Things to avoid
There are certain things you should avoid during the communication with reporter, offender and the public. Here is some rule of the thumb you should follow.
- Do not overtly invite reporter to withdraw the complaint or mention that withdrawal is OK: this suggests that you want them to do so, and is therefore coercive. "If you're OK with it [pursuing the complaint]" suggests that you are by default pursuing it and is not coercive.
- Do not ask reporter for advice on how to deal with the complaint: this is the staff's responsibility and the reporter should be reassured that the response team will take care of the problem.
- Do not say to the offender anything that undermines Code of Conduct process. Things like: "I think what you did is ok, but someone was offended and we must act". Be professional with handling the incidents and do not give offender an impression that you are not responsible for the actions of the Code of Conduct team.
- Do not give details about the victim or reporter to the offender if it is not absolutely necessary to clarify what was incident all about. Not always the reporter is a victim of the given situation or action, so you should always make sure that you protect idendity and safety of the reporter. You don't want to allow for further harrasment of the reporter/victim and that should be your top priority.
- Do not ask third parties for an advice, unless it is absolutely necessary to ensure safety of the event. That includes other organizers of the event except the conference chair, unless they are members of the Response Team. Most of the time keeping details - especially names of involved sides - is in the best interest of all the sides and will help avoid escallation of the problem.
- Do not engage, especially publicly, in discussions about the certain incidents. People might ask questions like: who was the offender? Who was the victim? You should not reveal anything more than you will place in your transparency report. Read about the scope of details you could reveal in Transparency chapter.