Re: Code of Conduct at events

From: Adrian Bunk <bunk(at)stusta(dot)de>
To: Ian Jackson <ijackson(at)chiark(dot)greenend(dot)org(dot)uk>
Cc: spi-general(at)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: Code of Conduct at events
Date: 2010-11-10 05:18:36
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On Tue, Nov 09, 2010 at 02:48:52PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> Recently I've been very disturbed to see that some FLOSS conference
> organisers apparently don't think it's their business to see that
> attendees to their events aren't sexually assaulted by other
> attendees. (And the blogospheric victim-blaming heaped upon the most
> recent victim[0] to come forward has been utterly vile.)

In my opinion part of the criticism towards the victim is correct:

Reporting a sexual assault to the police is the right thing to do.

If the blog post wouldn't have named the name of the alleged offender it
would have been very good.

Public denouncing of non-convicted people is a violation of Human
Rights. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be
presumed innocent until proved guilty.

In my home country (Germany) even a murderer who has served his sentence
has the right of reintegration into society and no longer having his
name mentioned in public reports of the crime.

That guy might have committed a criminal offence, and the police and
courts handle that.

This is a bad thing and if he's guilty he should be punished, but it is
not correct to destroy someone's (work) life by forever associating his
name in the never-forgetting Internet with a sexual assault.

And the publicity "G employee assaulted by T employee" really doesn't
make it better.

I'd expect a code of conduct to also disallow publically accusing other
people of crimes.

> Ian.
> The Organisers' Responsibility
> ------------------------------
> We will try to deal fairly and respectfully with any complaints,
> suggestions or feedback which you bring to us.
> We will log every complaint brought to us and will pass those records
> on to the next conference.
> Breaches of this Code of Conduct will in most cases be met with a
> warning from a member of the organising team.
> In the event of serious breaches of this Code of Conduct, or multiple
> warnings, the organisers will normally ask the offending person to
> leave the event. This will void the offending person's registration
> and they will not receive any refund of registration fee or
> accommodation costs. Refusal to leave will be referred to the venue
> security and/or police.
> The conference organising team reserves the right to pass on to the
> relevant project leadership, and any relevant future event organisers,
> the name of any person given a warning,

If it was only a warning it hardly warrants being passed to anyone else.

> or asked to leave, including description of the circumstances.

Why are you not saying that any assault should be reported to the police?

You start arguing with a criminal offence, but instead of delegating the
handling to the police you want to introduce a system of information
keeping and passing about non-convicted people.

Especially in the area of sexual assaults there is additionally the
problem that there are real sexual assaults, but also many cases of
wrong accusations of sexual assaults. That is hard to judge for the
police and courts, and definitely nothing to handle by conference

Let me try to make my point clear:

If someone accuses me of a sexual assault, I want:
- that case to be handled by the police and courts,
- not any information about it being passed behind my back and
- not being publically accused of it.

Otherwise my (work) life will be destroyed even if I'm not guilty.



"Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
"Only a promise," Lao Er said.
Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed


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