Category Archives: Ada Initiative projects

Support diversity in Linux by attending an Ally Skills Workshop at SCALE 13x

SCALE 13x logoDo you think diversity in Linux is important? Would you like to be part of changing the culture of Linux to be more welcoming to women, newcomers, and marginalized people? You can help by attending the Ally Skills Workshop at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE 13x) on February 20th, 2015, in Los Angeles, California, thanks to an anonymous donation of $100,000 to the Ada Initiative from a Linux kernel developer.

The Ally Skills Workshop teaches men how to support women in their workplaces and communities, by effectively speaking up when they see sexism, creating discussions that allow more voices to be heard, and learning how to prevent sexism and unwelcoming behavior in the first place. The changes that reduce sexism also make communities more welcoming, productive, and creative.

A woman explains while a man listens

Ally Skills Workshop discussion

The workshop is free of charge to all attendees of SCALE 13x with a full access pass. You can attend by signing up through the form on the event page. If you haven't already registered for SCALE 13x, you can get a 50% discount on your full access pass with discount code ADA15, for a total price of $35 (register here).

The workshop is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous Linux kernel developer who donated $100,000 to the Ada Initiative last year in order to support women in Linux and greater diversity in open source software overall. This is only the first of four workshops we will be teaching at Linux-related conferences in 2015 at no charge to the organizers. Contact us if you would like your conference to host an Ally Skills Workshop.

Here are a few things people have said after attending other Ally Skills Workshops:

"We've run the [Ally Skills Workshop] 4 times and the impact has been fantastic. This workshop has been the catalyst for many 'a­ha' moments. People who understood bias exists in a very logical way, were able to see, through the conversation with peers about the very relevant scenarios, and connect emotionally with the impact bias has on the colleagues they respect and interact with daily." – Anonymous participant

"I've already witnessed a couple of incidents where coworkers who attended the workshop corrected themselves after saying something that could be misconstrued." – Anonymous participant

"Change is uncomfortable. This workshop helped me be comfortable about being uncomfortable. Once that is addressed it opens a path for improvement, personally and for our industry." – Kris Amundson

You can be part of change in the Linux kernel development community! Sign up for the Ally Skills Workshop at SCALE 13x today!

Announcing AdaCamp Montreal: apply now to join us in Montreal in April!

AdaCamp Montreal est un évènement bilingue anglais/français. Pour obtenir ces informations en français, référez-vous à la page à propos d’AdaCamp. / AdaCamp Montreal is a bilingual English/French event. For a version of this information in French, see à propos d’AdaCamp.

AdaCamp is a conference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture: open source software, Wikipedia-related projects, open data, open geo, library technology, fan fiction, remix culture, and more. AdaCamp brings women together over two days to build community, share skills, discuss problems with open tech/culture communities that affect women, and find ways to address them.

Photograph of Lachine Canal

Montreal, by Emmanuel Huybrechts CC BY

AdaCamp Montreal, our seventh AdaCamp, will be held in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. on April 13th–14th, 2015, just after PyCon. The event will involve an unconference held over the two days, along with evening social events. See the website for our previous AdaCamp, AdaCamp Bangalore, to get a feel for what AdaCamp Montreal will be like.

Apply to attend AdaCamp Montreal.

AdaCamp is the world's only event focusing on women in open technology and culture, and is a project of the Ada Initiative, a non-profit supporting women in open technology and culture. Both are named after Countess Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. Attendance at AdaCamp is by invitation, with applications open to the public. Attendees will be selected based on experience in open tech/culture, experience or knowledge of feminism and advocacy, ability to collaborate with others, and any rare or notable experience or background that would add to AdaCamp.

Five pointed star with a rainbow of colors and the word "AdaCamp"

Travel grants for AdaCamp Montreal are available! Ask on our application form.

Application deadlines:

  • Deadline for applications requesting travel assistance: Friday February 13th, 2015
  • Final notification of acceptance for applications requesting travel assistance: Friday February 27th, 2015
  • Deadline for all other applications: Friday February 27th, 2015 or earlier depending on demand (we recommend you apply ASAP)

Sponsorships

A limited number of conference sponsorships are available. Benefits include making a public statement of your company's values, recruiting opportunities, and reserved attendance slots for qualified employees, depending on level. Contact sponsors@adainitiative.org for more information.

Interested in attending future AdaCamps?

A record four AdaCamps are planned in 2015! In addition to AdaCamp Montreal, we plan to hold an AdaCamp in Mexico City in July co-located with Wikimania, and towards the end of 2015 we plan AdaCamps in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA; and in New Zealand.

If you would like to hear about future AdaCamps and other Ada Initiative projects, please join our mailing list for announcements.




Contact

If you have any questions, please email us at adacamp@adainitiative.org.


Thank you to the Ada Initiative's donors for their crucial financial support of AdaCamp.

Thanks to you, 2014 was another huge year for the Ada Initiative!

Happy December! We come with good news for women in open technology and culture, and we hope you're as happy about it as we are!

a group of AdaCamp Bangalore attendees

AdaCamp Bangalore attendees

Since our last update in mid-2014, we announced that we are growing by hiring a new executive director, a Linux kernel contributor donated $100,000, we ran 2 more AdaCamps (for a total of 3 AdaCamps on 3 continents), and taught 9 more Ally Skills Workshops. Keep reading for more details, and thanking you for being part of another fantastic year for women in open technology and culture!

The Ada Initiative is growing! Help our search for our new Executive Director!

Valerie Aurora and Mary Gardiner founded the Ada Initiative in 2011 to increase the participation and status of women in open technology and culture. After decades of seeing volunteers burning out, they wanted to know: if we applied the feminist principle of paying people for their work to our activism, could we make more progress for women in open tech/culture? The answer: unequivocally yes!

When we reviewed our programs late this year, we realized that there was more demand for our work than we had the ability to supply. Each of our AdaCamp unconferences, held on three continents this year, sold out several weeks earlier than expected. Our Ally Skills Workshops are booked solid into 2015. And we can't launch our standalone Impostor Syndrome Training soon enough for everyone emailing us about it!

That's why we’ve just announced the search for our most important hire yet: a new Executive Director, who will lead the Ada Initiative as we grow to 5 – 15 staff members over the next few years. We're so excited to meet the person who will take the Ada Initiative to the next level!

Anonymous Linux kernel contributor gives $100,000 to support women in Linux

A woman explains while a man listens

Ally Skills Workshop discussion

In mid-December, we were proud to announce that, on top of the $215,000 given by 1100 donors in our 2014 fundraising drive, a Linux kernel contributor who wishes to remain anonymous gave $100,000 to help us create a Linux community that is more diverse and more inclusive than proprietary software, not less. Linux is the world's leading free and open source software project, and serves as a model to other open source software projects around the world.

