Not logged in
Log in now
Create an account
Subscribe to LWN
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
PostgreSQL 9.3 beta: Federated databases and more
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 9, 2013
(Nearly) full tickless operation in 3.10
I don't get it
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:01 UTC (Wed) by davide.del.vento (guest, #59196)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:04 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
The answer isn't "Lawsuit or it didn't happen". It's "Do whatever is necessary to stop these people from behaving this way", and if a written harassment policy helps that then it's part of the solution.
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:06 UTC (Wed) by jackb (subscriber, #41909)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:09 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:15 UTC (Wed) by jackb (subscriber, #41909)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:21 UTC (Wed) by chromatic (guest, #26207)
Posted Dec 3, 2010 4:50 UTC (Fri) by jzbiciak (✭ supporter ✭, #5246)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:23 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
Posted Dec 2, 2010 16:52 UTC (Thu) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106)
Posted Dec 2, 2010 16:59 UTC (Thu) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:42 UTC (Wed) by bfields (subscriber, #19510)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 23:00 UTC (Wed) by james_w (subscriber, #51167)
No, just asking them not to assault or harass attendees.
If that's not a reasonable request to make then it's not a conference that I want to attend.
Posted Dec 8, 2010 8:11 UTC (Wed) by k8to (subscriber, #15413)
Posted Dec 2, 2010 8:31 UTC (Thu) by rvfh (subscriber, #31018)
Note: I do not agree with this attitude. I sure don't enjoy unwanted physical contact, on any part of my body.
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:48 UTC (Wed) by mbcook (subscriber, #5517)
That said, I agree with direct action. If sexually assaulted in any way (such as gropes, grabbing and kissing, etc) then physical self defense seems like the best thing to do. After a couple of women yell "rape" really loud and punch or kick the guy harassing them it will be an immediate and unmistakable message. If police are called, all the better. I'd say call them yourself.
Of course, this won't work for simple cat calls and lewd remarks. Reporting people to the conference and seeing if it's taken seriously is the best you can do there.
Lawsuits do take a while, but you can always decide not to file. Just getting the guy a visit from the police will send a pretty strong message too.
I realize it's tough and scary to have to physically defend yourself, but short of a large scale boycott/walkout I'm not sure what else could be done (especially by an individual) to get the message across REAL fast.
(Note: I'm assuming the US or similar treatment of such sexual assaults. If the country wouldn't help or would actually go after you for defending yourself, your only choice besides status quo would be not going)
Legal/privacy issues with blacklists
Posted Dec 2, 2010 0:51 UTC (Thu) by JanC_ (guest, #34940)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:14 UTC (Wed) by sez (guest, #71571)
Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:17 UTC (Wed) by jackb (subscriber, #41909)
Posted Dec 7, 2010 15:04 UTC (Tue) by sez (guest, #71571)
Investigations into matters like this involve medical examinations, and taking of statements from witnesses and the complainant.
Cowboy ideas about the offender being dramatically carted away minutes after calling the police are unrealistic in my experience.
Even if eventually the person is spoken to by police he will be released on bail, and is free to return to the conference the next day.
Unless the conference organisers do something about it.
Posted Dec 1, 2010 23:07 UTC (Wed) by PaulWay (✭ supporter ✭, #45600)
Yeah, and instantly become the centre of attention, have to make embarrassing claims which you may not be able to verify, have a whole bunch of your peers ostracise you for a "minor thing", and miss a bunch of cool technical talks. Yeah, that's really going to be a popular option.
A lot of the worst behaviour isn't grabbing people's breasts or anything so obvious. It's implications, insinuations, slights, embarrassing personal comments or 'accidental' contact. It's all stuff that can be later 'denied' as 'totally innocent' or 'not meant that way'. This is worse because everyone around including the victim knows it's rude or offensive, but there's nothing that's actually actionable - and because you can either just shut up and pretend it didn't happen and get on with the conference or say something and suddenly be the centre of unwelcome attention.
Most guys I know can't really get their head around this. They think that it's all clear cut. They think that it'd be easy to just speak out. It isn't.
And the sad thing is that geeks and nerds have traditionally been picked on and bullied at school - we know how these things work. Yet, like abusive parents, some guys just carry out the same warped behaviour that tormented them, because they've implicitly realised that it makes them look better if they put someone else down.
What I learnt from my years of being bullied is that I didn't want to do that to anyone.
