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Megaplex bans registered sex offenders from attending future conventions

Edited by dronon, GreenReaper as of Sun 15 Aug 2021 - 22:21
Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (24 votes)

Megaplex has updated its rules to ban registered sex offenders from attending their convention. This followed a publicly posted Twitter thread from a Megaplex attendee describing how they'd been assaulted by a registered sex offender at the convention, and their subsequent experience of trying to inform the staff.

Although the convention's initial response said they would ban those in the registry, the passive tone used in the opening paragraph of their announcement was not well-received:

We are saddened and sorry to hear that people felt [emphasis added] harassed or worse during the weekend. This is unacceptable and no person attending the convention should be made to feel [emphasis added] this way.

The language then shifted responsibility to victims to be more proactive in informing the con - despite having received an advance conversation before this was announced publicly. Megaplex's poor choice of wording ended up overshadowing the announcement of the ban itself.

A clarifying second statement

In a follow-up statement, using a more technical and to-the-point format, the convention apologized further and directly explained their new approach. Predatory behavior at MegaPlex will be mitigated under three new policies:

  1. Registered sex offenders will not be premitted to attend.
  2. Developing a plan of action to better protect future attendees.
  3. Implementing a Survivor Advocate position to assist in these sensitive matters with kindness and dignity.

It is terrible that it took such an event to compel people to take steps. The fandom has struggled with this before, whether to ban people from being on staff (anywhere from low positions to high ones), or to regular convention attendees. While it is possible than banning policies could become a slippery slope, this is a situation where it is definitely better to err on the side of caution. Being registered in the database gives an outside convention judgement that the they can use as a standard for reliable conduct. Further Confusion had also implemented a policy similar to this before their 2019 gathering. As time goes on more conventions may continue to adopt this as a standard.

Implementing specialty staff at MegaPlex to handle this kind of work is seen as a huge positive to increase the safety of its attendees. For those who are interested, their follow-up statement has email addresses for those who wish to contribute their thoughts, or might seek to volunteer for the new position.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3.9 (8 votes)

I think safety is important, however I feel that this only makes this "community" more less open and less realistic. Granted, "sex offenders" doesn't sound good, but since the world is not black and white, and that some of these people were only on the registry due to more very situational (sometimes even non-violent) events where they already rehabilitated from, this will probably promote fear and more isolation to those who already changed and already was socializing to get back to life. Further Confusion was even worse since part of their main reasoning was out of pure perversion instead of safety.

Disclaimer: I am not expecting anything positive to this comment since I've seen some people attack others for not pandering to fear-mongerers and emotion, but whatever.

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (8 votes)

I think you are missing some important pieces of the larger conversation. This is the typical kind of overreaction and fear mongering which is unnecessary, unhelpful and has a long history in the United States. It goes without saying that sexual assault is unacceptable but there is always a danger, particularly in emotional situations, that people are so worked up and want to see something done that the solutions bring all sorts of negative side effects.

A ban on people on the sexual offenders registry will not prevent all future assaults, we can presumably all agree on that. So the pertinent question is, does it increase attendee safety? Possibly. It's worth remembering that a single event is not necessarily representative and does not show that this is a large issue at conventions. If this is not a large issue, such a change will probably have no measurable increase in attendee safety. Secondly, those convicted of sexual offences have a low rate of recidivism compared to other crimes, which further suggests that this sort of knee-jerk response will have little benefit. These minor improvements in safety need to also weighed up against the potential harms that are caused.

While sexual offenders are not a particularly sympathetic group, they are still people and should be treated as such. Leaving aside other issues with the sexual offenders registry, I want to bring up two points. Firstly, I believe reform and reintegration of criminals should be the goal of any justice system, not perpetual punishment. Rules such as a sexual offenders registry and banning attendees that are on it, work against reform and reintegration. Once someone has served their sentence, they should be done with their punishment and allowed to rejoin society. It does not benefit anyone to continue a policy of exclusion which only leads to further fear and isolation. People should be punished for crimes someone fears they will commit. Secondly, while not the case in this particular instance, people can be on the sexual offenders registry for many reasons, some of which we would not consider legitimate. For example, sex with between an 18 year old and a 16 year old who land the older party on the registry even if they had been dating for the past two years. Sending explicit photos while under 18 could land people on the registry; something which is likely to become more of a risk in future with the ease of taking and sending pictures online. These are people who are not a danger to others, who should not be banned from attending conventions but who are on the sexual offenders registry.

