The PyCon Code of Conduct sets standards for how our community interacts with others during the conference. For 2018 the Code of Conduct underwent an extensive overhaul, our procedures for reporting and responding to incidents were improved, and our on-site methods were improved. You can read more about the updates for 2018 here.
Cumulatively these changes were meant to improve the safety, welcoming nature, and overall inclusivity of PyCon. Based on initial responses, feedback, and incidents reported this year we feel that we made progress on those goals.
A Code of Conduct without appropriate reporting and response procedures is difficult to enforce transparently, and furthermore a lack of transparency in the outcomes of Code of Conduct incidents leaves the community without knowledge of how or if the organizers worked to resolve incidents.
With that in mind, we have prepared the following to help the community understand what kind of incidents we received reports about and how the PyCon staff responded.
This year, PyCon Staff and Incident Responders were notified of 12 incidents. For summary purposes we categorized each report using a tenant of our standards and expectations of attendees.
10 were considered to be potential Code of Conduct matters:
- Four related to unwelcome sexual attention or advances
- Four related to other conduct that is inappropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds
- One related to unwelcome physical contact
- One related to sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or exclusionary jokes
The two remaining reports were classified as Police Matters:
- One regarding a missing persons report, we referred the reporter to the local police.
- One regarding alleged attendee behavior at a local establishment unrelated to PyCon.
Of the 10 potential Code of Conduct matters:
- Six were resolved on site
- One was resolved post-conference
- One is still undergoing resolution
- Two could not be resolved as we did not have enough information to positively identify the person being reported.
The two unresolved incidents related to other conduct that is inappropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds:
- A snide non-question question at a talk.
- An incident of cultural appropriation.
Summary of Reported Incidents
- An attendee was reported twice for unwanted sexual attention or advances. PyCon staff were able to identify the person but unable to contact them before the second incident. The reported attendee was removed from the conference, badge was forfeited, and they were instructed not to return. Conference center staff, PyCon Staff, and Incident Responders were directed to keep watch for the individual, who did not return.
- An attendee made exclusionary statements and stated that the PyCon Code of Conduct excluded some attendees while eating breakfast with other attendees. PyCon Staff made contact with the reported attendee to discuss their concerns about the PyCon Code of Conduct and to reaffirm it's protection of all attendees. The reported person was told not to make exclusionary statements at PyCon and to keep a professional focus in further communication. No further follow up was taken.
- An attendee was reported for their response to an incident of cultural appropriation. The reported attendee was wearing a traditional garb from another culture when another attendee approached them to discuss the meaning of the clothing. Later the reported attendee approached the other attendee in a confrontational manner, expecting them to further explain. PyCon Staff was unable to identify the individual for follow up.
- An attendee asked a question during the question and answer period of a talk, the presenter's answer was then used to jeer the presenter for not using an existing tool. PyCon Staff was unable to identify the individual for follow up.
- During the Poster Session, an attendee reported that another attendee was crowding a presenter and asking personal questions unrelated to their presentation. PyCon staff were able to discuss with the reported attendee. No further follow up was taken.
- Attendees reported observing unwelcome sexual attention and advances by an attendee representing an employer towards another attendee who was looking for work. Follow up for this incident is ongoing.
- Attendees reported a demo at a sponsor booth in the Expo Hall which was deemed in violation of PyCon's Code of Conduct. The sponsor immediately terminated the demo after PyCon Staff made contact. Representatives of the sponsor followed up with PyCon staff to make clear that the incident was understood and that the demo would no longer be used at PyCon or elsewhere. No further follow up was taken.
- An attendee reported that another attendee had encroached on their personal space and exhibited unwanted attention at a PyCon event. PyCon staff followed up with the reported attendee. No further follow up was taken.
- Volunteers reported a series of microaggressions another volunteer made at an evening gathering during the event. PyCon staff followed up with the volunteer and reinforced PyCon’s Code of Conduct, understanding was established and no further follow up on this incident was taken.
Summary of Police Matters
- An attendee without a badge reported that they had not heard from another attendee in some time and that the attendees family and friends had been unable to contact them. Incident Responders referred the person to the local police and told them to call hospitals looking for John Does.
- A detective from the local police reached out to Conference Staff asking for information on the whereabouts and contact information of an attendee based on a photograph. PyCon staff assisted to the best of their ability once the detective and report were verified for legitimacy.