Code of Conduct at events [and 1 more messages]

David Graham cdlu at
Wed Nov 10 20:57:02 UTC 2010

On Wed, 10 Nov 2010, Ian Jackson wrote:
> A written policy does a number of things:

For a guy who comes from a stable western democracy without a written 
constitution you place an awful lot of value on the written word. ;)

My position stands that it is unnecessary and unreasonable for us to 
dictate how member projects conduct their business beyond asking them to 
keep us away from liability.

I am, as they say, not a lawyer, but I would think a document saying that 
we don't permit these practices makes us liable when they happen because 
we have accepted that they are within our jurisdiction.

This is a common misperception that if you warn someone that something bad 
will happen, you have done your duty. However, if you put a sign on your 
house saying "vicious dog" and a crook gets bitten, you have actually made 
yourself liable by admitting you know the dog is vicious. You would not be 
if it was just your cute and cuddly dog that you innocently left in your 
house that happened to eat your home invader's right arm.

You can overthink and overlegislate but ultimately it can end up causing 
SPI as an organisation more harm than good. The duty of SPI's board is to 
protect the organisation from liability and problems arising, it is up to 
our member organisations and their members to act reasonably. So I say 
again that if we want to put out any kind of document of this nature, it 
simply be a statement that any SPI member organisation acting as an SPI 
member organisation commits to doing what it can to not put itself and 
therefore SPI in a position of liability, and we strongly recommend that 
you only hold your conferences in countries where the rule of law applies.


- -
David Graham
cdlu at

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