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Wiki help: anti-harassment policies

I’ve been sketching out an expansion to the Conference anti-harassment pages over on the wiki, but I could use a lot of help. Get your wiki editing game on, or alternatively leave info and ideas in comments here and someone will pull them into the wiki. If you are new to wiki editing, please see Wikia’s introduction to wiki editing.

Gather posts about anti-harassment policies

Several communities have had extensive online discussion of adopting anti-harassment policies now, most recently was the campaign to get skeptical and secular events to adopt policies. We’d like to gather the links together on one page, the Conference anti-harassment reading page. If you’d like to help out, please seek out links discussing anti-harassment policies and add them to the appropriate section:

  1. Adoption of policies, for pages about drafting policies, or announcing their adoption or similar
  2. Support of policies, for pages in support of adopting policies
  3. Opposition to policies, for pages opposing adopting policies

Suggest actions in support of anti-harassment policies

Many people would like to support anti-harassment policy adoption, and I’ve created a short list of actions that support policy adoption. Please expand this with effective actions you know of!

Design buttons and ribbons

One of the ways people have shown support of policies is by distributing buttons, ribbons, stickers and so on for supporters to wear at conferences. Please share your designs so that others can use them!

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About Mary

Mary is a women in tech activist, a programmer, a writer, and a sometime computational linguist. She writes at Her previous projects include co-founding the Ada Initiative and major contributions to the Geek Feminism blog. She's @me_gardiner on Twitter.

4 thoughts on “Wiki help: anti-harassment policies

  1. Mary Post author

    As as a clarification: while examples of policies are great and welcome, I was looking more for commentary on policies: “we should have a policy due to X”, “we shouldn’t have a policy due to Y”.

  2. AMM

    I’ve been reading about the ReaderCon (see the comments on, plus the links in
    and, based on what happened, I would suggest the following points:

    1. Don’t institute a policy that you would not be willing to enforce against on
    e of your friends.

    ReaderCon had a life-time ban as the punishment, which no one had a problem with
    when it was enforced against someone no one liked, but when someone who was mor
    e popular behaved the same way, they weren’t willing to impose the promised life
    time ban. As anyone who has kids knows, making a threat and then not carrying i
    t out blows your credibility to hell.

    2. If your policy contains explicit procedures and consequences, give whoever i
    s enforcing the policy more than one option.

    ReaderCon’s policy had exactly one option: lifetime ban.

    3. Apologies and repentance should not be a factor. Demonstrated change of beh
    avior could conceivably make a difference, but nobody seems to know how to tell
    if it’s genuine. (Abusers are great at gaming any system.)

    ReaderCon justified violating their policy by saying that the offender had apolo
    gized and shown that he had seen the error of his ways, but nobody but the Reade
    rCon board believed it.

    I would also add (from other experiences):

    4. If you want to stop some type of bad behavior (whether harassment or bank ro
    bbery or not flushing the toilet), it’s far more effective to increase the likel
    ihood of being caught than to increase the severity of the punishment. That is,
    you want a system that will get used in a large enough percentage of the actual
    incidents that harassers will actually worry about getting reported.

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