With the conference behind us, the DjangoCon Europe 2021 Code of Conduct Active Response Team (CARE) is now able to share our Code of Conduct transparency report.
Publishing this report is a part of our Code of Conduct process, which informs our work before, during, and after the conference. The report itself provides information about general team tasks, as well as incidents we handled.
The DjangoCon Europe Code of Conduct (CoC) and the workings of the CARE team are directly taken from past events. For this year, the team was set up by the event organisers and staffed with four volunteers:
Our group of four handled everything CoC-related for the conference, with support from the organisers where needed. All CoC reports are handled solely by the team, with an important policy that all decisions are made as a group whenever possible.
It’s worth mentioning the team is fully separate from the Django Software Foundation’s Code of Conduct Committee, which handles violations with Django’s Code of Conduct. This separate code of conduct also applies to all DSF events, including DjangoCon Europe.
Our team had two major tasks before the conference.
This generally meant doing anything we could ahead of the actual conference so our team could work as well as possible during the event.
With 40 scheduled presentations, this was a major task for us ahead of the event! All speakers were required to submit a draft version of their slides, ideally in the week before the conference, as far complete as possible.
A minimum of two members of the CARE team reviewed each slide deck for Code of Conduct and inclusivity issues. This can not guarantee there will be no CoC issues when a talk is actually delivered, but it helps nonetheless. With the conference happening online, we also reviewed recordings on occasions where they felt more useful to review than slides, or if we had any doubts after looking at the slides only.
We didn’t review lightning talks, as they were submitted as recordings on the day they were aired, often on very short notice, without the CARE team being involved in the process.
Out of the 40 presentations we reviewed,
To sum it up, the talks reviews went pretty well 😊. Thank you to the speakers for going through the review process with us!
Everyone plays a part in fostering a positive event atmosphere, attendees, speakers, volunteers, organisers. Our team is there to set expectations, ensure everyone feels safe and included, and handle incident reports.
We felt the atmosphere during the event was overall excellent – with good Q&As after talks, and attendees supporting one-another on Slack. The conference code of conduct was featured prominently on Slack, Gather.town, and LoudSwarm, which helped set clear expectations for everyone.
In total the CARE team handled two incidents at the conference, from two reports sent to us. We share anonymised summaries here to provide examples of what kind of incidents happen, and how we handle them.
One attendee repeatedly made comments during the talks either criticising the talks’ materials or the opinions expressed. This was reported to us by another attendee.
We messaged the person to ask them to use questions rather than comments, ideally at the end of the talks, leaving more room for the speakers’ viewpoint.
This incident is a good opportunity to remind all of the “questions not comments” conference etiquette.
One lightning talk speaker presented controversial political opinions. We saw people expressing concern about this over Slack, and one attendee reported this talk to the CARE team, additionally reporting multiple issues in the way the talk was delivered they thought didn’t fit with the code of conduct.
From those points, we only chose to retain one as a violation of the code of conduct – for which the speaker had already apologised to those expressing concern over Slack. They had also provided a version of their talk with the problematic statements edited out.
We contacted the speaker nonetheless to let them know this constituted a violation of the code of conduct, but there would be no further action considering they had already reacted to the issue without our involvement.
From this incident, we also chose to review the submission process for lightning talks, and made the following recommendations to organisers – primarily for consideration by future DjangoCon organisers:
Our team also had a small representation during the sprints on Saturday and Sunday. This all went very well!
With the conference over, there were still a fair few things within our team’s remit:
This list is not meant to spread shame or blame. We’re publishing it to show why our CoC is important, and how it is enforced in practice, in line with the transparency guidelines from Django’s CoC committee. We hope that by publishing our reports, we will encourage people to report incidents in the future, and that other conferences can learn from our mistakes and our successes.
We welcome any feedback, and we would like to thank the DjangoCon Europe community – attendees, speakers, and organisers alike – for working with us.
We thank the organisers of DjangoCon Europe 2016, 2017, 2018 for their transparency report, on which this report is inspired.
The DjangoCon Europe 2021 Code of Conduct Active Response Ensurers team,
This announcement retracts the previous announcement regarding the hybrid DjangoCon Europe 2021. Sadly, this year, we will not have the physical component, we are deeply sorry for our initial over-optimistic announcement.
We are happy to announce that DjangoCon Europe 2021 will take place online-only between June 2 and 6! The website is will be online soon and it will be kept up to date with the latest updates. Don't forget to follow @DjangoConEurope on Twitter.
Last year, we postponed several contracts with the venue, sound team, video team, catering, security, and other partnerships. Therefore, we were prepared to organize a hybrid conference with several "in-person" restrictions (incl. negative Covid-19 test and health authority inspection). In addition to that, we would offer the virtual conference not only for everyone that was not able or not comfortable to come to Portugal.
We do believe that the chosen date would already be safer to travel, nevertheless, the general idea behind the hybrid event was to give people the choice, not to enforce any option.
We meant to do a good thing, and bring the conference to the community in a safe environment. We can now see that we might have been either too optimistic in the best case or completely misread the situation in the worst case. We apologize for our mistake and accept the criticism which made us change our view on the subject. As a result, following the DSF board and members' remarks, a virtual-only conference is the only viable path.
Last year's edition was the first virtual DjangoCon Europe ever. The conference was a huge success with more than 800 registrants from 5 different continents. With the support of everyone from grants and sponsors, we were able to offer the community 500 registrations for free! This allowed for a lot of underrepresented or marginalized groups to have access to the event that otherwise would be in a very difficult position to attend. For example, there was a group of 18 students from the Cummins College of Engineering for Women in India.
For this edition, there is a lot to do, but it's very much worth it – DjangoCon Europe is an extremely friendly, open, inclusive, and informative (for beginners and advanced users alike) conference. Here are some themes and examples of activities and responsibilities that we seek help with:
Join us regardless of your prior experience: this is also an opportunity to learn! In other words, you don't have to be an expert to join. Apply through this form here.
Your location before and during the event is not significant, since it will be hosted in a virtual format. The only important thing is that you have the energy and free time to help organize a wonderful DjangoCon Europe. The official language of all these prior activities will be English, as well as the conference itself.