Code of Conduct at events

David Graham cdlu at
Wed Nov 10 16:09:29 UTC 2010

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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