I wholeheartedly support any code of conduct like this and will do my best to make all conferences I attend a friendlier and equal place for everyone.
If its REAL, call the cops, otherwise STFU
Posted Dec 1, 2010 23:22 UTC (Wed) by brianomahoney (subscriber, #6206)
Posted Dec 2, 2010 1:28 UTC (Thu) by njs (guest, #40338)
Since you decided to comment instead of STFU, I assume you've called the cops on the poster above? Or were you more worried about being nasty than about making sense?
Posted Dec 7, 2010 15:09 UTC (Tue) by sez (guest, #71571)
Conference organisers act - eject him, deal with it, revoke his registration - no badge, no entry, no more problems.
Posted Dec 1, 2010 23:59 UTC (Wed) by xtifr (subscriber, #143)
If a woman is left with no recourse but to call the police, then any behavior that falls short of illegal is tacitly accepted. But I don't accept it! If you can suggest something <em>besides</em> a code of conduct that would cover behavior in the range between acceptable and outright illegal, I'm all ears, but until then, I'm all in favor of Val's suggestion or something like it.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 0:07 UTC (Thu) by jackb (subscriber, #41909)
When you find yourself (no matter your gender) dealing with a jerk your options are basically as follows: ignore it, deal with it yourself or complain about it. If you reach adulthood without learning how to deal with the jerks yourself then that's really your own problem.
It would be great if that skill wasn't necessary but wishing that jerks didn't exist in the world isn't going to make it so. If people would focus more on standing up for themselves rather than appealing to authority figures they'd make a lot more progress.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 0:29 UTC (Thu) by AndreE (subscriber, #60148)
No one is legislating against anything.
We are applying our right to self selection.
People are free to be jerks, and others are free to ignore them and exclude them from their community
Posted Dec 2, 2010 2:01 UTC (Thu) by njs (guest, #40338)
Really? Because authority figures have, you know, authority. I mean, standing up for yourself is a fine thing to do, but there's a limit to what you can do as a random attendee, and I don't see how it'd be some moral failing to ask the organizers to do their damn job. If someone is harassing people, the appropriate response is to kick them out, and I can't do that, but the conference organizers can (and should). Or would you prefer, like, some sort of vigilante justice?
The fact is, in a conference setting, some people have more authority than others. So those people have to make a choice. They can use that authority to back up the jerks (e.g., by egging them on from the podium or just ignoring legitimate complaints) or to back up the non-jerks (e.g. by kicking out people who harass others and not inviting them back).
And the nature of authority is that whichever option they pick is likely to have much more of an effect on how the conference turns out than whatever I do. So in practice, telling attendees that they should stand up for themselves and stop whining means (1) you're saying that it's okay for people with authority to back up the jerks, and (2) it's the responsibility of individual (female) attendees to take on not just the jerks, but the whole conference apparatus.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 9:49 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Or would you prefer, like, some sort of vigilante justice?
Posted Dec 3, 2010 14:01 UTC (Fri) by RussNelson (guest, #27730)
Posted Dec 5, 2010 1:16 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Adult harassment victims did nothing wrong
Posted Dec 2, 2010 2:50 UTC (Thu) by JanC_ (guest, #34940)
What you are saying is that adult victims of any kind of harassment (be it sexual harassment at open source conferences, bullying at work, war rape, ...) have to deal with it on their own, because it's their own fault?
Posted Dec 2, 2010 4:24 UTC (Thu) by james_w (subscriber, #51167)
True, but we can make it very difficult for them to do it at our conferences.
This isn't about stopping everyone in the world from being jerks, this is about keeping it out of our conferences, so that a minority don't spoil them for everyone else, and prevent us from getting more contributors.
One jerk can do a lot of damage, including stopping 10 or 100 people from contributing to a project or attending a conference.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 0:16 UTC (Thu) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
complaints on these issues need to be separated between the clearly illegal (putting hands down someone's pants for example) where the right thing to do _is_ to call the cops (after all, what can the organisers do other than to call the cops on your behalf, but if you aren't willing to talk to the cops about the issue, there's not much that the organisers can do about it) and the ones that are 'setting a bad tone' by insinuation.
mixing them up doesn't really help, if for no other reason than that the people who are just setting the bad tone are going to look at this and say "I'm not doing that sort of thing" and continue to ignore the things that they are doing that are merely offending people.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 0:35 UTC (Thu) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
There's plenty the organisers can do. They can eject the individual concerned. They can prevent them from attending the conference in future. They can let other conference organisers know what trouble they had and how they dealt with it. They can make it clear that this kind of behaviour is not tolerated. They are in no way bound by a requirement that law enforcement be involved, and if they insist on that then they are failing in their duty towards their attendees.
