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Winter Tech Forum Code of Conduct

The Winter Tech Forum is about discussion, inclusion and connection, and we want everyone to feel as comfortable as possible. Although we cannot guarantee you will have a good time, we can certainly do our best to make sure you don't have a bad time, and the baseline for this is that no one should ever be harrassed.

To achieve this goal, all participants, sponsors and volunteers at our event are required to agree with this code of conduct (CoC). Organizers will enforce this CoC throughout the event. We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.

This CoC applies during the entire duration of the conference (not just during formal sessions or conference-specific locations).

We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to disability, gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, technology choices, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome attention of any kind.

Participants violating these rules are expected to immediately cease the offending behavior upon notification. Participants who continue to violate these rules after being notified may be sanctioned or expelled from the event without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Points of Contact

We recognize that managing harassment at the Winter Tech Forum is not the job of its recipients. The conference organizer and delegated individuals (contact persons) will make themselves available to address any & all complaints of harassment, and the relevant contact information for them will be made available to participants on arrival at the conference, during the initial meeting.

What You Can Expect

If there is a problem and you reach out to one of the contact persons, you can expect that:

  1. You will be heard and trusted.

  2. The conference organizer will be informed.

  3. A discussion will be initiated between the contact person and/or conference organizer and the person in question, to stop the behavior in question and possibly include a warning to that person.

If you're not sure that behavior counts as harrassment, please reach out to any contact person. We are happy to talk it over with you.

Our Goal for this CoC

There are usually laws and rules and social norms about these issues. But those don't seem to be enough, as we've seen in many conferences. There are unspoken practices that are considered acceptable within subgroups, but never written down, and these produce behaviors that are considered acceptable as a result. Because no one says anything or puts a stake in the ground about these behaviors, it seems OK to those practicing them. Saying nothing doesn't work.

We don't, however, want people to be terrified that they might accidentally say something wrong, and if they do make such a faux pas they will immediately be forcibly ejected. Simply punishing mistakes without giving someone the opportunity to learn is not the goal of this CoC.

The CoC tells you when you've made a mistake, and empowers others to have a conversation with you about it. And most importantly, it tells newcomers & traditionally marginalized attendees that we value their safety. The focus is on the goal that "you will not be harassed."

There are times when it doesn't matter what you do, someone might be having a bad day and feel anger or some other emotion regardless of who is nearby or what they do. The CoC shouldn't be a weapon in that situation, on either end. The CoC draws the line on harassment — it says what you cannot do (harass) but it doesn't say what you must do (speak a certain way).

If You are Having a Hard Time Communicating

These Principles of Nonviolent Communication might be helpful:

  1. Differentiate observation from evaluation.

    • Carefully observe what is happening, free of evaluation.

    • Specify behaviors and conditions that affect you.

  2. Differentiate feeling from thinking.

    • Identify and express internal feeling states in a way that does not imply judgment, criticism, blame or punishment.
  3. Frame your experience within universal human needs that are being met or not met in relation to what is happening and how you are feeling.

    • Examples: connection, sustenance, trust, and understanding.
  4. Make a Request.

    • Clearly and specifically state what you do want, not what you don’t want.

    • Make a request and not a demand. If it's truly a request, there is no consequence for saying "no."

    • Before making the request, check your feelings to ensure you are not attempting to motivate, however subtly, through fear, guilt, shame, or obligation.

    • A genuine request allows the other person to give you a gift.

The Four Agreements, By Don Miguel Ruiz

  1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

  3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

  4. Always Do Your Best: Your best changes from moment to moment; it is different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.