By now you may have already encountered and/or read more than your fair share of the PyCon cluster-wah and how it all went down with developers, a “joke,” a picture, a tweet, and a technology evangelist.
The net result of the Adria Richards vs “Dongles” was that she was relieved of her job at SendGrid as well as the developer who made the comment.
For sure, this isn’t the first time that Adria Richards has publicly come forward and shared her perspective with others and I imagine it won’t be her last – for example, she once made this comment on Jen Mylo’s blog about an image for WordCamp San Francisco 2011:
I’m disappointed to see the woman in the modified cartoon is portrayed as not understanding what she’s talking about vs the original comic http://xkcd.com/867.
In the original comic, she is presenting at a conference and stating she believes a certain species should be reclassified. In the WordPress one, she is saying something works but has no idea how it does (but it must work because everyone agrees it does).
Did you consider the statements the characters were making and how their gender and power placement before creating this?
The female presenter look like a total ditz. And even if it were true that she was, it’s the responsibility of organizations to ensure positive (or neutral) messages about gender in the workplace are promoted; not ones that reinforce stereotypes.
Had to put my $0.02 in on this one because I’m a long time WordPress user, will be attending Wordcamp SF next week, am a fan of xkcd comics and Randall plus truly enjoyed Randall’s Google+ discussion on women / society’s treatment of women and public gender disclosure – https://plus.google.com/111588569124648292310/posts/SeBqgN9Zoiu
So Adria’s been around WordPress and our lovely community as well. For the record, I wish her the very best and I hope she’s able to move on strongly with her career with some great personal lessons learned.
But what does this have to do with WordPress and with the events that we, collectively, put together through local meetups, Foundation-sponsored WordCamps, and even independently-financed gatherings?
PyCon, short for Python Conference, is an event surrounding another open source software language and one that I can remember dabbling in while attending Georgia Tech. I, for one, hated it and it never grabbed my attention but that’s a story for another day.
With WordPress we face the same thing – we’re a community around an open source software and language and hold events all the time. Is there anything that we can learn from the PyCon event and positively take something away?
There’s a lot of commentary already around sexism, software development culture, threats, violence, and the like so I don’t want to rehash any of that here but I think there is one thing, at the very least, that we can take away collectively for the greater good.
You see, the one thing that PyCon had is an actual Code of Conduct. It’s a code that’s in place for all sponsors, attendees, and speakers so that there is one accordance in terms of action and deed. In other words, a system for managing and handling bad behavior (good behavior is excused).
So here’s the issue (only a small one perhaps) – some WordCamps have a similar code of conduct but there is not yet an official code or document available from WordCamp Central. It has not been seen, at least publicly, to be a super-high priority but enough Googling will show you that it’s somewhere in the roadmap for development.
I propose that we strongly move forward with a Code of Conduct officially – and perhaps 2011 San Francisco is a good place to start, since they actually had one for their event:
WordCamp San Francisco believes our community should be truly open for everyone. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, preferred operating system, programming language, or text editor.
This code of conduct outlines our expectations for participant behavior as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior.
We invite all sponsors, volunteers, speakers, attendees, and other participants to help us realize a safe and positive conference experience for everyone.
2. Open Source Citizenship
A supplemental goal of this code of conduct is to increase open source citizenship by encouraging participants to recognize and strengthen the relationships between what we do and the community at large.
In service of this goal, WordCamp San Francisco organizers will be taking nominations for exemplary citizens throughout the event and will recognize select participants after the conference on the WCSF website.
If you see someone who is making an extra effort to ensure our community is welcoming, friendly, and encouraging all participants to contribute to the fullest extent, we want to know. You can nominate someone at the Registration table or online at http://2011.sf.wordcamp.org/happy-campers/
3. Expected Behavior
- Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative.
- Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behavior and speech.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert conference organizers if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.
- Participate in an authentic and active way. In doing so, you help to create WordCamp San Francisco and make it your own.
4. Unacceptable Behavior
Unacceptable behaviors include: intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory or demeaning conduct by any attendees of WordCamp San Francisco and related events. All WordCamp San Francisco venues may be shared with members of the public; please be respectful to all patrons of these locations.
Harassment includes: offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability; inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces (including presentation slides); deliberate intimidation, stalking or following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.
5. Consequences Of Unacceptable Behavior
Unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated whether by other attendees, organizers, venue staff, sponsors, or other patrons of WordCamp San Francisco venues.
Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.
If a participant engages in unacceptable behavior, the conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including expulsion from the conference without warning or refund.
6. What To Do If You Witness Or Are Subject To Unacceptable Behavior
If you are subject to unacceptable behavior, notice that someone else is being subject to unacceptable behavior, or have any other concerns, please notify a conference organizer as soon as possible.
The WordCamp San Francisco team will be available to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, to provide escorts, or to otherwise assist those experiencing unacceptable behavior to feel safe for the duration of the conference. Volunteers will be meaning white lanyards. Any volunteer can connect you with a conference organizer.
We expect all conference participants (sponsors, volunteers, speakers, attendees, and other guests) to abide by this code of conduct at all conference venues and conference-related social events.
8. Contact Information
Jane Wells, Rose Goldman, Andrea Middleton, [email protected]
9. License And Attribution
This Code of Conduct is a direct swipe from the awesome work of Open Source Bridge, but with our event information substituted. The original is available at http://opensourcebridge.org/about/code-of-conduct/ and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.
I think this will help establish a baseline for the greater good and community and start becoming a part of our culture and vernacular. Regardless of how you feel about Adria Richards and who’s side you’re on it’s simply unfortunate that it had to happen at all. What a waste of time.
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