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sumanah at wikimedia

Jan 12, 2012, 8:00 AM

Post #1 of 14 (666 views)
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proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy

The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
experience for everyone. I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
tech conferences and hackathons.

Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP

I don't imagine I'll get much response on this, but just wanted to put
it out there before implementing. I intend on putting this into place
by the middle of next week, in time for the San Francisco hackathon
(starting January 20th).

Comments on the talk page, please.
--
Sumana Harihareswara
Volunteer Development Coordinator
Wikimedia Foundation

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dgerard at gmail

Jan 12, 2012, 8:04 AM

Post #2 of 14 (656 views)
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Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

On 12 January 2012 16:00, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia> wrote:

> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
> experience for everyone.  I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
> tech conferences and hackathons.
> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP


Nice one :-) A candidate for WMF and wider Wikimedia events in general, too.


- d.

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innocentkiller at gmail

Jan 12, 2012, 8:09 AM

Post #3 of 14 (656 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail> wrote:
> On 12 January 2012 16:00, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia> wrote:
>
>> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
>> experience for everyone.  I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
>> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
>> tech conferences and hackathons.
>> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP
>
>
> Nice one :-) A candidate for WMF and wider Wikimedia events in general, too.
>

I don't see anything preventing harassment over choice of DBMS ;-)

All kidding aside, this looks great. Agree with David wholeheartedly
here.

-Chad

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oscar.vives at gmail

Jan 12, 2012, 8:15 AM

Post #4 of 14 (655 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

On 12 January 2012 17:09, Chad <innocentkiller [at] gmail> wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail> wrote:
>> On 12 January 2012 16:00, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia> wrote:
>>
>>> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
>>> experience for everyone.  I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
>>> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
>>> tech conferences and hackathons.
>>> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP
>>
>>
>> Nice one :-) A candidate for WMF and wider Wikimedia events in general, too.
>>
>
> I don't see anything preventing harassment over choice of DBMS ;-)
>
> All kidding aside, this looks great. Agree with David wholeheartedly
> here.
>

Is amazing how this whole wikimedia thing as changed since 2002.
I don't understand half the messages on this mail list. This is
really a complex and professional organization, that has advanced a
lot in the past years. I lurk on the mail list, tryiing to find a way
to help, but is really hard, because there are here top-notch
profesionals doing things the best way that is possible. You guys
rocks.



--
--
ℱin del ℳensaje.

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amir.aharoni at mail

Jan 12, 2012, 8:35 AM

Post #5 of 14 (652 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

2012/1/12 Chad <innocentkiller [at] gmail>
>
> On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail> wrote:
> > On 12 January 2012 16:00, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> >
> >> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
> >> experience for everyone.  I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
> >> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
> >> tech conferences and hackathons.
> >> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP
> >
> >
> > Nice one :-) A candidate for WMF and wider Wikimedia events in general, too.
> >
>
> I don't see anything preventing harassment over choice of DBMS ;-)

In all seriousness, i was harassed more than once IRL and online for
saying that SVN doesn't suck as much as die-hard Git fans say it does.
This policy can say "preferred technology" in addition to "Creative
Commons license".

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

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tparscal at wikimedia

Jan 12, 2012, 10:44 AM

Post #6 of 14 (650 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

What if you need more attention and want to be harassed?

Amir: Also, SVN does kinda suck :P

Seriously though, this looks great.

I've been fortunate enough to not have been harassed at a conference much
more than being trolled on occasion, but I think that's a more borderline
case that doesn't quite warrant any serious actions.

That said, I think there's an excuse game that gets played a lot. When I've
expressed concern in the past I've often been told things like like "yeah,
but they are a really good contributor, that's just how they are, deal with
it" or "they're [enter country of origin here], that's just how they are,
deal with it".

This lays some ground rules that are fair in any venue around the world.
Thanks for putting this together.

- Trevor

On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 8:35 AM, Amir E. Aharoni <
amir.aharoni [at] mail> wrote:

> 2012/1/12 Chad <innocentkiller [at] gmail>
> >
> > On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail>
> wrote:
> > > On 12 January 2012 16:00, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia>
> wrote:
> > >
> > >> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
> > >> experience for everyone. I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
> > >> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
> > >> tech conferences and hackathons.
> > >> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP
> > >
> > >
> > > Nice one :-) A candidate for WMF and wider Wikimedia events in
> general, too.
> > >
> >
> > I don't see anything preventing harassment over choice of DBMS ;-)
>
> In all seriousness, i was harassed more than once IRL and online for
> saying that SVN doesn't suck as much as die-hard Git fans say it does.
> This policy can say "preferred technology" in addition to "Creative
> Commons license".
>
> --
> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
> ‪“We're living in pieces,
> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l [at] lists
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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gregory.varnum at gmail

Jan 12, 2012, 1:17 PM

Post #7 of 14 (644 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

I agree with what others have said and wanted to add that these are increasingly common at conferences I've attended.

