Conversation Code of Conduct
This is a living document and was last updated on 24 March 2023. If we need to change it we will be clear about the date and time from which the new version applies. Circumstances may require us to clarify a point from time to time, but we do not intend to update it during the convention. If you have any comments or feedback on our policies please use the contact form.
This policy sets out ways we hope our members will behave at our convention. It does not try to replace the law as it relates to public behaviour, nor to place duties on members or volunteers that they are already bound to observe by UK law and customary politeness.
Conversation is a hybrid convention. Everything in this policy applies to our members in programmed and social spaces (such as Discord, Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and Twitter) and programme both onsite and online. Online harassment of, or prejudiced conduct towards, another member of the convention will be treated in the same way as face-to-face misconduct. Please also see our social media policy. Volunteers are offered additional guidance in our convention operations manual.
There are a variety of online social media groups and pages where Eastercon members discuss related matters. We ask our members to be mindful of this policy when engaging publicly on matters related to the convention.
Eastercon anti-harassment policy
Eastercons have developed anti-harassment policies in response to widespread reports of harassment in geek communities and at conventions around the world. (There are a multitude of reports and references that are easily searchable on the Internet.) The anti-harassment policy applies to all in attendance at Conversation, including guests of honour and volunteers, and covers behaviour towards hotel staff and other people in and around the hotel as well as all members.
As a UK convention we are bound by the Equality Act 2010, including the list of protected characteristics, which can be found here https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act/protected-characteristics
We recognise that, as in the wider community, fandom can be unwelcoming and unsafe for a variety of reasons, including racism, sexism, and hostility to disabled or trans people.
We are committed to making Conversation as accessible as we can to people from all backgrounds. We wish to appreciate diversity, support the vulnerable, and avoid prejudice, bias, the expression of privilege, aggressions, and microaggressions. This includes contributions made in discussion sessions and things said to and about other convention members as well as members of the public. During the convention we want to ensure no one is talked over, ignored, or dismissed. We will not tolerate gender-, religion-, disability-based or race-based slurs, the questioning of gender or degrees of ability, deliberate misgendering, or jokes based on misogyny or prejudice. We aim to have diversity of representation on the programme.
Conversation is intended to be a safe place for all the diverse people in our community to spend a weekend talking, watching and interacting with all things SF/F related, and all the people who support us while we are enjoying ourselves.
We define harassment as including (but not limited to) the following:
- uninvited physical contact
- uninvited attention
- deliberate intimidation, stalking, following
- offensive verbal comments. These may be related to (but not exclusively related to) gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion; and include rape “jokes”.
- wearing t-shirts or badges that are well known to be offensive, or the wearer has been asked to remove in the past; refusing to remove items that are pointed out to the wearer as offensive by the committee or a representative of the committee.
- taking a photograph focussing on an individual or recording someone without their express permission; using Zoom lenses or directing video equipment to focus inappropriately on an individual without that person’s reasonable expectation of such focus (however, see below for the general policy that allows photography at the convention)
- sustained disruption of talks or other events
- deliberate dead-naming or misgendering
- tone-policing of marginalised people
- targeting with abusive comments through social media or other electronic means
- persisting in verbal or written argument after having been asked to stop
- misusing the Code of Conduct in order to harass other convention members
We ask you to be sensitive to the fact that what you do not see as harassing behaviour, others may view as such and you could be asked to stop what you are doing. You must do so immediately. However harmless your initial intent, such as believing it was a mutually enjoyable joke, if you persist, then your intention is to harass.
If we receive a formal complaint, we will ask the harasser to stop. If they do not, we will take further action.
Ultimately, we ask you to please be on your best behaviour.
We expect participants to follow these rules throughout the hotel, on our Discord server and social media pages and groups, and when communicating with convention volunteers and other members online or by email and direct message.
Where to go if you’re being harassed by a member of the convention
If you are engaging on Discord before, during and after the convention weekend, please use the contact details set out in our Social Media Policy. The Discord Mods will get back to you as soon as possible.
For the duration of the convention during operating hours a team of ‘listeners’ is on duty. This team includes both members of the committee and independent individuals, and can be contacted directly at any time by calling or texting the number published in the convention Read Me.
Operations hub hours are 09:00 to 23:00 Friday-Sunday, 09:00-19:00 Monday. Outside of these hours, please seek help from hotel staff, and report to the team the following morning.
If you are being harassed by a member of the convention volunteer team: please ask to speak to one of the independent listeners on the team, who will ensure that you can discuss your concerns safely and privately.
You can also or instead:
On site: If you are being harassed, or you notice that someone else is being harassed and have confirmed with them that they wish you to take action, or you have any other concerns, please contact the volunteers in the operations hub in the Warwick Suite immediately. They will arrange for you to meet a member of the listener team in private.
On social media other than Discord: Please send us a direct message asking to speak to the listener team.
Speaking to the listeners
We will arrange for you to speak to a listener in private. You do not have to give us details of the harassment and can choose whether or not to report. If you wish to report, we will take details and work with you to respond to the issue in a way that assists you in feeling safe and maintains the safety of the wider convention environment, as well as enforcing our anti-harassment policy. If you report a serious criminal matter, please be aware that we will be obliged to contact the police. We would however take into account any concerns you may have around involving them.
Should anything come to a dispute (which we fervently hope it will not), the committee will remain the final arbiters of what is harassment. In the unlikely event that someone is asked to leave the convention because of a dispute, this will be done without refund of membership or any other costs incurred.
Conversation onsite is only open to members who have attending memberships, day memberships or other passes issued by the convention. All members must wear their badge while in the convention space, in a way that makes it clearly visible. All members must be able to present their badge when challenged by convention volunteers. The person to whom a badge is issued is responsible for its use. Badges are not transferable and if a badge is lost, there may be a small charge to cover administration.
