The Readercon Thing

I’m sure that most people on my friends lists are already aware of the sexual harassment incident at Readercon, but here’s my attempt at a link round-up:

The key links:

Other link collections:

Reactions:

July 17th

July 18th

July 20th

July 25th

July 26th

  • Liz Henry: “Readercon creeper”. I think that this post is the first (chronological) post that publicly identifies the person under discussion as René Walling.

July 27th:

July 28th:

Latest comment from Readercon:

Also: from Rose Fox:

July 29th

July 30th

July 31st:

Rose Fox stresses that things are moving:

Latest from Readercon:

Aug. 1st:

Aug. 2nd

Aug. 3rd

Aug. 4th

Aug. 5th

After the announcement:

Aug. 6th

Aug. 7th

And much later:

See also:

79 comments

  1. avatar K`shandra says:

    Thank you for collecting these links. I wish none of them existed.

    I’m going to go have a very large drink now.

  2. avatar Penelope Friday says:

    I would like to post a twitter link to a general explanation of the Readercon issue. Is there any chance of you pointing me in the direction of something which sums up what has happened?

  3. avatar Mels says:

    If you want to include a name for me with my blog link (and thank you for linking!! anything to boost the signal!) I am Mels

  4. avatar Piglet says:

    Thank you for the links!! V. helpful.

  5. avatar Rose Lemberg says:

    Thank you very much for including my articles! If it’s not too much trouble, could you please have them both as just “Rose Lemberg”? If not, no worries.

  6. avatar Christopher Rowe says:

    Thanks for collecting these. Just a suggestion, but I think the Schanoes petition might deserve a spot in “the key links.”

  7. avatar Mike Allen says:

    Thank you for doing this. I am “Plasteel Spider Factory” and you’re welcome to add my name if you wish.

  8. avatar B.G. says:

    Another excellent post, calling on women not to cede ground to harassers: http://camille-is-here.livejournal.com/275127.html

  9. [...] The Readercon Mess Much of the SF/F community has posted about the Readercon mess, where Rene Walling harassed and stalked Genevieve Valentine throughout the convention. BC Holmes has a roundup of links and discussion here. [...]

  10. avatar Con_girl says:

    http://con-girl.livejournal.com/1149353.html

    Since you are collecting posts, and I am a completist, I thought I would provide you with my own small piece on the subject.

  11. [...] by the convention. If you need to catch up on things there is an excellent links round-up available here. As someone who runs conventions, incidents like this are of interest to me because I want to know [...]

  12. [...] full roundup of online reaction is available here. Two recurring themes provide useful takeaways for other [...]

  13. [...] this doesn’t just happen at cons. It happens 100% of everywhere. Which, I think, is part of the point. [...]

  14. My friend Loki has a post here which has not propagated yet to his LJ.

  15. avatar Christopher Rowe says:

    Genevieve and Jim Hines both have new posts up. And then there’s…well, there’s this: http://themarvelousmerv.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-thoughts-on-readercon-12-harassment.html

    Thanks again for all this work, it’s extremely useful.

  16. avatar J. Andrews says:

    I decided I needed to write something. It’s here:
    http://julieandrews.livejournal.com/125219.html

  17. [...] to say, that set the cat amongst the pigeons, as you can see from the link summation at BC Holmes’ blog, who also linked to my post which was the first I noticed about this, as suddenly my hitcounter [...]

  18. avatar Johinsa says:

    Rene Walling is no longer on the panel listings for Farthing Party this weekend.

    Draft program (24 July): http://farthingparty.livejournal.com/54342.html#cutid1
    Final program (today): http://farthingparty.livejournal.com/55608.html#cutid1

  19. avatar Anonymous says:

    MERV and Thomas Jarean are the same person. Not sure why he’s writing under another name.

  20. avatar Veronica Schanoes says:

    Just wanted to add my name to those who are thanking you. I’ve been referring to your page practically more than any other over the past few days. Thanks so much.

