Welcome to Litmus Live Behind the Scenes, where each month leading up to the conference we’ll dig in to some of the work we’re doing to prepare for Litmus Live, and shine some light on how we make the conference happen.
Codes of conduct were never something I gave much thought to—I never had to consider them. Aside from some childhood bullying I’ve lived an immensely privileged life free of harassment.
I’m also a 6’2” cisgendered white man who has never really had to fear for my safety at an event or gathering. It’s taken me a chunk of my adult life to unpack and understand why that is, and to listen and try to internalize others’ experiences who have had to live with those very real fears and concerns.
In this blog post, we take a look at the importance of a clear code of conduct, why it matters, and how we’re making sure everyone feels safe, respected, and supported at Litmus Live.
Why a clear code of conduct is important
At Litmus Live, we want everyone to feel safe. We want that for many reasons, but the core of that desire is knowing that if we don’t feel safe as human beings, we have difficulty learning new things, processing complex thoughts, or being present with others. We’re working to make Litmus Live stimulating, engaging, and inspiring, and we know that won’t be the experience unless everyone feels supported, respected, and considered.
That’s why a clear code of conduct is so important. It sets the ground rules for how we all agree to treat one another when we’re sharing space, whether physically or virtually. When writing up the code of conduct, there were three particular points we wanted to make unambiguous—what we consider to be unacceptable behavior, how to report that behavior if you’ve been affected, and the consequences of violating the code.
Unacceptable behaviors and considerate actions
When listing unacceptable behaviors, it can be easy to misread that as trying to police people. The point underneath the list, though, is simply to be aware of the language we use or actions we take when in a large group of people who may not know one another well or at all. It’s being considerate.
Am I using humor in a way that excludes or targets others? Am I aware of how my actions might affect those who don’t know me? An example that readily comes to mind is that I grew up expressing excitement in seeing or meeting people through physical affection (aka hugs). But not everyone feels comfortable being hugged, and I’m also a bit physically imposing, which may make some folks feel unsafe, so I’ve learned through my own missteps to curtail those urges in order to be respectful and considerate. Regardless of our intent, the impact of our actions on other matters more.
Reporting unsafe situations and getting help
When it comes to reporting situations where someone was made to feel unsafe, we wanted to make sure there are a number of channels available so that it’s easy for anyone to reach out and get the help they need—whether that’s talking to a staff member, sliding into our DMs, emailing us or using an anonymous form. We’ve also provided a quick and easy template of the information to provide so that you don’t have to do the labor of coming up with that on your own.
Consequences for violating the code of conduct
In terms of consequences, we know that they need to reflect the seriousness with which we take cultivating a atmosphere of respect, inclusion, and safety. If in our follow-up investigation of a report we find that someone has clearly broken the code of conduct and made someone else feel unsafe, their access to the conference will be revoked and they’ll be asked to leave, without refund. We genuinely hope that will never be necessary. The email community is one where respect and consideration are valued and practiced, which we adore and want to reflect at Litmus Live.
What’s next with Litmus Live
We’re in the midst of reviewing speaker submissions which is a delightful endeavor, and seeing the registrations roll in is so exciting.
Are you trying to get buy-in for attending? We’ve got you covered with our downloadable guide Justify Your Litmus Live to help you frame your arguments and make your case to attend. We can’t wait to see you in Boston (or virtually) from September 11th-13th.