Linux Aus to rejig code of conduct

Linux Australia is planning a revamp of its anti-harassment policy for this year's Linux Conference in Ballarat, after it determined that presenters wouldn't read its existing anti-discrimination policy.

Linux Australia is planning a revamp of its anti-harassment policy for this year's Linux Conference in Ballarat, after it determined that presenters wouldn't read its existing anti-discrimination policy.

Linux Australia president John Ferlito told ZDNet Australia today that while the council had an anti-harassment policy in place since the 2010 conference in Wellington, it wasn't being taken on-board by all attendees and presenters.

"We are effectively renaming and expanding it from what was previously called an anti-harassment policy, as we believe that by calling it a Code of Conduct, it is more positive and hopefully more likely to be read and taken on-board by all attendees," Ferlito said today.

Linux Australia decided a revamped code was necessary after futurist Mark Pesce last year inadvertently offended several attendees by including some risqué political, fetish and other sexual images in a presentation at last year's Linux Conference in Queensland.

"Unfortunately, I think a lot of people will tend to see an anti-harassment policy, and not bother reading it because they think it doesn't apply to them. However, behaviour which is innocuous in one situation can be harassment in another, depending on context, so our goal is to help people realise that some of their actions can make a conference an uncomfortable environment for others, and to ensure that everyone has as safe and enjoyable a conference as possible," Ferlito added.

The new code of conduct, however, will not require presenters to run their support material by conference organisers, Ferlito said.

"The code of conduct will have clearer language on the type of material that is appropriate in a presentation on our conferences," he told ZDNet Australia.

The Linux Australia council will continue to work on a code of conduct from the existing documents it already has and will expand it to cover other conferences, including Pycon AU and Drupal Down Under, as well as the Linux Conference Australia.

The council will have documentation to present to the community in the coming weeks.

The 2012 conference will be held in Ballarat from 16 January.