Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nerdiquette: Etiquette for Nerds

OK, if you were to lead--or attend--a series of panels or presentations on Nerdiquette: Etiquette for Nerds, what topics would you like to see covered?

I'm working on putting these together now, to present at various conventions. What I've come up with so far is:

Nerdiquette 101: "Gallant"-level etiquette for nerds

Reaching into the mists of time, back to classic AD&D for the
paladin's level names, this Gallant-level introductory panel covers geek dating dos and don'ts, such as why talking to a woman's chest, even if it's on display, is bad form, how to appreciate someone's costume/appearance in a respectful way, how to graciously ask for a date (and more importantly, graciously take "NO" for an answer), when NO means YES (hint: never), tips for proper hygiene, how to not cross that thin line that separates geeking out about your hobbies from being a conversation-hog and a jerk.  [panelists bios here]...

Nerdiquette 201: "Defender"-level etiquette for nerds

Now that you've mastered the basics and are well on your way to forming positive relationships with potential dating partners, we get into more advanced topics. Tipping, for one, is not optional. Figure it into the cost of the convention, just like you do the price of your badge and hotel room. Group dynamics: how to tell someone else that they're being "that guy." How to read body language and posture, and overcome that initial hesitation to talk to strangers, to ask someone who looks uncomfortable: "Hey, are you OK?" Online behavior and why good behavior is especially important when no one can see you. [panel bio here]


Nerdiquette 301: "Chevalier"-level etiquette for nerds

Congratulations! You've mastered the basic and intermediate levels of nerdiquette and are ready to tackle more advanced issues and to become a community leader in making geek culture a more inclusive, open place. Slactivism vs real-world problem solving. Examining broader issues, such as DC Comics' recent reboot and its impact on women--as characters in the universe, as writers, artists and creators, and as readers. Addressing concoms who condone "that guy" behavior. Helpful advocacy versus shouting into the void.  [panel bio here]


That's my brainstorming so far. What would you like to see?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

An open-ended question: legal responsibility vs moral responsibility

I don't know that there's any one answer to this, but I think it's important to have the conversation.

Which conversation is that? The one about an organization's legal responsibility versus moral responsibility.

My opinion, based on many years as a fan, a convention attendee, a con-runner, and convention guest, is that while a convention may not have a legal responsibility to provide a harassment-free environment for their attendees, I do think they have a moral responsibility to do so--or to at least make a good-faith effort.

I don't expect to be wrapped in a plastic bubble at a convention, safely shielded from any ideas or opinions that may differ from my own.

I don't expect to never be offended. I'm a grown-up, I know how to leave a room, exit a conversation and otherwise remove myself from situations that make me uncomfortable.

What I do expect is to not be harassed.

This should not be an exceptional request. It shouldn't have to be made at all.

I don't want to be treated like a special snowflake. What I would like is equal treatment, regardless of gender, race, or sexual preference.

Friday, March 9, 2012


After years of attending conventions, sf club parties, gaming groups, and other geek culture events, I've reached my limit of "that guy" encounters.  Honestly, I think it was the speculum waving that finally pushed me over the edge.

It's time to do something about it. This blog isn't intended to be just another venting site, though there will no doubt me some of that. I'm hoping to unite with other women who are also tired of "that guy" encounters so that we can come up with some real-world solutions.

It should go without saying that I won't put up with trolling or harassment here. And no, that's not "censorship." People can say whatever they like... somewhere else. Here, we will treat each other with respect.

I'm also not a walking "Geek Feminism 101," "Derailing for Dummies," or "Privilege 101" encyclopedia. We get that some of you may be genuinely unfamiliar with these concepts, but a lot of us are a bit tired of being the poster-children for our respective races, genders, sexual preferences, religions, and more.