March Party — On Harassment Policies and Proactively Making a Safe Space

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This month’s party will feature Maddy Myers presenting, “On Harassment Policies and Proactively Making a Safe Space.”

In the workplace, at the game shop, at conventions, meet-ups, and so on, we always hope we will meet new connections for either our careers or our social lives (or both!). But, sometimes we meet people who terrify us, people who make us never want to go back. How do we make sure that predators stop feeling “safe” in our spaces, and instead make the spaces safe for the rest of us? How do we make sure that minority members of the games community become, well, less visibly minor at these events and in the industry in general? How can we best be proactive bystanders or allies for those among us who have been made uncomfortable by the behavior of another attendee at an event? If we run an event, how best can we ensure before, during, and afterward that all of our attendees felt safe and had a great time? Maddy will attempt to answer these questions, and also tell you cold truths about your “nice guy” friend who is “just bad with women”.

NOTE: Maddy does not plan, in this talk, to go into much detail about her own experiences with harassment, lest she have a panic attack, or bring one on in any of the talk’s attendees. She will do her very best to make the content of this talk accessible and painless for everyone, including herself, but she would also like to warn folks in advance that This Will Be Hard.

Maddy Myers is a journalist for the Boston Phoenix; she writes a column about video games and geek culture called “Laser Orgy”. Her writing about games has also appeared at the Border House, Kill Screen, and Paste Magazine. She also writes at her personal website and tweets @samusclone. She has written about harassment in nerdy spaces for the Phoenix and also on her personal blog, but won’t be delving much into those details at the talk, so much as looking forward to possible solutions.