It's a scale. Some inappropriate acts can be dealt with by simply taking the person concerned aside and suggesting that they modify their behaviour. Other acts are sufficiently serious that the involvement of law enforcement may be required even if the victim isn't willing to do so themselves. But they're different extremes of the same thing, and talking about both in the same context isn't mixing things up.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 2:07 UTC (Thu) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
and please don't say that false accusations never happen, it's been very clearly proven that they do (and to be clear, I am in no way stating or implying that the people interviewed for this article are in any way misstating what actually happened)
Posted Dec 2, 2010 2:41 UTC (Thu) by njs (guest, #40338)
And, for that matter, pretty much everything else involved in running a conference *also* opens one up to lawsuits -- e.g., guess who's on the hook if some attendees trash the venue.
So we have standard ways to deal with this -- written policies (if the form when you signed up said "attendance may be revoked on whim of organizers" then you hardly have a legal leg to stand up if your attendance did get revoked), and running the conference under the auspices of a limited liability corporation with a civil liability insurance policy.
This is all so standard that when I see the liability argument I always feel like the person advancing it is just trying to find some logical justification to back up their gut reaction. Sorry if that's not the case here, but that's how I feel.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 7:14 UTC (Thu) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
they had a written policy that they apparently hand out to guests staying for the weekend talking about eviction if there are noise complaints.
one interesting thing about this was that it wasn't hotel security that would evict them. The hotel would call the police and have the police evict them.
If you want to throw someone out and make it stick, you really should involve the professionals, either police or other local security personnel.
if someone is merely misbehaving, telling them to calm down, but the off-color jokes, etc is very definitely appropriate for anyone who witnesses the bad behavior to do (definitely NOT limited to event staff), but if you are talking about behavior bad enough to throw someone out (the abuse/assault level of behavior) that is a different story.
Posted Dec 3, 2010 5:19 UTC (Fri) by njs (guest, #40338)
Anyone who's running a conference should hopefully be competent enough to handle this kind of situation in an appropriate manner; whether that involves calling the cops is going to be situation dependent, but it's certainly an option.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 3:19 UTC (Thu) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
Really? The terms and conditions for most conferences I've signed up to make it clear that the organisers are free to eject me if they see fit. What's the worst that can happen? Refunding of admission fee on a pro-rata basis?
"and please don't say that false accusations never happen, it's been very clearly proven that they do (and to be clear, I am in no way stating or implying that the people interviewed for this article are in any way misstating what actually happened)"
False accusations happen. It's a dreadful reality, and I feel deeply for anyone who's been affected by it. But it's a minority of situations, and while it's true that a false accusation can affect someone's life, so does sexual assault. Working on the assumption that accusations are false until proven true protects may be fine for a criminal justice system, but in a community it hurts a small number of innocents while harming a large number of innocents. If I sexually assault someone in a back room at a conference, without any witnesses, what do you expect law enforcement to do? What do you expect the outcome of me continuing to attend and speak at conferences to be? Is my victim ever going to be enthusiastic about showing up to any event I'm presenting at? Is anyone that my victim ever speaks to?
There's a straightforward way to avoid false accusations. Behave in a manner such that nobody believes you're capable of anything you're accused of. It turns out that people predisposed to inappropriate behaviour generally manage to creep out other people beforehand.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 4:38 UTC (Thu) by bfields (subscriber, #19510)
Yes, and what on earth does it have to do with having an anti-harassment policy, anyway? Organizers can ask people to leave now, and probably have to every now and then. They could do it on flimsy pretenses already.
This is silly.
All this carping about procedure is beside the point--if there were a pattern of people running around conferences giving wedgies, and the organizers said "cut that out, or you're not welcomed", we wouldn't be having this argument.
The real argument is over whether you should feel like you screwed up because you used a "slide of bikini-clad women" for some throwaway joke. So, go browse around the wiki a little, and come back and argue specific points if you really want to.
Meanwhile, you consider this just a matter of a few thin-skinned people being "offended", and you resent being asked to visit some confusing alien ultra-politically-correct culture--fine, so just take this all as a sort of guide to the quaint customs of our culture. They're not that hard, honest. And stop worrying that you're going to be booted out for some minor slip-up--unless you're totally nuts, the worst that's going to happen is you'll have the slightly uncomfortable experience of somebody in a staff t-shirt asking you to stop doing something....