Thanks to this donation, the Ada Initiative will be able to teach 4 Ally Skills Workshops at Linux-related conferences free of charge in 2015, and give 100 hours of free consulting to Linux-related organizations working on making the community more welcoming. If your Linux-related conference or organization is interested in either of these offers, email us at contact@adainitiative.org.

Ally Skills Workshops for all!

Our Ally Skills Workshops are going from strength to strength. Since June 2014, we have run 9 more workshops teaching over 160 people how to respond to (or prevent) sexism in their communities, including one at the Skepticon conference for skeptics and atheists. We are now scheduling Ally Skills Workshops starting in January 2015. If your organization or event is interested in an Ally Skills Workshop, email us at contact@adainitiative.org.

Three AdaCamps on three continents!

80 women cheering and wearing many different colors, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

Happy AdaCampers!
CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

We've been delighted this year to gather women in open technology and culture not only in the United States, but in Germany and India too! Learn more about our 2014 AdaCamps in the post-event reports for AdaCamp Portland, AdaCamp Berlin, and AdaCamp Bangalore!

And keep an eye out for the of our 2015 locations, coming soon!

Pssst, don't tell anyone who hasn't read this in a public blog post and widely distributed email but we think we can say this: we're working to bring AdaCamp to Montréal just after a certain major programming language conference in April! Later in the year, we're hoping to announce AdaCamps in Central America, the US West Coast and Australia/New Zealand. Stay tuned for announcements!

Supporting our work in 2015

SoManyShirts

2015 will be another huge leap forward for the Ada Initiative and women in open technology and culture. We're shortly announcing 2015's AdaCamps and the availability of our Impostor Syndrome training workshops, with more to come!

Your end of year gift will let us provide low-cost tickets and travel grants to AdaCampers, develop Ally Skills and Impostor Syndrome training materials and provide free consulting to open technology and culture programs and events on how to include women contributors.

And if you donate $256 (or $20 monthly) before January 1, we will give you one of our beautiful "Not Afraid to Say the F-word: Feminism" t-shirts!

Donate now

If you've donated already in 2014, you can still help out: your employer's matching program just might double your donationOur donation FAQ has the info your employer may need to match your gift. You often need to make a matching requests soon after the year ends, so check your employer's program today.

We hope you're looking forward to finding out what 2015 holds as much as we are!

For those of you making end-of-year donations to charity, the Ada Initiative is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit. Your donation may be tax-deductible in the U.S. For general information, see our donation FAQ, but please ask your tax advisor for individual advice.

AdaCamp Bangalore: "Nothing could be more open and encouraging than this"

I can say this conference was the most truly touched feminist endeavor I have ever witnessed or thought of. An inspiration to last through. — Rupali Talwatkar

Group shot of AdaCamp Bangalore attendees

AdaCamp is an unconference for women in open technology and culture and the people who support them. AdaCamp brings women together to build community, discuss issues women have in common across open technology and culture fields and find ways to address them. AdaCamp is organized by the Ada Initiative, a non-profit devoted to increasing the participation and status of women in open technology and culture, which includes open source software, Wikipedia and related projects, fan culture and more.

50 people who identified as women attended AdaCamp Bangalore, held on November 22-23, 2014 at Red Hat in Bangalore.

A huge thank you to all of our sponsors who made AdaCamp Bangalore possible:
Google, Puppet Labs, Ada Initiative donors, Automattic, Mozilla, Red Hat, Web We Want, Wikimedia Foundation, Simple, New Relic, Wikimedia Deutschland, Linux Foundation, MongoDB, NetApp, Rackspace, Spotify, Stripe, Wikimedia UK, Gitlab, OCLC, O'Reilly, Pinboard and Python.

Impact of AdaCamp Bangalore

Our post-event survey (24% response rate) indicated that 92% of respondents had improved their professional networks and feel more part of a community of women in open technology andculture. 92% also felt that they gained a better understanding of issues facing women in open technology and culture.

AdaCamp logo

75% agreed that AdaCamp increased their commitment to participating in open technology and culture in future. 67% of respondents also said that they learned new skills to participate in open technology and culture.

Motivating women who want to edit Wikipedia and helping them get rid of the same inhibitions that I had early this year when I started editing Wikipedia was a great feeling. We had two women published their first articles on Wikipedia and we were so proud. — Parul Thakur

Survey respondents mentioned some highlights of the event including the range of topics covered, the impostor syndrome workshop which opened the camp on Saturday, and the thoughtful provision of a "quiet room" for people to take some time out.

About the attendees

50 people attended AdaCamp Bangalore. A large majority of attendees came from locations across India, while we also had attendees from the United Arab Emirates, Myanmar, the United States, Canada, and Australia.

a group of AdaCamp Bangalore attendees

We worked hard to make AdaCamp Bangalore diverse in many different ways. Some statistics from our post-conference survey (24% response rate):

  • Ten different languages were listed as people's "first language", including Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Malagasy, Malathi, Sanskrit, French and English.
  • 100% of survey respondents listed their race or ethnicity as something other than white or Caucasian (compared to 6% in the AdaCamp Berlin survey, 23% in the AdaCamp Portland survey, 30% in the AdaCamp San Francisco survey and 25% in the AdaCamp DC survey)
  • 100% were born outside the United States (100% AdaCamp Berlin, 11% AdaCamp Portland, 18% AdaCamp San Francisco, 28% AdaCamp DC)
  • 33% were students, and 83% of survey respondents were not employed as programmers or IT specialists (50% AdaCamp Berlin, 42% AdaCamp Portland, 41% AdaCamp San Francisco, 49% AdaCamp DC)

a bar chart displaying the diversity statistics mentioned above

Travel scholarships

To make AdaCamp more accessible to students, non-profit employees and others living outside of Bangalore, and to increase the diversity of our attendees, we offered six travel scholarships to AdaCamp Bangalore, funded by the Wikimedia Foundation and Google. Three of these went to attendees from more distant parts of India, and the others went to AdaCampers from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and the US. Mozilla additionally provided travel funding to five attendees from within their community, and Wikimedia India to one from their community; all these came from within India, where long distances between cities can make travel expensive for attendees.

What we did

AdaCamp Bangalore was primarily structured as an unconference, with attendee-organized and facilitated sessions around issues facing women in open technology and culture. However, unlike most unconferences, we also provide some plenary sessions to help orient attendees, and session curation to make the two days flow more smoothly.

For most attendees, the first session of AdaCamp was an Impostor Syndrome workshop. Women's socialization is often less confident and competitive than men's, and women are therefore especially vulnerable to Impostor Syndrome — the belief that one's work is inferior and one's achievements and recognition are fraudulent — in open technology and culture endeavors where public scrutiny of their work is routine. Our Saturday morning impostor syndrome workshop was led by Ada Initiative advisor Sumana Harihareswara.

