As noted in Linkspam comments, there’s a dispute at the moment between the organisers of Dragon*Con and the Backup Ribbon Project. The Backup Ribbon Project is an off-shoot of the Backup Project and distributes badge ribbons for con attendees to attach to their badge, reading “Backup” in large letters, showing that the person wearing the ribbon is committed to backing up someone experiencing harassment.
On August 20, Dragon*Con released a statement, reading in part [my emphasis]:
At times, good intentions can lead to bad situations. Dragon*Con has become aware of a potentially dangerous situation involving a self-started project that provides ribbons for fans identifying themselves as people who are able and willing to help another fan in the event assistance of any sort is needed in a difficult situation. While we absolutely believe that the creation of this movement was done with the best intentions to protect fans, we feel that it presents a possibility for a person coming in as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” perhaps luring someone in distress to an even more dangerous situation. Providing a ribbon for someone to wear to give them any type of “official” sanction when no screening has taken place is quite frankly, scary to us. To that end, we have asked the individual to stop providing ribbons for Dragon*Con attendees. We think a lot of our fans and believe strongly in the message that if you see someone in trouble, you should always be willing to help out or get someone who can. We expect no less and you all have never disappointed.
The Ribbon Project responded on August 21:
Please know that, as of this time, Dragon*Con has informed us that it will NOT be sanctioning people wearing or distributing Backup Ribbons at the con, nor will it be confiscating ribbons. We regret this was not included in their official statement…
We stand by our conviction that the benefits of making the Backup Ribbon Project accessible to as many people as possible far outweighs the risk of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Yes, there will be a risk of some Bad!Person taking advantage of the situation, but we believe that risk is minimal.
What do you think? Which has the greater risk, false allies, or difficulty finding any allies?