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The dark side of open source conferences

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 1, 2010 20:15 UTC (Wed) by dlang (subscriber, #313)
Parent article: The dark side of open source conferences

quote: and "playfully" nagging attendees not to bring girlfriends or women they picked up on the street to the conference parties. (Message: OLS is for men, women go home.)

I wouldn't have taken this as 'women go home' but rather as 'we want to have everyone there be peers'


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The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 1, 2010 20:17 UTC (Wed) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

I'd only assume that if husbands and boyfriends were mentioned. Since they weren't, this was plainly implying 'men only'.

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 2, 2010 10:32 UTC (Thu) by epa (subscriber, #39769) [Link]

If you asked a woman not to bring along random men she picked up on the street, that would be insulting.

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 3, 2010 4:31 UTC (Fri) by njs (guest, #40338) [Link]

So that makes the comments that were made okay, then, or...?

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 3, 2010 23:56 UTC (Fri) by rahvin (subscriber, #16953) [Link]

The comments were inappropriate.

The statement should have been this is a technical conference family and friends are not to be brought along and that sexual harassment is not to be tolerated.

I'm astounded that any woman would tolerate some of this without a call to the police. I would think in this day and age if someone walked up and stuck their hand down your pants they should expect the police to be called and to be arrested for sexual assault. I understand there is a desire not to create waves, fit in and such, but sexual assault should never ever be tolerated in any respect. Sexual harassment is bad enough but why on earth weren't the police called when the assault happened?

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 6, 2010 22:06 UTC (Mon) by maco (guest, #53641) [Link]

They weren't called because she was perfectly capable of walking to the police station--and did so.

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 7, 2010 9:40 UTC (Tue) by Auders (guest, #53318) [Link]

> Sexual harassment is bad enough but why on earth weren't the police called when the assault happened?

This is beside the point. Whether or not the man was charged, people need to be aware that things like this do happen, and that measures should be taken by the organizers to avoid them (besides bringing in the police).

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:26 UTC (Wed) by bfields (subscriber, #19510) [Link]

To possibly over-explain: yes, of course you're correct, the explicit message was "please, conference attendees only at the party", and the intention was no doubt to say just that, but funnier.

The humor depended on the contrast of that explicit message with the implication that what many of us were *really* there for was to pick up chicks on the way to the party.

And, sure, that could be kinda harmlessly funny if a) the genders involved weren't always the same, and b) we didn't get variations on that same thing every year, and c) the conference was more balanced between men and women, and d) we all knew everyone there could be counted on to take that implication as just the setup for a joke and not any suggestion of expected or even remotely condoned behavior. Etc., etc.

As things are, yeah, it's likely to come across as "OLS is for men, women go home", intended or not.

The dark side of open source conferences

Posted Dec 7, 2010 16:22 UTC (Tue) by charlieb (guest, #23340) [Link]

> The humor depended on the contrast of that explicit message with
> the implication that what many of us were *really* there for was
> to pick up chicks on the way to the party.

I don't think so. I think the humor depended on knowing what happened at the *previous* OLS party. Someone associated with the venue, and not associated with OLS, invited a handful of "friends" - who were provocatively dressed, perfumed, stillettoed, etc, etc.

I have no doubt that this is what was being referred to by the OLS organiser, and that Valerie was not aware of that background. I don't think she would have taken offense if she had been aware of that back-story.


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