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Our approach to keeping RightsCon Online safe, productive, and inclusive

As RightsCon Online (July 27-31, 2020) quickly approaches, we’re laying out in more detail the core policies, principles, and processes that we’re working within to maintain safe, productive, and inclusive spaces for the summit week.

As with every previous summit, RightsCon Online is governed by our Code of Conduct and Participation & Privacy Policy. By registering, participants agree to read through and abide by these policies.

Our approach

We understand that RightsCon Online looks a little different than previous years, and this requires refining our policies and reaffirming our response mechanisms to fit this new environment. Virtual sessions replace in-person meetings, while one-on-one or group chats and discussion forums provide an online alternative to informal coffee chats and hallway conversations. The safety and wellbeing of our community remains our priority, and achieving this in an online conference requires us to err on the side of caution in our response processes. As we navigate this new setting and learn how best to reach our goals within it, we ask for understanding and support from the community. 

In an in-person setting, our team focuses on providing a safe and secure venue for the RightsCon community to gather. For RightsCon Online, we are taking a similar approach to the conference platform, doing what we can to promote broad participation while also putting certain checks in place. Just as we require registration in advance of attending one of our in-person summits, the same is true this year for RightsCon Online. Advanced registration is an important component of our approach to safety and security, and will allow us to more effectively maintain a safe and productive environment throughout the event.

Informing your participation

This year, RightsCon is online, free, and open to the public. It is, and always has been, a multi-stakeholder environment and an opportunity to bring diverse voices and opinions into one space. 

While we take great care to ensure every participant enjoys a safe, enriching experience, we also rely on each participant taking stock of their own safety and security, and implementing measures appropriate to their own circumstances. This is as true at RightsCon Online as it is for in person events. As you prepare for the week, we encourage you to take stock of your digital hygiene and digital security best practices when working and interacting in online spaces.

When participating in RightsCon Online, we encourage you to:

  • Be mindful of the public nature of certain spaces and manage the information you share accordingly;
  • Be thoughtful regarding the information you share or receive (including URLs and attachments) relative to your ability to verify a fellow participant’s identity;
  • Where you have the need to discuss highly sensitive topics, consider the most appropriate platform or channel for such exchanges.

If you plan to participate in RightsCon Online but have questions or concerns about the risks it may present, you can connect with us at [email protected].

Reporting and responding

During RightsCon Online you’ll be able to report or reach out to our team with any issues or questions you might have or to report an incident. To create a safe and supportive environment that remains productive there might be some instances where our team needs to respond with a quick decision (“First Response”) to ensure the safety of the community, prevent further harm, and stabilize the situation. Our team will then work to assess the situation carefully and decide on the final response and remedy, with the best interests of our community, and those most at risk, in mind.

In building an adaptive reporting and response process, we were guided by the following objectives:

  • Maintain a safe environment that supports strong dialogue and productive conversation;
  • Reinforce our no-tolerance and survivor-centric stance to issues of harassment and discrimination;
  • Clearly and transparently communicate our policies and processes;
  • Develop strong response mechanisms for if and when incidents arise;
  • Take action quickly to reduce the amount of harm;
  • Operate with confidentiality, recusal, and documentation security as top priority;
  • Continuously listen and learn about how we can best support and serve the community.

With these guiding objectives in mind, we’ve taken some additional steps this year: 

  • Conducted a full security audit of the platform; 
  • Mapped and considered the different spaces and different types of challenges the community might face going entirely online;
  • Strengthened our Code of Conduct and other policies for an online environment;
  • Adapted our reporting, escalation, and response system;
  • Staffed trained technical moderators to support the successful delivery of every single session;
  • Provided Code of Conduct training to moderators (conducted by Kendra Albert) so that they can provide quick First Response to incidents to prevent further harm;
  • Staffed a 24/7 help desk and a number of additional operations and production team members;
  • Developed detailed session organizer and participant guides to support strong sessions and productive conversations.

Getting in touch

Below are the ways you can get in contact with us during the conference:

  • RightsCon Help Desk: All technical issues or platform questions can be directed to our help desk 24/7 during the summit via a chat function in the platform or by email at [email protected].
  • Code of Conduct: All Code of Conduct questions or incidents can be reported 24/7 during the summit via a chat function in the platform or by email at [email protected].
  • Safety Team: If you have any other concerns related to your attendance that is not covered above, you can reach out to us 24/7 during the summit via a chat function in the platform or by email at [email protected].