Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thinking About Convention Codes of Conduct

In the "old days" (about 1976 or so), there was an informal Fannish Code of Conduct:

Do Good
Do No Harm
Throw a Good Room Party

At last night's Confluence meeting, we had a brief discussion about developing a code of conduct for Confluence and I said I'd help develop one.

Ideally, I'd like it to be what we had in the '70s - something extremely short, to just remind people to be adults.

There have been some harassment issues at Confluence. They haven't been quite as ugly as at other cons, but I know they have happened. People have the right to attend a con and if they feel unsafe, the con com should be told and the harasser should have his (or her) membership pulled.

Boskone's Code of Conduct gets pretty much to the point (and was vetted by at least one if not two lawyers):

http://www.nesfa.org/boskone/codeofconduct.html

I think some cons have codes of conduct that go on a bit long (even if I do agree with most of its points):

http://techdays.org/2013/03/code-of-conduct/

Both John Scalzi

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/07/02/my-new-convention-harassment-policy/

and Mary Robinette Kowal

http://www.maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/on-sexual-harassment-at-conventions-elise-matheson-speaks-out/

have written at length about Con Behavior/Codes of Conduct.

It would be nice if our Code of Conduct could be something simple as:

Don't be a jagoff
A jagoff is a person who harasses others, feels entitled to make sexual advances, tries to make others feel uncomfortable. If someone tells you "No" or "Go Away" and you don't go away, you're a jagoff. If your behavior continues and is reported to a con com member, we can pull your badge and tell you to "Go Away."
So, don't be a jagoff, be an adult.

For folks from outside the Pittsburgh area, common definitions for jagoff.

4 comments:

Glenn Glazer said...

Another example of a policy I like is Westercon 66's: http://www.westercon66.org/westercon-66-attendee-code-of-conduct/ .

dd-b said...

One person reporting feeling unsafe should result in the accused harasser having their membership pulled?

Do you really mean that?

Laurie Mann said...

DDB - personally, no, but this is getting to be practice at some cons. I have very mixed feelings about it.

Laurie Mann said...

Also, if you note I said "We can" (meaning the con com can) pull your badge, not "We will." The con com needs latitude.