Category Archives: Uncategorized

Errata for Friday, May 22

3B Impostor Syndrome Training Exercise

Power, Privilege, and Oppression • Conference 3 • Friday, 9:00 am–12:00 pm

Leigh Honeywell and Skud were unable to attend WisCon.

 

18 The Purpose of Human Beings in an Extensively Automated World

Science and Technology • Senate B • Friday, 2:30–3:45 pm

Amelia Dudley is no longer a panelist.

Tamora Kimmitt has been added as a panelist.

 

43 WisCon After Dark 101: How to Flirt with Respect

Fandom as a Way of Life • Senate B • Friday, 9:00–10:15 pm

Na’amen Gobert Tilahun has been added as a panelist.

 

Where Is WisCon Coming From?

By Bronwyn B.
As ever, this year at WisCon 39 we have members coming from around the globe! The countries represented this year are:
Australia
Brazil
Canada
England
India
Japan
Malaysia
Nigeria
Switzerland
United Kingdom
…and, as ever, the United States, which is where most of our members hail from.
Have you travelled far to attend WisCon this year? Consider sharing your story with the Newsletter, telling us what brings you to Madison!

Hashtagging #WisCon

Chris Wallish
Media & Communications

What in the world is the best hashtag to use for WisCon?  There are always a couple of options, each equally good.  Organically, #wiscon is used throughout the year.  As the convention gets closer, people seem to start using #wiscon39 more and more.

This year, we’ve taken the bold step of suggesting a hashtag in advance — something we made deliberately short and sweet so that you can also combine it with a panel hashtag if you want: #wc39

Use and combine them any way you want!  It’s the internet and no one’s your boss.

What’s the best way to follow them?  You can combine hashtags in the Twitter search using “or”, which gives you a real firehose of WisCon chatter if you’re so inclined.

And look in your Pocket Program Book or the WisSched app for the hashtags we’ve set up for each panel!

WisCon karaoke party update

Kristin

Thank you for your patience to everyone who has been asking about music for the party!

I’ve finally resolved our karaoke player software issues on my new laptop and am working on reloading all of our purchased music from previous parties from our CDs and online. A few songs that we downloaded may be lost in this process, so please don’t assume we have something because we’ve had it in the past. I’m hoping to have the list of the songs we have posted in the next few days. If it’s a new song from May 2013 on, it is safe to assume we don’t have it.

We will continue to use the MP3-G format.

We’re asking for donations to cover new songs. Prices per song range from $1-4.

Contact me [klivdahl@gmail.com] if you have requests or want to make a donation.

We are really excited to host this party again!

Open call for RPG participants!

Beth & Mathew
Gaming

We’re about a week away, so we’re opening up online signup for our RPG offerings. We have a very diverse lineup this year, including a workshop! Take a look and see if anything interests you.

  • If you see something you want to play, send gaming@wiscon.net an email with the subject “RPG signup request” and include in the body:
    • Your name as it appears on your WisCon badge
    • An email address (whether the same or different than the one you’re contacting us from) that we can pass along to the person in charge of the game, in case they need to contact you about anything
    • The specific game or game that you’re signing up for
  • We will reply to let you know whether you’re guaranteed a seat or on standby. If you’re on a standby list, drop by at game time to see if you can get a seat.
  • If you’re interested, but not certain if you’ll be able to play, please consider requesting a spot on the standby list, to start. This helps us gauge interest, but lets people who can commit to playing for sure get first chance at a spot at the table and reduces setup and confusion at game time.
  • We will end email registration Wednesday, May 20, at 11:59PM CDT. We’ll have a chance to sign up in-person at The Gathering and you can always just drop by at the beginning of the session to see if there are chairs available.

The games!

Friday

>  Friday 8:00PM-midnight
Bluebeard’s Bride (RPG Horror) – GM: Ajit George | 3-4 players | 18 and older only

Bluebeard’s Bride is a table-top horror RPG based on the original fairy tale. It is a one-shot game with replay value that uses modified Apocalypse World rules, is beginner friendly and easy to learn.

You play different aspects of Bluebeard’s wife; the Virgin, the Witch, the Mother, and many others as the bride attempts to resist the pull to enter Bluebeard’s secret room. The castle tests her sanity, and not every part of her will survive—if any part of her does at all. This game is dark, erotic, ethereal, and filled with creeping terror. It’s about the intricacies of feminine horror, and agency in the face of powerlessness. All materials will be provided by the GM.

