chaiya: (TARDIS)
It's my birthday, so I'm going to ramble a bit. Please indulge me. ;)

To a large extent, I have already gotten what I wanted for my birthday. Readercon 24, the science fiction convention I chaired this past weekend, went really well. We had excellent attendance, fantastic conversations, and lots of people had a really great time. While there were some bumps along the way, nothing seems to have gone horribly awry (knock on wood). I believe we didn't kill Readercon over the past year. In fact, we came within twenty attendees of hitting our membership cap. I've been asked to chair Readercon again next year. Third time's the charm? ;)

My friends are, many of you, fans of science fiction. Are you yet a member (either supporting or attending) of LoneStarCon3 (this year's World Science Fiction Convention)? Are you in the process of voting on the Hugo ballot, and perhaps pondering whether you want to become an Advance Supporting Member of the 2015 Worldcon (aka, vote on site selection for 2015)?

You may have noticed that I've visited Helsinki twice so far this year. I'll be going to Finland (and Sweden) again in October to attend Swecon. (And many thanks to the love and generosity of my family and my colleagues at Luminoso for letting me run around like this!) The reason for my visiting Helsinki so much is that I'm heavily involved in the bid to bring Worldcon to Helsinki in 2015. So much so, in fact, that if Helsinki wins, I've been asked to co-chair the Worldcon that would result.

This is something I am incredibly excited about. It's a fascinating challenge, and I want to take it on.

To do that, though, Helsinki needs to win the vote on site selection. This year's race is tight, between Helsinki, Spokane, and Orlando. The votes have already started to roll in!

If you are reading this and a member of Worldcon this year, please vote on your Hugo ballots. Voting is good for you! Please further consider paying the extra $40 fee to vote on site selection. The Helsinki team (including me) would appreciate your consideration for site selection, and we are happy to answer any questions you might have about the bid and our plans.

If you're not already a member of Worldcon this year, but want to vote for us, the basic steps you can follow are:

1. Get a membership for this year's Worldcon (either supporting membership or attending). (This gives you ebooks of the Hugo-nominated literature and allows you to vote on the Hugo awards, so long as you do so by the end of the month!)

2. Pay the $40 USD site selection voting fee.

3. Print out the voting ballot. Fill it in, and seal it as instructed.

4. You can mail it yourself, or contact info@helsinkiin2015.org and we can make sure your ballot is delivered at Worldcon this year!

For more details on voting, you can also look at Helsinki's Page of Site Selection Explanation.

Any questions? :)
chaiya: (tough chick)
This past year has seen significant discourse on addressing sexual harassment in fandom.

Friends will remember that I chaired Arisia in 2011, and worked with the executive board to ban a man who harassed several individuals (not just women) -- banned first from staff, then the 2011 convention, and then from 2012. This past week, I forwarded my post-con 2011 report to the division head currently tasked with making Arisia 2014 safe, at her request.

I chaired Readercon last July, and we were at the epicenter of a harassment firestorm. After said storm, Readercon staff (particularly [livejournal.com profile] rosefox and my beloved [livejournal.com profile] omnia_mutantur) put extensive effort into creating a clear new Code of Conduct, Policies, and Procedures for addressing reports of harassment and problematic behavior. It is my fervent hope and belief that we are making vast improvements, although I know it's unlikely we've gotten it perfect right out of the gate.

I care about fandom. I care passionately about conventions. I used to average more than one per month. I have traveled internationally to meet strangers and talk about science fiction (Montreal, Melbourne, London, Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Aland, so far!).

I am working actively on making a better future in fandom, on multiple fronts, as much as I can. I'm even contributing significantly to the Helsinki Worldcon Bid (here, have a reminder to show us your support!), which is another facet of conversing about the future.

Fandom has a long way to go. But as Elise Matthesen is demonstrating, with help from Jim Hines and Seanan McGuire, amongst others, fandom is definitely *having* this conversation now. Which is fantastic.

We have and will will make mistakes. I have certainly made more than my share. (Not for nothing, but we all agree now that a zero tolerance policy discourages some reports, potentially making a less safe environment. To my grave, I will wish I'd paid more attention to our policy prior to Readercon 23.)

Hopefully we will continue to learn.
chaiya: (Readercon)
Please read the Readercon convention committee's statement on recent events: http://readercon.org/publicstatement.htm
chaiya: (Readercon)
The entire Readercon board has now either resigned or announced intention to resign at the next meeting.
chaiya: (blue eyes)
Seventeen days have gone by since the board was notified of Ms. Valentine's complaint.

