Code of Conduct

This document lays out what we expect from attendees and participants at Pandemonio, as well as how problems should be reported and escalated and how we will deal with problems that may arise.

Our goal

Pandemon.io is a business conference that encourages networking, collaboration, and learning. Every attendee, speaker, and organizer contributes to the event by sharing their time, thoughts, and ideas. We want to create a safe, productive environment for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We also want to be clear what will happen if problems occur.

 

What we expect from you

All delegates/attendees, speakers, exhibitors, organizers and volunteers at are required to conform to the following Code of Conduct at the conference itself, parties, and related off-site events. As organizers, we will do whatever we believe is necessary to ensure that Pandemonio is a safe and productive environment for everyone.

This means:

  • Don’t harass people. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form, either online or in person, and neither should you. This includes stalking, derogatory comments, and unwanted sexual advances. If you’re unclear what constitutes harrassment, see below.
  • Communicate appropriately. All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Racist, sexist, or derogatory content in presented content or imagery. Speakers and exhibitors must use good judgement to ensure that the audience doesn’t feel marginalized by their presentation.
  • Stop immediately. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior, whether by other attendees or event staff, are expected to comply immediately.
  • Handle situations appropriately. Try to address problems immediately, directly, and tactfully.
  • Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate for Pandemonio.

We’d like to borrow a line from the Flickr Community Guidelines, which use the term Creepiness as follows: “You know the guy. Don’t be that guy.” If we hear that you are “that guy” (regardless of your gender), we will investigate and take any action we feel is appropriate, including asking you to leave.

What is harassment?

We assume that most people are intelligent and well-intentioned, and we’re not inclined to tell people what to do. However, we’ve recently come to see that sometimes it’s necessary to spell out the behavior we support and don’t support at conferences.

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, public shaming both as provocation and retalliation, and unwelcome sexual attention.

This applies not only to attendees, but to exhibitors and sponsors. In particular, exhibitors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material. Choose words carefully. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Excessive swearing and offensive jokes do not create the kind of welcoming, participatory dialogue we want to bring to the conference.

Contacting someone

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the conference staff. Conference staff will be wearing Staff badges and/or shirts.

If the matter is especially urgent, please call/contact any of these individuals:

 

Conference staff will do what’s necessary to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

Attendee Procedure for Handling Harassment

These procedures have been adopted from the Ada Initiative’s guide entitled “Conference anti-harassment/Responding to Reports.”

  1. Keep in mind that all conference staff will be clearly marked as staff, wearing shirts and badges and in some cases using radios to communicate. The staff will also be prepared to handle the incident. All of our staff are informed of the code of conduct policy and guide for handling harassment at the conference.
  2. Report the harassment incident (preferably in writing) to a conference staff member. All reports are confidential.

When reporting the event to staff, try to gather as much information as available, but do not interview people about the incident. Staff will assist you in writing the report/collecting information.

The important information consists of:

  • Identifying information (name/affiliation) of the participant doing the harassing.
  • The behavior that was in violation.
  • The approximate time and location of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made.)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident, particularly online and in-person interactions between those involved before, during, and after the incident.
  • Other people involved in the incident.

Pandemonio staff has been briefed on the Code of Conduct procedure and how to proceed with the situation.

If everyone is presently physically safe, involve law enforcement or security only at a victim’s request. If you do feel your safety in jeopardy please do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement by dialing 911. If you do not have a cell phone, you can ask a staff member.

If at all possible, all reports should be made directly to a member of the Pandemon.io organizing team.

Staff procedure for handling harassment

Be sure to have a good understanding of our Code of Conduct policy, and attendee instructions for handling harassment, which can be found on the Pandemon.io website.

Try to get as much of the incident in written form by the reporter. If you cannot, transcribe it yourself as it was told to you.

The important information consists of:

  • Identifying information (name/affiliation) of the participant doing the harassing.
  • The behavior that was in violation.
  • The approximate time and location of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made.)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident, particularly online and in-person interactions between those involved before, during, and after the incident.
  • Other people involved in the incident.

Prepare an initial response to the incident. This initial response is very important and will set the tone for Pandemon.io.

The primary concern must always be the safety of the victim of harrassment, so follow these initial guidelines:

  • If there is any general threat to attendees or the safety of anyone including conference staff is in doubt, summon security or police.
  • Offer the victim a private place to sit.
  • Ask, “is there a friend or trusted person who you would like to be with you?” If so, arrange for someone to fetch this person.
  • Ask them “how can I help?”
  • Provide them with emergency contacts if they need help later.
  • If everyone is presently physically safe, involve law enforcement or security only at the victim’s request.

There are also some things you should not to do in your response:

  • Do not overtly invite them to withdraw the complaint or mention that withdrawal is OK. This suggests that you want them to do so, and is therefore coercive. Saying, “if you’re okay with pursuing the complaint,” is acceptable because suggests that you are by default pursuing it, and is therefore not coercive.
  • Do not ask for the victim’s advice on how to deal with the complaint, or into penalties. These are the responsibility of the staff.

Once something is reported to a staff member, immediately meet with the conference chair and/or event coordinator.

The main objective of this meeting is to find out the following:

  • What happened?
  • What are we doing about it?
  • Who is doing those things?
  • When are they doing them?

After the staff meeting and discussion, have a staff member (preferably the conference chair or event coordinator if available) communicate with the alleged harasser. Make sure to inform them of what has been reported about them.

Allow the alleged harasser to give their side of the story to the staff. After this point, if the report stands, let the alleged harasser know what actions will be taken against them. Whatever decision is reached, the primary concern must be the safety of the victim.

Some things for the staff to consider when dealing with Code of Conduct offenders:

  • Warning the harasser to cease their behavior, and that any further reports will result in sanctions.
  • Requiring that the harasser avoid any interaction with, and physical proximity to, their victim for the remainder of the event.
  • Ending a talk that violates the policy.
  • Not publishing the video or slides of a talk, or removing the content that violated the policy.
  • Not allowing a speaker who violated the policy to give (further) talks at the event now or in the future.
  • Immediately ending any event volunteer responsibilities and privileges the harasser holds.
  • Requiring that the harasser not volunteer for future events your organization runs (either indefinitely or for a certain time period.)
  • Requiring that the harasser immediately leave the event and not return.
  • Banning the harasser from future events (either indefinitely or for a certain time period.)
  • Removing a harasser from membership of relevant organizations.

You can give an accused harasser a place to appeal, but in the meantime, the report stands. Do not encourage the harasser to issue an apology.

It is very important how we deal with the incident publicly. Make sure that everyone aware of the initial incident is also made aware that it contravened the Code of Conduct, and that official action has been taken, while still respecting the privacy of individual attendees. If some attendees were angered by the incident, it is best to apologize to them that the incident occurred to begin with. You may also suggest to these attendees that they write an email to the conference chair or to the event coordinator, which will be handled promptly.

When speaking to individuals who are aware of the incident, but were not involved with it directly, it is a good idea to keep the details out.

Depending on the incident, the conference chair or his designate may decide to make public announcements. If necessary, this will be done with a short announcement either during the plenary and/or through other channels. No one other than the conference chair or someone delegated authority from the conference chair should make any announcements or public statements beyond confirming that the incident is being handled according to this Code of Conduct, and referring people to the Code of Conduct for further information.