Improving Conventions for Everyone

Bright lights are shining on harassment in every part of society, and it's no different in the game industry. The time has arrived when victims and witnesses can seek justice for harassment at conventions and trade shows. I've got some pretty hair-raising stories I could share about creepy stalkers and inappropriate physical contact at game conventionsonce while holding my three-month-old son in my arms! Open secrets finally have consequences. And more fans and makers are insisting on the ethics of the industry we love so much.


San Diego Comic Con anti-harassment policy
(photo credit BleedingCool.com)
It's been more than a year since Atlas Games joined Pelgrane Press in requiring conventions to have an anti-harassment policy in order to receive our support for their events. We insist on a clear definition of harassment, a public procedure for violation, and a policy that's easy to find in the convention's physical space and online materials.

Overall, our stance has been well-received, and conventions have responded by adding and expanding their protections for attendees of all kinds. I've had productive discussions with folks about how a clear anti-harassment policy actually boosts attendance, since people can see before they even register that they'll be supported. And it feels great to support a con that's improving the experience for everyone.


Anna Kegler (L), Rochelle Keyhan (C), Erin Filson (R)
of geeksforCONsent (photo credit Brian van der Brug)
If this is a stance you support, you can bring it to the attention of your other favorite publishers. The more these become community standards, the more leverage we'll have. But don't forget that you can also have a major impact by asking your local conventions about their anti-harassment policies and encouraging them to post them prominently. Local organizations who are skeptical can look at the policies of large cons like the Origins Game Fair and midsize ones like CONvergence. Our conventions will only become more fun for more people with these efforts.

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