Posted Dec 2, 2010 6:27 UTC (Thu) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
I was talking strictly about the assault-level events
Posted Dec 2, 2010 9:08 UTC (Thu) by KSteffensen (subscriber, #68295)
In Denmark where I live, for the last couple of years we've had quite a high focus on peadophilia in daycare centers, sports communities, boy scouts, etc. Since peadophilia is such a horrible crime and so hard to prove conclusively in a court, an accusation of peadophilia is enough to ruin a persons life, even though the accused is acquitted in court. This leads to a situation where men I know refuse to do paid or charity work in these settings, for the fear of being accused of touching the children.
Behaving in a manner such that nobody believes you're capable of anything you're accused of is not necessarily as straightforward as you say.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 3:43 UTC (Thu) by vaurora (guest, #38407)
Hm, I feel like I wrote this before. Oh, that's because I did!
(Search for "private event.")
Posted Dec 2, 2010 17:06 UTC (Thu) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106)
Posted Dec 2, 2010 18:17 UTC (Thu) by maco (guest, #53641)
You're right that the one she linked in the comments is just an explanation of anti-harassment policies and issues surrounding them.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 5:51 UTC (Thu) by stewart (subscriber, #50665)
Just about all of them.
Those that aren't, I don't want to go to.
Posted Dec 7, 2010 15:16 UTC (Tue) by sez (guest, #71571)
Sounds like FUD to me.
Certainly for our conference our insurance policy explicitly *does not cover* claims under molestation, so if someone experiences that at our conference and we have done nothing to prevent it, we are wide open to being sued.
But as far as ejecting people goes - no problem.
False complaint?? What are you talking about?
This is not a kangaroo court, no-ones being charged with anything here. If the worst possible thing happens under this policy and the person gets ejected, too bad - so sad, they go back to work and tell their buddies whatever they want. Its a minor inconvenience.
If the conf organisers don't eject them and the offender goes on to grope and harass more people, the class action lawsuit, not covered by insurance is going to go as high as the national debt.
You want to pay for that?
Posted Dec 7, 2010 19:20 UTC (Tue) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
your opinion seems to be 'better to punish a hundred innocent people by throwing them out than to miss throwing out one bad person', aka a presumption of guilt.
At least in the US, this is not how things are supposed to work.
Posted Dec 7, 2010 20:30 UTC (Tue) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
Posted Dec 7, 2010 20:31 UTC (Tue) by bronson (subscriber, #4806)
Posted Dec 2, 2010 2:28 UTC (Thu) by rgmoore (✭ supporter ✭, #75)
I think it's important to keep the plainly illegal actions separate from the merely obnoxious ones in terms of how we respond to them, but not to the point that we treat them as completely separate issues. They aren't. Bad behavior is self reinforcing. You can bet the plainly illegal behavior is far more common at events where simple obnoxiousness is tolerated than at events where any level of sexism is considered unacceptable.
And the less egregious behavior is an area where the community can really do something. If you think somebody is setting a bad tone, don't just shrug it off because it doesn't affect you. Challenge them on it.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 10:27 UTC (Thu) by email@example.com (subscriber, #14112)
Their first responsibility is to avoid this situation happening in the first place.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 2:02 UTC (Thu) by rgmoore (✭ supporter ✭, #75)
Less NOT More
Posted Dec 2, 2010 14:02 UTC (Thu) by brianomahoney (subscriber, #6206)
Women and GLT are entitled to the same respect and protection under the law as anyone else, no more, no less. That already deals with harassment and unwanted advances, un-wanted flirting need to be delt with firmly by the flirtee.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 14:46 UTC (Thu) by jackb (subscriber, #41909)
Women and GLT are entitled to the same respect and protection under the law as anyone else, no more, no less.
Only in ivory tower academia or government circles are views like this taken seriously any more. The rest of the culture has moved on and doesn't give the people who spout off that kind of BS much credibility.
Posted Dec 2, 2010 19:17 UTC (Thu) by wingo (subscriber, #26929)
I live in Europe, work in industry, and agree with Val.