It's good to ensure safety of attendees at conventions and a decent rules are required for that. However, those rules should not be knee-jerk reactions and should be based on evidence. Perhaps worth noting is that not only is there evidence that the US sexual offenders registry makes things worse (for everyone), it is also the only one in the world which is public.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teens-nude-photos-penalties_n_55f07586e4b002d5c07...
https://reason.com/2016/02/03/male-teen-takes-nude-photo-of-himself-ch/
https://www.vox.com/2016/7/5/11883784/sex-offender-registry
https://ctmirror.org/2018/05/21/sex-offender-registry-harm-good/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_offender_registry

EDIT: I also would like to note the irony of saying cons need to do more on their own because "Many don’t trust the police" while simultaneously suggesting cons use a list that comes from police work.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

The relationship between people and the systems of justice they implement are always complicated. In the words of Riley from the one episode of Boondocks, "Yeah, lock his ass up!.... I mean... who snitched?"

Convention rules, just like human law systems are prone to amendment should amendment be seen as necessary. Sometimes the amendments are biased upon the leadership's desires, such as banning dildos from Anthrocon. At other times they are based upon attendee's desires based on situations such as this.

If things do swing far enough in the other direction there could be an ask for amendment for those who have proven that they have successfully integrated back into society [such as they have been out and on the registry for a decade without signs of relapse]. However, it is important to state and emphasize: furry conventions are not society.

Are people who are put on the registry people? Yes, but so are the people who go to conventions who have not been put on the registry.

So are the people who commit multiple traffic violations and have had their license revoked. They are also people, people who have lost the privileges of being able to drive that other people have retained because they were more responsible behind the wheel. Because to allow the person who can't drive to keep their license simply because 'they are a person' is a danger to those who are able to keep their license and use the roadways responsibly, who are also people.

Because while driving is a big part of society these days it is not society itself. Such as conventions may be a big part of Fandom society it is not the Fandom. The furry fandom is still mostly internet based, I have been a furry for two decades (2001 - 2021), I went to my first convention in 2011. So only half of my fandom experience has been with conventions. In fact, less than half, given that there was a lost year (going on two) due to our current pandemic.

It is a privilege that I get to attend, not a right. It is a want for most, not a need. To those where it is a need (dealers who use it as a source of revenue), they are usually way too busy running a business to get into too much trouble.

Going to need some citation on the below statement:

Secondly, those convicted of sexual offences have a low rate of recidivism compared to other crimes

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (5 votes)

The example of losing a driving license is a poor comparison because the loss of a driving license is directly related to the traffic violations. Someone being on the sex offender registry, for various possible reasons, is not directly related to convention attendance. So, a better comparison would be something like banning people who have their driving license revoked from attending music concerts. Yes, they committed a crime but that has little relation and goes beyond the actual punishment of losing their license.

While it's true that convention attendance is not a right, I think it's always a bit concerning when people start going on about how if there is nothing that actively stops them from doing something, it's fine for them to do it. It's not that that is never relevant but it's also not related to my actual arguments here.

As far as recidivism rates go, there is a fairly extensive summary by the US Department of Justice that makes that one of their conclusions. As a side note, it is extensive and looks pretty good from what I read, which also means it's complicated and there are many issues to keep in mind while reading it; this is not a news site level piece.
https://smart.ojp.gov/somapi/chapter-5-adult-sex-offender-recidivism

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

I was about to link you the same source to point out that the famously "low rate of recidivism" of sex offenders is exaggerated. It clearly shows that the low rates are reported in studies with a short follow-up period, 3-5 years. Longer studies show significant increases - up to five times higher. When they do recidivate, sex offenders are more likely than other offenders to re-offend sexually. Sexual assaults are also the most under-reported crime, so recidivism rates are likely underestimated due to this. Again, this is all from the source you linked.

