Media, Events, CoC and casteism

While I am and was expecting to talk about how members of FSCI and Mozilla celebrated the Science Day at GMRT , I will have do it another blog post as there is much to share on that front.

The need and somewhat slow rise of Independent Media.

This time though, I had been a little saddened by seeing how the platform for alternative voices have been shrinking little by little every day in India, although it has been a bit refreshing to see some new voices come which are trying to find new self-sustainable business models like thewire, scroll.in, newslaundry , altnews and few others. How much they would be able to effect a change and how much they will be able to stand against mainstream media with loads of cash may be debatable but their existence itself is a commentary on the state of mainstream media in India. From being the fourth pillar of Indian democracy, the mainstream media has been reduced to being a Press Agent of the ruling party. I had been wanting to write this blog post from quite some time and more so in the last couple of days but couldn’t as for inane reason wordpress.com has been blocked by BSNL, my ISP. While I may share in a future blog post how to figure out where the issues are and the various way of workaround this blog post is not just about media sadly 😦

Events and need for a CoC

Last month, I was fortuitous to participate and also help out volunteering in some events. One of these events was Wordcamp which was held in Pune. I was fortunate to share some info. about Pune on the website but what I am and was proud about that I was able to suggest and get a CoC for the event. Although it’s a bit buried, it was needed in case people wanted to register. Now the reason I am sharing this blog post is I see that lot of events, especially rooted around technical talks do not use CoC and hence miss out in having a more diverse crowd and more than enough times have seen events lose people because they have not been cared for and there is no way for them to ask for help.

To illustrate the point, I will share about an event which happened sometime back. While the number of people were small, in one of the conversations a person from a lower stratum of social order was attacked because the person had similar privileges than people from richer backgrounds at a lower cost and things got a bit heated. I/we the community lost some good people due to such kind of interaction. What I wanted to do was have a real conversation about topics such as ‘merit’ which again has multiple meanings and also depends partly from privileges and opportunities, some of which are there by accident of birth. I was unable to both comprehend both the hate and the ignorance on display when all the actors were in-between 16-18 years of age. I wish I had some tools so we could have a real discourse as I wanted do. Hopefully at some point I am able to learn non-violent communication so can communicate better in situations like these.

While people think that the CoC is good only for women safety, in our community (thinking India as a community) where we have a variety in each and every sphere we have to be more inclusive, not less.

What is needed to have a CoC

You have an excellent template from either OpenSource Bridge or/and the Pune Wordcamp site as shared above. We also had a CoC one in Debutsav Kochi which made life easy. Apart from bad situations, it also encourages shy people to take part as well. What is needed is just a template with a button to which people need to agree. You also need to have people who would enforce the rules if such a need arises. It should be at least 2-3 people, preferably of both sexes and those who are known to be fair in their dealings. Hope we have CoC in technical events, should make life easier for one and all.

Update – 05.03.2019 – I got the info. from Aditya Kane, a wordpress geek and this is what he had to say

WordPress.org  is actually in the process of adding a caste, social class and background to the COC- also adding a no Weapons Policy (which is usually something thats an issue in the US with their gun laws)  for the events.

Aditya Kane, WordPress expert, one of the Organizers of Wordcamp 19 and before

The no weapons policy is for events in U.S. and other places where gun ownership is easily available. as shared by him. The best table for Gun laws can found at Wikipedia.