Re: Code of Conduct at events

From: David Graham <cdlu(at)railfan(dot)ca>
To: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: Code of Conduct at events
Date: 2010-11-10 16:09:29
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On Wed, 10 Nov 2010, John Goerzen wrote:
>>> I come down firmly only the side of Adrian on this.
>> Amen. I would boycot events which try to be stricter than the law or
>> which try to make themselves be a judge; there is too much room for
>> error with possibly disastrous results.
> The law various from country to country, as does the effectiveness of its
> enforcement. Do we find it acceptable to permit this sort of behavior when
> conferences are held in countries that don't effectively prohibit it?

John, I see what you're saying but the trouble with this from my
perspective is two-fold:

1. The catch-22: Codes of conduct for attendees will only be followed by
people who would behave appropriately anyway. If such people behaved the
whole world industry known as 'law enforcement' and the court system would
be completely superfluous as writing laws would be more than enough to
ensure the good behaviour of the citizens.

2. The enforcement conundrum: the enforcement of a code of conduct
ultimately depends on the use of force by the very same police whose
enforcement we are questionning the abilities of. To remove someone who
violates the code of conduct from the premises who does not go voluntarily
(in which case this whole discussion is moot, as people who go voluntarily
needn't a code of conduct to behave, per point 1), a police force is
ultimately needed as an option. If they are able to perform that role,
they can also generally enforce local laws (although in some cases for a
non-declared fee).

In any case, conventions are subject to the local laws and customs where
they take place, not ours. It is up to member projects to choose venues
that are reasonably subject to the rule of law in an appropriate
jurisdiction. We can safely assume that no member projects are going to
hold a convention in Mogadishu any time soon.

If we must have a Code of Conduct, it should only be a code of conduct to
our member projects not to hold their conferences in such a way as to
place undue liability on SPI in the interests of all of our projects.

My $.02



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