Monday, September 2, 2013

Skepchick fans are true believers

The comments over at Skepchick about the latest Skepchick drama are amazing.
If I were you, I’d talk to Cody’s boss and find out what gives. Get him to show you the complaints in writing and ask him about the supposed change in policy. Don’t just walk away.

David Cody has been there forever. From Wikipedia: "It was founded by a board of directors including John Bunnell, David Cody, Robert Dennis, Mike Helba, Pat Henry, and Ed Kramer."

But Skepchicks think he's just another clown they can push around. Hopefully this proves not to be true.

Is there any evidence or reasonable suspicion that the original complaints were from the usual suspects?
I’ve never been to Dragon Con (or any con but CONvergence) so I can’t directly relate but I can imagine the frustration of being treated like criminals. First, there is estopple, as you point out. Then there is the question of all other venders never violating the rule, which is unlikely. Then there is that the rule is misapplied. Then there is the problem that the rule was changed just for you.
If I was regularly attending DragonCon as a pro, I would stop because of this. Sorry I can’t offer that support meaningfully. But I will look sternly at anyone I know who goes to Dragon Con ever again, if that helps.

A truckload of insanity.

If you happen to mention to Greg that "other vendors" do not violate the rule as they front the $550 or so for a dealer table, you will receive this response:

Apparently anybody that disagrees with the hivemind must be an obsessed stalker.

Where did the two years come from? For what it's worth, this blog is only about 10 months old.

Well. That’s interesting. Mostly because my partner and I were going to go to DragonCon next year, after I graduate, BECAUSE OF skepchick involvement. Otherwise it’s kind of a generic con for us. It’s far away and expensive, but we’ve seen skepchick’s at GeekGirlCon, and thought if you all went, it was a good con to go to. If you lot, are not there, then I’ll save my pennies, and go to something more local.
It’s just that I don’t trust a lot of conventions to do things right these days, and we’ve been kind of using Skepchick involvement as a rule of thumb for the kind of places we want to attend.

Beginnings of a boycott! Here it comes! Amy replies:
We are like the canaries of the coal mines.
Amy should have saved everyone a lot of time and went full Niemöller.

Trying to make it look like this is part of a crumbling DragonCon is simply pathetic.

First they came for the Skepchick fan table,
but I did not speak out because I was not an idiot.

I know more than one Con that ruined itself by treating volunteers like shit…

The idea here is that Skepchick qualified as volunteers at the convention.

Were they working security? Cleaning the bathrooms? Giving people directions? Pushing wheelchairs around?

No, Watson got a free pass for speaking at a panel (a bit more high profile than your usual volunteer peon) while Amy was seemingly staffing the table the entire time.

When asked why Skepchick didn't just get a dealer table, a person steps up to explain what the real "problem" is:

the problem was that they had done it that way before, that they were told they were okay after the first complaint, that others had done, and were still doing, what they had done, and that the rules seemed to have been arbitrarily changed and just for them.

Yes, the rules were misleading.

However, issues with this:

  1. It doesn't matter that Skepchick previously got away with selling stuff at a fan table
  2. It's been said that other fan tables break the rules. No evidence presented by Skepchick suggests this.
Then it gets more bizarre:

Also the disrespect and the implication (unless I’m misreading something) that whomever brought this up with management had some sort of antifeminist agenda. Clearly Rebecca is not yet saying this is the case, but you know how these things go, sigh.

Yes, obviously the DragonCon organizers hate women because everyone that hates Skepchick must be an evil misogynist.

That's just how things go, right?

You mean the rules they weren’t breaking with anything but the Bigfoot air freshener, which Rebecca offered to remove from the table? Everything else was branded or “made exclusively for and by” Skepchicks.

 Sorry Melanie, but this is not correct.

In Rebecca Watson's tweets, the show stopper was also sales of a "Put Thor back in Thursday" shirt that was not logo wear. The Bigfoot air freshener was simply another instance of breaking the rules.

Of course, Watson left that bit out of her post which is why Melanie does not have all the facts.

Then there is the obvious problem of whether Amy's ceramics qualify as something by-and-for Skepchick, when profits seemingly go straight into Amy's pockets.

Skepchicks had several questionable products at their table.

