The workplace harassment classes and policies have made people afraid to engage in normal human relations at work. Extending those hysterical over-the-top fear-based policies to conferences is childish and petty in my view.
We could well draw up a huge list of things prohibited at conferences.
Simply use the following phrase template:
If you do XXXXXX to someone at our conference you will be ejected.
Here’s some possible things you can plug into XXXXXX:
1. Showing your underpants to other conference participants.
2. Emitting a particularly smelly fart.
3. Doing more serious things which any reasonable police officer could arrest you for.
Some things REALLY DO go without saying. And saying them increases the amount of negativity in the air - at a conference.
The stuffy workplace is one thing. A conference is another. A conference is supposed to be a social gathering, N-O-T work.
I agree with the general French appraisal that American workplace sexual relation rules are insane. And it’s also a bit crazy to have to spend one second putting into the face of conference goers this type of thing.
Go to a bar and expect drunk men to hit on you. End of story.
If you’re an a-hole at a conference, maybe you’ll be ejected.
Just simplify the policy to be “anti-a-hole.” But if we phrased the policy like that I can easily think of one particular biologist who’d be banned immediately. And also so would the crazies who think we need to put into everyone’s face this type of verbiage and text in the first place.
Speaking generally: Imposing your fears and insecurities onto other people as a matter of policy really is abusive. Not everyone is as uptight or as fearful as you are.
And no this doesn’t apologize for behavior which is ACTUALLY illegal. If something illegal happens, call the cops. But conference organizers aren’t our parents, nor are they cops.
The above are general comments based on general trends, and what I’ve been able to gather so far from the fuss.
My related post: http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2012/07/thunderf00t-vs-pz-myers-i-vote-for.html