>  Friday 8:00PM-midnight
LarpJam (Larp design) – Facilitator: Jon Cole | 5-16 Players | All ages

LarpJam is a workshop where participants create their very own larps (live action role-playing games) in a round-robin format. In a matter of hours people with no larp experience can create awesome, fully-playable larps or the seeds that future larps can spring from! This process folds creative invocation, constructive constraints, and peer feedback into one lightning-fast process. LarpJam is fun for anyone who can read and write, no experience is necessary. All materials are provided for 5-16 players.

Saturday

> Saturday 8:00PM-midnight
*Microscope – Facilitator: Tom Fendt | 3-4 players | All ages

A game of epic histories where you can zoom in and out on the bits you find most interesting. Microscope finds a way to make all players collaborate, even as it prevents players from directly coordinating. Your individual additions add up to a whole greater than the sum of the parts.

*Atlas – Facilitator: Tom Fendt | 3-4 players | All ages
A mapmaking game created by yours truly. This game treads the line between world building tool and roleplaying game. Atlas is a game where you collaboratively create a map with its own story to go along with it. What strange and interesting places will your group come up with? Play to find out!

*note that both of these games will be played in the same room and there may be multiple sessions.

> Saturday 8:00PM-10:30PM
Dream Apart: a storygame of the fantastic shtetl – Facilitator: Benjamin Rosenbaum | 3-5 players | 16+

A GM-less, collaborative, rules-light, historical fantasy storygame of sorcerers and scholars, midwives and matchmakers, soldiers and klezmers, dybbuks, gossip, pogroms, trolls, rebels, betrothals, demons, angels, blood libel, lusts, and secrets in an Eastern European Jewish shtetl, circa 1850. Dream Apart is inspired by Avery Mcdaldno’s Dream Askew. Where Dream Askew queers the post-apocalyptic genre, Dream Apart jews historical fantasy, reimagining fantastical Europe from the perspective of European history’s underdogs; like Askew it’s about otherness, resistance, strife, and survival, beyond the borders of a brutal dominant society.

Sunday

> Sunday 7:00PM-11:00PM
The Dooms that Came to Chaegrae – GM: Rachel Kronick | 3-5 players

The Tomb of Gemenos has loomed over the middle of Chaegrae for generations. All who have dared to enter, or even to approach too closely, have had horrible fates. But now, you and your motley friends have come to plumb the depths of the tomb. You are unafraid of the Tomb’s strange fates, because you already know how you will die. The Tomb is but the next step in your destiny.

A tabletop roleplaying game, using the Blade & Crown system (which I wrote). Themes of fate, destiny and the wrongs of history. No more than five players. No rules knowledge or materials required, though you may want to bring your lucky D10s!

Call to reserve a room at our special price!

Jennie D-W
Hotels

The Concourse Hotel still has some extra rooms to fill for WisCon39, so they’re letting us use our room block prices again for a limited time! If you reserved a hotel room too late before, or if you were waiting for a better price, this is it! Call the Concourse Hotel at (800)356-8293 to change an existing reservation or make a new one; this deal won’t work online!

WisCon 39 schedule is now LIVE on wiscon.info

Tanya D.
Programming

(This was originally published at Tanya’s blog.  She’s graciously allowed us to reprint it here.  Thanks, Tanya!)

Hello all you lovely WisCon folks out there! I am beyond happy to announce that the final schedule for WisCon 39 is now live on the WisCon website!

This link will get you the panels that are running, their locations, etc. If you need a list view;  here is a link if you need a grid view.

Handy info for moderators and panelists is below. You should also have received emails from program@wiscon.net if you are scheduled to moderate and/or participate on panels:

  • If you are scheduled for programming and do not recieve an email, please send a note to us at program@wiscon.info
  • If you are moderating panels as well as being on a panel(s), then you will only get the moderator email.
  • If you are only participating on panels and not moderating anything, then you will get the panelist email.

 

You may also tweet at me (@cypheroftyr) for Programming questions, but sending it to the program email may get a faster response. The official WisCon Twitter is @wiscon39.

Thank you!