Attendees looking at a laptop

Following this, we had sessions introducing attendees to a range of different areas of open technology, culture and feminism. These allow attendees to have a better understanding of the range of open communities, before going in-depth in later sessions. At AdaCamp Bangalore, our four introductory sessions were on Wikipedia, Online Privacy and Security, Open Access to research materials, and Intersectional Feminism.

Two sessions on Saturday afternoon were the first free-form sessions: the first focusing on what problems and barriers face women in open source technology and culture; and the second discussing existing solutions in a variety of communities. On Sunday the morning sessions were also free-form, continuing the discussion of existing solutions and developing new solutions to support and increase the participation of women in open technology and culture.

On Sunday afternoon, attendee-organized sessions moved towards skill-sharing and creation, with a varity of workshops, including a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, an open hardware workshop introducing participants to Arduino and RaspberryPi, an in-depth security workshop and a hands-on introduction to Mozilla Webmaker.

AdaCamp Bangalore schedule, made of coloured paper stuck to the wall

It was hard to believe that a completely unscheduled conference had such an awesome program made by the attendees in just 30 minutes. Nothing could be more open and encouraging than this. — Rupali Talwatkar

AdaCampers reported learning a variety of new skills including but not limited to editing Wikipedia, building mashups, entrepreneurship, filing bugs, workshop facilitiation, and reported that they learned about subjects like Open Street Maps, Google Summer of Code, Gnome OPW, augmented reality, Arduino and Mozilla Webmaker. Attendees also noted that the related discussions in our attendee forums, after the event, provided them with further valuable information.

Lightning talks were held on both days of the main track. Any AdaCamper that wanted to share their knowledge, experience or passion—on a topic either in open technology and culture or not—was given the stage for 90 seconds. AdaCampers talked about subjects from local Indian projects addressing women's issues, open humanitarian projects, women's free software groups and building a library of open knowledge for students in Myanmar. For many lightning talk speakers, this was their first experience of public speaking.

Social events

On the evening of Friday November 21, Web We Want sponsored a reception at Red Hat's offices. Thank you to Red Hat and Web We Want for hosting a reception that allowed a wider group to get together and socialise in a positive, feminist atmosphere.

Following the tradition established at many previous AdaCamps, instead of a large social event on Saturday night, attendees had dinner in small groups at restaurants around Bangalore. Attendees were invited to host dinners on behalf of their employers. Thank you to the Centre for Internet and Society, Growstuff and their representatives, for hosting dinners.

Reports from AdaCampers

"All and all a really fabulous and productive day; spent meeting some amazing women, learning lots which is sparking some ideas for some future projects." — Tracey Benson

Several AdaCampers wrote publicly about their experiences at the event. You can read some of those blogs posts here:

Conference resources

AdaCamp lanyards in red, yellow, and green with patterns for colorblind visibility

AdaCamp lanyards. CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin
Photo

Each AdaCamp we strive to improve the event. After each AdaCamp, we publish any resources we developed and license them CC BY-SA for use by the community. We're presently working on a photography usage policy and an alcohol policy, which we look forward to releasing publicly in the new year!

"Though I already had a good idea of what to expect, I was still impressed with the meticulous effort AdaCamp invests in creating a safe and comfortable experience for everyone." — Karolle Rabarison

Future AdaCamps

We're thrilled with the increasing success of AdaCamp at bringing women together and developing the current and next generation of women leaders in open technology and culture. AdaCamp is one of the key events of the Ada Initiative, with huge impact on its attendees and the communities they are involved in. Our 2014 AdaCamps in Portland, Oregon, USA; Berlin, Germany; and Bangalore, India, are part of our strategy to reach a wider range of women by holding more frequent but smaller AdaCamps around the world. We are developing plans for AdaCamps in 2015 and 2016 now. If you'd like to be notified of the next AdaCamp, sign up to our announcement mailing list or follow us on Twitter.

Thank you to all of the AdaCamp Bangalore attendees and AdaCamp sponsors for giving us the support we needed to run this event and make it what it is. You are what makes AdaCamp a success!

Your organization has the opportunity to sponsor AdaCamps in 2015 and reach women leaders in open technology and culture. Contact us at sponsors@adainitiative.org for more information about becoming a sponsor.


Thank you again to the AdaCamp 2014 platinum sponsors Google, Puppet Labs and Ada Initiative donors; gold sponsors Automattic, Red Hat, Mozilla, Web We Want and Wikimedia Foundation; and silver sponsors New Relic, Simple and Wikimedia Deutschland.

AdaCamp Berlin report-out: "I went to AdaCamp and all I got was a very good time!"

"Thanks to all of you! it was a great experience that all women in tech and open culture should live." — Anonymous AdaCamper

AdaCamp is an unconference for women in open technology and culture and the people who support them. AdaCamp brings women together to build community, discuss issues women have in common across open technology and culture fields, and find ways to address them. AdaCamp is organized by the Ada Initiative, a non-profit devoted to increasing the participation and status of women in open technology and culture, which includes open source software, Wikipedia and related projects, fan fiction, and more.

57 people who identified as women attended AdaCamp Berlin, held on October 11-12, 2014 at the office of Wikimedia Deutschland.

AdaCamp

A huge thank you to all of our sponsors who made AdaCamp Berlin possible:
Google, Puppet Labs, Ada Initiative donors, Automattic, Mozilla, Red Hat, Web We Want, Wikimedia Foundation, Simple, New Relic, Wikimedia Deutschland, Linux Foundation, NetApp, Rackspace, Spotify, Stripe, Wikimedia UK, MongoDB, Gitlab, OCLC, O'Reilly, Pinboard, and Python Software Foundation.

Impact of AdaCamp Berlin

"Talking to feminist women who work in tech and don't do exactly the same things I do gave me the possibility of looking at my position from other points of view and this was very empowering." — Anonymous AdaCamper

Our post-event survey (24% response rate) indicated that 83% respondents had improved their professional networks and feel more committed to participating in open technology and culture as a result of AdaCamp, two of the primary goals of the event. 66% of respondents felt more part of a community of women in open technology and culture and 58% agreed that AdaCamp increased their awareness of issues facing women in open technology and culture.

"I got back to editing Wikipedia after being dormant for 3 years." — Ednah Kiome

62% of respondents also said that they learned new skills to participate in open technology and culture. Overall, survey respondents liked the unconference format for its attendee-driven content and collaborative nature. Many participants specifically praised AdaCamp's role cards that are used for all sessions to help keep the session focused, on topic, and productive.

About the attendees

AdaCamp Berlin Attendees

CC BY-SA Sarah Sharp

"She believed, she could, so she did."Greta Doci

57 people attended AdaCamp Berlin. The attendees came from 19 countries. 35% of attendees were from Germany and 13% were from the United Kingdom. Other countries represented include Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.

