Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What panel moderators can do to advance conference codes of conduct

Codes of conduct are growing in use at conferences to combat a range of bad behavior from sexual harrassment to racist language. And while not every conference has such a code, conference organizers have an easy tool at their disposal to further that code and compliance with it: Ask every panel moderator to announce the code conduct.

In Moderating my first panel: Ask an Android Developer Yash Prabhu notes that having a code of conduct is one of her musts for a panel, and notes:
As with any event I organize, I always announce our Code of Conduct and always ask permission before recording or photographing anyone.
Smart rules for any moderator, but the responsibility here really lies with the organizers, who should make it a "must" in the moderator's so-called housekeeping duties. If the code is short, read it aloud; if long, summarize the highlights and indicate where participants can find the code in the conference program or on the website.

Moderators can go one further, if they will, and make sure the panelists have seen the code before the panel. After all, a good code includes guidance on language for discussions and content of slides and handouts, so it's only fair for panelists to know about it in advance. Do not make assumptions about who does or does not need to see the code; consistency is the important thing.

Read more about conference codes of conduct in my post Does your conference have a code of conduct? I wish mine did.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by US Mission Geneva)

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