Tanya D. aka Cypheroftyr (programming demon, er deputy)
WisCon 39

If you are a moderator!

What do we expect from our moderators?

Prepare. Contact your panelists before WisCon. When? Now would be good. How? Click on the links for panelists below your moderating assignment.

In that email, please:

1. Introduce yourself.
2. Suggest or solicit panel structure: how much time for each
panelist, if/how to solicit and handle audience participation.
3. Describe your understanding of the panel description and ensure
that the panelists agree.
4. Ask the panelists about their interest in the panel topic.
5. Determine if you and/or the panelists are going to cite specific resources.
6. Elicit 2-3 points that each panelist deems crucial.

Ten minutes before your panel, meet your panelists in the green room and get the name tents. Go to the assigned room. Start the session on time. Introduce the panel topic and allow the panelists to introduce themselves and explain their interest in the topic. Introduce yourself as the moderator and explain your ground rules (if, how and when the audience can participate, timing for the session).

Make sure all the panelists have a chance to speak, manage how audience members are included in the discussion, and keep track of the time and the arc of the discussion for wrap-up. You will probably not speak as much as your panelists.

Part of your job as moderator is to ensure equitable participation. Gender, race, class, and ability are some factors that influence participation styles. Be aware of power dynamics and intervene as necessary when panelists or audience members exercise privilege to dominate the conversation. You may need to cut off a panelist who has hijacked the discussion. You may need to cut off an audience member who has raised their hand to ask a question and then tried to deliver a twenty-minute “This is more of a comment than a question…”.  You may need to encourage shy panel members to share their thoughts.

When microphones are present, use them, and make sure all the panelists do, too. Some of us do not hear well enough to participate without microphones, and you can’t tell by looking who we are. Remind your panelists not to cover their mouths when they speak; some of us depend on lipreading to participate.

If you require A/V for your panel, you MUST request it no later than May 11th so your request can accommodated. A/V includes: projector, screens, microphones, pc speakers.

How do I get more information for this gig?

1. For tips on moderating, go to: http://wiscon.net/tipsformods.php
2. For tips for your panelists: http://wiscon.net/tipsforpanelists.php
3. Panels that might interest you: “Join the Mod Squad: Enhance Your Moderation Skills” Friday from 4:00 p.m.-5:15 p.m in Conference 4.
4. Questions?  Ask us via program@wiscon.net

If you are a panelist!

Preparing for the convention

–Your moderator should contact you before WisCon. Please respond to your moderator’s email. This is your chance to define the format, structure, and scope of the panel. Be pro-active: if you haven’t heard from your mod, you can contact the panel by clicking on the link below the program item description.
–Re-read the panel description and raise questions about anything that’s not clear.
–Formulate the things you’d like to convey during the allotted time (you’ll be sharing 70 minutes with other panelists and the audience). Keep this list simple.  You may want to keep the sub-topics to no more than three.
–Do your homework. Gather the names of the works and authors you want to discuss. People in the audience will ask for specifics. Read, view, listen to relevant materials. Prepare notes and/or spend time thinking about the topic. You may do this on your own and in emails with the other panelists, depending on how the group decides to interact before the convention.

At the Con

–Meet up in the Green Room 10 minutes before the panel start time if at all possible; if not, make sure to tell your moderator that you’ll be meeting up with the rest of the panel in the room.
–Start on time! If unavoidably late, quietly enter the room, take a place at the table and wait for your mod to fold you into the panel-already-in-progress.  Don’t apologize for being late. The audience is paying attention to the ongoing discussion, not to you.
–Share the time with other panelists and the audience. WisCon audiences want to get into the discussion as soon as possible. Prepare to answer lots of audience questions. The moderator will let the audience know how soon s/he will start taking questions, while setting up the panel. Defer to the moderator as s/he directs the conversation.
–Bring something to write on. Discussion moves very quickly and it can help to take notes of what you want to cover when the moderator gets back to you.
–Look at the audience. Resist the temptation to address your comments solely to a fellow panelist, even when responding to a specific point.
–Speak one at a time. Use the mic, when provided. Some of us cannot understand your words without amplification. If you refuse to use the mic, you are preventing us from participating.
–Don’t hold your hand in front of your mouth when you are speaking. Some of us cannot understand your words if we can’t read your lips.
–Refrain from whispering with other panelists.
–Respect the moderator’s awesome powers.

And remember to have fun!

More information about being a panelist at WisCon is available at
http://wiscon.net/tipsforpanelists.php

Ellen Klages and the Tiptree Auction

Ellen Klages

Ah, dear friends. This is a hard blog to post, but….

After twenty years of having the honor and pleasure of being the emcee for the Tiptree Auction at Wiscon, I am retiring.

I’m sad, but it’s the right decision. I am no longer a spry young thing. Young at heart, always, but the body is different now, and less able to caper and cavort for hours at a time. Plus, I injured my back in 2014, which has limited my mobility and flexibility, not to mention the ease of traveling. Add to that a general WisConian sense of transition, transformation, and change — and it’s time.

It feels like the end of an era. But what an era it was.

In 1994, on the weekend of my 40th birthday, I was in Worcester, Massachusetts, for Readercon, the guest of my friend, Pat Murphy. Ursula LeGuin was the Guest of Honor, and Nicola Griffith was the winner of the Tiptree Award. I knew nothing much about all that, just that the prize was given by an organization that Pat had founded.

One of the committee members in charge of the evening’s banquet and awards ceremony told Pat that some generous people had donated a few items — t-shirts, a handful of books — to benefit the Award, and asked if Pat was willing to auction them off.

Pat was already emceeing the awards and interviewing Ursula, so she said, “No, but I bet my friend Ellen will do it.”

“Sure,” I said. What the heck? It sounded like fun.

And so it was that, at the end of a very long evening, I got up on stage in a hotel ballroom for an impromptu performance, convincing an audience to buy random objects for startling sums of money. Forty-five minutes later, the Tiptree coffers had a thousand dollars, and I was suddenly, accidentally, notorious.

A man asked Spike, “Who is she?”

A total stranger came up to me. “Where else in Worcester are you performing?”

It was a heady experience.

In 1995, I came to WisCon for the first time. More generous people had donated items, and I did another auction during a Friday afternoon programming slot. It was small, but the Tiptree people were happy, and the audience seemed to have a good time.

The next year, the audience was a little larger. More stuff was donated. The Tiptree Auction was becoming a Thing, and I found myself, a newbie to WisCon, an odd sort of celebrity.

Stuff kept happening. I joined the Tiptree Motherboard, the organization thrived with the support of the community, and the auction and I somehow became an Institution.

In the beginning, I felt like my class-clown, childhood self was finally vindicated. Every May, I got to get up on stage — with a microphone — in front of a huge audience — and make people laugh. I also got to spend time on eBay and at garage sales, looking for items that would tickle the Madison fancy. Old space toys, bottles of Lysol, copies of Alice in Elephantland. I spent June through April trying to find things to delight you.

Which is cool enough. But somehow, it just kept getting better. You all started playing right back. I’ll let you in on the secret to the auction’s success: the audience is the real star.

When it works, it’s an energy exchange. I say something funny — you laugh. That makes me feel good, and relaxed, and funnier, and you laugh more and it grows and grows. After a while, you didn’t come just to watch, but to actively participate in the fun.

I don’t know any better way to build community than by shared laughter.

Backed by a shared mythology.

Space Babe.

She started out as email shorthand for one of the designs that Jeanne Gomoll and I were considering for a temporary tattoo. Another little fundraiser. The female space pirate with a blasting ray-gun was just “the space babe.”

She became so much more.

Growing up as science-fiction readers and proto-feminists, those of us of a certain age had to piggyback our imaginations onto whatever the men who controlled popular culture doled out to us. But from the get-go, Space Babe was ours.

I ran with her, shamelessly, and with a huge grin on my face. I made decades-old souvenirs of a popular culture icon that had not actually existed. A back-story with no narrative, just imaginary collectibles. If I leave behind a legacy from my auction years, I hope it’s her. I found that I love making art as much as I love performing.

See, my Dad was a painter, and a photographer, and a craftsman. And when I was a kid, I kept overhearing my mother say to her friends, “Oh, the girls all take after me, I’m afraid. Jack is the only artist in the family.” I cringed, hearing that, because I liked making things. But I knew — because I was told — that I wasn’t very good at it. I couldn’t draw — still can’t — and my art projects in school were judged as colorful, but inferior, lumps. Never the ones picked to be displayed on the bulletin board.

The first time I dared to make something for the auction, I was terrified no one would want it. But you did. You gave me permission to make art. And those are some of my favorite memories — being down in my basement for hours at a time, messing about with paints and glue (and Photoshop), turning up in Madison with boxes of things that I made myself, and that amused other people.

My mother is long dead, so she’ll never know that today my art is in private collections in Vienna and London and New York. But I do. And I thank you for opening a part of me that I hadn’t even let myself dream might exist.

Performer, artist, author. I would be none of these today without your support. I have loved the applause, the acclaim, the “celebrity, ” and am forever grateful for how that contributed to my recognition as a writer, especially early in my career.

Like most people, I have many personas. The auctioneer is loud, fearless, funny. The words that come out of my mouth on stage are spontaneous, stream-of-thought, in-the-moment, and ephemeral. Your acceptance of her gave me the courage to allow a much smaller, quieter voice to emerge. My writing is planned and thoughtful. The words you see in print are honed and carefully chosen.

So thank you for allowing me the space for both voices to be heard. For reading my fiction, and for applauding when I got up on stage and put on my chicken suit or shaved my head or did The Happy Dance. I don’t know any other performer who has gotten the chance — even once — to and do a three-hour, one-woman show.

Well, sort of. It has never really been a one-woman show at all. Although I’ve been the public face of the auction, I’ve always have had a team behind me doing the hard work — sorting, preparation, and logistics. And other folks collecting the money and doing the math.

Jeanne Gomoll — a national treasure — was, for a long time, the person accepting donations, setting up the display of items, and making sure the trains ran on time. Scott Custis hauled boxes down from their attic every year. Jim Hudson, a mensch if there ever was one, handled the accounting, a most important part of any fundraiser. In recent years, Nevenah Smith streamlined the process and added her own flair to the event.

It’s been twenty years. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of people who have supported the auction, the Tiptree Award, and/or WisCon whose hard work, technical expertise, and enthusiasm made me look good up there.

To them, and to all of you — I enjoyed every minute.

Thanks for a great run.

— Ellen

 

PS-1: Fundraising for the Tiptree Award will go on. We will continue to offer you choice items in return for your support. There will be future auctions, some live, perhaps some online. I may even participate in them, but not as a solo act.

 

PS-2: The auction was one of the centers of my life for a very long time. But because each of them was one long improvisation, happening as fast as I could talk, I honestly don’t remember much about individual moments. I’m hoping that you do, and that you’ll use the Comments to share your memories with me.

Calling fannish mixologists — WisCon needs drinks!

Jennie D-W
Hotels

Once again, the Concourse Bar’s bartender wants cool names for WisCon-centric drink specials! All you need to include is the drink name and any suggested colors/ingredients, plus maybe the reference if it’s obscure — e.g. “Faust,” from Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Zephyr Hollis books; must look dark and bloody.

Suggestions will be accepted through Sunday, May 3, to be considered for the menu!

WisCon is coming! Catch up with our 2nd Progress Report!!

Mikki Kendall & Levi Sable
Co-chairs WisCon 39

WisCon 39 is just three weeks away!  How do I get to the Concourse?  Where can I park?  Where will I eat?  Our second Progress Report is ready to answer these questions — you can download a copy of the PDF here: http://wiscon.net/downloads/W39ProgressReport2.pdf

PR2 also contains crucial information such as who’s hosting a party,
who’s in the Dealers’ Room, and who’s in the Art Show.  There’s a
handy local map and information on Madison cab companies.

Will you need childcare?  WisCon is happy to provide childcare for
just $1 per child.  The deadline to register is May 6, so look at PR2
now for information!

This is also a great time to double-check your registration before
WisCon.  Make sure you are registered, check that you have the number of dessert tickets you want, and maybe even volunteer for a panel that still needs panelists — just log into your account.wiscon.net account here: http://account.wiscon.net/account/

This is the last Progress Report before the convention!  To keep up
with WisCon in these last few weeks before we all convene in Madison, check us out on the internet:

WisCon, WisCon, Do You Read? (our blog) — http://wiscon.net/blog/
On Twitter — https://twitter.com/WisConSF3/
On Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/WisCon

Want to connect with other fans to get a ride? share a room? schedule a group meet-up?
LiveJournal fan-run community — http://wiscon.livejournal.com/
Dreamwidth fan-run community — http://wiscon.dreamwidth.org/
WisCon Talk Google group — https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/wiscon-talk

See you soon!

