Comments on Tweaking the Moral UI

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  1. Cosigned.

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  2. cosigned indeed!

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  3. I pledge to be an adult. And if someone says, or behaves, toward me in a way that I find to be inappropriate, then I will deal with them as I see fit. Furthermore, if I see someone else in, or someone tells me of, a difficult situation, I will do my utmost to encourage them to also be an adult and stand up for themselves.

    Adults do not need codes of conduct.

    I think it’s far more disturbing that people know about these men who are behaving so abhorrently, and yet do nothing to drive them out. This is what needs to be fixed.

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  4. Cosign.

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  5. Cosigned.

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  6. Cosign.

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  7. Cosigned.

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  8. I agree on having and enforcing a code of conduct, but I’m afraid I’d say the example you’ve given is not clear, but woefully unclear.


    “Harassment includes, but is not limited to: offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion; sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; and any unwelcome sexual attention.”


    For example, what’s an “offensive” verbal comment? One that uses foul language or is delivered in vehement and hostile manner? Or just one that some people hotly disagree with?


    What’s “stalking”? I chatted with someone, I want to continue the conversation so I look for that person around the hotel and conference centre. Is that stalking? What if the other person (unknown to me) dislikes me and accuses me of stalking? What could my defence be? We know what extreme stalking looks like (probably not a single drunken phone call, IMO. That would be “oafishness”.) The code needs to be clearer; otherwise everything’s thrown to the possibly arbitrary judgement of the organizers.

    What’s “harassing” photography as opposed to regular photography? How do you know when intimidation is “deliberate”? For that matter, what is “intimidation”? Some people deliberately lace their speech with technical jargon with the intent of intimidating their listeners. Does this really constitute harassment in your mind, and would you sanction such people?

    I guess we know what “unwanted” sexual attention is, more or less. But what about *wanted* sexual attention. Presumably that’s allowed (maybe it shouldn’t be). And yet, how is someone to know in advance whether their sexual attentions are wanted or not? To make it clearer, what you ought to say is something. “Sexual attention known to unwanted,” or better, “persistent sexual attention known to be unwanted.”

    If you’re going to have a code of conduct (and I think you should), *every point* needs to be worked out to at least that degree of clarity.

     

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  9. Cosigned. :)

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  10. Cosigned.

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  11. cosigned

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  12. Cosigned.

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  13. Cosigned.

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  14. Cosigned.

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  15. Cosigned.

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  16. Cosigned.

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  17. Cosigned.

    Every conference, every workplace, needs a code of conduct that, as you say, spells out both expectations for behavior and for enforcing those expectations. People are messy and confusing, and in a world where some have distinctly more privilege than others, we need to do more than just say, “everyone be nice to each other.”

    Social awkwardness or inebriation may be causes of unwanted behavior, but they’re by no means excuses.

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  18. COSIGNED

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  19. Cosigned.

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  20. Cosigned

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  21. Cosigned.

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  22. cosigned.

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  23. Cosigned.

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  24. Cosigned, most definitely.

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  25. Cosigned

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  26. @Christopher Burd
    “how is someone to know in advance whether their sexual attentions are wanted or not?”

    I think it’s safe to say that you should not be giving sexual attention full stop. Even if this person is your beloved. If the person says “Please, give me sexual attention”, then perhaps that’s another story. However; sexual attention in a conference atmosphere is not acceptable in my opinion. So, let’s say that we shouldn’t be doing it.

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  27. Cosigned

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  28. Cosigned

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  29. cosigned.

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  30. Cosigned

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  31. Cosigned.

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  32. 100% agree with Gabb’s comment. Adults do not need codes of conduct, but reporting needs to encouraged more and stigmatized less. Holding up signs saying “do not harass”, “do not exploit” will do nothing unless people who have been harassed/exploited feel it’s safe to come forward. Until they feel safe to report, every conference organizer will feel that they don’t have a problem at their conference.

    To that end, the three main bullet points in the code of conduct (two of which have to do with reporting and consequences) are pretty good.

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  33. Cosigned.

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  34. Cosigned.

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  35. Cosigned

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  36. Cosigned.

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  37. Cosigned

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  38. cosigned.

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  39. Cosigned.

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  40. Cosigned.

