Linux Australia airs code of conduct draft

President of Linux Australia, John Ferlito, has this morning aired the first draft of the council's new presenter code of conduct, which looks to curb inappropriate material being displayed as part of conference presentations.

President of Linux Australia, John Ferlito, has this morning aired the first draft of the council's new presenter code of conduct, which looks to curb inappropriate material being displayed as part of conference presentations.

Ferlito distributed the draft code via the Linux Council Australia's mailing list, calling for comments from other members.

"As promised, the council has finally put together a Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct will not just cover [linux.conf.au] but all our future conferences.

"I would like to get feedback as to whether there is anything you would like to see changed, removed or added from the current document for future events," Ferlito told recipients.

Ferlito proposed a revamp of the anti-harassment policy following a determination that presenters were unlikely to read the council's existing anti-harassment policy.

Indeed, 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.

The code now includes specific restrictions on inappropriate, sexist or offensive material presented via slide presentations. For example, an excerpt from the new code of conduct reads:

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion, sexual images in public spaces (including presentation slides), deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, unwanted photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately.

Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that sexist, racist and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Excessive swearing and offensive jokes are not appropriate for Linux Australia events.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience, including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any event venue, including talks. All presentation material should be suitable for people aged 12 and above.

No exceptions.

The code also explains that all presenters, delegates, volunteers and speakers must agree to the new code, and any breach of the code will result in disciplinary action.

Linux Australia may take any or all of the following measures:
  • The alleged offender may be asked to stop or modify their behaviour
  • The alleged offender may be warned that enforcement action will be taken if the behaviour continues
  • If the behaviour continues, the alleged offender may be asked to immediately leave the venue and/or will be prohibited from continuing to attend the event (without reimbursement)
  • The incident may be reported to the authorities.

Ferlito had originally told ZDNet Australia that the code was being prepared for the upcoming Linux Conference 2012, or LCA, to be held in Ballarat in January, but conceded that time restrictions had made it impossible to apply at the last minute.

"Due to the not getting around to it until now, the code of conduct will probably stand as is for LCA, since registration are going to open any minute now," Ferlito conceded to recipients today.

Registrations for the Ballarat LCA opened today.

You can read the full draft code of conduct here (PDF).