Arisia’s ban on “insulting behavior”

In July I wrote a post expressing concern that SF conventions might start adopting speech codes. A lot of younger fans come from colleges where severe restrictions on both the content and manner of speech are the norm, and they can’t deal with the free-wheeling and often somewhat rude discussions at cons.

Arisia is starting to head in that direction. Its code of conduct states that “Arisia forbids abusive, insulting, harassing or intimidating behavior.” Really. Insults are banned at Arisia. In fact, insulting “behavior” is banned, so if you play it safe and refuse to talk to someone at all, your silence might be deemed insulting.

Very few people get expelled from SF conventions. It’s bad publicity. Arisia did ban one person a couple of decades ago, but they had a very good reason. Most likely one or a few people insisted on prohibiting insults, and the concom as a whole won’t actually enforce it. People can cite the ban to intimidate others, though.

Enforcement of speech codes is inevitably selective. Hopefully Arisia’s will get no enforcement at all.

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