[Linux-aus] Linux Australia Code of Conduct - revised draft

Arjen Lentz arjen at lentz.com.au
Fri Dec 2 15:44:24 EST 2011

Hi Russell

----- Original Message -----
> On Wed, 2011-11-30 at 18:32 +1030, Paul Shirren wrote:
> > If the Ada initiative adopts the LA CoC for an event they have no
> > need to worry about unwanted male attention as it is prohibited.
> This argument keeps getting repeated, and it is getting under my skin.
> Does this mean because some drugs are prohibited, I no longer need
> worry about my kids accessing drugs? [...]

We can spend a long thread on this trying to get perfect phrasing, but I'm pretty sure that neither Paul nor anyone else actually disagrees with you here, and consequently I assume that they didn't mean what you are objecting to.

It's in the nature of us geeks to be really precise and dig into all detail, but I do think we can get on with this in a practical manner that does actually address the objectives and concerns.
(more below)

> > If they want a single sex event they can't do it under an LA banner.
> If PyCon, Drupal Downunder and similar events aren't "under an LA
> banner", then I guess I don't have a problem.

They are under LA banner, and they are not exclusionary in any way.

To take this a step further, I'd love to see HUMBUG and other LUGs also adopt a CoC, preferably all the same one. Very soon. HUMBUG has had incidents in this realm and with several "new" women recently interested and attracting more, this is now an urgent issue. Obviously it would be rather dismal (and a major setback) if something happened before a CoC were adopted.

Indeed, a CoC does not prevent things from happening, but it sets clear expectations and draws a baseline picture for new visitors so they know what they can expect the atmosphere to be like.

There's a psychological aspect to this which cannot be captured in absolute terms.
I'll give you an analogy from my own experience in a related realm:
My daughter's school has a clearly stated policy on bullying, and has shown to do what they say they would - if I'd had that at my school long ago, I would've been a happier (and safer) person back then.
Obviously it does not necessarily prevent bullying - but the policy clearly outlines what is regarded as bullying, that it's not tolerated, and what the consequences are. Then, should something happen, action needs to follow. But you need that baseline of expectations first.
Indeed, some incidents will happen, and they can be handled under the policy. If it's handled well, it'll add towards creating clarity and trust which works through into feeling safe.

> As for the possibility of Ada Initiative being hosting events biased
> toward women, this is happening. As you can probably gather, if this
> ends up bring more people into Open Source movement then I am strongly
> in favour of it. LA should assist in any way it can, and should not be
> putting CoC's or anything else in place that would might discourage
> such assistance in the future:
> On Fri, 2011-12-02 at 12:48 +1100, Mary Gardiner wrote:
> Subject: [Linux-aus] AdaCamp Melbourne (Jan 14): apply today!
> > However, since AdaCamp and the Ada Initiative exist to support and
> > promote women in open technology and culture, prospective attendees
> > who are not themselves women will need to demonstrate a very high
> > level of prior engagement and experience with the issues faced by
> > women in those fields in order to be invited.

Russell, I have no issue with the above.
In geek terms, it's no different from Rusty announcing an advanced kernel hack session, noting required skills/experience, having people set up their own necessary environment beforehand, and refusing to do "support" during the session. This can be either seen as highly exclusionary, or just sensible.

The AdaCamp organisers will want to focus on the content, not have to instruct and mediate to a significant degree for "newbies" in that context. That's identical to a noob walking into that kernel hacking session and not having their gcc ducks in a row. It'd be disruptive for that session.

Again a practical example:
I've asked Mary about a session/info for employers, so we can ensure we have a welcoming environment both when calling for job applicants as well as later on. Mary responded that that is something that the Ada Initiative is working on and was likely to cover at AdaCamp, but it's not complete enough at this point...
There will be more than enough experienced brains in the room to work it out, and I'm very much looking forward to the outcome. I don't feel excluded at all.

The non-inclusiveness has already happened, over a long period: it's been the rest of us not providing a welcoming and safe environment for women (and others) to partake in. So some have gone away disappointed, and others have set up initiatives to rectify the situation. The absolute first thing from "our end" to rectify the situation is the CoC. That's our indication of goodwill and intent.

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