We worked hard to make AdaCamp Berlin diverse in many different ways. Some statistics from our post-conference survey (24% response rate):

  • 9% listed their race or ethnicity as other than white or Caucasian (compared to 23% in the Adacamp Portland survey, 30% in the AdaCamp San Francisco survey and 25% in the AdaCamp DC survey)
  • 100% were born outside the United States (11% AdaCamp Portland, 18% AdaCamp San Francisco, 28% AdaCamp DC)
  • 50% were not employed as programmers or IT specialists (42% AdaCamp Portland, 41% AdaCamp San Francisco, 49% AdaCamp DC)

Travel scholarships

"Inclusivity was a founding cornerstone of the event."Zara Rahman

To make AdaCamp more accessible to students, non-profit employees and others living outside of Berlin, and to increase the diversity of our attendees, we offered 6 travel scholarships to AdaCamp Berlin. Two of the travel grants were awarded to AdaCampers from Albania, and the others were awarded to AdaCampers from Belgium, France, Kenya and Slovenia. An additional 5 travel grants were provided by Wikimedia UK for UK based attendees. These five AdaCampers came from the United Kingdom and from Ireland.

What we did

AdaCamp Berlin was primarily structured as an unconference, with attendee-organized and facilitated sessions around issues facing women in open technology and culture. Based on feedback from the previous four AdaCamps, we added some more structure to the beginning and end of the schedule.

"I loved that AdaCamp allowed us to talk about [the connections between basic rights for women, and empowerment through technology] in their interlinked realities, unlike the slew of women’s events that seem to do little more than feed corporate ambitions." — Jane Ruffino

For most attendees, the first session of AdaCamp was an Impostor Syndrome workshop. Women's socialization is often less confident and competitive than men's, and women are therefore especially vulnerable to Impostor Syndrome — the belief that one's work is inferior and one's achievements and recognition are fraudulent — in open technology and culture endeavors where public scrutiny of their work is routine. As at AdaCamp San Francisco, the opening session was a large-group Impostor Syndrome workshop facilitated by AdaCamp Berlin and Bangalore lead Alex Bayley. The Impostor Syndrome workshop was followed by introductory sessions on areas of open technology and culture that might be new to participants; including everything from electronic security and privacy, to feminist activism.

Two sessions in the afternoon were the first free-form sessions: the first focusing on what problems and barriers face women in open source technology and culture; and the second discussing existing solutions in a variety of communities. On Sunday the morning sessions were also free-form, with a focus on generating new and creative ways to address the problems and barriers facing women in open source technology and culture.

AdaCamp Schedule

CC BY-SA Nóirín Plunkett

On Sunday afternoon, attendee-organized sessions moved towards skill-sharing and creation, with a multitude of workshops, make-a-thons, edit-a-thons, hack-a-thons, and tutorials that ranged from a security and cryptography workshop, through group programming working on software as a craft, to a meta-workshop on how to run workshops!

AdaCampers reported learning a variety of new skills including but not limited to the usage of crypto tools, privacy, approaches to feminism, how to contribute to open source, how to better organize events, creating safer spaces, making events inclusive, fan culture, security and what one AdaCamper described as "A deeper understanding of why security is particularly important for women."

Lightning talks were held on both days of the main track. Any AdaCamper that wanted to share their knowledge, experience or passion—on a topic either in open technology and culture or not—was given the stage for 90 seconds. AdaCampers talked about subjects from useful hand signals for group communication, to online language barriers, to Wikipedia projects. For many lightning talk speakers, this was their first experience of public speaking.

Social events

On the evening of Friday October 10, Wikimedia UK and Web We Want sponsored a reception at Wikimedia Deutschland. Thank you to Wikimedia UK and Web We Want for hosting a reception that allowed a wider group to get together and socialise in a positive, feminist atmosphere.

3 women smiling

CC BY-SA Greta Doci


Following the tradition established at AdaCamps DC, San Francisco, and Portland; instead of a large social event on Saturday night, attendees had dinner in small groups at restaurants around Berlin. Attendees were invited to host dinners on behalf of their employers. Thank you to Puppet Labs and Knight-Mozilla OpenNews and their representatives, for hosting dinners.

"The greatest moments [of AdaCamp] were the session on women who don't code and the Saturday night dinner, developing a discussion on codes of conduct at feminist events we'd begun during the afternoon with some of the women who attended it and luckily were also at the dinner." — Anonymous AdaCamper

Reports from AdaCampers

"I went to AdaCamp and all I got was a very good time!" — Helga Hansen

Several AdaCampers wrote publicly about their experiences at the event, in a variety of languages! You can read some of those blogs posts here:

Conference resources

Colored lanyards to indicate photo preferences

CC BY-SA Ioana Chiorean


Each AdaCamp we strive to improve the event. After each AdaCamp, we publish any resources we developed and license them CC BY-SA for use by the community. We're presently working on a photography usage policy, which we look forward to releasing publicly in the new year!

Future AdaCamps

We're thrilled with the increasing success of AdaCamp at bringing women together and developing the current and next generation of women leaders in open technology and culture. AdaCamp is one of the key events of the Ada Initiative, with huge impact on its attendees and the communities they are involved in. Our 2014 AdaCamps in Portland, Oregon, USA; Berlin, Germany; and Bangalore, India, are part of our strategy to reach a wider range of women by holding more frequent but smaller AdaCamps around the world. We are developing plans for AdaCamps in 2015 and 2016 now. If you'd like to be notified of the next AdaCamp, sign up to our announcement mailing list or follow us on Twitter.

Thank you to all of the AdaCamp Berlin attendees and AdaCamp sponsors for giving us the support we needed to run this event and make it what it is. You are what makes AdaCamp a success!

Your organization has the opportunity to sponsor AdaCamps in 2015 and reach women leaders in open technology and culture. Contact us at sponsors@adainitiative.org for more information about becoming a sponsor.


Thank you again to the AdaCamp 2014 platinum sponsors Google and Puppet Labs, gold sponsors Automattic, Red Hat, Mozilla, Web We Want, and Wikimedia Foundation; and silver sponsors New Relic, Simple and Wikimedia Deutschland.

How I made a tidepool: Implementing the Friendly Space Policy for Wikimedia Foundation technical events

smiling woman

Sumana Harihareswara
CC-BY Guillaume Paumier

This is a guest post by Sumana Harihareswara, a writer, programmer, Wikipedian, editor, community manager, fan, and member of the Ada Initiative board of directors.

Back when I worked at the Wikimedia Foundation, I used the Ada Initiative's anti-harassment policy as a template and turned it into the Friendly Space Policy covering tech events run by WMF. I offer you this case study because I think reading about the social and logistical work involved might be inspiring and edifying, and to ask you to please donate to the Ada Initiative today.