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  41. @Adam Jenkins and @Gabby: It’d be great to have everyone act like adults. I look forward to living in that world. In the meantime, I’ve seen time and again that some will people harass and abuse, and when there’s no code, there’s often no recourse. Without identifying an infraction of a specific set of rules, it’s hard for an event to take action against a harasser. A CoC reduces the stigma of reporting, because it sets expectations about what will happen if you do report, identifies where to go, and sends a clear message that you’ll be heard.

    I see many people who would be helped by a CoC. So who do you think is harmed by having one? Saying adults shouldn’t need a CoC isn’t much of an argument to me.

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  42. With that out of the way I want to address:
    Adults do not need codes of conduct.

    And yet…

    And yet, there are laws that govern adults. And yet, bars and taverns have rules about refusing service or ejecting adults for bad behavior. And yet, businesses have posted rules for behavior in their establishments. And yet, all of our local transit systems have posted codes of conduct. And yet, at sporting events they remind you that inappropriate behavior will get you removed from the venue. And yet, HR departments exist.


    If adults don’t need codes of conduct, why do codes of conduct even exist?

    There are three things a conference code of conduct provides:
    1. An set expectation of behavior
    2. Clear consequences for violating those expectations
    3. Clear safe harbor for those who feel they have been violated


    I know about the two known problem people in our community. Their stories are hanging out there like so many Bill Cosby rumors. But you want people to report these known problems? Create an environment where it’s safe to step forward. A code of conduct is the first step towards providing that safety. After that, it’s up to the conference organizers to provide empathy as well as fairness.

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  43. Cosigned

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  44. Cosigned.

    Thank you for writing this, Christina.

     

    As an event organizer, as a speaker, as an attendee, as a designer, and as a person I, too, have had to deal with harassment (and more) of and by a variety of community members. In some cases, it had serious and long-lasting consequences.

     

    When I have raised these concerns with organizers (most often on behalf of others), responses have ranged from inaction to outright and sustained hostility. Decisive action was the least common response.

     

    This must stop.

     

    When we embody the values and ethics that we espouse in word and in deed, we can honestly say that we act with integrity.

     

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  45. Cosigned.

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  46. Cosigned.

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  47. Cosigned.

    (Thank you.)

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  48. cosigned

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  49. Cosigned.

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  50. Cosigned.

    Watching the enthusiasm of Andys and their pro team handle the security at XOXO was a thing of beauty. More conferences/events need to follow these guidelines. (Also more people need to stop doing their personal work while sitting in the front rows, but that’s a topic for a different thread.)

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  51. Cosigned.

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  52. I may be missing something obvious here, but I don’t think so. There is an elegant solution to the serial offenders issue - a central database.
    A good code will go a step further than enforcing the rules for its own event. It will commit to sharing reported offences with, and vetting all speakers (and possibly even attendees) against, that database.
    Yes, the database needs to be secure, and only verified conference organisers granted permission to query it (ask about specific individuals, not get a full offenders list). There will be other technicalities that need sorting out, too…

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  53. Cosigned.

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  54. cosigned

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  55. Cosigned.
    But the real problem comes when the conference organizers have to confront a speaker or other Known Person in the design community. As detailed in this article, reports of harassment are met in this circumstance with replies of “He was just drunk” or “He’s usually a nice guy.”

    Not sure if this is a sign of cowardice, or protecting one’s “spot” as a conference organizer, or just a blind spot (intentional or not).

    A Code of Conduct is meaningless if there is no enforcement behind it. And the web industry is not exactly known for enforcement of these policies when they actually matter, or when they are tested against a Person of Great Esteem.

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  56. Cosign.

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  57. Cosigned!

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  58. Wow! I appreciate the research behind this, Christina. I’m convinced. Cosigned. Sealed. Delivered. :-)

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  59. Cosigned

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  60. Brava. Cosigned.

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  61. Cosigned. Well said. Would be good to hear more about how to handle enforcement from the experience of people as attendees and organisers.

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  62. Cosigned

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  63. Cosigned.

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  64. Cosigned.

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  65. Cosigned.

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  66. Cosigned.

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  67. Cosigned

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  68. Cosigned. The hell out of.

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  69. Cosigned.

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  70. Cosigned.

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  71. Most of the behavior mentioned isn’t just against good morals, but also against the law. “Serial harassers” are serial criminals and need to be put in prison. Your Code of Conduct won’t do that, and may actually actively discourage that from happening.  If the answer to, “Why didn’t you go to the police?”, is often answered with “I went to the conference organizers.” You have a problem. If the code of conduct unintentionally discourages people to go the proper authorities, you are doing it wrong.