There's also the fact that sex offender registries are, by design, easily accessible by the convention, whereas running a background check on attendees is not as simple. Maybe Megaplex staff would be willing to also ban anyone convicted of, say, domestic battery, but have made the decision not to do so based on what it's realistically feasible for them to screen for.

However, I would agree that the event in question is probably not representative of sexual assaults at conventions, which are probably overwhelmingly committed by people who have never been convicted of a sex crime.

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (4 votes)

What exactly is exaggerated? The rate is much lower than for non-sexual offenders. And yes, longer follow ups find more repeat offences, exactly what one would expect. I used a long term number for my calculations in a later message. But all that is just quibbling, your last paragraph is an important point and why this rule change will have little to no effect. Especially when you factor in how few people on the registry there are compared to the actual number of offenders due to both low conviction rates and low reporting. It's an easy group to target and it looks good for the con but in terms of actual protection, it's pointless.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Other types of offenders don't represent the same risk for sexual abuse of con attendees. If you're trying to reduce sexual assaults at conventions, the recidivism rates of car thieves and pot dealers don't matter, because their recidivism is four times less likely than sex offenders to be sexual in nature.

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (5 votes)

But you're talking about preventing 1 incident every 800 years. Even if you say the recidivism is under reported (I think they mentioned estimates that only 25% might be reported), that still only means you'll stop an offence at Megaplex every 200 years. For practical purposes, that isn't a risk at all.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

I already agreed that this isn't particularly useful, and was only commenting about your repeated (throughout the years) factoid of sex offender recidivism being "low". But if you insist on having me also reply to your other comment, I don't think the assumption that Megaplex attendees are representative of the US population is a reasonable one.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

You also said we should keep all attendees out for a 1 in 300 year incident.

Maybe a pandemic as bad as 1918 happens once every 300 years or so. (There was apparently a big one in 1580, too.)
[https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2007/02/severe-pandemic-not-overdue-its-not-when-if]

So thinking of the children really is only a thing if mother nature is trying to fuck us I suppose, and not other people.

Also note that due to this latest one it is now a 1 in 200 year incident due to the 3 data points we have rather than the 2 in the quote.

But there are factors at play here when it comes to making prediction whether this is over 1 in 200 is less than or greater than what it more probably is, and I would say it is greater due to:
1) With growing population and greater interconnectivity these incidents will probably grow more common.
2) Our ability to retain historical records of incidents may lead to them being noted more frequently.

This "vector" in statistics is something that many people forget about.

Usually if something is uncommon they will say "you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning". What they neglect to factor in is that usually humans will take shelter during a thunderstorm (other than under a tree which we are told from a very young age is a bad idea). If we all collectively were not told this, or didn't have recorded history on how to avoid getting struck by lightning, the probably will go up BECAUSE of human behavior.

What if we tried to propagandize that everyone should climb a utility pole and wave around a nine iron during a thunderstorm? Would the statistics say that there is an increased likelihood of being struck?

Given this, one could argue that perhaps being on a database itself causes the less chance of relapse. Because people with kids will be aware of that person's behavior and be more wary of their behavior, and so change the environment around the perp so they can't re-purp.

Or perhaps they get banned from a convention full of the people in costumes they fetishize.

As they say, fool me once, fool me twice.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (4 votes)

What? That's not how statistics works at all. You can't seriously be saying that's comparable. A pandemic is a drawn out thing. No one is saying don't have a convention because a pandemic might occur during it (That is the situation where your 1 in 300 year incident stat would be relevant). People are saying that there is a current ongoing pandemic (regardless of the actual probability of a pandemic occurring, one is happening now), so having a convention is not a good idea. Same as the difference between "Don't go into the lounge in case a fire happens" versus "The lounge is on fire, don't go in there."

