This week I learned that Balticon is among the science fiction conventions that restricts speech in the name of prohibiting “harassment.” Its “Harassment Policy” states: “Do not use slurs or derogatory comments about a person, group or category of people.” With a presidential election coming up, this could put a real damper on discussions.
As usual, we can expect selective enforcement. I doubt that anyone would get into trouble for saying derogatory things about Orson Scott Card, the Sad Puppies, or conservatives. Speech codes operate to enforce conformity to views that are popular within the group or with the administrators, rarely to enforce a consistent embargo on discussion.
I wasn’t planning on going to Balticon, but it’s still sad to see how many cons are going in this direction, and how few people care.