Seven have passed since the board had their emergency meeting and gave a decision.

Five days ago, Rose Fox called for a vote of the concom to overrule the board of directors' decision.

I have personally been on this for not quite four days. Aside from everything else, my highest accomplishment thus far may have been to suss out why Ms. Kligman didn't receive a response from the board before now, apologize profusely to her, and address her directly on the phone last night. (As has been discussed elsewhere, the board didn't receive her email, and we didn't realize it until someone else wrote in referring to her complaint.) Ms. Kligman told me that she understood, accepted my apology, and said that "we're cool." I hope that does reflect her feelings about it, but she also has the right to let me know that more discussion is needed or wanted by her in the future, and I will do my best to be available to her again if that is the case.

It is a very important conversation (or cluster of conversations) that we are having here, about safe space and personal responsibility for behavior and harassment and gender and standards, among other things. I am very grateful we are discussing these things, and I would not wish it to go away. I think the community and the larger culture needs to be talking more about this, painful and difficult though it may be. I WOULD wish that it didn't involve personally attacking any of the individuals involved, because none of them deserve to be treated poorly. Ms. Valentine and Ms. Kligman don't deserve to be treated poorly. The members of the Readercon board don't deserve to be treated poorly. I'd like to think I don't deserve to be treated poorly. No one here deserves to be treated without respect, in my opinion.

I do not feel that we are taking this lightly, or that we are acting slowly, particularly as we are a committee. I am sorry that others do.
chaiya: (books)
Edited to add: Due to trying to make progress on addressing this situation, as well as coming back to my normally-60-hours-a-week job after camping vacation, I do not have nearly the time I'd like to respond to comments. They will all be read, and I will do my best to participate in this discussion, too, but I want to explain why I'm less available than I wish I could be.
chaiya: (corner of sky)
I have not, recently, made many posts in my LJ, and some of this post involves information that I have never publicly shared before. So this is a challenging step for me, but it might be needed, and I want to do what is needed, if possible, if I can.

Readercon has been at the epicenter of a discussion about harassment and safe space in fandom, this past week. As the chair of this past Readercon, I can't be unbiased. I can't speak for Readercon as a whole, but I do have thoughts I would like to share publicly at this time (now that I'm back from my annual camping trip, which unfortunately coincided with a lot of the discussion I now feel the need to respond to).

I value safe spaces, and I am confident that this is a priority for Readercon people, as well. Many Readercon staffers are the same people who've been deeply involved supporters of the Backup Project. We recognize that the board's decision with regard to Ms. Valentine's complaint of harassment was made in haste, as was the original policy with regard to harassment at Readercon. In order to not compound errors further, we as the Readercon convention committee will be reexamining both with lots of thought and care.

That will, unfortunately, take time. We apologize for that, and for those who want a final decision sooner, but we are not able to do this both well and quickly. The makeup of the Readercon board is in transition, which does not in any way speed this process up.

Please have patience with us while we sort through this.

In the meantime, if it is possible, please try to add positively to this discussion. Think about ways that we can all support women PEOPLE coming forward with their concerns, in this community and the wider community. Be cognizant that the people trying to make Readercon happen were overworked and unpaid volunteers *before* these events, and are now even more overloaded with even fewer resources to spare.

Above all, please try to treat each other with respect and dignity. The amount of email I personally have received about this is astounding. The high percentage of emails that are pointedly hurtful and fall into name-calling is quite depressing. The calls to action have been furious and had no response from me before now (and many unfortunately will have to continue to wait for responses) because I was actually unable to respond before now. Not that most people realized this, but I was on a camping trip, away from internet and cell service for most of the past week.

I was not involved in the Readercon board's decision concerning this matter, but I did chair this past Readercon and was asked to chair the next one. I am personally invested, as a survivor of harassment, abuse, and rape, in having Readercon be a safe space. Please do not think I am impartial or uninvolved in the large-scope discussion we are having. Please allow us to take the time to have it.

Edited to add: Due to trying to make progress on addressing this situation, as well as coming back to my normally-60-hours-a-week job after camping vacation, I do not have nearly the time I'd like to respond to comments. They will all be read, and I will do my best to participate in this discussion, too, but I want to explain why I'm less available than I wish I could be.
chaiya: (happy)
Hurry! www.readercon.org! It'll be awesome! :)

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