Wednesday, August 1, 2012

zero tolerance: for people who love black and white

The latest kerfuffle in social justice fandom involves Readercon bending its zero tolerance policy about sexual harassment. I know none of the individuals involved, so this is purely about the principles:

1. Zero tolerance rules, like three strikes rules, are for people who hate the idea that judges should judge each case on its merits.

2. Rene Walling is not being let off without punishment. He's being banned for two years from Readercon. Everyone who knows him in the f&sf community knows he's been punished for harassing a woman. Strangers will assume the worst about him, and he will learn who his true friends are. Science fiction fandom is global. He cannot go to a convention anywhere on the planet where no one has heard some version of what happened. If shaming and shunning have value, his punishment will last far longer than two years, because there will be people who do not know his circumstances who will never forgive him.