[Linux-aus] Some Anti-Harassment Policies considered harmful

Russell Coker russell at coker.com.au
Sat Feb 19 18:02:40 EST 2011

On Sat, 19 Feb 2011, Paul Wayper <paulway at mabula.net> wrote:
> > I did, though I hold no official capacity (which should have
> > approximately zero impact on the result).
> > 
> > It was at this point that I was chastised for the unwilling subject's
> > sabotage. Apparently the bird-flipping was deemed more rude by the
> > photographer in question than taking photos of someone who repeatedly
> > declined to no effect.
> I believe the photographer you're talking about, if we're not naming names,
> was the official conference photographer.  So I doubt "rogue" is a good
> label. I also know that he did not use any photos of the person in
> question, so I doubt "to no effect" is accurate either (yes, I think he
> took them; no, I don't think they were kept).

If the official photographer was not obeying the conference policy then 
"rogue" seems to be an apt description.

If the request was to "not take photos" not to "not use photos after taking 
them" then "to no effect" doesn't seem particularly inaccurate by objective 
measures.  If the deletion of the photographs in question happened some time 
later then the person who was photographed would most likely believe that they 
were not deleted, so their experience would be of having their wishes ignored.

As an aside there was one occasion at an LCA when I asked a photographer to 
delete a picture of a friend.  The photographer immediately did so and showed 
me the camera preview screen to demonstrate that it was gone.

> I understand people's desires not to be photographed.  But how much effort
> should the conference organisers go to to make sure everyone's desires are
> accommodated?

IMHO photography of crowds is OK as is photography of individuals who consent 
to it.  This shouldn't be difficult to achieve.  The only corner case is DSLRs 
with big lenses that can potentially be used to zoom in on an individual when 
at a distance that suggests a crowd shot is being taken.

> If I prefer not to have C++ programmers look at me,

I'm not responding to the more absurd part of your reductio ad absurdum as I 
don't think that there is a chain of logic linking the issue in question 
(mostly men photographing women) with the unusual hypothetical of someone not 
liking C++ programmers.

> surely
> it is my job to enforce that rather than have a conference-wide mandate
> that specifies who can and cannot look at other people?

As far as I can tell it was left to the individual to inform the photographer 
that they don't want to be photographed.


Earlier in this discussion I cited Autscape as an example of a conference with 
a strict policy regarding photographs.  Wear a black circle there and everyone 
knows that you don't want to be photographed.  I don't know whether people on 
the Autism Spectrum tend to have less of a desire to be photographed than NTs, 
I presume that the policy in question was designed to help people who can't 
handle the social interaction necessary to inform a photographer.

When the impudent finger is the only way that will convince a photographer to 
point their camera elsewhere it seems that there are social issues which might 
be helped by something as clear as a black circle.  NB I'm not suggesting that 
everyone who lacks a black circle is fair game.

> There were vegans
> and vegetarians at the conference, but should the whole conference be
> vegan? Should we have a policy of only allowing laptops if they are
> running a distribution of Linux - it is a FOSS conference after all?  Is
> there a point at which something like not wanting to be photographed is
> simply too difficult to implement conference-wide and must simply be dealt
> with on a personal level?

I think that the issue here is one of who is infringing who's rights.  It 
seems to me that everyone has the right to run whatever software they wish on 
their own computer, infringing that right sets a precedent that is bad for our 
community.  People have a right to food that won't make them sick, as an aside 
I agree with Ewen - I really hate the way so much American food has corn syrup 
which makes me sick and has no labels.

Taking a photo that is zoomed in is a deliberate action that can be perceived 
as hostile.  A photographer can just not do that.  Also given the current LCA 
policy it doesn't seem unreasonable for a photographer to take one picture 
without prior consent if it happens to capture something that wouldn't be 
available a moment later, in that case the photographer could delete the 
photograph if one of the subjects wished.

I think that there is room for debate about whether a photographer should be 
allowed to take one picture before getting consent (and I don't have a strong 
opinion on this issue).  But it does seem clear that the process of expressing 
a lack of consent shouldn't require the impudent finger.

My Main Blog         http://etbe.coker.com.au/
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