Donate now

Wikimedia hackathon in Berlin, 2012, by Guillaume Paumier (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I was working for Wikimedia Foundation for ~8 months before I broached the topic of a conference anti-harassment policy with the higher-ups – my boss & my boss's boss, both of whom liked the idea and backed me 100%. (I did not actually ask HR, although in retrospect I could have.) My bosses both knew that Not So Great things happen at conferences and they saw why I wanted this. They said they'd have my back if I got any flak.

So I borrowed the Ada Initiative's policy and modified it a little for our needs, and placed my draft on a subpage of my user page on our wiki. Then I briefly announced it to the mailing list where my open source community, MediaWiki, talks. I specifically framed this as not a big deal and something that lots of conferences were doing, and said I wanted to get it in place in time for the hackathon later that month. Approximately everyone in our dev community said "sure" or "could this be even broader?" or "this is a great idea", as you can see in that thread and in the wiki page's history and the talk page.

Sumana with two other women running Wikimedia hackathon in Berlin, 2012, by Yves Tennevin [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I usually telecommuted to WMF, but I happened to be in San Francisco in preparation for the hackathon, and was able to speak to colleagues in person. My colleague Dana Isokawa pointed out that the phrasing "Anti-harassment policy" was offputting. I agreed with her that I'd prefer something more positive, and I asked some colleagues for suggestions on renaming it. My colleague Heather Walls suggested "Friendly Space Policy". In a pre-hackathon prep meeting, I mentioned the new policy and asked whether people liked the name "Friendly Space Policy," and everyone liked it.

Sumana teaching a Git workshop at Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam, 2013, by Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands (Wikimedia Hackathon 2013, Amsterdam) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons So I made it an official Policy; I announced it to our developer community and I put it on wikimediafoundation.org.

This might have been the end of it. But a day later, I saw a question from one community member on the more general community-wide mailing list that includes other Wikimedia contributors (editors/uploaders/etc.). That person, who had seen but not commented on the discussion on the wiki or on the developers' list, wanted to slow down adoption and proposed some red tape: a requirement that this policy be passed by a resolution of the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees (so, basically, the ultimate authority on the topic).

Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam in 2013, by User:Multichill (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
But approximately everyone on the community-wide list also thought the policy was fine — both volunteers and paid WMF staffers. For instance, one colleague said:

"If a policy makes good sense, we clearly need it, and feedback about the text is mostly positive, then we should adopt it. Rejecting a good idea because of process wonkery is stupid.

Sumana is not declaring that she gets to force arbitrary rules on everyone whenever she wants. She is solving a problem for us."

My boss's boss also defended the policy, as did a member of the Board of Trustees.

"Perhaps you misread the width of this policy. Staff can and generally do set policies affecting WMF-run processes and events."

I didn't even have to respond on-list since all these other guys (yes, nearly all or all guys) did my work for me.

Sumana and other Wikimedians enjoying a canal ride during the Amsterdam 2013 hackathon, by Andy Mabbett (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I was so happy to receive deep and wide support, and to help strengthen the legitimacy of this particular kind of governance decision: consensus, including volunteers, led by a particular WMF staffer. And, even though I had only proposed it for a particularly limited set of events (Wikimedia-sponsored face-to-face technical events), the idea spread to other affiliated organizations (such as Wikimedia UK) and offline events (Wikimania, our flagship conference — thank you, Sarah Stierch, for your work on that!). And the next year, a volunteer led a session at Wikimania to discuss a potential online Friendly Space Policy:

"Explore what elements are essential for you in such a policy and what we can do collectively to adopt such a policy for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia websites."

Lydia Pintscher and Lila Tretikov at the Wikimedia hackathon in Zurich, 2014, by Ludovic P (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons So perhaps someday, all Wikipedia editors and other Wikimedia contributors will enjoy a safer environment, online as well as offline! I feel warm and joyous that the discussion I launched had, and is having, ripple effects. I felt like I took a gamble, and I looked back to see why it worked. A few reasons:

  • The Ada Initiative's template. I cannot imagine writing something that good from scratch. Having that template to customize for our needs made this gamble possible at all.
  • I started the discussion in January 2012; I had joined Wikimedia Foundation (part-time) in March 2011. So I had already built up a bunch of community cred and social capital.
  • In early 2012, open source citizens saw more and more reports of hostile behavior at conferences; people saw the need for a policy.
  • I added "or preferred Creative Commons license" to the big list of attributes (gender, disability, etc.), which gave the document a touch of Wikimedia-specific wit right at the start of the policy.
  • Sumana teaching a workshop participant at the Wikimedia hackathon in Amsterdam, 2013, by Sebastiaan ter Burg from Utrecht, The Netherlands (Wikimedia Hackathon 2013) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons I balanced decisiveness and leadership with openness to others' ideas.
  • Honestly, I narrowly focused the policy to an area where my opinion carried weight and I held some legitimate authority (both earned and given), phrased my announcement nonchalantly and confidently, and ran the consensus process pretty transparently. I believe it was hard to disagree without looking like a jerk. ;-)

(If you can privately talk with decisionmakers who have have top-down authority to implement a code of conduct, then you can use another unfortunate tool: point to past incidents that feel close, because they happened to your org or to ones like it.)

Indic Wikimedians gathering at Wikimania, 9 August 2013 in Hong Kong, by Subhashish Panigrahi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons By implementing our Friendly Space Policy, I created what I think of as a tidepool:

"…places where certain people can sort of rest and vent and collaborate, and ask the questions they feel afraid of asking in public, so they can gain the strength and confidence to go further out, into the invite-only spaces or the very public spaces….spaces where everybody coming in agrees to follow the same rules so it's a place where you feel safer — these are like tidepools, places where certain kinds of people and certain kinds of behavior can be nurtured and grown so that it’s ready to go out into the wider ocean."

With the help of the Ada Initiative's policy adoption resources, you can make a place like that too — and if you feel that you don't have top-down authority, perhaps that no one in your community does, then take heart from my story. If you have a few allies, you don't have to change the ocean. You can make a tidepool, and that's a start.

Donate now

Welcome AdaCamp Gold Sponsor Web We Want

Web We WantThe Ada Initiative is pleased to welcome Web We Want as a Gold sponsor of AdaCamp, our conference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture.

The Web We Want initiative uses innovative approaches to build support for national and regional campaigns to create an internet that is socially just and observes human rights. The projects key principles are freedom of expression on and offline; affordable access to a universally available communications platform; protection of personal user information and the right to communicate in private: diverse, de-centralized and open infrastructure; and neutral networks that don’t discriminate against content or users.

About AdaCamp

Audience of women with multicolored hair and clothes

CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

AdaCamp is a conference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture: open source software, Wikipedia-related projects, open data, open geo, library technology, fan fiction, remix culture, and more. AdaCamp brings women together to build community, share skills, discuss problems with open tech/culture communities that affect women, and find ways to address them.

