Conduct Becoming

Tomorrow I’m speaking at the 99U Conference, which I’m really looking forward to. But one of the reasons I’m already convinced it’s going to be a special event is because of one particular accommodation that Sean Blanda and his team made in the days and months leading up to the event.

When I accepted their invitation to speak, I asked where their Code of Conduct for the event was, because I hadn’t found one. It turns out, they had never made one when they started the event, but Sean immediately said that he would make sure they had one ready in time for the conference, and he delivered.

You can read it for yourself—it’s pretty good!

But what was perhaps most exciting was that it was no big deal to make it happen. That’s not to diminish the work that Sean and his team put into pulling the code together, but it didn’t take a ton of persuasion, and it wasn’t too big an effort on the part of the event organizers for it to happen.

The reason that’s true is because so much great groundwork has been set up over the past few years. 99U based their code on, which was created by the Ada Initiative and maintained by an entire community of contributors.

These core resources are backed up by detailed explanatory guides, like Ashe Dryden’s definitive work and Erin Kissane’s compelling articulation of the rationale behind such codes.

Most fundamentally, those who’ve been excluded, threatend or wronged at events, like Adria Richards or Anita Sarkeesian, and who’ve then taken the time (and the risk) to tell their stories have made this progress possible, albeit at great personal cost to do so.

It’s sometimes almost overwhelmingly depressing to confront the reality of how necessary these policies still are at so many events, but today I’m finding a little bit of comfort in knowing that we’ve made a good bit of meaningful progress in protecting attendees. Thanks to everybody who made it possible.