Regarding Online Articles

Posted in: Ryan Kopf's Blog

My entire goal in organizing conventions is to support nerds like myself. I grew up in a high school like any other, where playing sports and partying made you cool and getting a high GPA made you a dork. Today I work every day to provide fellow nerds with places free of harassment where we can express ourselves and geek out as much as we want.

But an anonymous smear campaign directed against me has taken place since 2013 from the depths of the internet, hiding incognito behind internet proxies. Several months ago I launched a lawsuit to unmask this anonymous campaigner, who I believe is (primarily) just one person operating under multiple pseudonyms. I cover this in my online transparency report.

Meanwhile, a blogger unrelated to this anonymous campaign, has written several articles about me calling me sketchy and a “villain.” He writes a new article after almost every convention I run.

No other non-famous person receives that level of attention.

And when he says “villain,” we’re not talking the villains of the trope where the villain turns out to be a good guy like Megamind, nor the villains of the slightly-realty-bending-mind of some writers at Cracked.com.

In these stories I don’t even get to be a super-villain.

I do not claim my conventions are perfect. We have had complaints and problems like any other conventions. We have dealt with things like complaints of shortages of free ramen in our ConSweet to complaints on social media about registration line that reached a peak of two hours long at our largest convention. But countless other conventions have had a few problems, often far worse.

From arrests to bankruptcy, none of which apply to me, none of these conventions have earned the same level of exhaustive coverage I have.

According to Kotaku, one minecraft convention may have taken in half a million dollars before mysteriously disappearing. That’s more than I’ve made in five years of running conventions. And that story warranted only one article.

One of our villainous activities that received an entire article? Banning someone from the convention for coming without intending to buy a ticket (aka sneaking in).

I am now suing this writer for some of the things he’s said about me. It’s been an unwarranted and unfair array of attacks against my character.

I’m not opposed to some criticism. The scrutiny we’ve seen as an organization has caused us to scrutinize ourselves very closely. For example, we have created one of the best harassment policies in the convention scene, that goes far beyond paying lip-service to anti-harassment, but gives our staff the power to actually do something about harassment. I’ve seen countless conventions with strongly worded policies that do literally nothing when someone comes to them with a complaint of harassment. We, on the other hand, mobilize an entire team.

Our aggressive stance on harassment has earned me some enemies, too. Someone insulting cosplayers in person is just a keystroke away from literally calling me Hitler online with anonymity and impunity.

When we received complaints about registration lines, I spent over 100 hours optimizing our system so that now we can process a pre-registration in under 10 seconds.

I’ve waited a while to file this lawsuit as I’ve been busy, more focused on what I can create than instead of being focused on the negative. I am only asking for fairness.

Some criticism would be fine. It would be even better if my side of any story was shared (but it isn’t). But this is more than average, by any means.

But if he starts calling me a super-villain, I might just be willing to look the other way.

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