PyCon Pittsburgh. April 15-23, 2020.

Staff Procedure For Incident Response

Be sure to have a good understanding of our Code of Conduct, which can be found here:

Also have a good understanding of what is expected from an attendee that wants to report an incident. These guidelines can be found here:

When taking an incident report:

  1. Ask the reporter if they want to go to a quiet space
  2. Be an active listener and don’t use judgement words
  3. Ensure the reporter’s safety
  4. Seek additional emergency resources as needed (consult the volunteer guide)
  5. Take down the report and ask any clarifying questions
  6. Thank the reporter for reporting the incident
  7. Call or SMS Code of Conduct Hotline to report the incident to the lead incident responders listed below. (This hotline is no longer active now that the conference has concluded.)

In case of a conflict of interest, you can individually contact:

While gathering information from the reporter:

  1. Do not invite them to withdraw the incident report
  2. Do not ask for their advice on how to immediately respond to the incident
  3. Do not offer them input into the long-term response to the incident
  4. Do not promise any particular response, since it may differ from the official response decided by the lead incident responders

Try to get as much of the incident in written form by the reporter. If you cannot, transcribe it yourself as it was told to you. The important information to gather include the following:

Assess whether an immediate response is necessary. This initial response is very important and will set the tone for PyCon. Depending on the severity/details of the incident, please follow these guidelines:

Respond to reporter needs. You can:

Once something is reported, the event coordinator, the conference chair, and the lead incident responders should meet. The main objectives of this meeting is to:

After the staff meeting and discussion, a staff member (preferably the conference chair or event coordinator if available) may choose to communicate with the reported person.

When following up with a reported person:

People who are reported often get upset, defensive, or deny the report. Allow them to give any additional details about the incident. However, remember:

What follows are examples of possible responses to an incident report. This list is is not inclusive, and PyCon reserves the right to take any action it deems necessary. Possible responses to an incident include:

If a reported person wants to appeal the decision, notify them that they may contact the Python Software Foundation Board <psf@python.org>. Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to encourage an apology from the reported person.

It is very important how we deal with the incident publicly. Our policy is to make sure that everyone aware of the initial incident is also made aware that it is not according to policy and that official action has been taken - while still respecting the privacy of individual attendees. When speaking to individuals (those who are aware of the incident, but were not involved with the incident) about the incident it is a good idea to keep the details out.

Depending on the incident, the conference chair or their designate may decide to make one or more public announcements. If necessary, this will be done with a short announcement either during the plenary and/or through other channels. No one other than the conference chair or someone delegated authority from the conference chair should make any announcements.

If some attendees were angered by the incident, it is best to apologize to them that the incident occurred to begin with. If there are residual hard feelings, suggest to them to write an email to the conference chair or to the event coordinator listed below. It will be dealt with accordingly.

If contact cannot be made via phone or email, please proceed to the staff room.


This procedure has been adapted from the Ada Initiative’s guide titled “Conference anti-harassment/Responding to Reports” and has been updated by Otter Tech.

Revision 2f4d980 of the PyCon Code of Conduct