In 2014, the Ada Initiative is holding three AdaCamps located in technology hubs on three continents: Portland, Oregon, USA; Berlin, Germany; and Bangalore, India.

Sponsorship

Your organization has the opportunity to sponsor AdaCamps in 2014 and reach women leaders in open technology and culture on three continents. Contact us at sponsors@adainitiative.org for more information about becoming a sponsor.


Thank you to the AdaCamp 2014 platinum sponsors Google and Puppet Labs; gold sponsors Automattic, Mozilla, Red Hat and Wikimedia Foundation; and silver sponsors New Relic, Simple and Wikimedia Deutschland.

Meet our AdaCamp Berlin and Bangalore lead: Alex Bayley

With three AdaCamps in 2014 and four planned in 2015, the Ada Initiative staff can no longer run them all ourselves! Part of our mission is sustainable work practices, which unfortunately sometimes means not always being able to travel. So, for AdaCamp Berlin and Bangalore we're bringing in one of our most experienced AdaCamp alumni, Alex "Skud" Bayley, to run AdaCamp on the ground, with the assistance of Nóirín Plunkett in Berlin and Suki McCoy in Bangalore.

A woman smiling wearing a gardening hat

Alex "Skud" Bayley, AdaCamp Berlin and Bangalore lead

Alex has been part of AdaCamp right from the start: she secured our Melbourne venue for us, drafted the application process we use to this day and gave us the benefit of her vast experience in running events in open technology and culture. She also joined us as an AdaCamp Portland attendee. Alex is an experienced open technology and culture developer and community leader; she uses open source software and related technologies to effect social and environmental change. She has worked in Australia, the US, and Canada. After leaving San Francisco in 2011, where she had worked as a technical community director for the open data project Freebase, she returned to Australia and started Growstuff, combining her personal interest and experience in veggie gardening and open data. She lives in Ballarat, Victoria, where she works on a variety of open tech projects for social justice and sustainability.

To help you get to know Alex before AdaCamp, we interviewed her about AdaCamps past and present, and the many other projects she's working on right now.

What's your history as an event leader? What were your favourite moments at events you've run in the past?

Alex: I've been organising events for mostly Internet-based communities for about 20 years now. I've always loved the opportunity to meet people face to face who I originally knew online. Some examples include the Melbourne Perl Mongers (a technical meetup group that I founded in 1998), and the Wiscon Vid Party (a fan-made video show held annually at Wiscon, a feminist science fiction convention). I also helped organise the first AdaCamp in Melbourne in 2012.

My favourite moments? I'd have to say I love the moment when an attendee realises that this event is different, that it's something special. We all go to so many events that are formulaic, whether it's a tech meetup with the same speakers and pizza as all the other tech meetups, or conventions with the same sorts of panels and vendor exhibits you see everywhere else. We think we know what to expect. So when someone comes to event and you see their eyes widen and they say "Oh! This is different!", and they realise that an event can make them feel joy or inspiration or belonging, that's what I really love to see.

What did you enjoy about AdaCamp Melbourne and AdaCamp Portland?

At AdaCamp Melbourne, I really loved the venue — an environmental park in Melbourne's suburbs, with a meeting space built from green materials and using passive solar technologies. It meant we had heaps of natural light and fresh air, and the area around us was full of greenery, a farmer's market, and even livestock. It was lovely to be able to feel the sun on your face at lunchtime, and a nice change from meeting in a more traditional convention space. AdaCamp always has a special feel to it because we work hard to make the space welcoming and accessible, but herb gardens right outside the meeting room door and chickens pecking around nearby were really something different :)

In Portland, I was just outright inspired by all the women I met, the amazing projects they're working on, and how smart and passionate and welcoming everyone was. I made some great friends that weekend, and came home with a new commitment to expanding my own skills and using them to make the world a better place. I think AdaCamp gives us a safe space to open up to ideas, and to listen and talk without having to be on our guard against stereotypes, sexist comments, or unwelcome attention, and that's what makes it so easy to fully engage and get the most out of the event.

What are you looking forward to most about AdaCamp Berlin and AdaCamp Bangalore?

I am so excited to meet women from Europe, South Asia, and other areas who are as passionate as I am about both open tech/culture and feminism. Past AdaCamps have helped us form a network of feminists in the open tech/culture field, and this network is now spreading more widely, giving us connections to other points of view and other experiences. This will strengthen our understanding of the issues we face and give us new insights into how we can face them together. I'm especially pleased that each AdaCamp has women attending from further away, so that there's more chance for our ideas to cross-pollinate, rather than being siloed in each region.

What else are you working on right now? Any plans for your visit to Germany and to India?

I'm working on Growstuff, an open data project around food and sustainable agriculture, so I'm going to be meeting with a lot of people and talking about that through my travels. If you're interested in those areas, or if you're looking for a welcoming open source project to get involved in or a chance to learn Ruby on Rails, please get in touch and let's meet! I'm also visiting the UK and will be running a coding event in London the weekend after AdaCamp.

Apart from that, as usual I have about a dozen other projects on the go! I'm making block prints of Grace Hopper, doing software development and tech work for community gardens and appropriate technology, and working with my local library to build up their collection of books by and about same-sex attracted and gender diverse people. I'm looking forward to the long flights to Europe and India as a chance to do nothing for a change :)

About AdaCamp

AdaCamp is a conference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture: open source software, Wikipedia-related projects, open data, open geo, library technology, fan fiction, remix culture, and more. AdaCamp brings women together to build community, share skills, discuss problems with open tech/culture communities that affect women, and find ways to address them.

In 2014, the Ada Initiative is holding three AdaCamps located in technology hubs on three continents: Portland, Oregon, USA; Berlin, Germany; and Bangalore, India.

Supporting AdaCamp

AdaCamps are not supported solely by our sponsors: gifts from you, our generous donors, make up a large part of AdaCamp's budget. Support women in open technology and culture and their leading event! Please contribute to more AdaCamps in 2015 by giving to our annual fundraising drive today!

Donate now

Fundraising goal counter

Sponsorship

Your organization has the opportunity to sponsor AdaCamps in 2014 and reach women leaders in open technology and culture on three continents. Contact us at sponsors@adainitiative.org for more information about becoming a sponsor.


Thank you to the AdaCamp 2014 platinum sponsors Google and Puppet Labs; gold sponsors Automattic, Mozilla, Red Hat and Wikimedia Foundation; and silver sponsors New Relic, Simple and Wikimedia Deutschland.

Conference anti-harassment work in skeptic communities, 2014 edition: more victims speak out as the world takes notice

[Trigger warning for sexual harassment and assault]

It's been another difficult year for opponents of sexual harassment and assault in the skeptic community and related communities such as atheism and science, as prominent figures accused of harassment and assault continued to be celebrated and defended by some of the community. However, signs of change continue, with others speaking up publicly about their own and their colleagues' experiences of harassment and assault.