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 1 (2 votes)

Indeed, but I hope that you never made any criticism towards our governments being ill-prepared DURING this event.

After all, why should they, it's a 1 in 300 year event and preparing for it could do more harm then good.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

I think (as I said below) these numbers are a significant underestimate; but regardless, there are ~170 furry conventions around the world - many larger than Megaplex - so deploying such checks universally might prevent a far greater number of problems.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I'll have to research this topic further especially since I feel that non-sexual violence in general is much higher, but just to put it out there I guess, I have heard from some separate sources that part of the reason why the recidivism rate has continued for sex offenders was due to the way sex offenders are treated in general usually involving isolation, and by that I'm not very surprised since social isolation in some ways are usually connected to why some people don't bother getting the proper treatment. US prisons also don't much help since it's proven (usually when comparing to Norway prisons) to be a major complicit for the recidivism rates increasing likely due to the unrealistic dark aged nature of such prisons. Basically, if you don't allow a convicted person to live a normal life after through proper rehabilitation, don't be surprised they won't act normal, which I guess is the main argument in a nutshell I'm trying to bring out.

One of the sources I mentioned was:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/protecting-children-sexual-abuse/201908/...

One of the other sources I mentioned might of already been linked by Rakuen Growlithe here.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (4 votes)

Growithe is arguing that a person on the sexual register would have a lower chance of recommitting the crime, not higher as this comment seems to suggest.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

I'm a little too lazy to put every word he put down in. But I already had the assumption that the person was arguing that sex offenders in general are less likely to reoffend for a lot of sex offenders, when comparing to a lot of other specific crimes I think. Are you referring to the comment I was responding too?

Please note that the study I was referring too was more specifically about why some people reoffend regardless of the likelihood rate. I was sort of making an extra note and didn't quite know the best place to put it I think. Reading now, it kinda looks like I was sort of making a continuation to Rakuen Growlithe's third paragraph without knowing it. Not too sure if I understand it all, but I do believe in fixing bad people back into main society myself.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

That's not what I was arguing.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

How is it the responsibility of Megaplex to make sure anyone is allowed to "live a normal life"?

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

I think I was referring to society in general. Though I think in some specific situations, it can be unnecessary for them to ban the type of people that isn't a threat to society anymore and might contribute to the problem a bit (which might depend).

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (5 votes)

How do you propose Megaplex go about determining which sex offenders that want to go to their convention aren't a threat anymore, DM?

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

Maybe they can research the person if the person has went through some kind of successful treatment. Granted, at the moment that's a bit hard to tell for certain people because the USA's treatment of some offenders usually isn't so great. For people for non-violent situations (examples: "consensual" sex between 18 and 17 year-old, possession of CP without intending to promote it, especially if such offense was done by a teenager by a gross dare or curiosity, and/or consensual sexting between two teens), it's probably easier to assume they did something about it properly. I often hear a lot that a lot of these type of people are not like full-on predators.

Not understanding what mean by "DM", I guess private messaging to find certain info can be useful sometimes too.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

Equivamp thinks you're Diamond Man.

I think so too. But whatever. Remember, con work is basically unpaid volunteer work, even in organizations that aren't non-profit. I think its fair to argue these people aren't paid enough to "research" sex crimes.

Your rating: None Average: 1.7 (3 votes)

And if they want to research sex crimes, well, I think that disqualifies them a bit, actually.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Oh I think I see now. Not sure why the person called me that.

I suppose, but if they are one of those people that backgrounds check people, then I feel that the effort of seeing what they've done is already done. The "situation" of why they were on the registry would probably appear next to their name and I feel like it's not so hard to education those people about the fact that not all sex offenders are vicious predators. If I ran a furcon, it would already be easy for me as long as I check who is who. I would probably unlikely allow a level 3 violent sex offender in at the given moment though if it takes place in a country where prisons usually suck at fixing certain people.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Conventions do not do background checks on attendees and expecting them to do that would be expensive. Both a background check and a sex offender registry would only show the name of the crime(s) they've been convicted of, not the "I only downloaded video of a child being raped because of a dare, officer!" super-special context you're talking about.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Well maybe in some situations, some people can tell the owner the situation, especially if such owner doesn't even bother doing background checks. If someone said the person is on that registry, then maybe another person can explain how it happened too. If it was me, I would probably ask more detail about it unless someone told me right away that the offense was done during a time when such person was a minor, which in that case I would less likely care if the person came in since I am usually morally against comparing minors for situational offenses to actual predators.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

