Code of Conduct at events

Adrian Bunk bunk at
Fri Nov 12 20:35:20 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 05:28:55PM +0100, Bernhard R. Link wrote:
> * Adrian Bunk <bunk at> [101111 23:20]:
> > > Almost every juristdiction has some "without reasonable doubt" in it.
> > > Puting people into jail or requesting fines in something serious.
> > > Telling someone "Sorry, but after what happened and while the
> > > authorities said there is not enough proof, we do not want other
> > > attendees having to fear you. Would you mind leaving/not coming?"
> > > (and formulating that more decided if not followed voluntary) is
> > > something that does not need as much proof.
> >
> > I don't like this "we have no proof but think you are guilty" attitude
> > that has a high probability of also hitting innocent people.
> Please, let's stay at the topic without insulting people.

Sorry if it appears to you this way - it was not meant personally.

I am not a native English speaker, does it sound OK for you if I 
replace "attitude" with "opinion"?

> > And in the case of an unproven sexual assault you know that one of the
> > two persons is lying, but you don't know which.
> > Which person do you want to kick out?
> This is the important question. What you seem to forget, though, is that
> you will force someone out. There is no way all of them will be able to
> come together the same way before. You have to make some decision and no
> decision is a decision, too.

In my opinion, the only sane option is to call the police.

> > Both the alleged offender and the alleged victim?
> That can in some situations be the best solution, too.
> Note that allowing an alleged offender in whom most attendents
> consider guilty (for example by having been witnesses or believing
> the witnesses against the alleged more), will not only exclude the
> victim but also all people fearing they could be next victim and
> people not wanting to get into such a situation again (or the first
> time).

That actually goes both ways:

Note that allowing an alleged victim whom many participants consider 
guilty of lying to stay will exclude all people fearing to be the
next victim of a wrong accusation of this person.

And if I'm very cynical I'd go even further and say that there are 
usually far less female people at a conference who would fear a sexual 
assault by a man than male people who would fear a wrong accusation of
a woman. [1]

> > And how would you feel if a woman would wrongly accuse you of a sexual
> > assault, and even though the court says you are not guilty you would
> > get kicked out of all FOSS conferences
> And how would you feel being the victim of some sexual assault and then
> no longer being able to join any FOSS conference just because some court
> had not enough witnesses or dropped something because of some formal
> problem?

What is the best thing to do in this case?

German law says "acquittal at court is a proof that an accusation is
false" for defamation cases in criminal law. [2]

And that makes a lot of sense to me.

Sexual assault and rape cases are often hard to decide, and I see no
fairer way than following whatever the court decides.

> I guess a court decision that someone is not be guilty will often be a
> good reason (unless there are more important opposing reasons) to allow
> someone back in. The part to discuss is when the court says they cannot
> say if someone is guilty without resonable doubt.

Let's discuss this case you describe based on the incident that 
triggered Ian's proposal.

When you read the reactions of other conference participants they often 
boil down to:
"A respected member of our board, responsible for our conferences, 
 was sexually assaulted by a guy whose name I've barely heard before."

> > and FOSS projects?
> What are you talking about?

I'd asssume that e.g. a Debian developer found guilty of raping another 
Debian developer at DebConf would be kicked out of Debian.

> 	Bernhard R. Link


[1] I want to emphasize that I am not suggesting to take this as a 


       "Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
        of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
       "Only a promise," Lao Er said.
                                       Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed

More information about the Spi-general mailing list