Don’t get me wrong. There are times when that’s exactly what I want to say. This just isn’t one of them. Cassandra is not my favorite role.
Back when I wrote a post asking for clarification that TAM would have a harassment policy for this year, I got jumped on. The second comment:
Why on Earth would JREF not have an anti-harassement policy, if they have had one last year? What makes you think they will ditch it this year, and in the years to come?
Another comment, from someone who generally agrees with me:
It’s ridiculous to think TAM won’t be having an anti-harassment policy in place for future Meetings. Grothe may currently be suffering from a severe case of foot in mouth but I see no reason to think he’d block the continuation of an anti-harassment policy. What reason would he have? He’s made it clear, whatever his other faults, he does want a policy in place and that it is a point of pride for him that they (TAM) were among the first to have a policy in place.
Then there were those people who decided I was trying to ruin TAM:
Emery: Wendell, let me be very clear as we wrap up that point. What I want to say very very very loudly is: this is the problem. This is the fundamental problem. There’s so much misinformation about DJ. There’s so much information about JREF, and what they did in light of the discussion, that it’s insidious. It’s almost religious-eque, and it’s really pissing me off. And it makes me embarrassed for my community. And by that, I mean the skeptical and the atheistic community. It really really bothers me.
Wendell: I’d like to make one question in the harassment policy category, and we won’t go into the speaker-no-sex part because that was part of the power thing we aren’t going to agree on. But it does strike me as odd, that with all this going on, that they don’t have a public—to my knowledge, you all can correct me if I’m wrong—they haven’t published a policy for the TAM that’s happening in three weeks? Four weeks? They haven’t talked about it, they haven’t published it. It seems to me, if I was them, I’d be putting that out front.
Travis: BJ, I mean DJ, did post a link to last year’s policy, and said they would have a similar or equal policy to last year.
Wendell: Where did it say that, because I think—
Travis: It was said on one of his comments somewhere—
Wendell: Where’d it say that. Every comment I’ve read, he’s referred to last year’s policy. He hasn’t said that this year’s will be the same.
Travis: Well, I think part of the reason is that they’re working on the new policy.
Now, I did say that I might be interpreting D.J.’s wording badly, but apparently that didn’t matter just then. It certainly doesn’t matter now, not after this comment:
Speaking of various policies at conferences, I just checked in to a big one (which shall remain nameless, to me), here where I just drove to, in Las Vegas for this weekend.
I had been assuming that they would have a policy that they would hand out at registration, or that their web site would be updated with one today. No such luck. I got my badge,with a nice holder. I got a conference schedule. I got a beautiful full-color booklet with various welcome messages and speaker bios. I even got the included t-shirt. But no policies.
It did say that the welcome gathering at the bar right now is not an official evert of the conference. Although I did see the executive director there talking with people.
The brochure did also mention that the private party this weekend is also not an official event.
And the brochure did assure me that the organization does want this to be a nice experience for everyone, and that they want things to be good. Sorry I don’t have the wording in front of me now.
Anyway, I plan to try to get my money’s worth of enjoyment out of the meeting. Maybe buy some more Surly-Ramics. But I’m no longer expecting to go back in future years. A shame. Particularly as there had been no connection between this conference and any current discussions on policies until its exec director chose to bring up his specific conference for no specific reason. Enough said. Sorry for bringing it up again. Never mind.
I’ve confirmed this with a number of people who are at the conference. I’ve confirmed as well that this isn’t a matter of last year’s statement on the subject looking anemic after all the discussion about robust policies. An just as I was ready to post this, I received pictures of the brochure (missing the cover and thanks pages), which are posted below. I don’t have time to convert the text for the visually impaired, but I’ll work on that later, if no one helpfully puts it in the comments. [ETA: Thanks to Palle, the text for all these is in the comments.]
There really is less (if anything) in place this year than last for a public anti-harassment policy at TAM. And that sucks, even if I did tell you so.
Update: According to one tweet, volunteers at TAM did receive training this year on how to handle harassment complaints. This isn’t something people should have to find through a tweet on the hashtag, but at least it’s something.