North Texas RPG Convention Refuses To Listen To Harassment Concerns

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Harassment in gaming is getting more and more attention as gamers are making the stand that they will not support sexual harassment, the harassment of the LGBTQ+ or people of color. In the latest controversy over dealing with harassment at conventions, the North Texas RPG Convention, a self-styled old school gaming convention, has decided to take a stand against those in the tabletop RPG hobby who have been harassed at conventions and other spaces.


After people emailed the convention organizers to voice concern that alleged harassers Frog God Games CEO Bill Webb and former TSR editor and designer Frank Mentzer were being kept on the rolls as special guests at the next North Texas RPG Convention. One of the organizers of the convention made the following public statement in response to these concerns: "So here is my stance on the subject: Everyone is allowed to come to the Con." He then went on to say "I don't care if a member of ISIS or the most wanted person in a [sic] America comes to the Con, as long as they are there to game, and everything is about gaming. I have asked people to leave the Con when I find them debating politics and/or religion at the gaming table. (so what do you think I'd do if I observed any sexual harassment ?) Thus anything not gaming related can get you removed from the Con."

Here are screen shots of post, for those who don't want to click through the above links.


More conventions, gaming and otherwise, are taking a stance to protect those who attend them by crafting policies against harassment. Gen Con's harassment policy, from the Gen Con website, is simple: "Gen Con: The Best Four Days in Gaming! is dedicated to providing a harassment-free Event experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or affiliation. We do not tolerate harassment of convention participants in any form. Convention participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled without refund at the discretion of show management." Other conventions have written policies making it an expellable offense to touch other convention goers without their permission.

Pelgrane Press, publisher of games like Trail of Cthulhu and Night's Black Agents has created a harassment policy for officially sanctioned events at conventions or stores. "We want conventions to be safe and inclusive spaces for all gamers. Unfortunately, we know of too many instances where our colleagues, customers and friends have been harassed or made to feel uncomfortable at gaming conventions. We believe strongly that having a policy in place which explicitly censures harassing behaviour, and provides a clear procedure for reporting any such incidents, creates a safer and more welcoming environment for people at the greatest risk of harassment." Their policy goes on to say "As such, Pelgrane Press will not exhibit at, or provide support for, conventions which don’t have a publicly posted and enforced anti-harassment policy." Other publishers are taking this path, in order to make sure that their fans are safe while playing their games at conventions or in stores as well.

There is more to safety at a convention than slips and falls. Making sure that convention attendees are not harassed physically, emotionally or sexually is just as much of a safety issue as any other physical concerns. Not only that, by not making a strong stand against potential harassment sends a message to women, the LGBTQ+ and people of color that their safety is not as important to the convention as that of other people. It makes it hard to state that all people are equally as welcome to a convention, when the convention refuses to make policies that will protect everyone at a convention.
 

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It is true that you did not specifically mention sex or gender in your post. And while you did validate the emotion, you were specifically invalidating the judgment that comes from the emotion. Which is also often targeted and used for victim blaming. And is also wrong.

No, I said some and sometimes and that their actions can be counter productive, not their emotions or judgment is wrong, and I validated what they are feeling.

What is actually happening is that you are constructing a strawman argument about something that you want to make a point about and trying to stretch what I said into what you want it to say.

The result is that everyone else sees what you are doing which reduces your credibility and annoys me who is more of a natural ally. I am interested in increasing safety, not being part of an internet meme you are trying to contruct. Outside of this thread I actually reached out to someone who feels like I do and may be able to actually help.
 

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Having a written policy means that you either are required to enforce said policy, or, if you don't, suffer the consequences of failing to live up to your own policy. Such policies are in effect putting their own reputations on the line. If a con enforces the policy as they say they will, then yes, it will make attendees both feel and actually be more safe. A con that refuses to enforce its policy develops it own type of reputation.
Actually, if you are in an industry that has generally adopted certain “safety standards”, and you don’t adhere to that consensus minimum, you could still be held liable, whether or not your policy is written down. It’s been a while since I looked at the venue and event planning safety policies & contracts that were being reshaped back in the 1990s, but I’d be surprised if language regarding sexual harassment by employees, staff, and paid attendees wasn’t present in at least the simple majority of such documents across the USA right now.
 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
No, I said some and sometimes and that their actions can be counter productive, not their emotions or judgment is wrong, and I validated what they are feeling.

