Well thanks Belg for summarizing it for people ... I had thought actually reading the stuff that people said would be a starting point, but making it easier for people to do so definitely helps the discussion. I have read just about everything I can find and after reading the blogs directly about DJ Grothe, I understand why he feels the way he does, but I think that because things were aimed at him personally, he's giving them more importance than they really carry.
As of right now, hundreds of women who attended TAM last year are not re-registered. Ascribing those hundreds of decisions to some obscure blog posts and comments to blog posts and one quote in USA Today is not very rational to me. For one thing, it's pretty insulting to these women as skeptics. He is basically saying that hundreds of women are reading blogs and leaping to incorrect conclusions. In other words, women are not attending because they are just not very skeptical! A strange thing to say about skeptics.
He comes to this conclusion because of "dozens of emails" he receives. Some advice for DJ. I work at a company where we receive THOUSANDS of e-mails telling us not to sell tickets to Ringling Brothers because PETA said they were mean to elephants. What we can very easily determine, due to the way our system is set up, is that at least 85% of these e-mails come from people who are not even members of our service. Of the ones who are members of our service, almost all of them have made zero or only one purchase ever. In other words, all of these angry e-mails come from people who are not valuable customers and in most cases are not even our customers at all. We also know that we sell thousands of tickets to Ringling Brothers and make a lot of money from it, so our paying members are totally fine with the elephants and how they are treated. Before leaping to conclusions based on these dozens of e-mails, I wonder if DJ even investigated where these e-mails were coming from and whether they were women who were members of JREF, had ever been to TAM, would ever go to TAM, etc.
I am a member of JREF and I have supported them financially and even conversed with DJ over e-mail. I have never been to TAM. I would be quite happy to detail my reasons if they asked why, but no one ever has. It has never crossed my mind that I would need to tell them why I am not attending, because it's simply a decision I made for various reasons, not something I was upset or angry about or anything. If DJ wants to find out why I'm not going to TAM, ASK me, don't tell me I am leaping to conclusions based on blog posts I never even saw. I'm pretty sure that most of the women who aren't coming to TAM don't hang with baited breath over every piece of blog drama that happens. That's why the reaction of SO many people was "child trafficking - what the hell?" because most regular people don't sit on the internet all day reading every blog comment! I know DJ is intensely aware of these blog posts because they are about him, but I think he should consider that 200+ women deciding not to return to TAM is probably not due to some blog comments.
If he has surveyed over 800 people and none of them felt unsafe at TAM, then perhaps people aren't returning, not because they felt unsafe, but because they simply didn't have a good enough time to come back? Maybe they didn't feel it was ultimately worth the $$$. Again, ASK them. That's the most accurate way to assess how to get them to come back, and businesses do it all the time, JREF can easily follow that model.