Anti-Abuse Team new policies & procedures — Public comment period April 3-17

Anti-Abuse Team

Since last fall, members of the WisCon Anti-Abuse Team have been working on developing new anti-harassment policies and procedures for our convention. We have been guided by the goal of making WisCon a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone. To that end, we have worked to develop a policy that 1) makes reporting easy, 2) is compassionate and reporter centered, 3) facilitates a timely response and clear communication, and 4) reduces incidence of harassment through member education and by fostering a supportive, respectful climate.

We have adapted this document from the Ada Initiative’s anti-harassment policy, which they have graciously provided for general use. The most significant change that we made to this document involves the addition of behavior outside of the convention, including online behavior, which may put members of WisCon at risk.

The Anti-Abuse Team (AAT) is a new, permanent, 6-member (or more) Concom department, consisting of a chair, a secretary/archivist, a Safety liaison, and three other members. Our goal is that the makeup of this committee reflects the diversity of our membership. Going forward, the AAT will handle incoming reports, including informal concerns raised about the general climate at the convention and concerns about safety and harassment. We worked closely with members of Safety on this policy, and also sought feedback from the rest of the Concom. Safety will continue to handle incidents at the convention, and is working closely with Application Development on our new secure reporting database.

Much of our work on this policy has been informed by the mistakes that have been made in previous years. We have built in a series of redundancies to make sure that reports can never be lost or ignored. For example, prior to WisCon38, harassment cases were handled by the convention chairs, who typically step down shortly after a convention. By establishing a permanent team, including an archivist and Safety liaison, we have multiple checks in place to make sure reports move forward.

Another function of the AAT is to protect member confidentiality — only a limited number of individuals have access to our secure reporting database, and the bulk of the convention committee will not be involved in making decisions about individual cases. Additionally, we have built in the flexibility to allow us to appoint ad hoc members as needed, including advocates on a case-by-case basis (rather than our previous trial model of a single, permanent Member Advocate).

Our hope is that in sharing our draft policy with our members we will receive valuable feedback, as well as provide transparency about our policy and procedures moving forward. We have recommended that once our policy is approved, all members must acknowledge our statement of principles and harassment policy during the registration process. We understand that the goal of a safe convention is something we must always strive for, even if we may never attain it. We thus see our policy as a living document that will grow and adapt with our needs and the needs of our members.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below, or send an e-mail to antiabuse@wiscon.info. Our open comment period will last two weeks (though we are always happy to receive feedback), after which we will make appropriate edits and then consult with the SF3 board and our lawyer. We will then provide a final draft to the Concom for approval via a vote. Our goal is to have this done in time for our new policy to be in place for WisCon39.

Jacquelyn Gill (chair)
Jackie M. (secretary/archivist)
Ann (Safety)
Lenore Jean Jones
Alexis Lothian
Sandy Olson
Two anonymous members

The draft policy below involves two sections: the first is our anti-harassment policy, which will be posted online and in the Pocket Program Book at the convention (we also have short and medium versions for other applications, which are a subset of the following full text). The second part outlines procedures for the rest of the convention committee; this text will be shared with Concom members. Bracketed text will be updated for each convention as necessary.

I. Anti-Harassment Policy

WisCon is dedicated to working towards a harassment-free convention experience for all members, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, origin, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of WisCon members in any form. Convention participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the convention without a refund at the discretion of the convention organizers.

We are not always able to perceive the ways in which our words or actions reinforce the oppressive structures that are part of dominant languages and cultures, and so at times we must rely on others to let us know. We encourage WisCon members to hold one another accountable to the Anti-Harassment Policy and Statement of Principles [link], and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises. Educating ourselves and one another is our best hope of ensuring a harassment-free convention for everyone.

Harassment:
WisCon’s definition of harassment may not necessarily align with legal definitions of harassment. Harassment includes: Verbal comments or displayed images that reinforce social structures of domination and oppression (related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, geographic origin, or socioeconomic status); deliberate intimidation; stalking; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Exhibitors in the Dealer’s Room, volunteers, and Concom members are also subject to the anti-harassment policy.

