I’ve been asked a few question in other channels, and wanted to reply here
Q. Would I speak at a conference that had the elements of a Code of Conduct, but didn’t call it that?
A. Absolutely. It’s about safety, not semantics. In fact, if a conference felt they could be safer and more inclusive with an alternative, I’d be happy to see people iterative and improve.
What are the elements? What was listed in my article —tl;dr
1. Key expectations for what is expected in people’s behavior, and what will not be tolerated. This must prohibit harassment.
2. A clear reporting path with consequences. (see above article for details)
Q. What do lawyers and insurance say?
A. This varies a LOT by venue and country. If you are an organizer, your best bet is to contact your lawyer/insurance company. Some requires a CoC, some might raise rates if liability is an issue. Others got lower rates. As well, the language you use in the CoC is important to how it will be interpreted if there is an incident. This is the standard most tech confernces are now adoptiong http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Conference_anti-harassment/Policy and has been vetted.
Q. Can’t we just shut down the alcohol?
A. Considering many conferences are held in hotels that have bars, or on streets with bars, good luck with that. Restricting the alcohol by providing limited numbers of drink tickets or having a cash bar can help. But truly bad actors use alcohol as an excuse. It doesn’t turn decent people into bad people, it just lowers inhibitions. If you want to know more about how alcohol affects people (it’s very cultural) this is a very readable article http://gladwell.com/drinking-games/
Many other common questio s I’ve been asked have better answers writted by Ashley Dreyden. Check it out here. http://www.ashedryden.com/blog/codes-of-conduct-101-faq
She also consults on Codes of Conduct and conference safety. I am not an expert, I merely researched this extensively before writing. I recommend you reach out to her with your hard questions. Thanks!