To correct something: I meant that not all minors committing an offense are always so situational. Though I have still stand with being morally against comparing a teenager with a full-grown adult in certain cases.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

It might be reasonable to do the sex offender check, where that is available online. I'd expect it more for staff-level volunteers, especially those with access to personal data or with a privileged position. I know this is possible in the UK, at relatively low or no cost depending on the organisation.

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (9 votes)

There is this argument that suggests discrimination exists. I feel that sometimes cases of social isolation plays a big part of a major problem. A Fur Con is sort of a focus on entertainment, and entertainment is part of society, and if every entertainment place bans certain people who already did their time, then at this point, it's the same as being isolated from society, which is usually a problem.

Some say that main entertainment is not an essential part of life, I disagree. Socializing with entertainment is a very important healthy thing as long as it's not a threat and isn't hurting anyone, and frankly because of all this, I think it's fair to share criticism to specific places isolating those who wish to come back to socialize like a normal person. The Fur Con has a right to ban these people from there, but people also have a right to call it out as some form of discrimination and as a complicit to something that I don't think is very good.

Just to clarify, by "discrimination", I'm not referring to the stone set ones involving sexual orientation, race, and specific other stuff. I meant it in a new argument type of way. I think for example, not mattering on change for their past and then kicking them out anyway is a form of discrimination even though that's unlikely in the legal labels at this time.

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (6 votes)

What?

Your rating: None Average: 1.9 (11 votes)

Despite a bunch of degenerates rating my comments down (likely because it's me replying, which justifies why I am anonymous these days here), I was criticizing the idea that a furcon is somehow "not society" as if it's not part of it at all. I said that it's part of it, and if one were to agree that it's not a big deal because it's like one furcon, then that might as well goes for all entertainment places, which at this point becomes pretty effective.

I was also pointing out that even though they may have a right to ban someone from the place, that doesn't make people lose the right to criticize them for it.

Your rating: None Average: 3.1 (7 votes)

Sex offender apologist, funny how you're calling us degenerates yet you defend sick fucks, wwwarea/Another-Realm

Your rating: None Average: 1.4 (9 votes)

Shut up Lame865:
https://multiversefeeling.blogspot.com/2021/07/the-insane-user-that-is-tribond-k...

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (7 votes)

LOL, no don't have too and I've heard Jarrdthefox92 is owning you. Stay mad, wolfaboo

Your rating: None Average: 1.1 (7 votes)

Falsely claiming that "I" libeled him without evidence, while the actual evidence debunks it is not "owning" me. That user is the same person that tried to get away with false information toward other users in the past. Including the idea that "I" wanted to kill humans, the idea that "I" thought all christains were nazies over a joke picture about a certain church in Kansas, and claimed that "I" was advocating certain crimes when I wasn't.

You're also likely the same user who's threaten illegal activity. No matter how much of an idiot you like to be on here, those didn't change. You're also the same user who's been directly harassing me many times via bypassing the block system.

Just f*cking leave you psychopath.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (6 votes)

LOL, no, I don't have to leave and you're still censoring your swear words? Man how much of a censor happy soccer mom are you? I'm a psychopath? Says the lolicon blow-up doll and pedo apologist

Your rating: None Average: 1.6 (8 votes)

Throwing people in prison for a victimless act is morally wrong.
Edit: Just to be clear, I was referring to any fictional doll having no connect to a real person...

Your rating: None Average: 3 (6 votes)

Shut up, no one cares

Your rating: None Average: 2.4 (7 votes)

There's actually another way of looking at how this rule increases attendee safety and that's to look at the numbers and stats that we have available.

