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Another strike against free speech for the PC police.



I was surprised that the code of conduct was all about what you shouldn't do, instead of what was expected of the attendees.

Telling adults, "Be careful in the words that you choose." does give the code the Code a patina of Political Correctness. I was half expecting the next paragraph to warn me to look both ways before crossing the street.

The Code has a very broad definition of harassment that makes no distinction between a one time comment and a pattern of repetitive behaviour intended to intimidate or cause harm.

I see that "following" is one of the actions that defines harassment. How does that differ from stalking? I assume they are not referring to Twitter.

From what I understand, the code was approved by the Board of Directors of the PSF, and not the PSF as a whole. Please, correct me if I am wrong. This is ironic since one of the Board members was walking around the conference last year with a damaged stuffed python toy asking, "Would you like to see my one eyed snake?"

This was said to one of my female colleagues. I asked her if she would like me to say something and she replied, "No, it is just creepy, but I'm an adult."

The Board's aspiration to create a welcoming environment is laudable and this spirit is very much a part of the Python community. I don't think that the Code, as worded, helps accomplish this. It is overly broad and loosely defined. The result is that it sounds like an attempt to infantilize the attendees and proscribe behaviour that may be part of vigorous exchanges of points of view.

I am sure that this is not what the Board intended, but you would wish for a more articulate expression from a group of engineers who would not tolerate this sense of generality in their code.


As the female colleague, I'm going to throw my 2 cents in, here.

I don't need anyone to speak up for me about anything. I'm outspoken enough that if I was actually offended by something I would say something myself. The ridiculous one-eyed snake joke was not ill-intended, nor did I feel harassed, and I'm going to remove myself as an example, here.

Let's not derail the conversation that needs to be had about CoCs. It's a little ridiculous to discount the attempts that are being made to make the community better because one of the directors that helped write it told an off-color joke at a conference that one time.


I disliked the wording of the code of conduct and have tried a few times writing up what I wanted to say and haven't been able to. This is the perfect response for why I don't like the current wording of the CoC.

In spirit it is good idea but they rushed into it and didn't do enough discussion about it before approving the current one.

I was also witness to the one eyed snake board member and to me I thought it was funny and didn't think he was doing any harm but now that the PSF is taking a stance against these types of actions, will the rules hold up against their own?


The O'Reilly Conference Code of Conduct seems to be reasonable. http://oreilly.com/conferences/code-of-conduct.html

The first sentence really sets the tone: "At O'Reilly, we assume that most people are intelligent and well-intended, and we're not inclined to tell people what to do"


And how is offering guidelines for inappropriate behavior including explicit guidelines for conflict resolution trampling on your rights to free speech at a private event?

I guess harassment falls under free speech. My bad dog.


>trampling on your rights to free speech at a private event?

Speech should be free in public AND in private events.

Else you get societies giving lip service to the idea of "free speech" in public, and then destroying the public spaces of discourse.

(How about Google censoring your email or blog? It's their private infrastructure after all).

>I guess harassment falls under free speech.

No, it's just that white Americans have no idea what harassment means. Some guy showing a slide with a bikini model at a Ruby conference was enough to cause a "moral outrage" a couple of years ago.

(And, no, it's not about the relevance of the slide, which meant as a joke: if he had shown something equally non relavant, like a Star Wars joke or a LoTR joke, everybody would have been fine with it).


You have every right to speak like a knuckle-dragging troglodyte. The PyCon folks also have every right to say for you to do it somewhere other than their private convention space.


Well, if George Carlin was a python developer, I for one, would have loved to see him speak.

And I have no problem with how Linus talks, without concern for self-censorship.

Funny how we owe a large of the success of open source (and most of Linux) to a "knuckle-dragging troglodyte"...


Linus may be known for his usage of four-letter words, but the code of conduct isn't (primarily) about profanity. It's about sexism and harassment, and I haven't known Linus to participate in or condone either.

(Another tangential point about Linus and language: he is very good at targeting his profanity. He doesn't drop f-bombs every third sentence, he saves them for when they are most effective. I don't think "knuckle-dragging troglodyte" quite applies.)


This isn't about getting rid of the George Carlins of the python scene, this is about getting rid of the Morton Downey Jrs of the tech scene. Being a bit blue is a lot different than using degrading, insulting, and irrelevant images in your talks. Codes of conduct like these aren't about stripping away all four letter words, they're about getting rid of presentations like "perform like a porn star," which only serve to detract from the larger scene and message.


Free speech is granted to ensure that oppression can be beaten by language, not to permit people to use language to systemically oppress.


I don't know that free speech is granted to insure that oppression can be defeated or overcome by language, but that is a different discussion.

Free speech, as defined by numerous Supreme Court decisions, protects speech that expresses ideas, however distasteful, but does not tolerate advocating of action that will cause harm, nor statements whose sole purpose is to invoke an altercation--"fighting words".

The clear distinction from Oliver Wendell Holmes is that you can yell, "Fire!", but not in a crowded theatre. Free speech is not without limits.

So you can legally say that someone is ugly, but you cannot advocate assaults on people that you perceive as ugly.




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