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I don't get it

I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:04 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239)
In reply to: I don't get it by jackb
Parent article: The dark side of open source conferences

The process of filing a lawsuit may be time consuming, stressful and unproductive - especially if you're in a foreign country (as many conference goers will be) and don't have any witnesses, were drinking at the time or any of the myriad of other possibilities that tend to turn these cases into "I'm sorry, we're dropping the case".

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.

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I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:06 UTC (Wed) by jackb (guest, #41909) [Link]

Actually I wasn't thinking lawsuits; I was thinking arrests. But I didn't consider the case of a conference in a country where those type of actions might not be illegal.

I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:09 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Arrests that will involve witness statements, testimony and potentially having to turn up to court where a defence lawyer will then proceed to spend time attempting to convince people that you're a liar? I don't blame anyone who's unwilling to go through with that, and we shouldn't attempt to place the onus of fixing things on the victim.

I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:15 UTC (Wed) by jackb (guest, #41909) [Link]

Putting the onus of reporting a crime on the victim of said crime is too much to ask yet demanding that the rest of society bend over backwards to bubblewrap the world isn't?

I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:21 UTC (Wed) by chromatic (guest, #26207) [Link]

How is publishing a code of conduct (which basically says "Treat other people with respect!") a demand in any way, let alone an unreasonable demand? Why should the penalty for behaving badly to anyone else require filing criminal charges? (I can think of many examples of poor behavior which are not illegal.)

I don't get it

Posted Dec 3, 2010 4:50 UTC (Fri) by jzbiciak (subscriber, #5246) [Link]

Agreed. One would hope such a code of conduct would also be redundant/unnecessary, but clearly folks need to be reminded. Also, making it explicit sends a more positive overall message, so long as the organizers also make sure to uphold it so that it gets taken seriously.

I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:23 UTC (Wed) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

I don't object to it being the victim's responsibility to report the crime. If they're unwilling (for whatever reason) to do so then the justice system won't be involved. That's not a problem. But when you say that "the correct answer is for the affected individual to call the police on the spot and file criminal charges", the implication is that it's the victim's problem, not the conference's. That's not a constructive way to improve things.

I don't get it

Posted Dec 2, 2010 16:52 UTC (Thu) by sorpigal (subscriber, #36106) [Link]

So have the victim report it to the conference organizers and have them call the cops.

I don't get it

Posted Dec 2, 2010 16:59 UTC (Thu) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

"I'd like to report a crime. The victim doesn't want to be involved in the case and there were no other witnesses, but we'd like you to arrest the offender anyway. Hello? Hello?"

I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:42 UTC (Wed) by bfields (subscriber, #19510) [Link]

I would've thought that the world-bubblewrapper would be anyone objecting to (mostly relatively minor) consequences for any behavior that manages to fall short of the obviously criminal. Criminal prosecutation rightly requires a high standard of procedure, but that doesn't mean the same standard is required before you can, say, asking someone to stop being a jerk, or even to leave your meeting.

I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 23:00 UTC (Wed) by james_w (guest, #51167) [Link]

"demanding that the rest of society bend over backwards to bubblewrap the world"

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.


I don't get it

Posted Dec 8, 2010 8:11 UTC (Wed) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

Writing down community standards is a useful thing!

I don't get it

Posted Dec 2, 2010 8:31 UTC (Thu) by rvfh (subscriber, #31018) [Link]

Not necessarily a legality issue, but in some countries the police officer might not be impressed if you talk about sexual assault because someone touched your breasts or bum. A lot of paperwork for them, and they really don't care: "you're not dead, are you?"

Note: I do not agree with this attitude. I sure don't enjoy unwanted physical contact, on any part of my body.

I don't get it

Posted Dec 1, 2010 22:48 UTC (Wed) by mbcook (subscriber, #5517) [Link]

I think the idea of a "conference blacklist" of people who are known to cause these kind of troubles would be a good idea, but very hard to setup.

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) [Link]

Using, maintaining and/or "exporting" a common blacklist would be illegal in many countries because of privacy laws. IOW, not really an option...

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