The current US population is approximately 332 600 000 (https://www.census.gov/popclock/) and the number of people on the US sex offender registry is 780 000 (https://www.safehome.org/data/registered-sex-offender-stats/).
That means that 780 000 / 332 600 000 * 100 = 0.2345159% of the US population is on the sex offender registry.

We also know that the sexual recidivism rate among people on the sex offender registry is 24% after 15 years (https://smart.ojp.gov/somapi/chapter-5-adult-sex-offender-recidivism). We will assume that this is a linear increase and that the number of people on the registry that reoffends is equal every day. That means that we expect 24 / 15 / 365 = 0.004383562% of sex offenders to reoffend per day.

This year's Megaplex had 2889 attendees (https://www.flayrah.com/8433/megaplex-holds-large-furry-gathering-one-fur-tests-...), which means, if it's representative of the US population, that 2889 * 0.2345159% = 6.775164351 = 7 attendees were on the sex offender registry.

Megaplex took place over 4 days. So, given the number of people on the sex offender registry present, the known recidivism rate and the duration of the convention, we can expect 7 * 0.004383562% * 4 = 0.001227397 offences to be committed by people on the sex offender registry during Megaplex. At that rate it will take, on average, 1 / 0.001227397 = 814.732315624 Megaplexes to prevent one assault from those on the sex offender registry. Over that same period you would prevent 814 * 7 = 5698 "innocent" people from attending the convention.

Basically, banning those on the sex offender registry will stop 1 incident of sexual assault every 800 years! That does not seem like much of an increase in attendee safety to me.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

1) I guess what happened at Megaplex was a 1 in 800 year event then? How unlucky.

2) You are spending a lot of time going through a lot of statistic and rhetoric that is, in your statistics, only going to impact the ability to attend of 0.2345159% the US population.

From your earlier comment:

These minor improvements in safety need to also weighed up against the potential harms that are caused.

In an earlier comment you were claiming that this amendment has the potential to cause harm, now you are saying that it will only impact a two tenths of a percent of furries. This harm you alluded to now seems a bit minimal?

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (5 votes)

Yes, rare events happen. Winning the lottery is an extremely rare event but you will find someone in the US wins the lottery probably every month or two. (Probably much more often if most states have their own lotteries.)

That small percentage amounts to 7 people per year, essentially for nothing. It is a small group, perhaps even smaller considering you'll have the same people going to the same convention every year or so, but given the absolutely minimal gains, the harms appear to strongly outweigh the benefits unless there is some major information that is missing.

On another note, yes it's a bit of time for a small benefit. But this is important because it is numerical literacy and fear mongering. It's important to understand the risks in terms of actual numbers instead of vague fears. And this is the same sort of fear tactics that are used time and time again. We need to be aware of them if they are to be combated. When Republicans use cherry picked examples of Hispanic crime to convince people to build a wall, it's the same sort of fear mongering. When Apple uses "protecting the children" as an excuse to undermine privacy, that's the same sort of rhetorical trick. When anti-vaxxers point to vaccine side effects as reasons to not get vaccinated, that's overemphasising rare events. There are also few people that will stand up for groups that are hated and discriminated against, especially when there are good reasons why. But everyone is still entitled to be treated fairly and we should still not let our emotions cloud our decisions.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

So if leaving out '7 attendees' so that the rest have a lower risk being harmed is unreasonable, then why is leaving out all 2,889 attendees to lower the risk of dying of COVID reasonable?

https://www.flayrah.com/8433/megaplex-holds-large-furry-gathering-one-fur-tests-...

Please Recall:

1) For MegaPlex 2021 we have 4 or 5 attendees impacted by 1 relapsed person from the Register doing stalker and sexual harrasment to them or their friends by the account told.

2) We have 0 stories of hospitalization or death from COVID stemming from the Mexaplex 2021 event.

Don't get mad at "society" or its "think of the children" directions. Get mad at the one relapsing asshole who because of his behavior the other "six of the seven" who didn't relapse had to suffer a consequences for it.

