While browsing through my RSS feeds today, I came upon this great article about cons and harassment. Before you read the rest of my comments, have a look at the original article on Wired.com. Here's a brief excerpt of one of the key points:
Conventions need anti-harassment policies. Not because convention attendees are disproportionately boorish or creepy–they’re really not–or because of social obliviousness. Rather, the difficulty lies in the very thing that makes conventions conventions: the social phenomena that come into play whenever humans gather in large groups.
I have to agree with the author whole-heartedly. I have not personally been a victim of harassment at a convention, but have been witness to various creephats. When I was in that situation, I behaved much as Ms. Edidin described. Because there was not a well worded anti-harassment policy, I did not feel either empowered or obligated to bring the offensive behavior to the attention of convention staff.
I know that I will be contacting the conventions that I regularly attend to ask if they can update their anti-harassment policies to include both the bans on harassement and the appropriate response from witness. What are your thoughts? Share you comments or stories in the comments section below.