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Debugging conference anti-harassment policies
Posted Feb 1, 2011 17:41 UTC (Tue) by daniel (subscriber, #3181)
Yes, it could be interpreted as an unterminated recursion.
Posted Feb 1, 2011 18:17 UTC (Tue) by nye (guest, #51576)
That's even worse!
Posted Feb 1, 2011 19:15 UTC (Tue) by dneary (subscriber, #55185)
I didn't say I was offended. Angry is what I am.
You're not me. You don't get to decide what does & does not offend me. And don't try to impose your world view of what should & should not be offensive on me.
My position: conference organisers should agree on a standard, and adhere to it. Now & again something (like mpesce's presentation) will be in a grey area. The standard will get recalibrated, one way or another. People uncomfortable with the standard won't go to the conference. Companies uncomfortable with the standard won't sponsor. Some attendees will get offended at the conference. And that's fine. Because the standard was known, agreed on, publicised, and adhered to by attendees, presenteres and organisers.
And if people take offense, and something is in a grey area, then apologise - it was not intended, I understand you were offended, this does fall under the policy, I'm sorry. It won't happen again. We're going to tighten the loophole so that people know where they stand next year.
And if you notice, that's exactly what happened - my compliments to Mark & the organisers.
The *only* people turning this into the mud fight are the people who are complaining that someone should take offense in the first place.
> Is there any way your post can be interpreted as anything but
> straightforward hypocrisy?
Posted Feb 1, 2011 19:24 UTC (Tue) by nye (guest, #51576)
>I didn't say I was offended. Angry is what I am.
>You're not me. You don't get to decide what does & does not offend me. And don't try to impose your world view of what should & should not be offensive on me.
Is this a parody? Have I been trolled? Or do you somehow not see that what you are saying applies precisely to your own behaviour?
>The *only* people turning this into the mud fight are the people who are complaining that someone should take offense in the first place.
You are joking? If not, your hypocrisy is staggering.
Posted Feb 1, 2011 19:36 UTC (Tue) by dneary (subscriber, #55185)
If that were the case, I would doubtless reply in a provocative manner which would prolong this conversation further.
Posted Feb 1, 2011 19:44 UTC (Tue) by sfeam (subscriber, #2841)
Posted Feb 1, 2011 23:23 UTC (Tue) by dneary (subscriber, #55185)
Let me try once more to explain. I feel a little misunderstood, even though I feel like I've been clear here.
Taking offense is a very subjective act.
It's entirely possible for me to offend someone without meaning to - it happens all the time because of cultural differences, or when people have different expectations of a situation.
In that situation, I tend to apologise, because I don't like offending people. It might be appropriate to just explain that no offense was intended, but not apologise. What is not OK is getting upset with the person because they were offended.
Now, let's transfer to this specific situation. I looked at the slides. I'm not offended by the slides, but I can certainly see how some people would feel uncomfortable with the bondage imagery. Apparently you are also not offended by the slides. Some people were.
Let's give a name to a hypothetical person who was offended - Anne. Anne comes from a conservative catholic family, and changes the channel on the TV any time scantily clad women appear on the screen. Anne is a 35 year old free software developer, mother of 2, big into her Ruby, and at her first tech conference. Anne didn't really like the playful S&M photo - it was outside her comfort zone. The language bothered her a bit, but you know, she can live with it. The road sign was funny. But Anne felt really uncomfortable with the lesbian bondage photo. And everyone around her seems to have no problem with it - they're well into the mood. So Anne feels out of place.
These are certainly sexualised images in public, and thus covered by the anti-harrassment policy.
Now, Anne's not the type of person to go blogging & tweeting afterwards, but (in considerable evolution on the part of our community) there are others who will.
My point is: it's not my place to tell Anne to get a life, that it's her problem. Anne felt uncomfortable, and now as an individual, I have a choice how to deal with that. I can deal with that by saying "Anne, you know, you're really not the type of person we were expecting", or I can say "I'm so sorry - we're making a real effort to reach outside our usual constituency, and we really did not want this to happen", or I can say "Anne, you're more than welcome here, but this kind of thing is to be expected - Mark was pushing everyone out of their comfort zone in some way".
Whatever I do, the fact that offense was caused cannot be undone by telling Anne to get a life (as I saw on Twitter), or calling her a "prude" (as I saw on the LCA chat list).
Have I cleared up any confusion on what my position actually is?
> You are joking? If not, your hypocrisy is staggering.
As Inigo Montoya said to Vizzini, "you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means".
Posted Feb 3, 2011 9:40 UTC (Thu) by dwmw2 (subscriber, #2063)
"Let me try once more to explain. I feel a little misunderstood, even though I feel like I've been clear here."
In your story, you are conflating the fact that Anne originally took offence, with the subsequent behaviour of Anne or others, complaining about that fact and and demanding that something be done about it.
I don't think any reasonable person is annoyed or offended by the former; only the latter when it is taken to excess (where 'excess' is obviously subjective).
By all means we should reassure Anne that she is welcome and safe the third of your suggestions seems best to me.
But what do we do about the people outside with pitchforks, who seem to be talking about the presenter's behaviour as if it were an actual physical assault? And who then turn on people who calmly express their concerns about that reaction, saying that those people are also causing people like Anne to feel "threatened, hurt and upset", and applying cheap ad hominem labels.
Please, do not conflate annoyance with the pitchfork mob, with annoyance at Anne for her original fragility.
Going off at a slightly different tangent, I'd observe that I don't want to live in a world where I am never challenged and made to feel uncomfortable either intellectually, religiously, emotionally or in other ways. That way lies boredom, complacency, fragility and intolerance.
We have words for people who have never really been challenged in any of those ways, and learned to take those challenges in their stride.
They include "child", "patient", and "fundamentalist".
Posted Feb 4, 2011 6:21 UTC (Fri) by shmget (subscriber, #58347)
very true, yet you seems to feel very comfortable in making sure that _I_ won't be able to enjoy such material in a conference anymore because _you_ were offended.... funny how that argument seems to be a one way street for you.
"Because the standard was known, agreed on, publicised, and adhered to by attendees, presenteres and organisers."
Clearly not. this thread being a case in point.
"The *only* people turning this into the mud fight are the people who are complaining that someone should take offense in the first place."
These people reacted to an aggression. I'm pretty sure most of them don't give a damn if someone take offense but they do care when that someone lobby to deprive them of content because of their 'religion^Hsensibility'.
No one was chained to his chair, each could have leave the room at any time. But no, that fundamental freedom is not enough, they want to make sure that no-one could see what _they_ consider 'inappropriate'.
oh, and that is not a monopoly of such conference:
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