Get your conference anti-harassment policy here!

2010 November 29

It’s official: The example conference anti-harassment policy is out of beta and ready for prime time.

This is a example anti-harassment policy suitable for most open source, computing, or technology-related conferences. It may be adopted unchanged or tweaked to suit your conference.

Why have an official anti-harassment policy for your conference? First, it is necessary (unfortunately). Harassment at conferences is incredibly common – for example, see this timeline of sexist incidents in geek communities. Second, it sets expectations for behavior at the conference. Simply having an anti-harassment policy can prevent harassment all by itself. Third, it encourages people to attend who have had bad experiences at other conferences. Finally, it gives conference staff instructions on how to handle harassment quickly, with the minimum amount of disruption or bad press for your conference.

OSDC 2010 wins the prize for first adoption of an anti-harassment policy based on this version. Thanks to Donna Benjamin for her hard work and editorial talent!

Which conference will be next? Email the organizers of your favorite conference and ask about their policy for dealing with harassment:

If your favorite conference isn’t listed above, leave a comment with its web site and contact email address, and we will move it into the list above.

If you or someone you know has been affected by harassment at a conference, please blog about it and link back to this post. Thanks!

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This post was written by vaurora.

Valerie Aurora has been a Linux/UNIX kernel developer since 2000, and an active volunteer for women in computing since 2001.

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23 Responses
  1. John permalink
    November 30, 2010


  2. Woodrow "asim" Jarvis Hill permalink
    November 30, 2010

    YAPC 2011: (Can’t find a general email address for either it or the sponsoring Perl Foundation…)

  3. Barbara permalink
    November 30, 2010

    CodeMash: or

  4. Moose permalink
    November 30, 2010

    FWIW: I have yet to actually attend the Central Pennsylvania Open Source Conference (
    A couple of years ago I was supposed to speak (I sadly had to cancel due to illness). That was also the year that I had sent all of the speakers for the Ohio LinuxFest a note saying “We will not tolerate any inappropriate or sexualized images or speech in your talks.” I encouraged the CPOSC people to do the same.

    They thanked me for my concern but told me, “We don’t have that kind of problem here.”

    • Leigh Honeywell permalink*
      December 6, 2010

      snarky-me wonders if they “don’t have that problem” because they don’t have anyone doing inappropriate things, or just because they don’t have any women attending :p

      • Moose permalink
        December 8, 2010

        Just-as-Snarky-Me will eventually make it to the event just so I can watch for sexist crap and, when I see it, show it to the conference organizers.

        Note I don’t even bother with the “if.” Sadly I find that sexism is like computer break-ins, you can’t stop it, you can only try to prevent most of it.

  5. Deb permalink
    December 1, 2010

    I blogged about The Importance of Allies, in the struggle to change the tone at free software events.

  6. Dave Neary permalink
    December 2, 2010


    As I said here: I plan to ensure that the Desktop Summit has an attendees policy (including anti-harassment) this year, to go with our speaker policy. So I guess you can add the Desktop Summit to your list of conferences, along with the email address (and list us as one of the good guys?)


  7. Lord Drachenblut permalink
    December 2, 2010

    or me personally as the president of Indiana F/oss Society the organization putting this together

    lord dot drachenblut at indianalinux dot org

  8. Kim Moir permalink
    December 3, 2010

    EclipseCon also has one now



    • vaurora permalink
      December 4, 2010

      Thanks, Kim! Just FYI, I didn’t add it to the list of conferences using a policy based on this policy because, well, it isn’t based on it. :) But it’s good to see that EclipseCon has a policy and I hope other conferences follow suit!

  9. Matt Lee permalink
    December 4, 2010

    Please add the Free Software Foundation’s LibrePlanet conference — — to the list —

  10. Question... permalink
    December 6, 2010

    So… do you actually code anything or contribute to the open source software / hardware community in any tangible way or do you just bitch and moan about having a period and write conference conduct policies?

    It is a legitimate inquiry.

    • vaurora permalink
      December 6, 2010

      Anyone feel like replying to this one? I need to update my resume anyway…

    • Mary permalink
      December 6, 2010

      All contributors to Geek Feminism are required to fail a coding test before being allowed to post and I’m happy to report that Valerie Aurora, alleged author of relatime patches and union mounts, failed comprehensively.

      I don’t know who really wrote that code, but thank goodness she didn’t, or we’d have to admit that feminists can make societal critiques and do other work, and that would decrease the amount of tedious flaming in the world, at an immense cost to the entire Internet.

      • sigflup permalink
        December 6, 2010

        No this is not a legitimate inquiry

    • Dave Neary permalink
      December 7, 2010

      This is all the funnier given who you’re replying to.

      I guess people who don’t know how to use Google need to ask to find out if someone has community development experience…

      Valerie’s LinkedIn page says she’s into “filing systems” (or something like that) – so maybe she’s a secretary?


  11. Moose permalink
    December 8, 2010

    By the way, the draft policy for the Ohio LinuxFest is here:

    Since its existence we have lost one person aligned with the event who claims to “refuse to work with any group that has such a policy.” I say, no loss.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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  2. An inside look at being a women in open source « Valerie Aurora
  3. On Conference Harrassment… - Rusty Russell's Coding Blog
  4. 6 reasons event organizers should adopt the Conference Anti-Harassment Policy | Geek Feminism Blog
  5. “Why don’t you just hit him?” | Geek Feminism Blog

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