    Is there any evidence that having a code of conduct actually encourages good behavior, increases the percentage of incidents that get reported, improves incident response at the conference, or otherwise has an actual effect? I am genuinely curious, but fear that such data isn’t available.

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  72. Cosigned.

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  73. Cosigned.

    I may hope for the best from others, but my optimism springs from realism.

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  74. Cosigned. And about time, sadly.

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  75. Cosigned.

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  76. Cosigned.

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  77. Cosigned.

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  78. Cosigned

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  79. cosigned

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  80. Cosigned.

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  81. Consigned.

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  82. Cosigned.

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  83. I am already on the record elsewhere (maybe at Scalzi’s?) taking this pledge but I’m happy to consign it here as well.

    I also won’t speak on any all-male panels.

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  84. Cosigned. I appreciate the article as well as the comments, I’m glad these issues are being discussed.

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  85. I went to a hackathon and a couple short local conferences earlier this year. Which I’m fairly certain all had codes of conduct. Which I DID NOT READ, just like I don’t read the click-wrap agreements on software installs or website signups. (Hm, what percent of attendees actually do read the CoC if there is one? A couple quick searches doesn’t turn up anything.)

    People need to know how to report inappropriate behavior, but beyond that? If someone’s uncomfortable as a result of your behavior… guess what? It’s YOUR FAULT. Regardless of anything. And if you behave that way repeatedly, or don’t stop when asked, or miss signs that a reasonable person would find bloody obvious… guess what? You’ll get kicked out (assuming the organizers are even half sane), even if the organizers have to dig thru the fine print for the CYA “or any reason not listed” bit.

    Yes, I’m rather fond of personal responsibility over legalism.

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  86. Cosigned, of course.

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  87. Consigned. While I agree having a CoC doesn’t solve everything related to this issue, it’s a damn good start.

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  88. Cosigned.

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  89. Cosigned

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  90. J A Streich 4:53 pm on December 16, 2014
    Most of the behavior mentioned isn’t just against good morals, but also against the law. “Serial harassers” are serial criminals and need to be put in prison.

    Harassment alone is rarely a criminal offence (although it may well be behaviour that can lead to a lawsuit in a professional setting) and thus is almost always *not* appropriate to report to the police. Assaults are a different case, and if you don’t know the difference then do some reading. Comprehensive Codes of Conduct include the capacity for conference organisers to notify the authorities where breaches reach the level of criminality.

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  91. Cosigned.

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  92. Cosigned.

    And too the commenters that make the point of it not being clear. Yes, you might be right. Yes, it’s complicated. And no, it doesn’t fix the problem on its own. And yes, some of people might see it is the T&As; in software agreements that they click without thinking about. Does that mean it’s too hard and we shouldn’t try and deal with it, talk about it or communicate it?

    Let me change the example. Should the police in the USA not bother with changing their present behaviour because it’s too difficult? Should nobody hold them to account to a code of conduct (protect and serve)? Should it not be made clear what is and is not acceptable? Regardless of the fact that many police might choose to ignore it, its important to those on the other side to know that it’s there.

    Conference are multicultural events. Not just in terms of nationalities, but also tribes (UX, IxD, IA, business management, products, services, etc.). What’s “bloody obvious” as bad behaviour to one person may be the norm to others. In most cases I’ve heard of, however, harassment is clearly deliberate from the perpetrator’s point of view and they know exactly what they are doing and deliberately tread a blurry line in order to pass it off as a misunderstanding when the victim of that behaviour complains (the police use the term “resisting arrest”). The victim’s fear of being misunderstood plays into the perpetrator’s hands. Being able to say, “I didn’t just misunderstand this. We all agreed upon a standard of behaviour” and to know you’re going to be heard discreetly is enormously important.

    A CoC doesn’t solve everything. But it does make these ideas tangible and because they’re tangible we can actually have a discussion about it. That’s very valuable.

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  93. Cosigned. I am involved in a number of organizations that are working on codes of conduct. These go beyond just events but also covering behavior on email discussions, working group conference calls and board meetings. It is a difficult process and there is the predictable “do we really need this” argument along with those who say yes we do and go on to enforce their opinions with their own set of intimidating behaviors. (One discussion recently had the person promoting a CoC lamenting that “Be excellent to each other” ethic was not enough, and yet used offensive terms in his own argument).

