Debugging conference anti-harassment policies
Posted Jan 31, 2011 22:48 UTC (Mon) by emk
In reply to: Debugging conference anti-harassment policies
Parent article: Debugging conference anti-harassment policies
I don't understand why speakers at recent technical conferences have been using slides displaying porn or BDSM scenes (if only in PG-13 form) to illustrate their technical points. It certainly increases the emotional content of the presentation, but it in no way improves the factual merit of what is being said. Being deliberately provocative leads to an arms race: Each speaker needs to be a little more outrageous than the last to get any attention. It's better to nip this in the bud, and try to make our arguments compelling on their own merits.
The tradeoffs are different when we're speaking to people we've known for a long time. They know how shocking we are on a day-to-day basis, and will notice when we say something out of the ordinary. But since "unexpectedly shocking" is defined on a per-person basis, it doesn't normally lead to an arms race.
And to speak to the "libertarian" issue: LCA has every right to decide what kinds of presentations are appropriate, and take action accordingly. For example, if I were running a technical conference, I would frown upon some of the slides used in this talk.
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