Code of Conduct at events

John Goerzen jgoerzen at
Wed Nov 10 15:10:14 UTC 2010

On 11/10/2010 07:00 AM, David Graham wrote:
> On Wed, 10 Nov 2010, Adrian Bunk wrote:
>> You don't need a code of conduct for going to the police and report a
>> crime.
> I come down firmly only the side of Adrian on this.
> It is totally inappropriate for any event organisation to have to put
> out a code of conduct that says "you must follow the law." That code of
> conduct exists. In fact, it is called "the law."

I am mostly in agreement with you, David.  But what the law says, and 
how well it is implemented, varies widely across the world.  While in 
much of the west, we can count on police help, can the same be said of 
every country that might host, say, Debconf?

I'm still not sure that a "code of conduct" is really the right thing. 
I think that the more appropriate thing would be training for conference 
organizers on how to deal with various situations.  This is obviously 
one that they should be prepared to deal with.  There are others: 
medical emergencies, disruptive behavior, etc.  How to deal with them is 
probably going to be different in different places.

I am in complete agreement that it should not be up to conference 
organizers to attempt to adjudicate allegations.  They have the right to 
ask someone to leave, but ought to do so without leveling allegations at 
that person.  There will obviously be judgment involved in such cases. 
But to attempt to declare someone's guilt or innocence opens one up to 
serious potential for lawsuits, at least in the USA (libel, slander, 
discrimination, etc.)  Plus, it's not something that tech conference 
organizers are trained to do well.

-- John

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