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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9 Responses leave one →
  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.”

  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

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