Re: [guadec-list] anti-harassment policy

On Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 5:33 AM, Christophe Fergeau <cfergeau gmail com> wrote:
On Mon, Jul 07, 2014 at 12:44:15AM -0400, Marina Zhurakhinskaya wrote:
On Sat, Jul 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM, Christophe Fergeau <cfergeau gmail com> wrote:
Hey Marina,

Thanks for coming up with this detailed policy.

On Sat, Jul 05, 2014 at 01:08:07AM -0400, Marina Zhurakhinskaya wrote:
Having a specific and actionable anti-harassment policy is important
for making the conference a safer space for everyone.

Fwiw, I disagree with the wording, especially the "specific and
actionable" and "safer for everyone".

Specific policy spells out behaviors of common concern and lets people
know these are not acceptable at the conference. Actionable means that
people enforcing the policy know what to do if a violation occurs.
These both have to be clear ahead of time to minimize the uncertainty
during the event. The policy makes the event a safer space for
everyone because it helps people understand what are unacceptable

Except that the organizers/the board can decide by themselves that
something not listed in the document is to be considered as harassment

so that they avoid them, and also provides support
structures to the victims in terms of knowing who to talk to and
knowing that organizers will help ensure the harassment stops if it
does occur.

In my mind, there is not much point in talking about a anti-harassment
policy if it's not going to be enforced.

"organizers will help ensure the harassment stops if it does occur" is
about enforcing the policy.

"GUADEC is a welcoming and friendly event, during which GNOME
contributors often become friends and make resolves to come to the
next one. The behaviors outlined in this policy do not commonly
happen, but are spelled out to help ensure all attendees have the same
expectation of a safe and friendly environment."

Sounds quite positive, though I'd drop the "safe".

Anti-harassment policy is about making the event emotionally and
physically safer for attendees, so I think it's important to keep that
expectation listed.

Sexual language and imagery create a sexualized environment, which is
uncomfortable to some people

Should I make a list of things that make me uncomfortable so that we add
them to the policy? It's also quite easy to find non-sexual images that
will make a lot of people very uncomfortable, even sick but which are
not forbidden by this policy (some parts of 4chan are a good source for

Sexual language and imagery are a common concern. If there are other
types of concerns people think are worth listing, they can be added.
E.g. it can be "Sexual or violent language and imagery are not
appropriate for any conference venue, including talks"

and can make other harassing behavior
seem permissible.

I think the policy is already abundantly clear that any unwanted
sexually-tainted attention is not welcome.

The word harassment in the name of the policy is used here in a broad
sense to include the actions that can make someone uncomfortable, but
are not directed towards anyone in particular.

For what it's worth this is news to me, and I don't think it achieves
what you describe. It bans one very specific item which will make some
people uncomfortable, it does not even try to address non-sexual things
(religion, blood, meat, politics, ...) which could also make some people
uncomfortable. I understand why it's here, especially given where it
comes from, but I don't think this belongs in an anti-harassment policy,
at least not this way.

The rest of the text seems good to me, longer though still very
official, and potentially scary ("may I get in trouble if I make this
not politically correct joke to this person I've started to know a bit
better since the beginning of GUADEC? let's be safe and boring, just in

Making jokes that are funny at the expense of other people and seeing
whether your new friends find them funny or offensive is in fact not a
good idea.

You have added the "at the expense of other people" part when answering,
I did not mention that in my email.

Not politically correct jokes are usually ones made at the expense of
other people or groups of people.

We can make the sentence about consequences more clear in the policy,
as following:

Well, if people get there, they will have already been subjected to the
very official and legal sounding tone of the policy, which is what can
make the policy a bit scary and chilly imo.

We added a friendly first paragraph now :).

Since the policy is trying
to be extensive, people will be inclined to self-censorship even for
behaviour that would not be an issue at all, even more so for newcomers
who don't know 'us' very well yet. I was not really suggesting changing
the paragraph about the consequences.

I think the updated sentence about the consequences is better because
it makes it clear they will be proportional to the offense.

There will be many other interactions that will form people's opinion
about GUADEC beyond the anti-harassment policy. The policy sets out
minimum standards. It's ok that the existence of the policy might get
newcomers to pay attention to how more established community members
behave before doing anything they think might be inappropriate.



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