DisCon III aims to build a community for all fans, and Codes of Conduct (CoC)  help to make an inclusive community. With that in mind, please take a moment to review our Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy.

Codes of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policies enable, guide, and encourage safe and secure relationships between convention attendees. They help to make conventions a safer space by discouraging anti-social behavior and helping everyone to feel comfortable.

This CoC applies to all DisCon III attendees – which includes Committee, staff, volunteers and members, and all others trading, exhibiting and otherwise participating. We will also expect those working for the hotels where our activities are taking place to act, and to be treated, in line with the principles of this CoC.

You will find references to our Listener Team throughout this CoC. The Listener Team is a group of people whose mandate is to receive reports on potential violations of the CoC. This team can escalate issues appropriately, discuss them in a totally confidential manner, and/or act as mediators, according to the wishes of the person raising the issue.

The CoC may expand slightly in the run up to DisCon III. More details will be added, particularly around identifying our Listener Team, and where to find them during the convention, and how to overall identify DisCon III staff and volunteers.

How can I help?

  • Read and follow this Code of Conduct. Ask your friends to read it as well.
  • Support others – if you see someone who looks like they need help, ask if they’re okay or possibly alert a DisCon III volunteer.
  • Ask first! The easiest way to avoid issues is to check before doing something, and it only takes a second.
  • Remember that the attendees of DisCon III come from all over the world; cross-cultural misunderstandings can easily happen, so consider this in your humor and interactions, both online and in-person.

Overarching Expectations 

Everyone involved with DisCon III is expected to show respect towards the convention attendees, venue staff, the general public, and the various communities associated with the convention. This is a family-friendly convention; children will be present at many events and in open spaces, so please consider this in your conduct.

Anti-harassment Policy

DisCon III is dedicated to providing a harassment-free convention experience for all attendees, regardless of ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual identity or sexual orientation, neurodiversity, disability, physical ability or appearance, race, age, religion, or fiction/fandom preferences (this list is not exhaustive).

We do not tolerate harassment of convention attendees in any form. Behavior that will be considered harassment includes, but is not limited to

  • Intimidation, stalking, or following
  • Unwelcome physical contact
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Comments directly intended to belittle, offend, or cause discomfort including telling others they are not welcome and should leave
  • Individually photographing or videoing members without their consent
  • Treating cosplay/costumes as consent for unwanted contact or interaction
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events
  • Sexually graphic or otherwise inappropriate images in public spaces
  • Persistent and deliberate misgendering of other people
  • Attempts to weaponize the Code of Conduct
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior

We require attendees to follow the CoC in online interactions with the convention (including the volunteer mailings, wiki, and other online facilities), at all convention venues and convention-related social activities. Attendees who are asked to stop any harassing behavior must comply immediately.

Anti-racism Policy 

Racism is on the rise across all sections of society: in sports and the media, in politics, and in our own fandom communities. DisCon III is committed to being as close to oppression free as possible, and central to this is our policy on racism, including prejudice, bias, the expression of privilege, aggressions, and microaggressions. This includes contributions made in discussion sessions and also things said to and about other DisCon III attendees.

At DisCon III we strive to ensure no one is talked over, ignored, or dismissed, and we are committed to making DisCon III as accessible as we can to people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Problems non-white attendees of fandom events often reference include, but are not limited to:

  • Having their lived experiences dismissed;
  • Being expected to be an authority on non-white characters in various fandoms;
  • Being talked down to or assumed to be less knowledgeable about topics being discussed;
  • Having their cosplay negatively critiqued without being asked;
  • A presumption by some members of fandom that people of color do not belong in fandom and that they should not be centered in storytelling;
  • The use of Social Justice Warrior or SJW as a pejorative term meant to demean or belittle the idea of diversity and inclusion in fandom and storytelling;
  • The use of social media to target people of color and allies for harassment and abuse as an outgrowth of their participation in panels, discussions, or when commenting on their participation in fandom
  • Being targeted in person or through social media with acts of aggression, harassment, or retribution for calling out harassers and abusive behavior.

This sort of behavior will not be tolerated at DisCon III.

Reporting

Before the convention: You can report harassment or other CoC violations by email to coc@discon3.org. This address will be continuously monitored by our Listener Team both prior to, and for the duration of, DisCon III.

At the convention: If someone has harassed you or breached this CoC in any way, or if you have witnessed or become aware that harassment or a CoC breach has taken place, please ask that person or persons to stop – as long as it is safe to do so and if you feel comfortable enough to make the request. To help us identify patterns of behavior and possible repeat offenders, we would be grateful if you would also report the harassment as set out below.

If you do not want to speak to the person(s) directly, or if you engage with them and the harassment or CoC breach does not stop, please report the issue as soon as possible to one of our volunteers or a member of the Listener Team. There will be a staffed Listener Desk at DisCon III, a Listener Team contact phone number with your registration materials, and you can also ask any member of DisCon III staff to call a Listener. Alternatively, you can report by email to coc@discon3.org. This address will be continuously monitored by our Listener Team before, during, and after DisCon III.