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (5 votes)

I didn't say whether going along with the convention was reasonable or unreasonable, just that whatever the decision, the organisers should still be held responsible for it. That said, I do think it was unreasonable and I would not organise or attend such a big event at the current time, but I may be overly cautious there. The difference between the situations though is the starting risk; the risk of a COVID infection and/or outbreak due to the convention is orders of magnitude greater than the risk of sexual assault from someone on the sex offender registry.

I'm definitely mad at the guy that assaulted someone, but I don't want that used as justification to do other bad things.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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This seems like an abuse of statistics. It doesn't account for the fact that a convention is one of the most social events in the year; one with a level of pseudonymity rarely found in real life - as well as exposure to alcohol and other inhibition-reducing drugs. Also that many cases of recidivism, perhaps including this event, may not be officially reported or recorded. Lastly, the nature of the offence should be considered - crimes like this, against others in the same physical location, may be a more pressing concern.

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That's true, one could argue that the offence rate will be higher at the convention. It probably would be but I don't know if there's any sort of estimate of that. But while the actual risk may be higher, it will still be dwarfed by the risk of people not on the list. I didn't calculate the number there because it was not entirely the point I wanted to make but you can expect the number of offences by people not on the registry to be at least 3X more common and probably quite a bit higher than that.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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The following info comes from hard critical questioning to a lawyer. (NOT A LAWYER HERE).

The uninformed twitter masses reached too far with roasting Megaplex for this:

"the passive tone used in the opening paragraph of their announcement was not well-received: 'We are saddened and sorry to hear that people felt [emphasis added] harassed or worse during the weekend. This is unacceptable and no person attending the convention should be made to feel [emphasis added] this way.'"

Roasting that is counterproductive...

... based on misunderstanding liability.
... based on overestimating the power of cons to provide what they demand.
... because it's not "passive" or "victim blaming", when it preserves power to help.

It's careful wording at the edge of liability, while trying to avoid tripping over the line, potentially throwing the whole con away and creating more harm by disincentive for others to help. It's "hinting" the problem, but if they come out and directly state CRIME with active blame, they can be sued for ALL occurrences in the future. Because...

... Act on ONE potential threat, owe liability for all with "Duty of Care."
... Duty of Care means they'd have to pre-screen all attendees to effectively solve it.
... Pre-screening is practically unlikely and a cost attendees haven't covered.
... Next problem: if cons take Duty of Care inside "con space," then it sets up liability outside con space.
... Cons don't own the space or the hotels that host them, and are limited by contracts.
... So they're forced to tell people to report to hotels or police.

Based on that, it's not a linear problem, it's like a vicious circle of displacing harm. Of course a party isn't worth a sexual assault. But if mad people want to go to cons at all, they're pushing the con between a rock and a hard place. Cons can't help if they don't exist any more.

Getting Megaplex to designate a Survivor Advocate IS progress though, just one that may not follow through like people want. If they can even get an experienced professional. If that doesn't interfere with official reporting and ruin cases. If it isn't even more risk of being sued to death.

Cons happen inside 1 weekend, but sex assaulters are in the community 365 days, in groups and meets and many places cons can't police. Setting up 1 con to take the fall may be WORSE than useless... if they can at least help by quiet support and backchannel organizing without a formal policy.

Think about it: if cons could have a well made policy for better safety, that would be an unconditional benefit they would all do, right?

As far as I can tell, effective help should be more fandom-wide, or like an independent organization working to unify responses.

Roasting the con is a disincentive to help because roasting is free, but liability can cost everything, and who is paying and signing contracts with hotels? Not attendees who can just go to other cons when one fails (... and watch options with policies disappear...)

To reiterate: the liability isn't from being sued by sex offenders. It's being sued by anyone assaulted by anyone, after acting on one. It's more than people assume.

It's also true that cons want to fill hotel rooms and want problems to go away so they can, but that doesn't mean for profit. These are mostly run by volunteers who don't get paid to police the fandom outside.