  21. avatar Pat Cahalan says:

    I wish there were more bloggers in the world who would take the time and effort to do this sort of (largely thankless) link-gathering. Very well done.

    Personally, I think the only proper result is to take off and nuke the entire site from orbit – metaphorically speaking, of course.

  22. avatar anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, these links are also relevant to Readercon.

    http://vvalkyri.livejournal.com/1345649.html
    http://vvalkyri.livejournal.com/1345040.html

  23. avatar Mark Bernstein says:

    I disagree with your characterization of my piece on conferences as a harassment apology.

    • avatar elf says:

      If it’s an out-of-the-blue piece about conferences, or related to politics rather than fandom, it’s not “harassment apology related to Readercon” as much as “clueless behavior manual that assumes everyone starts on equal footing and has roughly-equivalent reasons for attending.”

      You did say, “Everyone who wants it is entitled to share your time and attention.” And you repeat it. I’m not sure where you get this idea–why you think all attendees of *any* conference are obligated to give attention to *anyone who demands it*… but it comes across as nothing but a justification for harassment.

      • By “conference”, naturally, I primarily meant the scientific and scholarly conferences I and my readers most frequently attend and administer. Readercon is an outlier, but I have attended several and have praised its depth and rigor.

        One sometimes encounters people at conferences who won’t take time to talk with students and younger scholars. That’s ungenerous, and it’s bad for the conference and for the field.

        One sometimes encounters people at conferences who won’t discuss their work in sufficient detail to allow colleagues to reproduce and build on it, or to criticize it. That violates a core tenet of scholarship.

        One sometimes encounters people — often students — who are very reluctant to speak to people they don’t see regularly. That’s a waste; if unchecked, it can divide a conference or discipline into cliques.

        A conference is not merely a sequence of staged presentations or a sporting event. This isn’t always apparent at first. Some graduate advisors take pains to teach their students about conferences, but others don’t. (Similarly, it’s quite possibly to become a proficient and successful writers without learning anything about giving a good public reading.)

        • avatar elf says:

          An academic or scientific conference is a very different kind of setting from a fandom conference. You did not indicate that you meant professional rather than amateur conferences, nor that you believe there’s any difference whatsoever in types of conferences.

          Also, you didn’t say, “people with much experience in the topic of the conference have a moral obligation to share that experience with others;” you said “everyone is entitled to your attention.”

          “Everyone” includes the media, rowdy partygoers, hecklers who only want soundbites they’ll use out of context to discredit your work, and creepy stalkers.

          If you did not mean, “you are obligated to be polite and tolerant to the guy who is leering down your chest and making gestures towards his penis,” you should have rephrased your suggested guidelines with him in mind.

          Because most women who attend conferences–of any sort–have met that guy, more than once, and our conference attendance is strongly influenced by how much tolerance he gets from the staff and other attendees. Your guidelines seem to say that he’d be a welcome and respected guest, as long as he hands out business cards and says he’s sorry if anyone gets upset.

          • Yes, I was writing about scientific and scholarly conferences, broadly speaking. These are professional, but of course almost all are also amateur — organized and run by volunteers. I’ve met fascinating people at conferences, busy people who were generous in giving time and advice without much hope of immediate benefit.

            Readercon is something of an anomaly, but I would follow Michael Dirda in arguing that its depth and rigor compare favorably with many academic meetings.

            I have seldom found rowdy partygoers a terrible problem, as they tend to be found in rowdy parties. Hecklers are uncommon in my experience but critics are not; if you cannot or will not discuss your work with its critics, why are you participating in this conference?

            Talking to the media is, I think, a duty for conference participants to whom the media want to talk. (An exception is made, of course, for conferences that are closed to the press.) You are entitled to reasonable boundaries when speaking to reporters, but I think one should make a sincere effort on behalf of the conference and the field.

            • avatar BC Holmes says:

              I don’t want to put words in elf’s mouth, but it looks to me like the central point from elf’s responses is one that you’re skipping over: that women in public spaces, including scientific and scholarly conferences, are regularly confronted with harassment. And if you’re writing about con etiquette in the aftermath of an incident of harassment at a con, and your etiquette guide says that “everyone is entitled to your attention.” without very much qualification of that statement, it ends up looking like an apology for harassment.