I feel it's a proactive approach to addressing this problem. Conveys community expectations in a fair, balanced and direct way. Provides an important fallback for folks fearing retaliation for reporting harassment, etc. Plus organizers of events unsure of their footing on handling issues like this. Having had the opportunity to help with anti-bullying legislation, I'm pleased that it falls within a lot of recommendations made by folks who were studying this behavior before Wikipedia was even a twinkle in Jimbo's eyes. :)

Kudos for drafting it and being thoughtful / intentional enough to modify for Wikimedia usage. I can honestly say I haven't see licensing preferences as an enumerated category before. :)

I agree with Chad - it's a good candidate for wider Wikimedia use. Perhaps aude and others within WMDC can consider this for Wikimania as well?

-greg aka varnent


-------
Gregory Varnum
Lead, Aequalitas Project
Lead Administrator, WikiQueer
Founding Principal, VarnEnt
@GregVarnum
fb.com/GregVarnum

On Jan 12, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Trevor Parscal wrote:

> What if you need more attention and want to be harassed?
>
> Amir: Also, SVN does kinda suck :P
>
> Seriously though, this looks great.
>
> I've been fortunate enough to not have been harassed at a conference much
> more than being trolled on occasion, but I think that's a more borderline
> case that doesn't quite warrant any serious actions.
>
> That said, I think there's an excuse game that gets played a lot. When I've
> expressed concern in the past I've often been told things like like "yeah,
> but they are a really good contributor, that's just how they are, deal with
> it" or "they're [enter country of origin here], that's just how they are,
> deal with it".
>
> This lays some ground rules that are fair in any venue around the world.
> Thanks for putting this together.
>
> - Trevor
>
> On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 8:35 AM, Amir E. Aharoni <
> amir.aharoni [at] mail> wrote:
>
>> 2012/1/12 Chad <innocentkiller [at] gmail>
>>>
>>> On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail>
>> wrote:
>>>> On 12 January 2012 16:00, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia>
>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
>>>>> experience for everyone. I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
>>>>> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
>>>>> tech conferences and hackathons.
>>>>> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Nice one :-) A candidate for WMF and wider Wikimedia events in
>> general, too.
>>>>
>>>
>>> I don't see anything preventing harassment over choice of DBMS ;-)
>>
>> In all seriousness, i was harassed more than once IRL and online for
>> saying that SVN doesn't suck as much as die-hard Git fans say it does.
>> This policy can say "preferred technology" in addition to "Creative
>> Commons license".
>>
>> --
>> Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
>> http://aharoni.wordpress.com
>> ‪“We're living in pieces,
>> I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikitech-l mailing list
>> Wikitech-l [at] lists
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l [at] lists
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l


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danese at gmail

Jan 12, 2012, 1:40 PM

Post #8 of 14 (646 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

Well done, Sumana. I especially like the start of the exception list. Presumably situations such as academic discourse on body function (at a WMF conference on improving content), or depictions of artifacts (in the GLAM context) would be exceptions.

Danese

On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:00 AM, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia> wrote:

> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
> experience for everyone. I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
> tech conferences and hackathons.
>
> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP
>
> I don't imagine I'll get much response on this, but just wanted to put
> it out there before implementing. I intend on putting this into place
> by the middle of next week, in time for the San Francisco hackathon
> (starting January 20th).
>
> Comments on the talk page, please.
> --
> Sumana Harihareswara
> Volunteer Development Coordinator
> Wikimedia Foundation
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l [at] lists
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

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sumanah at wikimedia

Jan 12, 2012, 1:47 PM

Post #9 of 14 (646 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

Thanks, Danese. Right now this policy is limited to technical-only
events for the reason you describe; I'm talking with other Wikimedia
conference organizers to adjust wording for Wikimania and other
not-just-technical events.

-Sumana

On 01/12/2012 04:40 PM, Danese Cooper wrote:
> Well done, Sumana. I especially like the start of the exception list. Presumably situations such as academic discourse on body function (at a WMF conference on improving content), or depictions of artifacts (in the GLAM context) would be exceptions.
>
> Danese
>
> On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:00 AM, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia> wrote:
>
>> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
>> experience for everyone. I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
>> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
>> tech conferences and hackathons.
>>
>> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP
>>
>> I don't imagine I'll get much response on this, but just wanted to put
>> it out there before implementing. I intend on putting this into place
>> by the middle of next week, in time for the San Francisco hackathon
>> (starting January 20th).
>>
>> Comments on the talk page, please.
>> --
>> Sumana Harihareswara
>> Volunteer Development Coordinator
>> Wikimedia Foundation
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikitech-l mailing list
>> Wikitech-l [at] lists
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

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py at wikimedia

Jan 13, 2012, 8:44 AM

Post #10 of 14 (642 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

Hi!

