Apologies for the lack of a blog post the week of April 17: I developed back spasms around April 12th that affected my left shoulder and elbow, enough so that sitting at the computer to type was painful at best. I seem to have recovered somewhat, so I’m back in the saddle with another post this week.
When I posted my blog on Monday April 10, I had only a vague idea of the storm that was brewing at the same time. My friend, colleague, and sometimes advisor MONICA VALENTINELLI bowed out of attending Odyssey Con in Madison, Wisconsin as a paid guest due to the very active presence of a person who had previously harassed her. The fact that said person had recently moved 2,000 miles away suggested that perhaps he would not be in a position to return for Odyssey Con. Monica’s contact with the Convention Committee also changed at that time, supporting such an assumption. Now that it’s old news I’ll spare you the details here, but they are important. For a good synopsis and coverage of closely related topics, check out this LINK to Jim Hines’ link-heavy blog post on the topic. Respected Sci-Fi community news source File 770 also published a significant post on the matter HERE
Monica’s resignation as a guest went down on Monday. By the end of the week, all three Guests of Honor had withdrawn from the convention, and the harasser was no longer part of the convention committee. I myself tendered my withdrawal as attendee and panelist on Tuesday April 11, when it became clear that vocal members and friends of the Odyssey Con committee had taken it upon themselves, in a campaign of damage control, to try to spin the discussion to make Monica look bad. To my mind, Monica pulled out from an untenable situation, and while I’m deeply sorry it had to happen at all, I absolutely support her decision. I apologize in the unlikely event that anyone was coming to Odyssey Con specifically to see me.
I received a fair number of responses to that April 10 POST. No, that’s not right: I received a DELUGE of traffic and numerous responses. At first, the responses were quite positive in recognizing the difficult, unfair issues women face in many industries dominated by men. I was amazed to note the early strong, positive vibe of discussion flowing at this reddit THREAD. I hadn’t posted a link to my blog on Reddit: someone did so on their own initiative, and it resulted in a fair percentage of the traffic to my site last week.
On the other hand, it only took two days for the alt-right presence to discover my post and to attack it with savage glee. I was the lucky recipient of at least one brute force attack and one or more denial-of-service attacks aimed at taking over or shutting down my web site, and these attacks seem to be ongoing at this time. Fortunately, my hosting service was on top of it, and instituted measures to protect against such skullduggery. The commentary took a turn at that point as well, and my moderation of comments became more heavy-handed as people with nothing to add to the discussion but insults and invective weighed in. Several posters made claims that Green Ronin’s RECRUITING DRIVE was “illegal,” demonstrating a lack of reading comprehension that should be unsurprising.
I was cheered by the number of positive responses I received from total strangers. Sobering, however, was the knowledge that, while my intent was to help point out this hypocrisy, women have been doing so on their own behalf for many years, with little to no response or even acknowledgement from men — even those that call themselves allies. It’s all well and good to click voting buttons online and write pithy comments behind an Internet wall of anonymity: the proof of our good intent is what we actually get up off our butts and do to make the world a better place for everyone, and in that, I applaud GREEN RONIN and MONICA VALENTINELLI for taking a stand.