Conversation online is open to all members who have online/Supporting, attending or day memberships. Online identity is set on registration.
Children at the convention
Children aged 5 and older must have a purchased child membership or day membership for the convention, while children under 5 must be registered as infants. All children under 12 must be accompanied by a responsible guardian.
Teen members onsite must have an adult sponsor onsite. Teen members may move around the convention and can participate in items appropriate to their age. Teen members may log on to the convention Discord server and participate in authorised channels.
If a Teen member onsite is being disruptive or they are attempting to gain access to age-inappropriate activities, their Teen status will be downgraded to Child and they will be required to be accompanied at all times by a responsible guardian. A Teen member who misbehaves in Discord channels will have their login rights revoked. The decision to downgrade will be taken by a committee member and the decision is final.
For child protection reasons, a parent or guardian or registered child minder should remain with children during all workshops and child-friendly programme items.
Attendance at the event is deemed consent to first aid, by a qualified person or under instruction from the emergency services, in any scenario where the individual is unable to give consent.
General rating of the convention
All convention areas onsite are open to members of all ages, with the exceptions of events, exhibits or items that are specifically noted to be inappropriate for Teen and Child members and to which access is controlled.
Privacy, photographs, video, and electronic recordings
This section applies to photographs and recordings taken by convention volunteers for the purposes of bringing the convention to members.
By default all Conversation programme items are recorded, and participants have consented both to be recorded and for members to have access to the recordings. There are also convention photographers who may take photographs or record videos. All such recordings and photographs might include the likenesses of convention attendees and members. The convention will take care in publishing recordings, videos and photographs, but by default attendees and members agree to assign without compensation the use of their likeness in convention publications and promotional material.
Personal photography/recording – onsite and online
This section applies both to convention volunteers for the purposes of bringing the convention to members, and to convention members acting for private purposes.
Please be polite and ask before taking photographs, screenshots or recordings of members and attendees and their online contributions whenever possible. Recording and photography for personal archival use only is generally acceptable, unless individuals make it clear that they do not wish themselves or the material they have contributed online to be photographed or recorded, either by wearing a ‘no photography’ badge or by any other means. In that case, any specific photography or recording of them as individuals is expressly forbidden. Anyone who persists when consent has been denied will be expelled from the convention.
Taking photographs of Teen or Child members requires the permission of their responsible adult.
The privacy of words, pictures and files posted to Conversation online spaces and audio and video conversations via Zoom and Discord is governed by the relevant local privacy settings. The convention’s default settings are for the maximum privacy consistent with the reasons for making the channel available to members. Participants are asked to be mindful of these settings, and to be aware that other people with access to the same online spaces have the normal range of facilities to take screenshots, and record or download content.
Online photos or screenshots should be taken down at the request of any person in the photo, or in the case of a child or teen at the request of the responsible adult.
Members of the press are expected to abide by this Code of Conduct.
Sales of merchandise
The offering for sale of any merchandise at the convention may be undertaken only with permission from the convention.
Anyone who owes an outstanding balance to Conversation must settle that balance before being permitted to attend the convention.
Smoking and vaping
Smoking and vaping is not allowed in convention spaces (including hotel restaurants and bars).
- Alcohol: there is a Real Ale bar in addition to alcohol sold in the hotel bars. Members may take these drinks into all parts of the convention except for the Monarch Suite (Art Show and Dealers), the Tea Lounge, and the ‘Mask Required’ lounge.
- Dealers and volunteers working in the rooms may take drinks into the Dealers Room and Art Show.
- The legal drinking age in UK is 18. Members under the age of 25 may be asked to produce photo ID when purchasing alchohol.
- Signs: Signs may not be put up around the hotel.
- Gender-neutral and accessible toilets will be labelled within the con space of the hotel for use by all members. Harassment of members using these is itself an offence under this Code of Conduct.
No actual weapon, or any item that can be mistaken for one, may be carried either openly or concealed at any time on properties being used for Conversation, with the following exceptions:
- If you want to carry a weapon, or a multi tool, and are unsure whether your weapon might be considered realistic, you must present it to the operations hub. The operations team are the final arbiter of whether the item may be carried and whether it requires peace-bonding.
- Any actual weapon, or any item that can be mistaken for one, that you have purchased at the convention must be wrapped and immediately transported to your hotel room or vehicle. If you want to carry the item at the convention, please refer to the previous point.
- If an actual weapon, or any item that can be mistaken for one, is part of your hall costume, you must ensure the item is peace-bonded.
- Live steel is prohibited under all circumstances. The operations team is the final arbiter of what constitutes live steel.
- Any weapon, whether actual, realistic, or toy/prop, that is used in a threatening or harmful manner may result in confiscation of the item and/or removal of your membership or pass without refund.
- The only allowable variation to this policy will be for any convention scheduled programme demonstrations and sanctioned activities in designated areas at specific times, which have been risk assessed.
Adherence to our Covid Policy forms part of our Code of Conduct.
Conversation reserves the right to amend these rules at any time without prior or posted notice and reserves the sole right of interpretation.
These rules are put in place to ensure the safety and comfort of our members. They are not all-inclusive. In all cases, the singular rule that supersedes all others is:
Any action or behaviour that:
- is illegal, or
- causes significant interference with convention operations or excessive discomfort to other attendees, or
- adversely affects Conversation’s relationship with its guests, its venue, or the public
is strictly forbidden.
Failure to adhere to the above policies is grounds for the removal of your membership without refund.
This is version 10 of the Code of Conduct finalised 24 March 2023.
We acknowledge the help of many fans and previous conventions in the development of this code of conduct.