IGDA to Set Standards for 'Networking Events' in Response to Flap Over GDC Party

Illustration for article titled IGDA to Set Standards for 'Networking Events' in Response to Flap Over GDC Party

"Parties" are out and "networking events" are in, under new guidance from the International Game Developers Association's executive director, responding to the blowup over a party at Game Developers Conference 2013 that featured scantily-dressed dancers.

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"The IGDA will offer 'networking events' as its primary focus, not 'parties,'" Kate Edwards wrote in a bullet-point memo published yesterday on Gamasutra. Later, Edwards writes, "Undoubtedly, some chapters will decide they prefer a classic 'party' to a 'networking event,' and may have activities which are local to their region. We respect these differences, but still fully expect chapters to uphold the IGDA’s values of inclusion and diversity, regardless of the type of event and locale."

On March 26, IGDA co-sponsored a GDC party with a startup company called YetiZen, which featured dancers so inappropriately attired that two developers resigned positions within the IGDA over it. One of them, Darius Kazemi, apologized for not speaking up about partnering with YetiZen for this event, as the organization had drawn fire for a similar party the year before.

YetiZen, in a lengthy defense of itself, said the IGDA reviewed and approved the plans for the party and that Edwards herself approved the costume designs via email, a claim Edwards did not address in her memo.

Edwards wrote that the IGDA "will be vigilant (far more vigilant than in the past) when choosing to partner with another organization. If we do decide to partner, sponsor or co-present, we will attempt to have comprehensive oversight of the entire event’s content from end-to-end."

Furthermore, the IGDA will assemble an advisory group to draft recommendations for "how game industry companies and organizations can be more inclusive and stage productive events, while still remaining fun."

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As for herself, Edwards said she will adopt a "walk out and talk out” policy. That is, "if I attend an event and find the content to be contrary to the IGDA ideals, regardless of the potential value of being present, I will leave the venue. However, I won’t do so without informing the sponsors/organizers of my reasons for walking out—both at the party and afterwards."

The entirety of Edwards' statement is at the link.

The Future of IGDA Events [Gamasutra]

DISCUSSION

DoraDoraBoBora
DoraDoraBoBora

As a woman, I think other women should be free to make the decisions for themselves to earn a living however they please and do what they please. The problem with this event was that just because I wouldn't have been uncomfortable with scantily clad dancers or cared overmuch shouldn't invalidate anyone else's DIScomfort over it. Unless you are willing to give up your claim here and now to ever being offended at anything that ever bothers you personally, you do not get to tell someone else why they should not be offended. If you tell me I shouldn't get offended at a rape joke because it's just a joke, you don't get to turn around and tell me my joke about someone dying of cancer is offensive just because it strikes a nerve with you.

Everyone has drastically different standards and comfort levels, but also different life experiences and perspectives that lead them to feel the way they do, and telling someone they're wrong to be upset about something is exactly the opposite way you should go to reach some sort of understanding and common ground. By digging in your heels and rolling your eyes and refusing to even consider that someone else might have a point and a valid reason for their feelings and upset, you're not contributing anything useful at all.