Then the commenters continue berating the person who brought up the rules:

Keep on trying for that reading comprehension. 
Shhh, you’re confusing him with facts. *near fatal eyeroll*

The irony of course being that Skepchick didn't give them all the facts in her post.

Then commenter-extraordinaire marilove appears:

Seriously? The rules are really terribly written and not easy to understand, but even if they had broken ONE FREAKIN’ RULE because of ONE FREAKIN’ TYPE OF MERCHANDISE, it doesn’t mean they needed to be removed from the entire convention.
Why can’t people just be fucking human beings to one another and stop acting like spoiled, power tripping high school principals?! How difficult would it have been to say, “Hey, yeah if you could stop selling the Bigfoot toy, that would be great, and we promise to clarify the rules for next year.”
DONE! No need to start a ruckus. Just ask Rebecca and her crew nicely to remove the one toy, and then everyone could have had a wonderful rest of the weekend.
But no.
Of course that’s not what they did. Why would they do something that doesn’t cause a lot of drama, right? I mean, Rebecca and crew must be ONE HUNDRED PERCENT PERFECT! At all times! Or ELSE!

Alright, marilove.

"ONE FREAKING RULE" - It is interesting to suggest that Skepchick should be allowed to break more than one rule at a convention. Contemplating this reality is quite terrifying.

"ONE FREAKIN’ TYPE OF MERCHANDISE" - Actually there were three distinct types of merchandise - t-shirts, air fresheners and ceramics - which accounted for dozens of items at the table.

"it doesn’t mean they needed to be removed from the entire convention."

They weren't removed from the "entire convention". They were asked to stop selling stuff.

"Why can’t people just be fucking human beings to one another and stop acting like spoiled, power tripping high school principals?!"

The implication here being that it is the other (non-Skepchick) people that are power-tripping.

marilove continues:

So they can be poorly written but she should be psychic and know exactly what the rules should be, even though they are vague and hard to understand because it appears whomever wrote them sucks at writing clearly? Really?
Why do these douche bags act like the asshole principal from my high school, power tripping over shit that does not even fuckin’ matter? And why are you putting all the focus on someone who clearly didn’t really do much wrong, rather than the assholes who kicked them out for almost no reason whatsoever?
It’s like they were watching for Skepchicks to make one tiny little mistake, and instead of discussing it like adults and saying, hey, can we fix this? They just go straight to kicking them out.
Which was not cool. Not cool at all.
People really need to get over themselves. This wasn’t a big deal. But it was made into a big deal because of a clear agenda that some dude named Derek has. Really pathetic.

Let's go over a few things here:

  1. Rules were poorly written. But Skepchick neglected to read them anyways
  2. Why didn't Skepchick think it was a bit weird that other people were paying $550 for sales tables?
  3. Marilove has some things to work out from high school
  4. Apparently not getting paid is "no big deal"
This is the especially odd part.

DragonCon, as an organization, works to make sure it isn't getting the run around at fan tables because dealers will stop paying for dealer tables if the rules are too relaxed. 

By many estimates, a dealer camping a free fan table would mean that the DragonCon conference loses anywhere from $550 to $1200.

Skepchick didn't pay for a table, DragonCon couldn't be said to necessarily owe Skepchick a table.

Yet the situation we end up in is that Skepchick is outraged that they are out airfare + hotel costs.

They flew to Atlanta, booked a hotel and intended to finance it all based on sales at a table whose rules they never read.

At one point, DragonCon essentially throws up its arms and asks "Where's my money?"

Skepchick's response, unbelievably, is "Where's your money? WHERE'S MY MONEY?!"

This is called privilege.


  1. Let me see if I understand Skepchick's horrific abuse at the hands of the patriarchy...For them, it's simply that they get to skirt the rules everybody else has to obey because it's their "holy" cause. Having to live by the standards mere mortals endure is active harassment. Pointing out that they're privileged is stalking. Disagreement with their insane privilege paradigm is actively encouraging rape and racism, often simultaneously.

    Did I get it right?

    P.S. What is a fatal eyeroll? I would pay to see that.

  2. Wow, reading through the skepchick post is pretty scary, with the few rational posters getting yelled down.

  3. Wow, Greg Laden is going to "look sternly" at people going to DragonCon in the future. Talk about a deterrent!

    1. Greg hasn't been the same since his cousin Bin was whacked.

  4. LOL. I saw that parodied in this post, didn't realize he'd actually said it: