laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] laurashapiro
Note: This post is addressed to friends of mine in the vidding community who have expressed anger and frustration that the current discussions around Vividcon's policies, accessibility, and trigger warnings are taking place.

Vidding is my fandom. For me, Vividcon is its nexus, the highlight of my year, my favorite place to be, where almost all of my very best friends are. It's where I see great vids and have great conversations, where I dance my ass off and have my mind blown. All of it is made possible by a fastidiously-organized concom and the vidders and vid fans who volunteer and participate. I love it.

Vidding is my fandom. Vividcon is my con. I am part of it. I feel responsible for it. That's why I'm making this statement.

The VVC concom asked people to offer concerns and suggestions about their Background and Policies document. The fact that many people have done so does not mean they are "bashing the con", just as giving critique in vid review does not make a person "mean". I have complete confidence that when the concom says "VividCon welcomes comments and feedback on the VividCon Background and Policies statement. We would like to express our gratitude to those who have taken the time to make a comment or write to us about their concerns" they mean exactly that. I respect the people on that concom, some of my best friends in fandom, and I know that they are sincere in wanting to hear criticism so they can learn and improve -- the same way many vidders who come to the con sincerely want criticism on our vids so we can learn and improve.

This is not about being "politically correct", a phrase that I have a lot of problems with. This is about trying to make Vividcon accessible and fun for everyone.

Regarding the trigger warnings debate specifically, I'm going to quote [personal profile] thuviaptarth here because she says just what I would have:
Last year's discussions about warnings in fanfiction changed my mind about warnings. I am firmly opposed to censorship. I don't have triggers myself. Generally I prefer to avoid vid warnings. I am almost certain that my position on my premiering vid will be "Choose not to warn." And I am in favor of implementing warnings for common PTSD and physical triggers, preferably as a separate list rather than included on the vid or in the vidshow itself.


The thing is, I am opposed to requiring warnings for "offensive content." That's something I consider a free expression issue. I am in favor of warnings for "triggers," which is more of a disability and accessibility issue. I don't feel that my artistic freedom of expression is best served by my incapicitating people with flashbacks or inducing a migraine.

Her entire post is worth reading.

A person who requests trigger warnings is not a crybaby. They are a survivor of trauma or a person with disabilities trying to protect themselves from serious harm. They are not asking other people to take responsibility for them. They are taking responsibility for themselves.

To return to the subject of the con itself: in order for to make Vividcon accessible and fun for everyone, some things will have to change. Change is upsetting, and it takes work. It's particularly hard for people who have loved VVC for years just the way it is. We feel protective of VVC and of the people who make it happen.

But I want to work for the change, because I believe that my pleasure is not worth more than other people's pain, and because as much as I love Vividcon, I believe that it's possible for it to be better. I want to be sure that everyone who is interested in coming to Vividcon can come, can feel welcome and safe there the way I do, can return home with the same cherished memories of fannish delight and deep thinkiness and social hilarity that I do. I want everyone to love it the way I do.

I want everyone to say, the way I do, "Is it August yet?"

ETA July 1, 2010 4:35 pm: I am reading every comment but I may not be able to reply to them all. At this time I am also not moderating comments, but will do so should it become necessary. I am working full-time, busy tonight, and going away for the weekend, where Internet access will be limited. But I am taking it all in. Please do continue to discuss among yourselves.

on 2010-07-03 11:55 pm (UTC)
arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] arduinna
Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean it can't be done.

No, of course it doesn't. But equally, just because one part of fandom makes one choice doesn't mean that all other parts of fandom need to make the same choice; it's perfectly valid to have different traditions that are suited to different fannish audiences.

Safer for who? Safer in the sense of "exempt from criticism," I suppose,

No, I sincerely meant safer for people with triggers, in that they will never be lulled into a false sense of security, then whammed with something unexpected that the vidder genuinely didn't realize should be warned for.

I've seen people say that that's the most dangerous thing for them - that when they don't expect warnings, they can be mentally prepared to cope with triggers, but once they're assured they don't need to make those mental preparations, any trigger can hit with intensified force. I don't want the con telling people "don't worry, you can relax on this road, we've put guard rails up" and have them plunge over a cliff because someone mislabeled something, or didn't realize something was dangerous.

I don't ever want to do that personally, either, and so I'll never use anything but "choose not to warn" if I'm forced to stick a label on at all.

I'm getting a little frustrated with people saying, on the one hand, that "choose not to warn" is of course a totally valid, respectful choice, but on the other hand, as you imply so clearly here, that it shows a lack of thought, lack of empathy, narrow-mindedness, and lack of willingness to compromise, and is cowardly to boot.

If you believe that "choose not to warn" is an invalid option, please take it out of the mix of valid options you're talking about. I am feeling hugely bait-and-switched in this conversation.

actually, my friend has just informed me that Wiscon this year provided a list of trigger warnings for the entire (huge!) vidshow that they put on.

No, it didn't. Wiscon doesn't have a vidshow; the word "vid" doesn't even appear anywhere on their website.

Two Wiscon attendees had a huge, unofficial vid party, for which those two individuals apparently provided warnings. There's a huge difference there.

I'm fine with individuals saying whatever they want about my vids, at any time. I am not fine with a convention (either the concom or people representing the con, such as a VJ) applying official warnings or ratings to them (other than a default equivalent of CNTW), or with a convention demanding that I apply specific warnings without the ability to opt out of that process.

I would be equally unhappy with any member of the AO3 team going through all of the CNTW stories on the archive and posting an official, detailed listing of triggers contained in those stories. If someone wants to do that privately as a favor to a friend, fine, no problem. But the AO3 shouldn't be doing that, and neither should cons.

on 2010-07-04 12:42 pm (UTC)
thingswithwings: dear teevee: I want to crawl inside you (a dude crawls inside a tv) (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] thingswithwings
I'm getting a little frustrated with people saying, on the one hand, that "choose not to warn" is of course a totally valid, respectful choice, but on the other hand, as you imply so clearly here, that it shows a lack of thought, lack of empathy, narrow-mindedness, and lack of willingness to compromise, and is cowardly to boot.

Um . . . no? I don't believe that at all. I'm not sure where I implied it, but perhaps you mean in my discussion of how providing warnings can be difficult, but it's a good thing that we can do? When I say 'provide warnings,' I do mean to include CNTW as one of the potential warnings that can be chosen. If I thought it was a cowardly, unempathetic, narrow-minded choice, I would have to kick half the fic writers off my flist. On the contrary, I think it's a great option for when an artist doesn't feel emotionally up to providing a warning, or when they honestly don't know what kind of warning to provide. Some other options that might help with that situation are a text-box option for warnings (so, if you're not sure if your vid contains 'non-con,' you can just say, contains four seconds of very rough sex, or what have you) and asking someone else (the concom, perhaps) to apply a warning to your vid for you. But CNTW is an admirable option that helps to make the warnings system accessible for vidders even as it works as an accessibility tool for viewers.

What I think lacks empathy or consideration is refusing to label at all. When people on my flist write fic and label it with "I don't provide warnings for X Y and Z, enter at your own risk," that still shows care and consideration. "Choose not to warn" as an option chosen by the vidder, rather than a blanket statement made by the con itself, shows care and consideration in a manner that the blanket statement does not.


laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)

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