Get your conference anti-harassment policy here!

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!

18 thoughts on “Get your conference anti-harassment policy here!

  1. Moose

    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.”

    1. Leigh Honeywell

      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

      1. Moose

        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.

    1. vaurora Post author

      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!

  2. Question...

    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.

    1. Mary

      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.

    2. Dave Neary

      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?


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