Yeah, I completely misread what you were saying. I was wrong. My apologies.
 

S'mon

Legend
And obviously, all things being equal, they will be less safe from sexual harassment or assault in an environment whose organizers don't seem to take it seriously and seem perplexed that people would want them to take preventative steps against it.

I think harrassment is more likely in the kind of Weinstein-type world of Hollywood virtue signalling (a la rpgnet) than somewhere where people apply common sense zero tolerance policies, as indicated by that Con organiser. Plus he literally has been and is being harrassed through threads like these. I think it's absolutely shameful and you who have supported this should all be ashamed of yourselves.

I think I've had enough of this website. It's not the place I remember.
 

ehren37

Legend
I dont want to get in trouble with my rpg friends, but I have to ask...

If he understands and regrets, and the victim considers things settled...why cant he appear at the con?


Are we assuming future bad intentions and incidents from him?

Well, the fact that his supposed contrition rang as insincere corporate CYA speech, coupled with the "accidental" posting where they mocked the idea of escorting him from a con... probably when he actually understands and regrets the issue.

Not that he needs to. D&D, particularly the old school movement, will be full of MRA/Red Pill until they keel over dead. So I guess we've got about 15 more years of this nonsense before attrition takes its course.

This is a good ol boy con for good ol boys, so no surprise the organizer doesn't care enough to draw up a policy for this sort of thing. If he did, he might actually be held to some standards, as opposed to him getting to be the arbiter of what's harassment and whats just boys being boys. I guarantee you could gripe about Obama all day and get nothing but hearty chuckles, but make one crack about the current president and out comes the banhammer. The dogwhistle is strong on this one.

I mean, why do we need rules when we have an internet tough guy with a gun? What could possibly go wrong?
 
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mmacgregor1

First Post
EN World is an inclusive community. NTRPG Con is an inclusive convention, as Doug Rhea has posted-All gamers are welcome, what's the problem? There are a lot of people slinging insults and trying to psychoanalyze the guy. It was pretty clear to me, once I read his post, that he isn't tolerant of any activities that interfere with gamers playing games. To suggest that he supports harassment is ridiculous.
 
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DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
This is interesting to watch as it unfolds due to one of the invited guests asking more from the organizer.

I do think that - like EN World - it's the owner's con and he can run it as he likes. Whether I choose to patronize it (like this website) is my decision, but I know that in doing so I must play by the owner's rules (and be subject to the consequences of those rules).

I have been saddened to learn of the behavior of the attendees (Webb and Mentzer), since I had held both in high regard (based on their work alone).

When I first heard about this con a few years ago, I thought it would be something I would really want to attend. Now, though, maybe not so much. (Due to the attendees - not the organizer, per se.) However, if this attention helps the behavior of those involved in the future, so much the better. If not, so be it.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
EN World is an inclusive community. NTRPG Con is an inclusive convention, as Doug Rhea has posted-All gamers are welcome, what's the problem? There are a lot of people slinging insults and trying to psychoanalyze the guy. It was pretty clear to me, once I read his post, that he isn't tolerant of any activities that interfere with gamers playing games. To suggest that he supports harassment is ridiculous.

Well, he comes off as a bit of a nutter. :)

It's probably just the tendency towards hyperbole and exaggeration that a lot of Texans share, but if you aren't used that kind of thing it might raise some concerns.

And if you think a guy is a bit off kilter, you may be worried that he thinks making accusations of harassment is an activity that might interfere with gamers playing games. It's not "Gaming Related" after all.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
EN World is an inclusive community. NTRPG Con is an inclusive convention, as Doug Rhea has posted-All gamers are welcome, what's the problem? There are a lot of people slinging insults and trying to psychoanalyze the guy. It was pretty clear to me, once I read his post, that he isn't tolerant of any activities that interfere with gamers playing games. To suggest that he supports harassment is ridiculous.

Yep, but the narrative is already forming that this is a sexist, and probably racist, Con where women are hunted down like prey. Good ol' Boys and their multi-day hatefest.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
Yep, but the narrative is already forming that this is a sexist, and probably racist, Con where women are hunted down like prey. Good ol' Boys and their multi-day hatefest.

Exactly who has said that? I think you might be the one engaging in exaggeration and hyperbole now. :cool:
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think it's time to put this one to bed - it's mainly people attacking each other and drawing lines in the sand, and I can't watch it overnight. 17 pages of folks saying the same things to each other is probably enough.
 

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