I want to comment on recent events and add my voice to the discussion. As an event organizer, I find the sexual assault incident disgraceful and unfortunately something not limited to just the Ruby community. The incident and much of the resulting discussion is reprehensible, this is why organizers work hard to make a safe place and try to establish standards and expectations of behavior. In this specific incident, the behaviors went far beyond what I fear happening at an event. I have spoken with other organizers like +Jesse Noller
and want to convey this not just from myself, but on behalf of any event organizer worth their salt.
I condemn all acts of sexual assault regardless of circumstance. My sympathy is with those affected by it both now and in the past as well as those that are turned away from attending events or joining the conversation out of fear of their safety. Alcohol abuse is a serious issue, but I worry that we are trying to find a simple target for a much scarier and broader social issue. Unfortunately the cold reality is that there are bad actors within our world and we need to deal swiftly, directly, and properly with them and their actions. Period.
Drinking at tech conferences is an issue. For this year's JSConf we did a massive re-invention (linked below) of our conference formula and forgo standard conference events. We took the rather harsh critiques levied against us seriously and tried to identify the positive change aspects we could make and how we could present them. In doing so, I believe we created a much more hospitable and widely inclusive event - one that felt far more fulfilling for all involved. It is quite possible to make such an event and I encourage others to take from our efforts and improve on them for we are not without fault. This change is ours to make alongside of the many other much-needed changes we have yet to accomplish in order to make our environment far more inclusive and safe for all.