September 30th, 2012


Information, please?

I'm trying to sort out who's speaking to me.

I'm not trying to press anyone who doesn't want to be anymore. I'm aware that, in the long-term fallout from a particularly nasty and violent breakup, there's going to be people who don't want anything to do with me, just as there will be people who don't want anything to do with my ex. I have tried to make clear to my friends that I don't particularly want them to dump her; I have no idea what she's done, if anything, on the same subject, but it's not my business, and I'm not trying to find out. I am trying to find out who within the local (West Coast or so) filk/fandom community is still willing to be my friend, or at least be on reasonably amicable social terms with me, and who isn't. [Added: If you're not local but have any reason to think I don't know this about you, please feel free to comment as well.]

There are a very few people whom I know the answer about because they've made it extremely clear, but short of attempting to slap me or something, I'm trying hard not to fall into the trap of trying to "read signals," because I don't trust myself not to get it wrong. So I'm setting this public, and I'm allowing all comments but screening them. [It will be re-set private after a period of time, because for professional reasons, I can't have much personal information available outside a friendslock over the long term, but I'll leave it open for quite a while first.] Anyone who wants to use the opportunity to tell me your preferences, I will welcome the information from you. If you do want to be friendly with me, I'm glad of it. If you don't (either because of the situation with my ex or for any other reason), I'll leave you to walk away with no rancor, and I promise to do my best to stay out of your way and not bother you in future. I'd just really like to know how you'd like me to treat you; I don't like to pester people who don't like me, and while I will be sorry to lose anyone who chooses not to be friendly, I'd rather at least know that, by staying away from you, I'm treating you the way you want me to treat you.

If you don't yet know me from Adam's off ox, but you have nothing therefore against me and wouldn't mind making my acquaintance, I'd be happy to get comments to that effect, also. New friends are always welcome!

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Safe spaces, Readercon, and me

Another public post, also with comments screened so that, I hope, people will feel free to speak.

Most people reading this will probably have heard of the episode which occurred at Readercon last summer (if only because I posted on the subject a few times since). I was not at the convention, but I was deeply distressed to hear what had happened there, because when I was much younger and first tentatively venturing back into SF fandom after a sexual assault at a convention frightened me away as a teenager, Readercon was the first convention I dared attend again. At the time, in the late nineties, it had a reputation as 'safe space' insofar as anyplace can be. I have felt very strongly since hearing about the events of this year's convention that I wanted to do everything I could to make it so again.

Fortunately, I'm far from the only one with that reaction. The Readercon concom, after a briefly disastrous misstep by the Board, took over and overrode their decision, issuing a statement I think was about as well-done as is possible in dealing with a mess like that. One of the things they said in it was that they intended to create a new Safety Committee, which would be in charge of developing a new set of policies from the ground up, to make Readercon both be and feel as safe a place as possible for everyone who attends. I volunteered for the new committee and was accepted as a member.

The Safety Committee is just forming, having taken a while to sort out its membership, but one thing we know from the beginning: we need input from the community, as much of it as possible, to be able to set policy intelligently for a convention which answers to that community. So I'm asking for your advice. What would you like to see in a document which lays out safety policies for a convention with the goal of both being in practice and feeling to the participants like a safe place for everyone? What concerns would you like to see addressed, and how would you address them?

Comments screened; if you don't specify that you're willing to have yours unscreened, I will leave it that way. That means I can't respond to anything which doesn't say specifically that it's okay to unscreen it, but I'll read everything, and bring it all to the safety committee when we start discussing ideas. Thank you all in advance for your thoughts! We want every one.

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