Incidents at WisCon:
If a participant engages in harassing behavior at the convention, the Con Chairs and pre-selected Concom members (with or without consultation with Safety and/or the Anti-Abuse Team) may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the convention (with no refund). If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact Safety on duty and/or a member of the Concom immediately. At the convention, Concom members can be identified by badges, lanyards, stickers, or buttons (this may vary from convention to convention), while Safety team members wear neon vests. You can also use Safety’s [online reporting form], [email], and [phone number] to file harassment reports at any time, including after the convention has ended. General concerns about the climate at WisCon may also be directed to the Anti-Abuse Team (antiabuse@wiscon.info).

Concom members will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the convention. We value your attendance.

[Email address for organizers]
[Phone number for convention security or organizers]
[Phone number for hotel/venue security]
[Local law enforcement]
[Local sexual assault hotline]
[Local emergency and non-emergency medical (e.g., urgent care, day clinic)]
[Local taxi company]

We expect participants to follow these rules at all convention venues, including those online, and convention-related social events.

Incidents outside of WisCon:
At times, concerns may be raised about members (or potential members) based on conduct that has occurred outside of WisCon that may include gross violations of our policy and/or put members at risk, including:

  1. Individuals who have not attended WisCon, but have a history of abusive behavior and/or known incidents that took place outside WisCon that may cause risks to a member’s (or members’) safety, or which may contribute to a hostile or non-inclusive climate at the convention.
  2. WisCon members who have been reported to Safety for outside incidents, including (but not limited to) conduct at other conventions, threatening or abusive behavior online, or assault.

These may be individuals who may or may not have expressed interest in attending the convention, and for whom reports may or may not have been filed, but who have come to the attention of the Concom’s Anti-Abuse Team.

WisCon considers online behavior to be just as important as offline behavior. Doxing or outing [link to Geek feminism wiki], online harassment or stalking, or deliberately connecting a pseudonym with a wallet name are all considered violations of our Anti-Harassment Policy, and will be treated accordingly. These actions need not occur in WisCon-affiliated spaces (e.g., our blog) in order to be considered.

We understand that at times, our members will have disagreements or interpersonal conflicts that do not necessarily escalate to the point of harassment or abuse. WisCon will not arbitrate feuds; we ask that you please leave these conflicts at the door to the extent that you are able. If, however, conflicts escalate to the point that they 1) threaten member safety, or 2) violate our Code of Conduct at the convention (e.g., racist or sexist language), the Anti-Abuse Team may become involved.

The Anti-Abuse Team:
The AAT is a permanent Concom department with the long-term goal of making WisCon safer and harassment-free for all members. The team should comprise a diverse membership (e.g., including representation from Safety, Access, members of color, LGBTQ members), and may appoint ad-hoc members as needed (e.g., to replace a member with a conflict of interest, or in the events the team lacks the background or perspectives relevant to address a particular case). The team also includes a Chair and a Secretary/Archivist to ensure continuity and transparency. The AAT may also appoint member-specific advocates on a case-by-case basis for reporters or reported members if requested. Current members include: [to be filled out upon final completion, and updated as needed].

Once a violation has been reported:
Following the convention, the Anti-Abuse Team will review all reports in a timely manner, following the procedures outlined in our Anti-Harassment Policy. The AAT will also review all reports made throughout the year, including general concerns about convention policies or climate brought to our attention (the AAT will document all concerns or informal reports about specific individuals with a formal report to Safety). All reports will be entered into a secure database with access limited to Safety chairs and relevant members of the AAT as deemed appropriate.

If the Anti-Abuse Team decides to take action (including but not limited to a preemptive ban, programming restrictions, volunteering restrictions, etc.), they will communicate all decisions to Safety, the co-Chairs, Registration, Programming, Volunteering, and any other relevant departments, and may notify the Concom as a whole. On a case-by-case basis, the AAT may seek a vote or a review by the Concom before finalizing a decision. The Anti-Abuse Team will also notify local law enforcement if necessary, and will work with Safety and other departments to be on alert during conventions.

Once the AAT’s decision has communicated to the relevant parties, all have the opportunity to appeal this decision with an email to SF3 [link], WisCon’s parent organization.

