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Posted on Jun 29, 2013 in EWTS2013 | 4 comments

Empowering Women Through Secularism conference guidelines

ewts guidelinesConference guidelines, although seemingly not appearing on the Empowering Women Through Secularism conference website, are affixed to the [now updated] schedule of Empowering Women Through Secularism.

Here are these guidelines:

Please follow the spirit of these guidelines using common sense and empathy. Please try to enjoy the conference, and to help others to enjoy it.

Please let us know if you have any particular personal requirements in order to be able to participate as fully as possible.

Please respect the agenda. Please be concise and stay on-topic when contributing.

Please debate the merits of ideas and actions. Please do not speak abusively about people, or attribute negative motivations to them.

Please listen respectfully, and speak without aggression to others. Please do not dominate discussions or marginalize or silence others.

Please do not try to extend questions from the audience into ongoing coversations with panelists or speakers, unless the chairperson invites this.

Please do not use language that is critical of a person on the basis of their gender, sex, race, ethnicity, class, ability, age, or body.

Please do not create an unpleasant or hostile situation by uninvited and unwelcome conduct towards another person.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when making online updates that other participants can read during the conference.

Please let us know, privately if, for any reason, you are not having an enjoyable experience, and we will do our best to resolve the problem.

Please let us know if you enjoyed your experience and tell us any ideas you have for improving future conferences.

These guidelines, different than many other policies I have been critical of, seem quite sensible although they seem to be redundant. Of particular interest are guidelines to stay on-topic when contributing mainly because I have witnessed speakers/panelists (and attendees) going off-topic or contributing discussion which is not applicable to topics they were assigned to speak about. More interesting is a guideline for attendees to keep guidelines in mind when making online updates.

These guidelines can likely be more concise – adding an item concerning unwelcome/hostile conduct/language and eliminating individual points about such language and behavior. Even better, perhaps, can be a short paragraph encouraging attendees to behave with respect and contact organizers if necessary. At the end of the day, though, these policies are a vast improvement over other conference policies.

As always, feel free to leave your comments below.

  • The guidelines look pretty good to me. Sure, they could be more concisely worded but I think they hit exactly the right tone. Impressive.

  • The Atheist Ireland folks have certainly been paying attention and have put a lot of thought into these guidelines. Whether they might be redundant or not, I would think such redundancy, in the current atmosphere we find ourselves in, is a blessing rather than a curse, and certainly forgivable. Better safe than sorry, as they say.

    Kudos to Atheist Ireland for their very thoughtful guidelines. I wish their conference the greatest success and their guests at the conference a very enjoyable experience, one and all.

  • Chill Chick

    I like the emphasis on common sense and empathy. Also “let us know in private” i.e. don’t tweet pictures of people.

  • Axel Blaster

    The harassment guidelines has been an unnecessary controversy surrounding the secular community. I believe less is more when it comes to guidelines, but having something written is preferable. From the reactions online EWTS2013 was successful and the only negative reactions have been some expressing their dislike to your presence -due to demonization- and the presenter that talked about mens rights, also to demonization. Good job!