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This page documents discussion behind DebConf's policy of respect among all attendees.

This page shouldn't be considered an official policy: see our the website(s) for that. However, this is our internal documentation and does represent the views of most DebConf organizers.

Useful links for reference reading:

We have these questions right now:

  • Do we want something short or something long?
    • Something short: Assumes DebConf is pretty good already, and there is enough social pressure to encourage people to do the right thing. A short version would affirm that, from the top, we want respect for all, and tell how to get help from the top in case there were problems.
    • Something long: What is recommended by the geekfeminism organizers, and has a detailed list reminding people what to do and not do. Then it has "how to get help" from the organizers.
  • Should it be "Anti-harassment policy" or "Code of Conduct" or "Standards of Respect" or ... ?

To do each year:

  • Decide who will be the contact persons for problems (1-2 months in advance, since roles won't be entirely fixed by then). Create some contact means.
  • Update the "practical info" (emergency numbers, taxi information, hotlines, etc) 1-2 months in advance, if not done by local people earlier
  • Decide if our policy needs updating to be made more specific.

If this policy is announced, we should point out how this is not in response to specific incidents, but instead due to the desire of many of our team members desiring to ensure that everyone is happy attending our conference.

[edit] Short version

The rationale behind the short version is that DebConf is "pretty good" and we do not want to get too legalistic and specific. Instead, we want to show that we expect a positive environment, knowing that enough with the way DebConf is, we have enough critical mass of respectful people. We can elaborate on specific things in registration materials or welcome talks.

The downside is that not everyone does know what is "respectful". Some conferences really do need more detail. How do we know we aren't deluding ourselves?

DebConf is committed to a safe environment for all participants. All attendees are expected to treat all people and facilities with respect and help create a welcoming environment. If you notice behavior that fails to meet this standard, please speak up and help keep DebConf as respectful as we expect it to be.

If you are harassed and requests to stop are not successful, or notice a disrespectful environment, the organizers want to help. Please contact us at <INFO HERE, not the mailing list>. We will treat your request with dignity and confidentiality, investigate, and take whatever actions appropriate. We can provide information on security, emergency services, transportation, alternative accommodations, or whatever else may be necessary. If mediation is not successful, DebConf reserves the right to to take action against those who do not cease unacceptable behavior.

This short version is short and positive enough to place at the bottom of the DCN main page.

[edit] Long version

The geekfeminism people recommend a long version be posted somewhere. The advantages are that it explicitely lists things not to do. Disadvantages include being legalistic, overly specific, missing things, and the fact that fixed rules in Debian/DebConf usually aren't the preferred way of doing things.


Look at the OSDC policy for a basic long policy to comment on. If someone would like, copy and past the long version into here for modification for DebConf purposes.

[edit] Other information to include on our website each year

Regardless of if the short version or the long version is picked, there is some information which has been established to help attendees feel safe. This should be included in some fashion.

Instead of re-listing things here, for now see the main site.

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