Posted Dec 3, 2010 6:28 UTC (Fri) by njs (guest, #40338)
Posted Dec 5, 2010 16:12 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Posted Dec 7, 2010 11:57 UTC (Tue) by jackb (subscriber, #41909)
I live in Europe
Coincidentally, did you notice that the crime he's being accused of only exists because of the radical feminist doctrine that women can retroactively withdraw consent? (men, of course, do not have this privilege)
Posted Dec 7, 2010 14:23 UTC (Tue) by vaurora (guest, #38407)
"The New York Times reported that the two women claimed that "each had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Assange that became nonconsensual.""
Basically, they started have sex, she said, "Okay, time for the condom!", he said, "Condom, schmondom" and proceeded against her wishes. Sorry, folks, but even after everyone has taken off all their clothes and are getting all snuggly, it's still possible to commit rape. Just imagine any number of things you would not like to have done to yourself while naked in bed. Go on, I'm sure you can think of something. Now imagine your next sex partner decided to do them to you and wouldn't take no for an answer. Also imagine that your sex partner is bigger and stronger than you and a worldwide hero and that thousands of self-righteous internet commenters will come to their defense.
If you think this is an okay way to have sex, do, please, post your name and photo so we can avoid you just as assiduously as Julian Assange. Thanks.
Posted Dec 7, 2010 14:33 UTC (Tue) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
(Warning for those who don't have an istyosty plugin installed: It's a dailymail link, but this one is at least interesting, and its author claims to be basing it on the actual police charges, combined with talking to associates of those involved. The latter of course not infrequently turns out to be highly biased / unreliable, but the author at least seems to try to differentiate what info came from what kind of source).
Posted Dec 7, 2010 15:58 UTC (Tue) by foom (subscriber, #14868)
Posted Dec 7, 2010 16:36 UTC (Tue) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
Posted Dec 7, 2010 16:30 UTC (Tue) by vaurora (guest, #38407)
I'm afraid this doesn't change my disagreement with the original poster at all. No consent was withdrawn retroactively, it was not given at the time of the act.
Posted Dec 7, 2010 16:40 UTC (Tue) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
Posted Dec 7, 2010 16:47 UTC (Tue) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
Posted Dec 7, 2010 17:07 UTC (Tue) by jackb (subscriber, #41909)
It's a sham that only makes sense under the twisted ideology of "all men are automatically rapists".
Of course it's all geopoliticaly motivated but the incident does serve to illuminate just how outrageous those laws have become.
Posted Dec 7, 2010 17:33 UTC (Tue) by jake (editor, #205)
Posted Dec 10, 2010 12:15 UTC (Fri) by randomguy3 (subscriber, #71063)
What we have are courts to hear the evidence and come to a conclusion. Largely open courts, whose decisions can be scrutinised by the press and public.
Mr Assange is attempting to avoid the confrontation with the courts. He believes he is in danger of either a miscarriage of justice or extradition to the US. These things may be true, but the world will be watching carefully.
Anyway, this is something of a digression from the topic of the article, but your automatic assumption that the women involved must be lying simply because his arrest is convenient for various governments certainly won't endear you to other readers. And you are somewhat undermining your earlier argument about how the police are the right people to deal with issues at conferences given how little faith you apparently have in European legal systems.
Posted Dec 3, 2010 19:39 UTC (Fri) by AdamW (guest, #48457)
To make it clear, the fallacy is 'the only rules of conduct that matter are the law of the land. Nothing else matters'.
So, let's see. Would you go to a church, stand up in the middle of the service, and yell "YOU'RE ALL MORONS! GOD IS DEAD!"
Would you consider that acceptable behaviour? Even if you don't believe in God? *I* don't believe in God, and I wouldn't do that.
But it's not illegal. So, why wouldn't you do that (assuming you wouldn't)? Because you recognize that it would be outside the accepted code of behaviour in that environment. It would be rude.
If you did this, the church in question would likely ask that you not attend any events there in future. Would you say they would be unreasonable to do so?
Okay, more examples. Would you sign up for LKML and send five hundred messages discussing the NFL? Again, this isn't illegal at all. But would you think it would be a reasonable or polite thing to do? Would you be surprised if you were banned from the list for doing it? But it's not illegal! What right does LKML have to enforce its cruel and arbitrary standards of behaviour on you when you're not breaking the law?
See, it *really* doesn't stand up at all. But for some reason, you think it's fine to apply the bizarre idea that behaviour can only possibly be wrong if it's illegal to the sphere of sexual harassment.
Copyright © 2013, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds