I love the World Fantasy Convention. The 2010 World Fantasy in Columbus was the first big SF/F convention I ever attended. In addition to meeting lots of fellow authors and editors, I was even picked to be a participating author on some really exciting panels. In general I had a fantasy-themed ball.
So imagine my excitement when I learned World Fantasy was returning to Columbus in 2016. I planned to register early and be all up in that convention.
Except I still haven't registered, and now I'm ticked. You see, I support both John Scalzi's convention harassment policy pledge and Mary Robinette Kowal's accessibility policy pledge. Basically, these pledges mean that I won't attend a convention which doesn't have clear and enforceable policies dealing with both of these issues.
As of February 1st, WFC2016 has yet to post either of these policies. Today's date matters because on January 31 at 11:59 pm the price to register jumped from $150 to $225. I wanted to register at that lower price but without the policies I wouldn't do so (I'd also have liked to known the guests of honor, but I can live without that).
Until today I was trying to be understanding. After all, managing a convention is difficult and relies extensively on volunteer assistance. Maybe no one had pointed out to the people running WFC 2016 how important these policies were to people. Maybe they were having trouble devising these policies.
But then I receive the following screengrabs and many others, which come from the private Facebook group of the people running WFC 2016. The screengrabs show that the people behind WFC 2016 were told repeatedly that they needed these policies, and that it is unfair to not have the policies up before the lower registration fee deadline passed.
But instead of listening to these concerns, which were raised with WFC 2016 since early December, the people agitating for these policies — along with the very need for such policies — were ignored and belittled.
Let me be very clear: It is wrong for a convention to accept registration payments before that convention posts their harassment and accessibility policies. It is even more wrong to belittle these policies and those requesting them.
I mean, seriously, did people learn nothing from the debacle around last year's World Fantasy Convention fail on harassment?
See below for a selection of these screengrabs.
I'm guessing that by posting these screengrabs I won't be invited to WFC 2016 as a participating author. And that's fine with me, especially if anything I've revealed pushes World Fantasy to finally fix their continual lack of respect and attention around these issues. I've also heard a rumor that WFC 2018 in Baltimore already has their harassment and accessibility policies. If so, that's how a big con like World Fantasy should be run.