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!!Con West 2019

the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing

Feb 23 - 24, 2019; Santa Cruz, CA

Transparency report: Reported Code of Conduct violations for 2019


!!Con West’s Code of Conduct is a document that guides us to build a joyful, exciting, and safe community for attendees from all walks of life. If we had our way, the entire world would be as we want !!Con to model, but the reality is that we’re still learning just how to make that world; our Code of Conduct both guides us in how to act positively, and provides a set of principles to see if we have missed the mark.

This transparency report serves to keep us accountable to those goals: our attendees should use this to know that their reports will be taken seriously, and to track our community’s health year over year.


In 2019, we had three code of conduct reports:

  • An attendee expressed their discomfort with a slide in a talk that contained unnecessarily sexualized imagery. We found this slide to violate our code of conduct. We discussed the issue with the presenter; they expressed understanding of the issue, and found the feedback constructive. The original reporter was happy with the resolution; we consider this incident closed.

  • An attendee noted the use of outdated and insensitive language in one talk to describe the experience of gender transition. !!Con West staff and the attendee spoke with the presenter, and advised them on more appropriate language. The original reporter was happy with the resolution; we consider this incident closed.

  • Some attendees were made uncomfortable by the unexpected usage of images of graphic violence in a talk. !!Con West staff spoke with the presenter; we also reminded attendees of spaces that they could use to take some time to process, and added a note to the beginning of the video recording of the talk. We consider this incident closed.


As a community, we were fortunate that our Code of Conduct reports this year that did not require disciplinary action, but still allowed us to facilitate outcomes that our reporting attendees are happy with. For us, this was a lesson and reminder that some forms of Code of Conduct enforcement can be constructive, instead of adversarial. We recognize the hurt of each incident, but at the same time, we also see each incident as an opportunity for the community to grow; and just as we value the willingness of each speaker to take ownership of their mistakes, we appreciate the willingness of our community and our reporters to forgive.

In future iterations of !!Con West, we anticipate providing more explicit guidelines to speakers about content that they might wish to pay extra attention to in advance, and resources to make sure that that content meets with our community’s standards.


We looked to ORDCamp’s transparency report as a model for how to structure this document. Additionally, we would like to thank Julia Evans, who served as an external member on !!Con West 2019’s Code of Conduct committee.