Keep reading for our updated history of conference anti-harassment work in the skeptic community (with some related events from the science blogging community), adding the events from October 2013 to September 2014. Part of anti-harassment work is giving credit where credit is due, so we hope you take a minute to read through and honor the many different voices that have worked hard to make skepticism more welcoming, sometimes without recognition or fanfare for years. This entire post is licensed CC BY-SA the Ada Initiative – please feel free to reuse and remix according to the terms of the license!

Remember: Conference anti-harassment campaigns do work – they "just" take several years of dedicated effort to succeed.

Table of contents

  1. About the authors
  2. Summary of the skeptic anti-harassment campaign
  3. Detailed timeline (skip to the updates)
  4. What's changed in 2014
  5. How you can help
  6. Sources and resources

About the authors

Mary and Valerie laughing

Mary and Valerie
(CC BY-SA Adam Novak)

As a non-profit supporting women in open technology and culture, the Ada Initiative cares deeply about ending harassment in geek communities. Our co-founders, Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora, co-authored the most widely used example anti-harassment policy, hosted on the Geek Feminism Wiki. The Ada Initiative's first project was advocating full-time for the adoption of policies in the open source community, often working directly with conference organizers and community leaders as advisors and coaches.

If you find our work inspiring, we hope you will join skeptics in supporting the Ada Initiative's anti-harassment work. We can only do this work with the support of people like you!

Donate now

Summary of the skepticism and atheism campaign

The big picture: In 2010, few or no conferences have policies. Serial sexual assaulters and outright rapists are common enough that women speakers have an informal network to warn each other about them. Victims are too afraid to name or report their attackers. In 2014, most conventions have anti-harassment policies, many leaders vocally oppose harassment, and at least three high-profile serial harassers and assaulters have been publicly identified. Some harassers and assaulters have lost their jobs and positions of power. However many victims and advocates are still stalked, harassed, and threatened, and need continuing support from the community. Several accused harassers and assaulters have threatened or begun legal action against those reporting them.


Detailed timeline:

A woman red hair on a black background

Rebecca Watson

June 2011: Rebecca Watson video blogs about being sexually harassed at the World Atheist Convention and suggests: "Guys, don't do that." In response, she is viciously harassed by members of the skeptic/atheist community for at least 2 years (the harassment is still on-going as of September 2014).

A smiling woman holding a paper printed with the word atheist

Jen McCreight

May 2012: Jen McCreight says on stage at the Women in Secularism conference that women speakers share the names of speakers who are likely to harass or assault them with other women speakers. Stephanie Zvan blogs about Jen's comment and about harassment at skeptic/atheist conferences and suggests adopting anti-harassment policies at atheist/skeptic cons, linking to the policy on Geek Feminism Wiki as a good example.

Sarah Moglia and David Silverman commit to (and follow through on) adopting an anti-harassment policy for the Secular Students Association and AACON respectively. Many more conferences follow, led by Jen McCreight, Chris Calvey, Stephanie Zvan, and many more.

Ashley Miller publicly reports her experiences with harassment at TAM 9, countering earlier claims that no harassment was reported at TAM 9. In a positive turn of events, Elyse reports favorably on SkeptiCamp Ohio's handling of harassment complaints according to their anti-harassment policy. Sasha Pixlee of More than Men begins maintaining a list of skeptic/atheist conferences with anti-harassment policies and advocates for more policies.

June 2012: Rebecca Watson and Jen McCreight announce they will not attend TAM due to DJ Grothe's recent statements. Among many other things, DJ blamed Watson and many others for discouraging women from attending TAM by telling the truth about their experiences of harassment in the community. (Ironically, Watson raised money for travel scholarships for women to attend TAM for several years.)

Dr. Pamela Gay gives a talk, Make the World Better, at TAM calling for skeptics to fight harassment in their community, and describing harassment she had personally experienced, although without naming the perpetrator.

PZ Myers explains why he's in favor of conference anti-harassment policies in response to a claim that they are unnecessary because hotel security exists.

WylloNyx explains why anti-harassment policies are not sex-negative and would not prevent consensual sexual activity at conferences. "A lack of statement about non-harmful sexual expression is neutral on the sex positivity scale. That harassment policies make it clear that they offer protection against non-consensual sexual expression makes the harassment policies sex positive. It means that not only the 'yay, sex is awesome' part isn't shamed but also the 'sex isn’t always awesome' aspect is addressed to the protection of attendees and speakers. To address both aspects of sex positivity clearly without shame makes sexual harassment policies sex positive."

Greta Christina points out that the OpenSF 2012 conference for people in open, polyamorous, or ethically nonmonogamous relationships has a detailed code of conduct, including things like: "We know this is California and everyone hugs, but please do that awkward 'wanna hug?' gesture before actually hugging."

Ashley Paramore reports being repeatedly groped in front of several people at TAM in 2012, without naming her attacker. The conference anti-harassment team banned the assaulter from future TAMs. Several other people back up her story. Paramore was harassed and threatened for months for publicly reporting her attack.

August 2013: Ian Murphy, Dr. Karen Stollznow, Carry Poppy, PZ MyersJason Thibeault, and many more begin naming names of specific serial sexual assaulters and harassers in the atheist/skeptic community. Jason Thibeault (@lousycanuck) creates a timeline of the sexual harassment accusations. Several of the named abusers threaten legal action, causing accusers to switch to using obvious pseudonyms instead.

An Indiegogo campaign is launched to raise a legal defense fund for one of the accused rapists, Michael Shermer. Ashley F. Miller points out that a quote from the campaign page makes it clear that the goal is to silence victims: "A show of support will send the message that we as a community will no longer tolerate illogical attacks on people who do not condone nor support sexual harassment, sexual predation, or rape any more than we support defamation of our community members from anonymous allegations."

A skeptic comedian mocks the rape allegations by claiming that it is the victims' responsibility to turn down alcoholic drinks if they don't want to get raped and comparing the reports to religious texts. Jason Thibeault provides a transcript of the video with these remarks and explains what is wrong with the idea that getting drunk should be punished with rape or comparing the reports made directly to PZ Myers and others with religious gospels.

Smiling woman with glasses

Dr. Danielle Lee

October 2013: In the related science-blogging community, biologist Dr. Danielle Lee (@dnlee5) describes being called an "urban whore" in a blog post hosted on Scientific American. Scientific American removes the blog post and eventually reinstated it.

Following discussion about the Scientific American blog takedown, Monica Byrne then names a science editor she had described in 2012 as approaching her for sex inappropriately: Bora Zivkovic, then-Blogs Editor for Scientific American. Zivkovic apologises for his behavior to Byrne, but other women describe similar experiences. Zivkovic then resigns from Scientific American and Science Online, and Science Online states he will not attend their events in 2014. The #RipplesOfDoubt discussion arises from this incident.

