B is supporting
4 - Poster D objects to poster Cs objection, ignores posters A & B, claims that no such proposal has actually made, assumes that poster B s actually objecting to proposals made in the OP
5 - Poster C freaks out, is supported by posters E and F
6 - Poster D freaks out at the freak-out, is supported by posters G and H
7 - steps 5 & 6 repeat, drawing in new posters. Steps 2-4 are repeated at random intervals as more people view the thread.
8 - ????
9 - Profit!
posted by Artw at 11:05 AM on August 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


I still can't beleive no-one called me out on "HYPERTHETICAL".

Meh, I pretty much wrote off anything you had to say after your description of Namor egregiously omitted the Sub-Mariner's ankle wings.

Luzer.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:33 AM on August 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


You're right - without ankle wings it's just Spock in speedos.

WTF is the deal with the ankle wings anyway?
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on August 27, 2008


Snyder, that wasn't a "gotcha"--I don't think that MrPresidentDrSteve&c is the only person in the thread who thinks that sexual harassment policies aren't an appropriate use of con management and security's time and energy, but his was the clearest of the posts on that. There are several other people who said things like, "Well, if someone breaks the law, call the police" and similar. I don't think that those people are necessarily in favor of sexual harassment; I just disagree with them about whether or not they think these policies are useful and/or important.

Mark Evanier has also argued that such policies are unnecessary (largely, it seems, because he believes people should know better). I don't think that Evanier is in favor of sexual harassment, either, although I disagree with him.

I'm kind of astonished by how this thread turned into a slanging-match, especially considering the well-written FPP. Boo to that. As someone said upthread, there's a useful discussion to be had about this stuff, and too bad we didn't have it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:47 AM on August 27, 2008


WTF is the deal with the ankle wings anyway?

The ankle wings are what give Namor the power of flight. There's a whole story about them called "Wings on His Feet" and everything.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:49 AM on August 27, 2008


If you're the product of an interspecies dalliance between a human sea Captain and an Atlantean princess, sprouting ankle wings is probably the best case scenario in the 'What weird shit could come of such a genetically unholy union?' sense of things.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:52 AM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Stage 8 is clearly posters A-H loudly decrying what has become of the thread and implying that it had to have been someone other than them that made it all go wrong.
posted by Artw at 11:59 AM on August 27, 2008


Snyder, that wasn't a "gotcha"

Oh, no, I didn't think it was. I apologize if my post didn't seem sincere. Your answer was very straightforward and clear, and I didn't get any acrimony from it. I really had forgotten Mr. President Elvis's post, and others which were less direct, and just wanted to be reminded/shown that people were making such arguments. I do agree that worthwhile conversation could've been had here, and unfortunately, he haven't really had much of it, thus far.
posted by Snyder at 12:04 PM on August 27, 2008


Realizing that there is very little point in responding to this post anymore, and acknowledging that I couldn't make it through all the comments, I'm still going to say the following.

This is why I don't go to cons. Period. I am female and I hate the type of behavior that tends to rear its head when males are in the majority and feel "free to be themselves." Also, when a guy tries this stuff with me, I tend to get violent. One of these days some guy is going to have the guts to hit me back. Or I'll end up in jail. So I try to avoid the situation entirely.

Fantastic OP, btw.
posted by threeturtles at 2:18 PM on August 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Having said that though I don't think, especially in cases of outrage filter, that MetaFilter should strive to talk only about what the OP wants.

I should hope not. I like that there can be a lively discussion about things such as sexual harrassment. This is why I included the qualifier that "accusation = throw the bum out" was made ages ago. It has since snowballed into people mostly either responding to those comments, over and over, or people thinking that these comments reflect the OP, with the occasional smirking jibe tossed in for good measure (myself included). It is entertaining to watch, anyway.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:33 PM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


it suits them to muddy the waters and get people riled up and outraged over a fake premise rather than discuss the merits of the actual proposal.

taz, it's not a fake premise. It's one that was proposed in this thread, even if not in the link:

There's a very simple answer to this - escort any accused offender out of the conference and let the police sort it out. No arbitration necessary. It's called a zero tolerance policy.
posted by grouse at 8:39 PM on August 27, 2008


"Pictures or it didn't happen" smacks far too much of the Shariaist claim that "a woman wasn't raped unless four men witnessed it".
posted by brujita at 8:32 PM on August 28, 2008


Phew, we almost broke the chain!
posted by Artw at 9:35 PM on August 28, 2008


Is Stage 9 when Artw posts a meta analysis of the thread and supervises it until everyone stops talking?
posted by kalessin at 5:08 AM on August 29, 2008


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