I’ve watched the argument over sexual harassment evolve over the past week or two and while I can’t really comment on the atmosphere of the skeptic conventions (they’re cost prohibitive so I don’t attend them) I have attended other conventions in the past so I’m familiar with the overall atmosphere.
And before anyone dismisses the convention scene as unimportant I’ll point out that networking in person can be incredibly useful, especially to people whose skills are suited to in-person communication. Convention networking is like any skill set (you know how to do it properly and it’s very useful; you don’t know how and the value of attending a convention is decreased).
So resolving the issue of sexual harassment at conventions and whether it is problematic is necessary.
Aside from anything else? From a strict, marketing perspective; if there is a perceived problem in some area and it impacts on sales then you’ve got a legitimate problem.
I’m told that there is a 22% drop in the number of female attendees at TAM this year and there is no arguing with that number; yes. You’ve got a problem.
If you’re getting similar numbers at other conventions then sexual harassment has become an issue at these conventions-not just at TAM because generally these kinds of drops in attendance are an indicator there’s something wrong with what you’re selling. Continue reading