Much fun has been had at the expense of some people choosing not to support Contessa, which is allegedly having problems filling its games, panels and so on this year (though the organiser has said this is not the case).
- Online conventions face a lot of problems. People view the commitment to any kind of online gaming scenario with less seriousness than they do a physical meet up.
- Technical issues, despite ubiquitous internet, webcam and microphone access, can throw everything off in an instant.
- People drop in and out constantly.
- Everything runs more slowly.
Contessa has some additional problems over and above other online cons in addition to this.
- Games are played and recorded over hangouts and posted to Youtube.
- The organisational and game-running parts of the event are explicitly exclusionary. Men are not permitted.
The video thing tweaks a lot of people’s sense of security and safety, inhibits RP (much as playing at cons can, but tenfold) and makes people very self conscious, especially of their appearance. I find it likely that SomethingAwful, YourDungeonIsSuck and others will succumb to the temptation of ‘video mining’ as they have forum mining, in an attempt to bully and ridicule people.
The second part here is what has put me off and has meant I won’t support the con. When the event was conceived this was my objection and it remains my objection. I would not tolerate or support an event where women, people of colour, LGBT or others were specifically excluded and so just as I cannot tolerate prejudice against those groups – in any form – nor can I tolerate prejudice against men.
You’re free to disagree, but my conscience and principles will not allow me to do so. I will not try to stop you attending, I will not try to ban or silence the event. I think Stacey (the organiser) is a great person and not your typical Social Justice Warrior type and I don’t think she did this with any malice. It’s just not something I will support. There’s no reason men’s expertise and opinions should be absent from a con about women in gaming any more than women’s voices should be absent in any other con. There’s no reason men can’t offer their perspectives on women’s contributions and no reason men can’t run games by women or for women.
If you want to attend, go right ahead, I won’t be.
That’s it! Quite why it’s such a horrible position to hold or so hard to grasp, I don’t know.