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 2010-07-07 06:40 am (UTC)
ljc: (reading (parks))
Posted by [personal profile] ljc
Actually, I still jave an issue with "choose not to warn" because there's no alternative to put a warning on one of my stories that is triggery and involves involves dubcon/power play but there's no actual way to label it so it has a warning other than to use "choose not to warn". The reason it's an issue for me is that the language "choose not to warn" is sorta contrary to my actual intent. In reality I very MUCH want it to have a little red exclamation point precisely so people will read the author's notes to see exactly what I'm trying to warn for--precisely because the story is triggery. I don't want anyone to open it up thinking "yay porny fun!" and instead get completely blindsided by the fucked-up-edness of it. I kinda want people to be able to make an informed choice, rather than be blindsided by it and potentially triggered by it.

I've actually submitted tickets on it, and had discussions, both on my Livejournal and via email with some of the folks on the A03 committee, but last I heard, there was no movement on that front. Every once in a while I go to edit the headers, to see if there is any way I can properly label the story so it's labelled as "warning" but doesn't include the "choose not to warn" header, but so far, no joy. And it's frustrating on many levels, but I want to support the achive and I'm willing to hang in there until a suitable compromise can be found. And I would hope that people aren't just ignoring it hoping I'll go away, but that people meant when they said that my concerns were being taken into consideration. But it's also an issue with what is a quick fix versus what is a major programming change.

But most likely what will happen if there's never going to be a ticky box for "Warning: see author's notes for specific triggers," is I'll simply take it off A03 because in that instance, the archive can't actually provide what I need, vis a vis that story. I don't blame the archive. I don't blame the story. It just means I lsoe that channel of distributuon for that particular work, and people who might have read it there most likely won't.

So, erm... yeah. I realise I'm atypical in fandom, but it's still very much an issue for me as a writer. If I were a vidder more than merely an occasional vidder, I would most likely have the exact same issue with content labelling.
Edited (clarification, and MASSIVE runon sentences. Wow.) on 2010-07-07 06:46 am (UTC)


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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