Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy

Write/Speak/Code is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

This code of conduct applies to all Write/Speak/Code spaces both online and off. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the Write/Speak/Code.

Some Write/Speak/Code spaces may have additional rules in place, which will be made clearly available to participants. Participants are responsible for knowing and abiding by these rules.

Harassment includes:

  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion.
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names.
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour in spaces where they’re not appropriate.
  • Physical contact and simulated physical contact (eg, textual descriptions like “*hug*” or “*backrub*”) without consent or after a request to stop.
  • Threats of violence.
  • Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm.
  • Deliberate intimidation.
  • Stalking or following.
  • Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes.
  • Sustained disruption of discussion.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
  • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse.
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication.

Write/Speak/Code prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. Write/Speak/Code will not act on complaints regarding:

  • ‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you.”
  • Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial
  • Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions

Conference organizers can be contacted by email at: info@writespeakcode.com

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

  • Rachel Ober: (347) 915-5709
  • Rebecca Miller-Webster: (347) 735-6615

Staff Procedure for incident handling

Warnings
Any member of conference staff can issue a verbal warning to a participant that their behavior violates the conference's anti-harassment policy. Warnings should be reported to info@writespeakcode.com as soon as practical.

The report should include:

  • Identifying information (name/badge number) of the participant
  • The time you issued the warning
  • The behavior that was in violation
  • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time of warning)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Your identity
  • Other people involved in the incident

Presentations
Presentations or similar events should not be stopped for one-time gaffes or minor problems, although a member of conference staff should speak to the presenter afterward. However, staff should take immediate action to politely and calmly stop any presentation or event that repeatedly or seriously violates the anti-harassment policy. For example, simply say "I'm sorry, this presentation cannot be continued at the present time" with no further explanation.

Taking Reports
When taking a report from someone experiencing harassment you should record what they say and reassure them they are being taken seriously, but avoid making specific promises about what actions the organizers will take. Ask for any other information if the reporter has not volunteered it (such as time, place) but do not pressure them to provide it if they are reluctant. Even if the report lacks important details such as the identity of the person taking the harassing actions, it should still be recorded and passed along to the appropriate staff member(s). If the reporter desires it, arrange for an escort by conference staff or a trusted person, contact a friend, and contact local law enforcement. Do not pressure the reporter to take any action if they do not want to do it. Respect the reporter's privacy by not sharing unnecessary details with others, especially individuals who were not involved with the situation or non-staff members.

The report should include:

  • Identifying information (name/badge number) of the participant
  • The time you issued the warning
  • The behavior that was in violation
  • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time of warning)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Your identity
  • Other people involved in the incident

Expulsion
A participant may be expelled by the decision of any of the above listed entities for whatever reasons they deem sufficient. However, here are some general guidelines for when a participant should be expelled:

  • A third offense resulting in a warning from staff
  • Continuing to harass after any "No" or "Stop" instruction
  • A pattern of harassing behavior, with or without warnings
  • A single serious offense (e.g., punching or groping someone)
  • A single obviously intentional offense (e.g., taking up-skirt photos)

Hotel/venue security and local authorities should be contacted when appropriate.

Public Statements
As a general rule, conference staff should not make any public statements about the behavior of individual people during or after the conference.

In general, consult with other staff members when possible but act when necessary.

This anti-harassment policy is based on the example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers.