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shifting the burden

shifting the burden

Posted Dec 2, 2010 3:17 UTC (Thu) by fuhchee (guest, #40059)
Parent article: The dark side of open source conferences

Connecting this problem to conferences is an interesting way of saddling the organizers with a moral liability - a positive burden of action - for limiting the behaviors of attendees. Having to conjure up some sort of quasi-judicial system can't be very appealing.

Ostracism is a time-proven penalty that moderately aggrieved groups can perform all by themselves. Not good enough? (The police is there for the major stuff, of course.)


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shifting the burden

Posted Dec 2, 2010 3:52 UTC (Thu) by foom (subscriber, #14868) [Link]

Well, the organizers should at least feel responsibility for limiting the behavior of presenters.

shifting the burden

Posted Dec 2, 2010 4:48 UTC (Thu) by vaurora (guest, #38407) [Link]

"Connecting this problem to conferences is an interesting way of saddling the organizers with a moral liability - a positive burden of action - for limiting the behaviors of attendees."

Well put! The burden of action you describe sounds like it dovetails well with the burden of action that comes from wanting people to come to the conference you organized in the first place.

"Having to conjure up some sort of quasi-judicial system can't be very appealing."

Again, well put! I'm sure there are people out there who enjoy telling people how not to be jerks in explicit detail, but I they think all have jobs as lawyers or politicians or FSF employees or something. How exactly does one say, succinctly and unambiguously, that taking photos underneath women's skirts is not okay without also banning merely annoying and unpleasant photography? It takes some work. I ended up with the phrase "harassing photography or recording" - not an elegant piece of writing by anyone's standards.

"Ostracism is a time-proven penalty that moderately aggrieved groups can perform all by themselves. Not good enough? (The police is there for the major stuff, of course.)"

Ostracism works pretty well when the people doing the ostracism are part of a powerful majority. However, I and at least 9 or 10 of my friends have been ignoring the guy who grabbed my ass at LSF for 2 or 3 years now but it unfortunately doesn't seem to have stopped ass-grabbing at open source conferences. I tried ostracizing the popular kids who were mean to me in middle school but that didn't seem to work either.

shifting the burden

Posted Dec 2, 2010 9:15 UTC (Thu) by frazier (guest, #3060) [Link]

However, I and at least 9 or 10 of my friends have been ignoring the guy who grabbed my ass at LSF for 2 or 3 years now but it unfortunately doesn't seem to have stopped ass-grabbing at open source conferences.
The surface problem is strength in numbers. There aren't many women by percentage in software period, and I've never worked along side a female developer in a startup or open source project. The real problem, however, is the lack of respect. Period. It's one of those things that if women were 40% of the open source world, it probably wouldn't go on like it has. That's a factor, but it shouldn't be. But it is. Respect to you for telling us what you see and to Jon for publishing it. I feel like apologizing, but I'm not those people. I'm not part of the problem. I don't think the regs proposed will do that as presented, but I hope the related awareness genuinely changes things. Massive respect to you for carrying on as you have.

shifting the burden

Posted Dec 5, 2010 1:14 UTC (Sun) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

There aren't many women by percentage in software period
40% of my workplace is not 'not many by percentage', it's near-parity... but it is a proprietary software company (we tried to take it free but our customers asked us not to. Banks are strange.)

About half of those are testers or DBAs: perhaps 30% of the developers are female. A bit low but not terrible.

shifting the burden

Posted Dec 8, 2010 9:24 UTC (Wed) by k8to (subscriber, #15413) [Link]

By contrast my company has 2 developers to around 30 men. And the two women are *new*. It's a good start.

shifting the burden

Posted Dec 2, 2010 21:15 UTC (Thu) by cjwatson (subscriber, #7322) [Link]

Perhaps "intrusive" rather than "harassing". Strongly discouraging intrusive photography in general wouldn't hurt, IMO. There are lots of people who take photos at free software conferences, and generally this is good because it forms part of our group memory. However, there's a small minority who shove a camera almost into your face and take close-up shots without bothering to ask first, and it can be very uncomfortable. If it bothers me as a fairly confident white male, I'm sure it's much worse for many others.

shifting the burden

Posted Dec 2, 2010 5:01 UTC (Thu) by maco (guest, #53641) [Link]

This simply makes it policy that the organisers get in on the ostracising too.


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