    No one wants to examine their happy family and find there is a problem, but addressing it makes the family stronger. There is a right and a wrong way to do it. Name calling is wrong . Hiding libelous statements in quotes doesn’t protect you from a lawsuit. Giving someone a pass because of their past contribution to the group is unfair to the victim. Having a public discussion of an accusation is unfair to the accused.

    Inclusion is good but not if you turn it into a zoo. I was recently at an event in a predominantly male industry that had a lunch panel of female executives, where they were introduced with a statement to the effect of “We’re going to see why women would want to be in this industry. It’s not glamorous.” I was horrified. Enforcing mixed panels and making sure there is diversity on the speaker list is important. Holding that diversity up as a token is wrong.

    Christina, I appreciate your effort to keep this discussion going and look forward to seeing events with clearly understood and enforced CoCs.

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  94. Cosigned.

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  95. Cosigned.

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  96. Cosigned.

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  97. Cosigned!

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  98. Cosigned.

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  99. Cosigned.

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  100. Cosigned!

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  101. NOT cosigned. 

    I read ALA to learn about UI…not the fumblings of attention-seeking drunkards and unskilled pick-up artists. 

    I don’t have the desire to babysit grown adults who are incapable of resolving their own social interaction problems, by adding a bureaucracy to enforce social standards that are already in place.

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  102. Cosigned! Thank you so much for writing this.

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  103. Cosigned, both because it’s an excellent idea and also because I will use any excuse not to speak at conferences.

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  104. Cosign with caveat. Gabby and Christopher make valid points that should be considered by any CoC committee. It is my fervent hope that formalized investigation and action will put an end to the online character assassination that has been going on around this issue

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  105. @Jay and @Bärli, I’m ALA’s editor in chief. If you want to come to ALA to read about design, great—we’ll keep writing about that, too. But we’ve made a deeply considered choice that diversity, inclusivity, and safety are part of our editorial mission, too. (See We Have Work To Do, posted to the blog on 5/29/14, for background.)

    This is a real problem, and it’s hurting the industry we love. We’re not going to be silent about it.

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  106. cosigned

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  107. Cosigned.

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  108. @christian crumlish, I note and appreciate your refusal to speak on male-only panels, but also note the absence of a refusal to speak on white-only panels. Anticipating a possible objection, you can’t always assume from a name the sex or gender of an individual you haven’t met. And of course I cosign, not that I have any pending speaking opportunities!

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  109. Cosigned.

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  110. Cosigned.

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  111. Cosigned.

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  112. Cosigned.

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  113. Cosigned.

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  114. cosigned

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  115. Cosigned.

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  116. cosigned

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  117. Cosigned.

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  118. cosigned

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  119. Cosigned.

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  120. Cosigned.

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  121. Cosigned.

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  122. Consigned!

    I live in the Arab world where the “fact” here is: this never happens with us is something more of a religious “fact”.  A need is high for such awareness!

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  123. cosigned.

    Although I’ve yet to make it to any conferences (social anxiety issues), I have friends and colleagues who have been at the wrong end of such situations and am fully aware that this is more of a problem than some would accept.

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  124. Cosigned. CoC’s put serial offenders on notice and engender safer, more welcoming environments for attendees. I notice that not many people above have mentioned that a clear CoC *also* provides a framework for conference organizers and volunteers to react properly if needed. It cuts down on the amount of improv/grey-area-deciphering that needs to be done when an incident occurs, which in my opinion helps *all* parties (the accuser, the accused, and the mediators/enforcers).

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  125. cosigned.

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  126. When we have an enforced code of conduct, the organizers can have good conversations with dailydomaincoupons.com/, and hopefully people will be safer because perpetrators either change or are removed.

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  127. Cosigned

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  128. Cosigned on behalf of the @smashingconf team. To all who think a CoC was Kindergarten rules for adults: a CoC doesn’t indicate you have a racist or harrassment problem. It doesn’t mean that a conference organizer team is a moral police patrolling around all the time. It is an offer to help if someone needs or asks for help. It shows that the organizers pay attention and care about every participant.

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  129. Cosgined.

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  130. Cosigned.Harga Cat Murah

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  131. Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  132. cosigned indeed!! condomove.ca

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  133. Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  134. Sorry, commenting is closed on this article.