November 2013: In response to #RipplesOfDoubt, Dr. Pamela Gay publicly describes the fallout from her TAM 2012 talk, including threats to her career.

January 2014: Bora Zivkovic publishes a (since deleted) New Year blog post asking how he can prove himself trustworthy. Science Online co-founder and board member Anton Zuiker publishes a long article calling for the online community to forgive Zivkovic, including a discussion of an unrelated false rape accusation. Two days later, the board of Science Online states that Zuiker has been asked to not comment further on Zivkovic.

February 2014: Ben Radford files suit against Karen Stollznow, and posts about false accusations on the Centre For Inquiry's blog.

March 2014: Radford posts a statement to his Facebook wall, an apparent retraction of Stollznow's allegations of harassment. allegedly co-signed by her. Stollznow categorically denies agreeing to it or signing it; Stollznow's husband Michael Baxter states that he had worked on a joint statement draft with Radford or his representatives but that it had not been finalized nor had she agreed to it. Stollznow raises $60,000 on Indiegogo for her defense fund. Jason Thibeault creates a timeline of the statements released by different parties.

Woman's portrait

Janet Stemwedel

Back in the science-blogging community, Dr. Janet Stemwedel (@docfreeride) publishes a report-out from an impromptu gathering of people at the ScienceOnline Together conference concerned about the ScienceOnline board's handling of violations of its anti-harassment policies.

May 2014: Dr. Pamela Gay describes the assault she experienced in 2008 and alluded to in her TAM 2012 talk and her November 2013 blog post and subsequent communication from her assailant.

September 2014: Mark Oppenheimer's Buzzfeed piece Will Misogyny Bring Down The Atheist Movement? is published, documenting harassment and assault of several women in the skeptic and athiest communities, including several not-previously described accusations, particularly about Michael Shermer. Jason Thibeault releases an updated timeline of harassment and sexual assault allegations in the skeptic community, including several women who allege Shermer harassed or assaulted them.

Adam Lee (@DaylightAtheism) publishes a post in which Dr. Pamela Gay goes on record as saying that D. J. Grothe is the person who originally intervened when she was sexually harassed but later pressured her into silence.

What's changed in 2014

The rumbles and cracks that grew around sexual harassment and assault in 2013 continued to grow in 2014, with a growing part of the community no longer willing to be silent about their own experiences and those that their colleagues and friends reveal. The unhealthy parts of the culture of the skeptic community have begun to attract mainstream attention. But powerful people within the community are accustomed to its norms and keen to defend them through silencing their victims with professional and legal consequences. Much more support is needed for those speaking up, from individual support through to institutional reform that protects them from reprisals.

How you can help

Two women smiling

Sarah Sharp and Sumana Harihareswara, CC BY-SA Jenna Saint Martin Photo

Whether you are the leading novelist in your field, or a lurker on a mailing list, you can take action to stop conference harassment. You can use your words, your influence, your money, and your participation to change the culture in your community.

  • Only attend conferences with (enforced) anti-harassment policies
  • If a conference doesn't have a policy, ask them if they plan to have one
  • Start a pledge to not attend cons without policies
  • Start new conferences if existing ones won't adopt policies
  • If you sponsor events, only sponsor events with policies
  • Publicly support victims of harassment, especially if you are exceptionally influential
  • Publicly support anti-harassment campaigns, especially if you are exceptionally influential
  • Exclude well-known harassers from your events and let them know why
  • Educate yourself on responding to harassment, especially if you are a con organizer
  • Learn more about bystander intervention
  • Don't promote the work of people who harass or support harassment

You can also donate to support the Ada Initiative, which has been working full-time on ending harassment in open technology and culture communities since January 2011. Our 2014 fundraising campaign ends October 8th. Learn more about our progress so far and our plans for future work in 2014 and 2015.

Donate now


Sources and resources

List of geek conferences that have adopted anti-harassment policies
The Geek Feminism Wiki Timeline of sexist incidents in geek communities
Ada Initiative anti-harassment policy page

Reminder: This entire post is licensed CC BY-SA the Ada Initiative – please feel free to reuse and remix according to the terms of the license!

Newest AdaCamp sponsors: Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia UK, and Wikimedia DE

The Ada Initiative is pleased to welcome the Wikimedia Foundation as a Gold sponsor of AdaCamp, our conference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture.

Wikimedia FoundationThe Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, and many other free, multi-lingual content web sites. The Wikimedia Foundation's sponsorship is through travel scholarships, in-kind donations and a grant from the Wikimedia Grants Program, which is open to the public and is designed to fund mission-aligned programs and activities.

We're also excited to have the support of two national Wikimedia chapters for our 2014 AdaCamps: Silver sponsor Wikimedia Deutschland is hosting AdaCamp Berlin in October and, as announced in July, Bronze sponsor Wikimedia UK provided travel scholarships for UK based attendees. Our remaining 2014 event, AdaCamp Bangalore in November, is being organized with the assistance of local Wikimedians.

The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. AdaCamp brings together individuals from around the world with a passion for open source culture and content, including free knowledge projects. Through this collaboration, we hope to reach a proportionally larger audience of women interested in Wikimedia-related activities though these collaborations with the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia Deutschland and Wikimedia UK chapters.

About AdaCamp

AdaCampAdaCamp is a conference dedicated to increasing women’s participation in open technology and culture: open source software, Wikipedia-related projects, open data, open geo, library technology, fan fiction, remix culture, and more. AdaCamp brings women together to build community, share skills, discuss problems with open tech/culture communities that affect women, and find ways to address them.

In 2014, the Ada Initiative announced three AdaCamps located in technology hubs on three continents: Portland, Oregon, USA; Berlin, Germany; and Bangalore, India. AdaCamp Portland occurred in June and was a huge success. Applications have closed for AdaCamp Berlin on October 11–12 and AdaCamp Bangalore on November 22–23. To hear about future AdaCamps, please follow the Ada Initiative's announcements via email or on social media.

Supporting AdaCamp

AdaCamps are not supported solely by our sponsors: gifts from you, our generous donors, make up a large part of AdaCamp's budget. Support women in open technology and culture and their leading event! Please contribute to more AdaCamps in 2015 by giving to our annual fundraising drive today!

Donate now

Sponsorship

Your organization has the opportunity to sponsor AdaCamps in 2014 and reach women leaders in open technology and culture on three continents. Contact us at sponsors@adainitiative.org for more information about becoming a sponsor.


Thank you to the AdaCamp 2014 platinum sponsors Google and Puppet Labs; gold sponsors Automattic, Mozilla, Red Hat and Wikimedia Foundation; and silver sponsors New Relic, Simple and Wikimedia Deutschland.