              I think you’re arguing that you had a different set of circumstances in your head when you wrote that. Okay; I get that. I’d nonetheless counter that many women (and people in other marginalized communities) are going to be put off by the words that you’ve written, and it might be fruitful to revise your etiquette guide with that in mind.

              • avatar elf says:

                Thank you.

                I had a reply to him, but failed to put in the captcha number and it got deleted. :(

                Doesn’t matter; he’s obviously not listening, and I suspect that any lurkers who wonder “what in his post is harassment apologetics?” have had that answered.

                He sees no danger at all at conferences, and therefore insists that “polite behavior” is the most important social imperative. Those of use who find conferences to contain substantial risks, will continue to seek ways to mitigate those risks.

        • avatar Erica Neely says:

          I’ve been sexually harassed at academic conferences, mark. Not at parties or social gatherings – just by another attendee I kept running into. You are simply wrong – I don’t owe a guy who does that any attention.

          Actually, I don’t think I owe anyone anything beyond what I’ve agreed to do. But it is wise and generally beneficial for us as a community if I am approachable and willing to talk at a conference.

    • avatar anon says:

      I agree very strongly with the characterization of that post as harassment apology. I’m also giggling a little bit at the extent to which the author is pompous and, apparently, clueless. You can make all the “allowances” you want, bro, my “culture” values women, values respect, values safety, and forbids me from staying silent when people are nasty to vulnerable people.

    • avatar BC Holmes says:

      Thanks. I did have that one in my list (I had trouble double-checking that because WordPress automatically converts apostrophes, so doing a find on “Don’t” wasn’t locating it for me.)

  24. avatar Veronica Schanoes says:

    Another link to add:

    http://colonelrowe.livejournal.com/39551.html

    Thanks again!

  25. avatar liz says:

    Another link for you, making the point that many women of color aren’t comfortable reporting harassment at cons and aren’t telling their stories in this extended discussion:

    http://delux-vivens.dreamwidth.org/276502.html

  26. [...] fallout, BC Holmes has been compiling an almost unfathomably comprehensive listing of links here: http://blog.bcholmes.org/the-readercon-thing/), but that is the focal point around which everything [...]

  27. avatar Christopher Rowe says:

    Looks like the link you have with Thomas Jarean’s/Marvelous Merv’s flouncing just leads back here, maybe.

  28. avatar Sunhawk says:

    For whatever it’s worth, I’ve added my voice to the discourse: http://sunhawk.livejournal.com/558747.html

  29. [...] harassment discussion: Masterlist & timeline of links Cheryl looks at the practical side of developing harassment policies for [...]

  30. avatar Christopher Rowe says:

    Rose Fox is reporting that the entire Readercon board has resigned or announced their intention to resign at the next meeting: http://readercon.livejournal.com/22250.html

    • avatar BC Holmes says:

      Eep! I turn my attention for a few hours, and this is what happens. Thanks for letting me know.

  31. avatar cme says:

    If you’re still collecting posts, I wrote these:

    http://cme.dreamwidth.org/122332.html
    http://cme.dreamwidth.org/122617.html

    Thanks for managing this list.

  32. avatar James Davis Nicoll says:

    Are my journal entries really worthy of inclusion here?

  33. [...] frequently one of the first people to find out about the various epic!fails — amazon!fail, the readercon debacle, #romneyshambles — and I’m tied in pretty tight to the blogosphere’s discussions [...]

  34. avatar eleanorcully says:

    Just want to add my voice to those thanking you!

