[Note: We grant permission for anyone to make use of this text or a variation of it in their own convention support policy, or for any other purpose – for example, emailing your local convention to recommend they have one].
At Pelgrane Press, we believe conventions are an integral part of the roleplaying community. We love going to them – we get to catch up with our colleagues, chat to our customers, and run and play our own games, and other people’s. We are eager to support and promote local conventions, even if we can’t attend them in person.
We want conventions to be safe and inclusive spaces for all gamers. Unfortunately, we know of too many instances where our colleagues, customers and friends have been harassed or made to feel uncomfortable at gaming conventions. We believe strongly that having a policy in place which explicitly censures harassing behaviour, and provides a clear procedure for reporting any such incidents, creates a safer and more welcoming environment for people at the greatest risk of harassment.
As such, Pelgrane Press will not exhibit at, or provide support for, conventions which don’t have a publicly posted and enforced anti-harassment policy.
If you are organising an event and interested in support, contact us with details of your event, and a link to your anti-harassment policy. Please include details of the size and nature of your event. If you don’t currently have an anti-harassment policy, we’ll be happy to help you develop one that meets your event’s needs.
What do we mean by an anti-harassment policy?
Anti-harassment policies are sometimes known as a code of conduct or harassment policy. These are the essential elements of an anti-harassment policy.
- An open commitment to oppose harassment regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.
- A clear definition of harassment.
- A public protocol for conflict resolution – instructions on how to report harassment, how harassment is dealt with, and how that is then reported back to the person who was harassed.
- Staff who are made aware of the policy, understand it and know how to implement it, and know who is ultimately responsible for enforcing it.
- The policy is prominently and clearly displayed on the website, in the programme and on site.
There are variants; for example an adult convention might have different standards to one which includes children. Some policies cover the display of images and sale of adult material and cosplay.
Why have an anti-harassment policy?
We support anti-harassment policies because they:
- encourage attendees and staff to call out, report and oppose harassment rather than accept it.
- discourage poor behaviour by defining what it entails, and making it clear that it is socially unacceptable, and there are consequences.
- engender a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.
- protect our staff members when we attend conventions
- make named people responsible for dealing with harassment and offer a practical process for dealing with harassment which helps both the attendees and the organisers.
Examples of anti-harassment policies
There are plenty of good examples of policies. Here are some.
We recommend this Wired article, which covers the history of anti-harassment policies, and the reasons for them, in some depth.
You can see a list of the upcoming conventions we’re supporting here.