a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
"What's done is done" 
6 August 2012 05:18 - "What's done is done"
thank you, relief, improvement
That breeze blowing your hair back is the Readercon concom's collective sigh of relief, with my voice among the loudest.

I started drafting that statement on July 28 in a desperate fit of needing to do something practical and optimistic and forward-thinking, drawing inspiration from other incidents where public apologies have been received more or less well and from related conversations about what makes for a good apology. I felt it was most important to make it clear what we were apologizing for, to refrain from explaining or justifying our actions, to apologize sincerely, to stay focused on the people who were injured, and to lay out concrete future plans for self-improvement. When Veronica's petition went up, I was heartened to see that I had already addressed five of the six points on it. (I hadn't put in anything about not retaliating against the complainants and petition-signers because the thought of reprisals had never crossed my mind.) It's been a long week since then; editing a document by committee is extraordinarily difficult, though Google Docs makes it easier with a setting that says "anyone who can see this document can comment but not otherwise make changes", and we made the last changes by vote during a concom meeting on Saturday--"it is proposed that we replace text $foo with text $bar, raise your hand if you vote to do so"--which was harder. But it's done, and it's out in the world, and I am really pleased to have my name on it and to have been part of the unanimous vote to adopt it. The reaction from the community has been terrific, further proof that we have done the right thing by our people and our event.

This absolutely could not have happened without chaiya's sterling leadership and the passionate voices of omnia_mutantur, sovay, emilytheslayer, and fjm. I am so pleased and proud to know and work with all of them. Also, as much shit as mrbelm and She Who have taken for the board's decision, I wholeheartedly commend them for immediately recognizing their error and taking swift action to set things right. They and Bob Colby have thoroughly demonstrated what it means to put injured parties first and to be committed to the future of the convention. The next time I screw something up, I hope I will handle it with as much grace, honor, and humility.

The concom meeting on Saturday ran from noon to 5:45 p.m. and was not a calm or quiet affair. X and J came in to listen in on the call (and J to vote, since he's a member of the concom), and we all hung out on my bed with our laptops, using a shared Google chat to send around comments, ideas, and lolcats whenever a bit of cheer or snark was needed. J kept us all fed, and when X got hit by vertigo he took care of her so I could stay focused on the call. While fighting off dizziness and feminist rage, X spent most of the afternoon working on specs for the next iteration of the Readercon program sign-up software. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to both of them for their unstinting support for me, each other, and the convention (which X has never even been to!).

While I am delighted that the concom will be starting a safety committee, I have already informed everyone that I have no interest in being in charge of it and can only serve on it in a low-time-commitment capacity. I look forward to being able to think about anything else for a while. (Like Mars! Eeee!) August is always my month off from Readercon things, and this year that's more important than ever. I will probably put myself forward for the board pro tem, though, if X and J give me permission. September to January (when the next annual meeting and regular election will be held) is only four months. We can do a tremendous amount of good in that time, and then I can go back to only having one life-eating volunteer gig.

Today's big thing was finally buying plane tickets for Chicon, now that I know I won't be spending the whole week begging people to give Readercon another chance. Huge relief.

Time to fall over. I swear I will catch up on sleep someday. Today was not that day. (Did I mention Mars? Eeee!)


You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.
 
6 August 2012 10:13
I join the cheering.
6 August 2012 10:36
I join the cheering as well. Thank you so much to all of you for making this happen.
6 August 2012 10:44
Mars! Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

:::joins you in the happy science dance:::

And yes, please get some rest.
6 August 2012 12:20
Thank you so much.
6 August 2012 13:05
You've all done fantastic work and gone a very long way in re-asserting Readercon's reputation.
6 August 2012 13:37
Hello. While I've seen you around, I'm new, brought here by your unflaggingly classy handling of this whole thing.

Fall over. Sleep. You've MORE than earned it. :)
6 August 2012 13:45
Oh look crying at work perfect yes this is what I wanted.


Lol you're awesome and I'm so proud to stand with you.
6 August 2012 14:35 - Thank you and the rest of those who worked to make this happen
And yes, Mars! Eeeee!
6 August 2012 14:37
Congratulations; yay Mars; and it's so neat to see you working on important stuff with omnia_mutantur, who I also know from way back (not quite as far back - we went to college together).
6 August 2012 14:44
It's interesting to read not just the results of this, but how the process worked. Thanks for describing it.
6 August 2012 15:06
You done good, love.
6 August 2012 15:19
I really liked that statement.
6 August 2012 15:19
Well done, and I've been extremely impressed with you through all of this.
6 August 2012 16:03
Same.
6 August 2012 16:13
Thank you
6 August 2012 16:27
Good work, Rose. Congratulations to you and the others on concom. You've done heroic work. This is such a relief.
6 August 2012 17:57
Am very glad that Readercon is in such capable and caring hands.
6 August 2012 18:06
replace text $foo with text $bar

I think I shall use that as my standard shorthand for editing-by-committee from now on.

I am exceedingly happy this worked out. Understatement. You do rock.
6 August 2012 19:20
Yep. Writing a thing up solo and/or 2-3 people, then editing the details. (And occasionally putting in larger things/taking out larger things.)

Thank you for being able to do this, and for doing it. (And thank you to your compatriots, too.)
6 August 2012 20:08
Wow, a stunning piece of correction. Anyone who still has a problem well, has a problem. :)

And, for what it's worth:

I belong to an organization that has very clear, succinct and unambiguous policy towards unwelcome behavior. Everyone is required to read it upon affiliating. It is a topic of discussion at least annually in the planning of our annual big gathering.

And sometimes someone still falls afoul of it and must be given the boot. Id say you have covered about 99% of what could happen without your proactive statement, and have good tools for handling the 1% of what may happen anyway. I hope that made sense!
6 August 2012 20:09
Would you send a copy of that policy to safety@readercon.org, if it's not too much trouble? We're collecting examples of policies to use as models. Thanks!
6 August 2012 20:32
Thank you. I heartily commend you.

P.

6 August 2012 21:10
You people did fine work. I am pleased and impressed with the statement you published... and not terribly surprised, given what I've heard from you, to know you wrote the bulk of it. Thank you.
7 August 2012 06:59
Thank you for all your work on this. You're awesome.
8 August 2012 04:54
Here is how I described this in comments on GeekFeminism.org:
Readercon came out with a really good apology for their board’s wrist-slap of a harasser (the board has resigned), a reversal (now enforcing of the permanent ban policy), explanation of why this is important, plans for improvement and training of staff, invitation for participation: http://readercon.org/publicstatement.htm It’s all kinds of good.

Thank you. With any luck, this powerful statement will not only save Readercon, but have a ripple effect far beyond Readercon. I don't know if I'll make it to your con any time soon, but it's far more of a possibility than it ever was before.
9 August 2012 21:19 - Thanks so much
Thanks so much for all your hard work on this, Rose. Inspirational, and relieving. We all owe you, and the others who worked to right this, a debt.

And having been caught in this sort of debacle before (way back in 1978), I know how awful it is to be in this sort of situation. (Although the internet makes it worse by about 1000%.)
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