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!!Con West 2020

Feb 29 – Mar 1, 2020 in Santa Cruz, CA

the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing

Code of conduct

!!Con West’s Code of Conduct committee has compiled a transparency report for reported incidents in 2020.

We value the participation of each member of the !!Con West community and want all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees throughout the conference and at all conference events, whether officially sponsored by !!Con West or not.

All attendees, speakers, exhibitors, organizers and volunteers at any !!Con West event are required to observe the following Code of Conduct. Organizers will enforce this code throughout the event.

Why have a code of conduct? Not because we feel like we’re expected to have one; not because someone told us to; not because we heard somewhere that it was important for some reason – but as part of an intentional effort to define the culture of !!Con West.

The short version

!!Con West is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or anything else. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate for !!Con West.

Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave the conference at the sole discretion of the conference organizers.

Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly event for all.

The longer version

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, derisive comments regarding technical background, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior 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 !!Con West.

If a participant engages in behavior that violates our code of conduct, the conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference.

Guidelines for speakers

If you’re a speaker – thank you! We’ve been really lucky to have speakers who give thoughtful and exciting talks that are almost always inclusive of the people in the !!Con audience.

Here are a few guidelines you can use to help make your talk even more welcoming to everyone in the !!Con community:

  • Give people a heads up if you’re discussing sensitive topics. If your talk includes descriptions of hurtful experiences that attendees might share, let us know about it! Some of these include transphobic, homophobic, sexually-motivated, racially-motivated, or religiously-motivated abuse and harassment; sexual assault; eating disorders; mental illness and self-harm; or relationship abuse. It’s not possible to give a full list, but these are some examples of things that we hope you’ll be sensitive of. If you expect to cover these topics, talk to the !!Con organizers before the conference so that we can let attendees know these topics will be covered in your talk. If you want to discuss a sensitive topic in your talk and you’d like help approaching it, let us know and we’ll be happy to brainstorm with you.

  • Avoid unnecessarily violent and sexual imagery. Sometimes, including these is unavoidable, or is central to the point of the talk, and that’s okay. But sometimes, the imagery isn’t necessary. This can be in overt ways (for example sexual images) or in more subtle ways (like an indirect sexual reference used as a joke). So before your talk, take one more look over your slides and prep material in this light – and if you explicitly plan to include sexual or violent content, consider how you can contextualize it. (One more note on this: if you plan to include graphically violent content, please do let us know in advance.)

  • Talk to the experts. !!Con thrives at the intersection of computers and the human experience. Many of us have become experts in technologies just by reading about them, but this doesn’t always work when real people become involved! If you plan to include anecdotes about the experiences of a minority group you’re not a member of in your talk, make sure you’ve spoken with someone from that group first. They can help guide you on what language would accurately capture their experience, and how to do it with sensitivity.

Often, talks won’t need to make any changes at all to address these! But even if your talk is mostly about computers, taking 10 minutes to go through it and look for some of these issues (even if they’re subtle!) goes a long way to keeping !!Con welcoming for everyone.

Social rules

In addition to having a code of conduct as an anti-harassment policy, we have a small set of social rules we follow. We (the organizers) learned and lifted these rules from the Recurse Center in New York, where we felt that they contributed enormously to a supportive, productive, and fun learning environment. We’d like !!Con West to share that environment. These rules are intended to be lightweight, and to make more explicit certain social norms that are normally implicit. Most of our social rules really boil down to “don’t be a jerk” or “don’t be annoying.” Of course, almost nobody sets out to be a jerk or annoying, so telling people not to be jerks isn’t a very productive strategy.

Unlike the anti-harassment policy, violation of the social rules will not result in expulsion from the conference or a strong warning from conference organizers. Rather, they are designed to provide some lightweight social structure for conference attendees to use when interacting with each other.

The social rules.

If you have any questions about any part of the code of conduct or social rules, please feel free to reach out to any of the conference organizers.

Contact information

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff. You can use this form to contact us, with or without your name.

Conference staff will be happy to do whatever we can to help those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

Transparency reports

!!Con West’s Code of Conduct committee has compiled transparency reports for 2019 and 2020.

Report a violation (with or without your name)

You can report a violation here.


The !!Con West Code of Conduct is under a Creative Commons Zero license. It was lightly modified from the !!Con 2018 Code of Conduct, itself a fork of the PyCon 2013 Code of Conduct, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.