It's a tangle, so the first test shouldn't be whether they respond. It should be whether they listen.

Cons that don't deliver as strongly as people want may not have the power. Never rely on "passive" evidence. If things look crooked or "victim blaming" or covered up, show it ACTIVELY happening.

Telling people to report to police or trying to work with cautious statements isn't the same as a con chair hiding a corrupt staffer, personal friend, friend of a friend, or having a sex offense record himself, and lying or retaliating.

That is actually a BIG problem in the fandom... and wasn't the case with Megaplex, as far as shown on Twitter. A little perspective on their position could help reduce abuse without roasting helpers and making them sorry they volunteered. Like they say, discretion is the better part of valor.

The fandom has a hidden network of sex abusers. (Warning: scary link.) Zoos and pedos worm in and the best thing to do is root out their connections to organizers where they exist, not just attack organizers who didn't stretch their limits yet.

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I want to make clear that what I've experienced is not the same thing as something so horrible as surviving a major sexual assault. Having personally been inappropriately touched without permission at a convention in the past by a person in a staff position. I can say some convention's do have a culture problem in dealing properly with serious accusations related to misconduct, whether it's related to an attendee or staff member. The first statement made in my onion seemed to hoist the burden onto the accuser & accept little or no responsibility for the information given to them before the incident took place. Better staff training is something I'd like to see in relation to handling these sorts of incident's with the care and dignity they deserve.

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A pedo is a pedo for life. I don't give a crap what sort of treatment they get, they are wired wrong and don't need to be allowed in situations where people's guard is down and a significant number are wearing costumes that make them anonymous. Megaplex screwed up big time which led to the initial statement and then the re-drafted statement. Being warned about a dangerous person in advance, then letting said person register anyway, and then said person assaults another attendee multiple times (only not worse because said attendee faught back) left them very little choice if they wanted to salvage the convention. people weren't going to let it go until they took steps to fix it.

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Preach it. You're absolutely correct on that

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Dangerous people ride buses like anyone else. Warning the bus driver about them doesn't make the driver the same as the police with power to stop riders.

Same for cons using a hotel. Dangerous people coming to the same hotel doesn't mean a con can tell them not to. The con doesn't own the hotel.

The con can refuse to let them register, but that isn't the power you think it is. It sets up the con for liability for anything that happens to anyone ("Duty of Care"). If they do screen people that way inside con space, that's not great either, that creates more liability outside con space where they have even less control even if they're warned.

Now imagine if a bus driver was warned a rider is dangerous and shouldn't get taken to a hotel. The bus driver would say "call the police, I can't stop the bus if they're just riding like anyone else." Now imagine the driver getting sued, because they drove a dangerous person to the hotel after being warned and saying to call the police, and something bad happened in a private room there. Did the driver screw up? Or was it just not his power?

Luckily for drivers, there's probably no grounds to sue, because they're just the driver and the bad person was just riding.

Now imagine if the driver DOES stop the bus and tell the dangerous person to get off. First, that's pretty unlikely if the person is just riding. Second, now imagine that creating liability to stop the bus for ANY dangerous person getting on ("Duty of Care"), and getting sued if he doesn't. What a problem!

This isn't as simple as just warning the con and expecting them to refuse reg to a dangerous person. If the con does nothing, then it's up to the police, the hotel, and... you to watch out. Just like anywhere else where dangerous people can go.

That's how cons can operate with low budgets and volunteer work. They don't have power to police the fandom, so they'll tell you to call the police.

There's plenty of problems with that, but it isn't because the con is trying to overlook dangerous people.

Ask a lawyer to vet this; it's probably not even easy for them to explain, let alone a layperson, but I'll bet they'll tell you it's the gist of things.

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There is a saying: ""Some of those that work forces are the same that burn crosses."

Reading this thread, I can't help noticing the correlation between those who have defended zoophiles and those who think pedophiles should be allowed into positions of authority at events known to attract large numbers of hedonistic teenagers and impressionable children.

Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

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About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a Kangaroo from CheektRoowaga, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, philosophy and writing