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  • Writer's pictureKait

NaNo '23 Part 2

Drawing of a candy heart that says "YIKES"

Wowwee, you guys hear about NaNoWriMo (the organization) imploding? You hear about them not doing shit when people reported mods (yes, plural) for dangerous behavior with minors?

I'm not going to sum up the entire story here--there are people who have done a much more thorough job of it than I can--but I'm so relieved that they finally shut down the forums. Many people are wondering what NaNo as an organization even offers if they don't have their forums. As someone in one of the "elsewhere" regions with little access to any in-person events, I tend to agree. But if they don't have the capacity to safely moderate their own forums, they shouldn't be running forums at all.

Imagine there were a sporting event run by a non-profit. The non-profit has volunteers that handle security at the event. Someone reports that one of the security guards was being a little weird toward an underage attendee. And someone else reports that a different guard was being overly aggressive toward them, threatening to kick them out of the event even though the attendee hadn't broken any rules. They were just standing near a group of people who were questioning the rules. A third report comes in that a guard was making racist comments, and even though it was made behind closed doors, the attendees were able to hear it. And then it turned out the guard was just quoting one of their superiors. And, as it turns out, those guards had all been reported before. Staff was aware they were problematic. But no one acted to remove them or reprimand them.

And once those reports come out, more and more and more start to flood in. It's not just the security guards, it's the coaches, it's the staff, it's the leaders of the whole organization, and complaints about conduct go all the way up.

It's easy to see that that organization deserves to lose all the trust with its attendees. It should definitely have a change in the leadership that allowed this to happen. There should probably be involvement with the local authorities. Maybe the non-profit should be dissolved. After all, people can just go play the sport on their own time.

I hit my 50k words earlier today, and I'm proud of myself. But it almost feels like a win to spite the organization, not a celebration of creativity with a community. Normally I'd be buying a winner T-shirt, but this year, I won on my own.

Let's wait and see if the board can step in and turn this around, but there is a lot of healing that needs to be done before HQ deserves any trust again. That means visible action, public drive toward change, and not just proclamations about "doing better." Right now, there are only words and promises. It all means very little until actual change happens.

If NaNo dies, though, can I propose we make a new event that doesn't happen in November??


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