Code of Conduct at events [and 1 more messages]

Ted Ts'o tytso at
Thu Nov 11 23:28:58 UTC 2010

On Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 09:00:45PM +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> Did the victim report the offence to the police?
> If yes, why wasn't he convicted at court?

If I have a party, I can invite whomever I like.  It's a private
event, and no one has a fundamental human right to attend a private
party.  "Innocent until proven guilty" is a concept which applies to
criminal court proceedings.  It is not something that needs to apply
to a decision I make about whether or not I invite someone to a party
at my house.

The same is true for a conference.  A conference, whether it is the
Kernel Summit, Linux Plumbers's Conference, DebConf, or any other
conference, is a private event.  It is something where the conference
organizers have the right to decide who is allowed to attend, and
where the conference organizers can make a decision to eject an
attendee --- all without any kind of court proceeding.  Doing so does
not violate anybody's human rights.

It also follows that a conference may use whatever standards it likes
for deciding whether or not someone should be allowed to attend, or be
allowed to continue to attend, a conference.  Obviously, a conference
can not allow attendees to break the local laws, but even if the local
laws allows an eminent science fiction author to paw the breasts of
another science fiction author on stage, in full view of all attending
(something which was captured on video tape and available for all to
see on the internet) --- it is completely up to the conference
organizers whether or not said science fiction author should be
allowed to attend future conferences, and they would have been fully
within their rights as the conference organizers to eject him from the

Ian has suggested that we urge conference organizers take a stringent
view about not allowing sexual harassment.  It is very sad to me that
we need to remind geeks that following a female around until that
female felt uncomfortable, and ducked into a women's bathroom (at
which point said male geek attempted to follow her into the women's
bathroom --- this happened at OLS a number of years back), but I think
that is a good thing.

And if the conference organizers believes that reports of such
activity are credible, in their best judgement, they can and they
should eject said miscreant from the conference.  The terms of service
of the conference should say that the conference organizers are free
to eject anyone from the conference for doing something which in their
judgement violates certain basic principles of civility.  If we need
to explicit tell male geeks that certain acts are unacceptable, as
examples, then fine, let's do that.

/me sighs....

						- Ted

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