Harassment and other Code of Conduct violations reduce the value and enjoyment of DisCon III for everyone – we want you to be happy at our convention, so please do speak to us if needed.

What will happen if you make a report?

When taking an in-person report, our Listener Team will first ensure that you are safe and cannot be overheard. They may involve other event staff to ensure your report is managed properly. Once you are safe, we’ll ask you to tell us about what happened, and what you would like to happen next. We understand this can be upsetting, but we’ll handle it as respectfully as possible and try to support you.You can also bring another person to support you if you wish.

If you submit a report by email, our Listener Team will respond to you as quickly as possible, and proceed at their discretion, based on the content, context and wishes expressed in your email.

However you choose to report an issue, you won’t be asked to confront anyone, and we will do our best to protect your identity if we take action as a result of your report. Details of your complaint will only be disclosed to other members of the Listener Team or Committee members who are dealing with it. We will keep you advised of the progress we’re making in handling the issue, and of any action we decide to take. We will take into account your views when deciding on that action. However, please be aware that, if you report a serious criminal matter, or we believe that you or someone else may be in danger, we may need to contact the police. We would take into account any concerns you may have around involving them.

The DisCon III Team has the right to take any actions needed to keep our Worldcon a welcoming environment for all attendees. Measures taken may include warning the offender, mediating solutions between parties, or taking any other action the team considers necessary, up to and including expulsion from the convention with no refund, at our discretion.

If you wish to take further steps following your report and our response, our team will be happy to help you contact hotel/venue security, local law enforcement, local support services, or otherwise assist you to feel safe for the run-up to and duration of the event. Above all, we want you to feel valued, safe and included at our convention!

Additional Policies:

Weapons

Do not bring weapons to DisCon III, even if you have a license to carry it.

  • Real weapons are forbidden.  This includes but is not limited to firearms, laser weapons, electroshock weapons, missile weapons, throwing weapons, clubs, and any sharpened blade bigger than a folding pocket knife.DC law does not permit the carrying of firearms.
  • Practice weapons are forbidden. Wooden swords can kill–ask anyone with sword training.
  • Prop weapons that can be easily confused with a real weapon are forbidden.  DisCon III’s Operations Division is the final judge whether a prop weapon will be banned.
  • Items that might be used as weapons, such as staffs and walking sticks, are not banned.  However, anyone who uses anything in a threatening manner may have the object classified as a weapon, when it will be either seized or impounded for the rest of the convention.  Anyone who refuses to comply may be dismissed from the convention without refund.
  • If the program includes a weapons demonstration, the weapons used must be approved in advance by the head of the Program Division.  These weapons must be wrapped securely when transported to and from both the Green Room and the demonstration room before and after the demonstration.
  • For the Masquerade, any questionable prop weapons must be approved in advance by the Masquerade Director.  These weapons must be wrapped securely when transported to and from the Green Room before and after the Masquerade.
  • Wearing a hall costume does not entitle you to carry a weapon, real or fake.  See event specific policies.
  • Weapons may be available for purchase in the Dealers’ Room. They must be wrapped securely in transit to your room or vehicle.
  • Some law enforcement officials are required to carry a weapon at all times.  When questioned about the weapon, they need only present official identification and explain this requirement.

Badges

Wear your badge where it can be seen at all times in convention space.  This convention is a membership-only event, and your badge is your admissions pass to convention areas and activities.  Badges may not be shared under any circumstances; a badge is valid only for the person to whom it was issued.

Signs

Please post signs only in designated areas.  Use removable painters tape ONLY. Do not affix anything to the walls of the hotel, to the elevators, or to ANY item that is hotel property, or to convention signs. Any signs found posted inappropriately will be removed and destroyed.

Privacy

We collect your information to allow the convention committee and staff to provide you better services.  Your personal information will be kept strictly confidential. We will ask for your consent before sharing your information with anyone outside this convention committee.

We must retain records relating to member registration and financial transactions. Other than this obligation, at a member’s request, we will remove any information about the member from all online systems after the convention.

Member financial payment information, e.g. credit card numbers, does not come to us through online payment systems (PayPal and Square); such information is handled exclusively by the online payment service. Credit card information submitted physically (through a signed credit card slip) is kept secure and is not shared with anyone or used for any purpose other than the membership or other transaction requested by the member.

The Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc., (BWAWA) is the sponsoring organization for DisCon III.  For DisCon III, BWAWA observes the laws of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the by-laws of BWAWA. Within the practical limits and resources of a non-profit volunteer organization, we will observe international best practices for privacy as well as transparency in relation to information-storage and privacy policies.

(Credit where it’s due: this Code of Conduct is significantly based on Dublin 2019’s, which was loosely based on Geek Feminism’s example anti-harassment policy, created by volunteers.)