So, I am pro this policy. It's clean, neat, and easy to understand.
However, in some ways, I feel that while a policy like this is a(n)
(unfortunately) necessary tool to prevent discrimination and
harassment at tech events, I do not think that it is sufficient. Let
me explain.

In my mind, policies such as this are useful when you either a) want
to kick someone who's actions are unacceptable out of your event or b)
something bad happened and the organizer wants to be able to point to
the policy and say "that was against our policy." These are both good
things. Having conditions for ejection from an event is useful.
However, in my mind, it does not address underlying issues, the
variety of -isms, that contributed to harassment and discrimination.
It has also been my experience in being around various folk at tech
conferences (such as um... myself) that geeks like me often do not
have 100% developed social skills and may already deal with feelings
of isolation. Thus, what I would love to see would be, in addition to
a policy such as this, activities specifically designed to foster
closer community, connection, and to bring home that everyone at such
an event is valuable, as well as establishing basic social
expectations which can be very useful in social situations where
participants come from a wide range of cultures and countries.

I am, at this moment, not sure what form this thing that I am
advocating would take, but I would definitely be interested in working
with others to come up with such activities/models/etc. It would
probably happen at the beginning of an event, and it would need to be
enjoyable, so that people would actually want to come. This is as far
as I've managed to get in my brainstorming.

Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?

-peter

On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 4:47 PM, Sumana Harihareswara
<sumanah [at] wikimedia> wrote:
> Thanks, Danese. Right now this policy is limited to technical-only
> events for the reason you describe; I'm talking with other Wikimedia
> conference organizers to adjust wording for Wikimania and other
> not-just-technical events.
>
> -Sumana
>
> On 01/12/2012 04:40 PM, Danese Cooper wrote:
>> Well done, Sumana. I especially like the start of the exception list. Presumably situations such as academic discourse on body function (at a WMF conference on improving content), or depictions of artifacts (in the GLAM context) would be exceptions.
>>
>> Danese
>>
>> On Jan 12, 2012, at 8:00 AM, Sumana Harihareswara <sumanah [at] wikimedia> wrote:
>>
>>> The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to a harassment-free conference
>>> experience for everyone. I'm proposing a fairly short and standard
>>> anti-harassment policy of the type that's becoming best practice for
>>> tech conferences and hackathons.
>>>
>>> Draft: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Sumanah/AHP
>>>
>>> I don't imagine I'll get much response on this, but just wanted to put
>>> it out there before implementing. I intend on putting this into place
>>> by the middle of next week, in time for the San Francisco hackathon
>>> (starting January 20th).
>>>
>>> Comments on the talk page, please.
>>> --
>>> Sumana Harihareswara
>>> Volunteer Development Coordinator
>>> Wikimedia Foundation
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Wikitech-l mailing list
>>> Wikitech-l [at] lists
>>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l [at] lists
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

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tim at tim-landscheidt

Jan 13, 2012, 4:21 PM

Post #11 of 14 (640 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

Peter Youngmeister <py [at] wikimedia> wrote:

> So, I am pro this policy. It's clean, neat, and easy to understand.
> However, in some ways, I feel that while a policy like this is a(n)
> (unfortunately) necessary tool to prevent discrimination and
> harassment at tech events, I do not think that it is sufficient. Let
> me explain.

> In my mind, policies such as this are useful when you either a) want
> to kick someone who's actions are unacceptable out of your event or b)
> something bad happened and the organizer wants to be able to point to
> the policy and say "that was against our policy." These are both good
> things. Having conditions for ejection from an event is useful.
> However, in my mind, it does not address underlying issues, the
> variety of -isms, that contributed to harassment and discrimination.
> It has also been my experience in being around various folk at tech
> conferences (such as um... myself) that geeks like me often do not
> have 100% developed social skills and may already deal with feelings
> of isolation. Thus, what I would love to see would be, in addition to
> a policy such as this, activities specifically designed to foster
> closer community, connection, and to bring home that everyone at such
> an event is valuable, as well as establishing basic social
> expectations which can be very useful in social situations where
> participants come from a wide range of cultures and countries.

> I am, at this moment, not sure what form this thing that I am
> advocating would take, but I would definitely be interested in working
> with others to come up with such activities/models/etc. It would
> probably happen at the beginning of an event, and it would need to be
> enjoyable, so that people would actually want to come. This is as far
> as I've managed to get in my brainstorming.

> Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?
> [...]

I think you're missing the objective of the policy. It aims
at taking away the fear from potential participants to be
harassed. Encouraging people with insufficient social
skills to come is not going to help that cause especially if
pressure is put on the other participants to engage with
their harassers or even see them as "valuable".

In all high-profile cases that surfaced in the past years,
harassment almost never took place in a presentation or pan-
el discussion, but during "social events" which ostensibly
were meant to foster community building like you propose.
So to mitigate the risk, social interaction should be mini-
mized.

Tim


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rlane32 at gmail

Jan 13, 2012, 5:14 PM

Post #12 of 14 (643 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

> I think you're missing the objective of the policy. It aims
> at taking away the fear from potential participants to be
> harassed. Encouraging people with insufficient social
> skills to come is not going to help that cause especially if
> pressure is put on the other participants to engage with
> their harassers or even see them as "valuable".
>
> In all high-profile cases that surfaced in the past years,
> harassment almost never took place in a presentation or pan-
> el discussion, but during "social events" which ostensibly
> were meant to foster community building like you propose.
> So to mitigate the risk, social interaction should be mini-
> mized.
>

Well, I think if you look at conferences as a whole, the biggest cases
have been in presentations. Here's a list of examples:

http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_incidents

Of course these are just examples that are sexist. I'm positive there
are way more examples out there.

In general, the social events are optional, but that doesn't mean we
should allow them to be free-for-alls either. The anti-harassment
policy should also involve social events. If you've had too much to
drink, then you should be cut off. If you harass someone at a social
event, even a non-sponsored one, you should also fall under this
policy.

- Ryan

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py at wikimedia

Jan 14, 2012, 8:11 AM

Post #13 of 14 (635 views)
Permalink
Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

Hi Tim,

It seems as though what I was proposing was not entirely clear.

Firstly, I feel that I understand the value of the policy that Sumana
wrote. This is why I repeatedly praised it as valuable in my email.
Having a harassment policy and guidelines for ejection from an event
is important. I am not disputing this.

What I was discussing was the idea of things that could be done to
prevent instances of harassment, not to respond to them. I believe
that most people are well intentioned, and that some percentage of
instances of harassment arise from misunderstandings and/or a lack of
understanding of expected behavior/social norms. What I was proposing
was to attempt to foster a stronger sense of community, create greater
understanding of what is and is not acceptable behavior (especially in
grey areas, which are always the most difficult), and to create
greater respect for all members of a community *before* any instances
of harassment occur.

In the case of individuals who are not well intentioned, these are
individuals who do not have a place at conferences, as a main goal of
such events is to foster community. Such individuals should be asked
to leave a conferences and perhaps not invited back.

It is clear, at this point, that harassment at tech conferences is a
systemic problem, not just a couple of isolated events. As such, I
think that attempting to address this problem in multiple manners is
important. Again, I will state that having an anti-harassment policy
is an important thing to have in place. Additionally, I am of the
opinion that threat of retribution alone (in this case being shunned
from a community) is not a completely effective tact to take when
dealing with systemic problems.

I hope that this has clarified my statement some.

Best,
Peter

On Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 8:14 PM, Ryan Lane <rlane32 [at] gmail> wrote:
>> I think you're missing the objective of the policy. It aims
>> at taking away the fear from potential participants to be
>> harassed. Encouraging people with insufficient social
>> skills to come is not going to help that cause especially if
>> pressure is put on the other participants to engage with
>> their harassers or even see them as "valuable".
>>
>> In all high-profile cases that surfaced in the past years,
>> harassment almost never took place in a presentation or pan-
>> el discussion, but during "social events" which ostensibly
>> were meant to foster community building like you propose.
>> So to mitigate the risk, social interaction should be mini-
>> mized.
>>
>
> Well, I think if you look at conferences as a whole, the biggest cases
> have been in presentations. Here's a list of examples:
>
> http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_incidents
>
> Of course these are just examples that are sexist. I'm positive there
> are way more examples out there.
>
> In general, the social events are optional, but that doesn't mean we
> should allow them to be free-for-alls either. The anti-harassment
> policy should also involve social events. If you've had too much to
> drink, then you should be cut off. If you harass someone at a social
> event, even a non-sponsored one, you should also fall under this
> policy.
>
> - Ryan
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> Wikitech-l [at] lists
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l

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sumanah at wikimedia

Jan 20, 2012, 4:30 PM

Post #14 of 14 (615 views)
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Re: proposed tech conference anti-harassment policy [In reply to]

Thanks to all of you for your feedback on this. We've now finalized the
policy and it now lives at

https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Friendly_space_policy

--
Sumana Harihareswara
Volunteer Development Coordinator
Wikimedia Foundation

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