  35. avatar Michele Cox says:

    I have to say, I am really impressed with the concom’s response/public statement: http://readercon.org/publicstatement.htm

  36. Geniveve Valentine has updated her lj with a response to the apology and statement from the concom

    http://glvalentine.livejournal.com/342282.htm

  37. avatar Veronica Schanoes says:

    I feel strangely arrogant and self-promoting doing this, but I also wouldn’t want anybody to think that I wasn’t as happy about the concom’s statement as I am, so…here’s my current, brief post about it (to be followed by something longer and more analytical when I have a moment today or tomorrow).

    http://vschanoes.livejournal.com/88496.html

    For the sake of completeness, I also had a bit about the quasi-threat of being blacklisted:

    http://vschanoes.livejournal.com/88219.html

    And, oh, what the hell, a couple other posts about sexual harassment and anger I’ve made recently:

    http://vschanoes.livejournal.com/87980.html
    http://vschanoes.livejournal.com/87700.html

    • avatar BC Holmes says:

      Well, I don’t think it’s arrogant or anything. Besides: your work on the petition/letter is so tremendously important. Thanks for the links!

      • avatar Veronica Schanoes says:

        Thanks very much–I imagine that keeping on top of all the links was no easy task, but having a central clearing house to refer to so that I could keep on top of things was so helpful.

        I have one more post, which I hope will be the last one of mine on this, about supporting Readercon’s new statement: http://vschanoes.livejournal.com/88742.html

  38. avatar Stevie says:

    Thank you; you’ve made a huge investment of your time and energy and I think it has made a real difference to the outcome.

  39. [...] the past few days, I’ve put my foot in my mouth a few times on my Twitter feed commenting on the Readercon sexual harassment incident involving Rene Walling and Genevieve Valentine. I’m usually smart enough not to jump into these vitriolic science fiction community debates, [...]

    • avatar Ayesha says:

      … wow, Mr. Edelman’s essay can certainly use a “Warning: harassment-apology” note, especially considering the subsequent discussion.

  40. [...] Many discussions ensued. [...]

  41. avatar Shea says:

    Is there a section dedicated to fuckwit apologetics, because have I got a doozy for you!
    http://www.davidlouisedelman.com/current-events/another-account-of-the-readercon-mess/

    Best/worst quote: “I’m sensitive to the argument that this kind of scrutiny only discourages sexual harassment victims from coming forward. It’s a concern, to be sure. But I happen to believe that more knowledge, scrutiny and skepticism is never a bad thing, and that trying to shut down or shame the skeptics into silence only makes you look bad.”

    Poor, poor skeptics. How we shame them into silence with our facts and feelings and experiences.

  42. avatar Anonymous says:

    Readercon may have (finally) come to the right decision, but what is to stop Walling from preying on other women at other conventions? Has someone made a list of all the conventions he’s a part of, or that he even attends? It would be a good idea to do so, and contact the Boards and Concoms of all of these conventions to demand that they do something about him.

  43. [...] the issue of sexual harassment at conventions and conferences is getting much attention due to recent happenings at ReaderCon (a literary science fiction/fantasy focused convention) which led to some other cons (both genre [...]

  44. [...] of decent men. The incidents of 2012 are piling up: Anita’s very public harassment, the Readercon harassment, Hepler’s harassment …the list is growing. But so does the list of positive responses [...]

  45. [...] worth bringing up the ReaderCon Incident as an example of the sort of this Marissa’s talking about.  The Creeper in this [...]

  46. [...] Holmes har en länklista över reaktionerna på det. Kort sagt kan man konstatera att Readercons ovilja att driva igenom sin [...]

  47. [...] Originally posted at JeffVanderMeer.com. For information about the ReaderCon incident discussed below, see this collection of links. [...]

  48. [...] part because of an incident at ReaderCon last month with author Genevieve Valentine. (Here’s a very long list of all the posts/responses/reaction.) It’s a disturbing story, in large part because it’s by no means uncommon, and thus [...]

  49. [...] you’re not familiar with the Readercon debacle, this page makes it easy to follow. The very first post, by Genevieve Valentine, sums up her experience at the [...]

  50. [...] said, there is something monumentally more stupid that zero tolerance policies, and that’s having one, and then not following it.  I can’t imagine what Tod will say when he sees this story except, [...]