If you don't feel like reading, we overturned the Board's decision entirely, enforced the lifetime ban on Rene Walling, apologized and discussed an action plan for moving forward and making Readercon safer. Also the entire Board resigned, but that news was out a few days ago.
No lie, this thing has been hard. Readercon has historically had some problems that we're going to be working on for a while, but even knowing that I can't express the sense of betrayal I had when I heard the Board's original decision on this. Also, I'm really, really bad at taking criticism of something I love or am a part of, and there's very much been a part of me not wanting to hear all the people mad at Readercon, since it so very felt like they were mad at me, even though I agreed with them completely. After I got past that first gut-clenching reaction though, I started seeing what was really going on with that anger and wow, I can't even express how grateful I am for it. There's a lot I'm bad at expressing, apparently. Anyway. Sonya Taaffe said something yesterday about how the anger hasn't so much been "Ugh Readercon we hate you and wish you'd die in a fire", it's been much more "Aw Readercon why are you disappointing me? Why did you have to go die in a fire? The hell?" and yeah, that's exactly it. The fact that so many people are standing up and saying that harassment is bad and harassers should feel bad and people who apologize for or coddle those harassers should *also* feel bad, that's awesome. I like that and I want to see it continue.
I very much have seen the posts and the anger and the petition as support for what rosefox and many of us wanted out of this, and as support for what kind of a con we want Readercon to be. It's been really hard not to get defensive at certain points of this, but we needed the outcry and everything that went with it to get this done the way it should be. At this point I'm drained but also so happy that we can even make this beginning. When the statement went up earlier today and the reactions started coming in I suddenly burst into tears because oh my god, we are really and truly being given a chance here.
The actions of the Board broke the trust of a lot of people, and I know this statement and the actions in it aren't going to fix that for everyone, and that's ok. People are legitimately upset, and it's going to take time to deal with that. Some people may have written us off so completely that they don't want to hear the apology, and that's also ok. Hell, that's part of what this whole thing was about in the first place, right? No one owes us their time or attention, and we don't get to force anyone to hear or accept our apology, and that has to be ok, even if it stings. I'm going to keep doing whatever I can to make Readercon something I can be proud of, and something that no one feels excluded from. It's a process. We aren't finished yet, but I'm very much looking forward to getting closer.