New York Comic-Con's anti-harassment policy


Erm, really dude? This is a discussion board. The topic is this policy. I think it sucks. Frankly, I think zero tolerance policies in general are pretty terrible, even if their aim is admirable. But, neither of us is on the board for this event, we’re people on a discussion board who are… Discussing it. Is your position that criticism, either in general, or absent some perfect other solution, is inappropriate for a discussion board?

A stupid policy is stupid, even if it happens to produce positive results, either intermittently or even consistently for a short time.

People on Boing Boing like to do a happy dance whenever they see a policy that seems to support their pet issue. My post and point is that just because it purports to solve what folk might see as an important problem, doesn’t mean it actually does so, or, even if it does, that it does without significant and very negative side and after effects.


I read the “harassing photography” thing as “no upskirts” and don’t be obnoxious about stopping people for photos, especially if they’re obviously busy or in a hurry.


That costume on the bottom isn’t much different than a swimsuit - and while on the top it’s very provocative - I’ve seen formal dresses that are worse.

It still doesn’t give you the right to try and take pictures of her crotch, stalking, harassing, or otherwise being a creep to her. Much as you don’t have that right when you go to a public beach.


The topic is this policy. I think it sucks.

So improve on it.

You aren’t adding to a discussion, you’re just waving your arms about some nebulous hurt this policy is causing you. I disagree that it’s causing you this harm. See? We’re discussing.


The area where this gets murky is when you see someone in a cool costume walking the other way and you snap a shot as they walk by. Technically they didn’t give explicit consent, but at the same time you aren’t really harassing them. In fact it’s less harassment than stopping them and asking to pose.

Getting a quick snap of someone as they’re walking by is not grounds to kick someone out of a convention IMHO.

If you’re in a public space and dressed up in costume you have to assume that you’re going to have your picture taken a lot. Getting explicit consent from every single person in every picture every time is wildly impractical, especially if they’re out in the open and you’re getting a bunch of people in the background. As someone who used to do a bunch of cosplay, I would be mildly annoyed at someone who asked for explicit permission for a picture while I’m standing and posing for someone else already for instance.


It wasn’t a he and - really - it gets a bit crowded there…


Tips from an experienced cosplayer. Do try to ask about taking photos when possible - even if it’s just catching their eye and raising your camera with an inquiring expression on your face.


If you are THIS WORRIED about your behavior being taken as harassment, well, maybe it’s time to consider why that is.


Did you just literally say that they are asking for it and obviously want it if they dress a certain way? Wow.


I think anyone going to a con realises that they are in a public place and as such they *might* end up being photographed, especially if they are in a costume, and especially if that costume is eyecatching (either because it is revealing or huge or impressive in some other way).


The moment that person expresses displeasure at being the subject of photography, FOR ANY REASON then they are off limits. Full stop. Do not pass go, to not collect £200.



There is no blurry line.

Every cosplayer wants to know all the compliments about how faithful or creative their cosplay is to their inspiration. It’s why they spend their free time researching and making the costume.

No cosplayer wants to know how much every onlooker wants to fuck them.


Yeah, I don’t think most cosplayers mind if somebody takes a pic without asking, if they’re not looking, as long as it’s a respectful pic… it becomes harassing when the purpose of the pic is to mock or sexually objectify them. Upskirts, yeah, or if somebody happens to be bending over and their cleavage is out, or they happen to be leaning over somebody else in a way that suggests they’re performing a sex act, or they’re taking a break in the cafeteria area and happen to be eating something long and phallic, or something’s out of place exposing more than it should (where the polite thing to do would be to try and gently point it out), or in any way if your goal isn’t “hey, this is a cool costume” but rather “let me show my friends this fat person dressed up as a superhero so we can laugh about how disgusting and ridiculous they are”, then… well, some of that you can catch while they’re doing it, some of that you just have to trust their motives, but, from the perspective of the taker, it’s not that complicated: just remember Wheaton’s Law. If it’s something questionable, or it happens accidentally, you should do your best to ask and err on the side of sensitivity.

As an aside, I was at a Toronto con this summer and among my pictures accidentally got a butt-shot. I have no idea if it was a male or female butt (it was jean-covered)… touch screens are too easy to active accidentally when you’re walking around (I also somehow accidentally removed an icon from my home screen)… so I could theoretically have gotten a mildly upskirt shot if a different person happened to be walking in front of me (if I had, my actions would have been the same I’d have done the same thing as in this case, of course… not post it), and also, theoretically, somebody might have observed me, thought I was doing it deliberately on the sly, and had me thrown out of the con, just in case. The thought of that did momentarily make me queasy, being a naturally confrontation-avoidant person who fears judgement, but… I’d still rather the rules not be geared to give people the benefit of the doubt (it’s not prison at stake, just expulsion from a con, after all).


I think that is the most important part. A Con is an ephemeral gathering of people, and we are not talking about people’s lives being ruined from getting ejected.

The thing that kind of worries me though is that when people voice their objections to zero-tolerance policies like this it is invariably in the context of false accusations. While I am sure that on a long enough timeline someone will falsely accuse a person to get them kicked out of a convention, the overwhelming majority of complaints will probably be legit.

