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Readercon Response

About a week ago, I posted on what I called the Readercon Board Screw-up, outlining (from a convention runner perspective) the issues with Readercon’s handling of an assault report. I was certainly not the only one…

Following significant community response, the Readercon committee have issued a response. IMO, it’s a brilliant response. Go read it if you haven’t. Go read it again if you have. It’s that good.

From my original post, I suggested the following actions were required by Readercon:

1) Reverse their decision, permanently ban the harasser as per their policy.

2) Announce that their policy is flawed.

3) Offer to stand down.

4) Draft a new policy with community involvement.

5) Take the new policy to the membership to ratify.

6) Widely advertise the steps taken to restore the community’s faith.

 

They’ve done this in spades:

1) The Board’s decision has been overturned, the harasser permanently banned from Readercon.

2) A Safety Committee is being convened to review the anti-harassment policy.

3) The entire Board has resigned.

4) The aforementioned Safety Committee will be drafting a new policy as required, with community involvement.

5) Membership ratification and close scrutiny will no doubt follow any policy change.

6) This statement is being widely advertised, and the harassed have been informed (and appear to be happy with the outcome).

 

Additionally, and this is what really impresses me, the Readercon concom have:

1) Profusely apologised to the harassed for not taking appropriate action, with full recognition that they failed in their responsibility to abide by their policy, and with no excuses given.

2) Profusely apologised to the community for the damage done to the Readercon reputation, with full recognition that they failed in their responsibility to abide by their policy, and with no excuses given.

3) Profusely apologised to anyone impacted for contributing to a culture where harassment reports are not taken seriously and pressure is put on the harassed not to report, with no excuses given.

4) Announced clear steps to update how harassment reports will be handled within the concom.

5) Announced a training initiative for volunteers and concom on how to swiftly deal with observed or reported harassment.

6) Called to the community for any other recommended actions they can take.

7) Offered unconditional refunds of memberships if people don’t feel safe attending.

8) Thanked everyone who held them to a higher standard and called for accountability.

 

I’m incredibly impressed with the raw honesty, integrity and accountability the concom have shown. No excuses, no weaselling, just an honest “we screwed-up, we’re genuinely sorry, here’s what we’re doing both because it’s right and to regain your trust, any other suggestions?” response.

Kudos to the Readercon concom for their response, and commiserations to them for the undoubtedly tough process they’ve been through to over-rule the Board and formulate this response.

I think Readercon will be much stronger and safer for it, and hope to make it there one day.

I also think there’s a lot from the situation and response that other conventions could learn from, and hopefully will.

prk.

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