II. Internal policies for Concom use

Warnings:
Any member of the convention committee (listed on our website) can issue a verbal warning to a participant that their behavior violates our anti-harassment policy. Warnings should be reported to Safety as soon as practical. The report should include:

  • Identifying information of the participant
  • The time you issued the warning
  • The behavior that was in violation
  • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time of warning)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Your identity
  • Other people involved in the incident

Pre-selected Concom members who volunteer and are vetted by Safety, as well as Con Chairs for that year (with or without consultation with Safety and/or the Anti-Abuse Team), may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference (with no refund). Individual Concom members may give a warning at any time as individuals, but Safety, the Con Chairs for that year, and these pre-selected Concom members are empowered to make official and timely decisions in these cases.

Programming:
Panels or similar events should not be stopped for one-time gaffes or minor problems, although someone empowered to issue formal warnings (as indicated above) should speak to the presenter afterward as appropriate. In the event of repeated or serious violation of the anti-harassment policy, moderators, panelists, and audience members can contact Safety, who will send a representative to evaluate the situation. The Safety contact number for phone calls and texts will be printed on panelist name tents and can also be obtained from Registration. Members who recognize harassing behavior on a panel they are moderating have several options based on the specifics of the incident and their comfort levels: moderators might choose to challenge the behavior while it is occurring; to do nothing and make a report later; or – in the worst situations – it might be appropriate to politely and calmly stop the panel without explanation before reporting the incident to Safety.

Taking reports:
When taking a report from someone experiencing harassment you should record what they say and reassure them they are being taken seriously, but avoid making specific promises about what actions the Concom will take. Ask for any other information if the reporter has not volunteered it (such as time, place) but do not pressure them to provide it if they are reluctant. Even if the report lacks important details such as the identity of the person taking the harassing actions, it should still be recorded and passed along to Safety. If the reporter desires it, arrange for an escort by a Concom member or a trusted person, contact a friend, and contact local law enforcement. Do not pressure the reporter to take any action if they do not want to do it. Respect the reporter’s privacy by not sharing unnecessary details with others, especially individuals who were not involved with the situation or Concom members.

See sample Safety report form [link] for information collected while taking reports — WisCon members can also be invited to submit a report to Safety directly. If a reporter prefers to work with you, inform the member that the report will be forwarded to Safety, but kept secure at all times. Make sure the member knows who (the names of the Safety Chairs, the Anti-Abuse Team, Con Chairs, other parties if relevant) will see the report.

Expulsion:
During the convention, a participant may be expelled by the decision of the co-chairs or Safety Chairs (in consultation with the Anti-Abuse Team if need be) for whatever reasons they deem sufficient. Here are some general guidelines for when a participant should be expelled:

  • A third offense resulting in a warning from concom members
  • Continuing to harass after any “No” or “Stop” instruction
  • A pattern of harassing behavior, with or without warnings
  • A single serious offense (e.g., punching or groping someone)
  • A single obviously intentional offense (e.g., taking up-skirt photos)
  • Complaints from attendees.

Hotel/venue security and local authorities should be contacted when appropriate.

Public statements:
As a general rule, Concom members should exercise discretion in making public statements (including on privately maintained online media accounts such as Twitter) about the behavior of individual people during or after the convention when possible.

Clarification on how WisCon’s policies have been & will be applied

Chris Wallish
Media & Communications

We received the following question on Friday’s statement on the findings and recommendations of the recently-concluded subcommittee:

Is it the intent of the Concom to apply this policy universally, such that anyone who has a pattern of directing caustic comments at people they disagree with will also be excluded from public-facing volunteer positions?

Everyone attending WisCon, including all volunteers and Concom members, is held accountable to WisCon’s policies and rules of conduct.  These policies have never been, nor will they be, applied on a universal pre-emptive basis — quite the opposite.  Reports of harassing behavior will always be approached on a case-by-case basis and investigated according to the specifics of the report.

In particular, WisCon’s approach to volunteers at the convention has always been that if someone isn’t appropriate for a position — whether because of complaints of behavior or because of behavior that has been observed by another volunteer or by a Concom member — our volunteer coordinators have discussed the situation with the individual volunteer and asked them to do something else or to step down.

We will continue to address concerns and reports of harassment, including those involving volunteers, on a case-by-case basis.

Information on our revised anti-harassment policies will be posted for public comment tomorrow, Friday, April 3.