Just because some MRA neck-beard can conjure up the mental image of a convention siren who lures innocent men to their doom with skimpy outfits and false accusations doesn’t mean that this phantasm exists; and even if she did/does/will, it certainly doesn’t mean that convention organizers need to absolve themselves of the responsibility of having a policy that addresses a very real phenomenon.


Indeed. I can’t imagine that there’d be a “we’ve had a complaint about you” = frogmarched to the door and kicked out. And more of a “Please, sir, may we see the pictures that you have taken with your camera?” (and it’s always a dude in my limited experience) followed by a frogmarching if the pictures are all creep shots.

It’s not rocket surgery.


In the “real world” she might get leered at. NYCC isn’t the frakking “real world” – it’s a place where people pay good money to have fun and do things, be things, say things, that maybe aren’t allowed in the “real world.” You expect – you have every right to expect – that the convention operators need to build constructs (including this policy) to allow this artificial world to work. And if that includes tossing jerks out the door to make it work, then NYCC is doing it right.


Well, I know you’re implying that I have some desperate wish to harrass, but, in truth, “Why it is” is because I’ve seen shitty policies ruin events. I’ve been on the boards of a few different organizations, and have seen well meaning but misguided attempts at rules like this. And seeing them gain traction among folk on here is disheartening. I’ve no particular interest in the rules at this con. I’m not attending it, am in fact thousands of miles from it. I’m betting most the folk on this board are in a similar boat. So, it’s not the rules of this particular con that are at issue, rather the general trend of rules and general expectations.

Oh yay, look, more stereotyping! Object to terrible policies that seem designed to generate false positives, and you’re an MRA neck-beard. For one, I’m a chinbeard, thanks much. Neck hair drives me nuts. For two, objecting to people being stereotyped and subjected to punishment because of a stereotype is, at least in my view, objectively good. Now, perhaps from time to time, you’d prefer to discriminate on the fun stereotype. Well, too bad. What’s your stance when a white female con-goer feels threatened merely by the presence of a large black con-goer? Completely inappropriate right? So, why is it OK if you change the color of the skin of the guy? Err on the side of kicking out then?

This one is simple. “Please sir, may we see the pictures that you have taken with your camera?” “No”. That’s not a “request” I’ll honor, pretty much ever, and never under duress. Go check out some camera sites, or better yet “”. No photog worth his salt will submit his or her photos for review by outside parties, and especially not authorities, as a matter of principle. What you describe there is more or less a form of censorship. I know most of you on this board might not think so, but that’s because you’re not familiar with the issues of prior review.

Well, I generally don’t think it’s required to provide a different plan just to be able to point out the flaws of an existing one, but, Sure, why the hell not.

Trash the whole thing, then start from the basis of what policies are really NECESSARY. Unnecessary rules and regulations are simply a tool of someone with an authoritarian mindset.

Do you need rules against Assault and Battery, or up-skirt photos or blatant harassment or really the bulk of the obvious items raised in this thread? No, you do not, and here’s why: Those are CRIMES. You don’t have to make rules against them for your con, society already has. If those things happen, you call the police, and, further attendance at your con by that person is the least of their worries. They won’t be able to attend in the short term at a minimum, because they will be in custody. And if it’s a real concern they’ll be back, you take their credentials and if you’re really worried, simply refund their money, while barring them from any further event. Why refund the money? Well, is it really worth $50 to fight that fight? If you refuse service and refund the money, why doesn’t even enter into it.

So, the only set of circumstances where any policy is useful are in areas where the activity isn’t at all a crime, or where the conduct/evidence is so borderline that the police won’t act on it. And since we’ve seen what “evidence” it takes for police to reject even detaining someone, that’d be scant evidence indeed. And if those are areas in which you need some policy, I think a long, hard look at the WHY is in order.

But, say you assume it’s for something legitimate. You STILL don’t need a Zero Tolerance policy, just a general restriction, with actual thinking and judgement behind it’s application.

Keep in mind, Con admins can block anyone from a con, up to and including that they just don’t like that person’s face. But, if they want to ask someone to leave for no reason, they’ll likely have to give them their money back. And thats what this gets to. Being able to remove “undesirables” for no articulable or provable reason, with no recourse or even a refund for them. That’s all fine and dandy when the “undesirable” it removes are people you’ve already decided are Evil. But those same policies can be turned against anyone. Bad policies are bad policies, even if they don’t happen to be goring your ox at this particular moment. Once you enable them, you normalize it, and then when it perverts into something that doesn’t happen to serve the interest of the day, it’s too damn late.


The Comic Con policy already acknowledges that calling local law enforcement may be appropriate action; I’m not sure why you feel that it is unnecessary, or downright wrong, for CC to say so.

Equally, although the policy covers a wide range of possible problems which need to be addressed, your comments seem to be focusing almost entirely on those involving women; in particular the only time you comment about racism, an aspect covered by the policy, is in suggesting that a white woman con-goer would behave in a racist manner.

It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that you are simply taking the opportunity to swipe at female con-goers, rather than considering the fact that the policy is there to assist all of the people attending the Con in a myriad different roles…


He agrees that people should be nice, but is concerned about the term Zero Tolerance and thinks they should start over from scratch or their whole event, which he is never going to attend anayway, will be ruined.

Am I wrong to assume that this is fairly classic Concern Troll behavior?


All of those people are taking part in a very special cultural environment and you are an enabler of violence given your proposed version of social responsibility.