Mr. Big Red Engine ๐Ÿ™Š ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ is a user on mastodon.xyz. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse. If you don't, you can sign up here.
Mr. Big Red Engine ๐Ÿ™Š ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ @HerraBRE

So, I've been asked to come and present Mailpile at a privacy/blockchain-themed conference.

Pros: I like going to cons now and then. I like presenting my work. Since current work is funded by the Bitcoin lottery, we're quite on-topic. Interesting location.

Cons: Takes time, money. All male speaker list. Blockchain community is notoriously toxic, not sure I want to be affiliated with it TBH.

Maybe I should set aside my prejudice and just check it out? Or is that just enabling?

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@herrabre I'd say make it contingent on them having a not-all-male lineup.

@HerraBRE any opportunity to practice and engage with audiences outside your usual comfort zone is beneficial. It forces us to think and describe things differently which can have a personal/project benefit before you even start, it also helps your project/company's visibility. BUT if you've decided it's going to be wank before you start, it's probably going to be wank. If something is notorious, you should check it with your own eyes. The all male things is fucking shit though!!!!

@HerraBRE what i's say about 'all male' line ups it's incredibly hard to know if that is a result of misogyny or if women didn't want to talk. I can think of twice before in my life that conference managed by equally male/female split have had all male line up. It's unfair to make anyone speak as a requirement to support their gender. Yet i guess if you don't do anything to support a gender split in lines ups, it won't happen either. Maybe you could ask the female attendees why they didn't speak

@finux Yes, finding women who are willing to speak is more work.

But, I also think it is important work and I prefer to speak at and support events which agree with me on that.

I have met a whole bunch of interesting women in the digital privacy sector, who speak regularly. If they couldn't even find one then either they didn't try very hard or they failed to convince the women that it would be a pleasant experience for them.

Neither is a good sign.

@HerraBRE as i said, you could be right but you could be wrong too. Is there any women on the organisation committee of the conference, if so they may have a better insight than either of our speculation and if not i guess you've found your answer

@HerraBRE also this maybe a wonderful opportunity to have a female colleague from your company/project to speak in your place too

@finux To me, whether they have a women on their committee or not is almost entirely irrelevant.

Not all men share my values on this... and not all women do either. Judging them by the outcome of their work is the only reasonable approach.

Also, if I'm concerned an event is actually going to be misogynistic and obnoxious, I wouldn't exactly be doing my female colleagues any favours sending them, now would I?

@HerraBRE well i'd differ on the opinion tbh, and whilst you may find it irreverent it does show to me that in the very fabric of the org, men & women have opinions at it's growth. It's dangerous to throw ideas & thoughts away because they're not ours, it's equally dangerous to presume we understand something/org without at least trying to ask. Presumptions nearly are always dangerous & ill founded. However i think you should probably duck out of this con tbh, doesn't sound like they fit you

@HerraBRE i'm sure you will but please keep us informed, we tired very hard at BSidesHamburg/HamburgSides to have a speaker split and it required both CFPs and Invitations. We had a wonderful talk by Marion Marschalek on the blackhoodie initiative she started to bring more female hackers in to reverse-engineering. Was incredibly educational to an old git like me :D - cc superruserr@toot.berlin - sort of echoed what you tooted there :D

@HerraBRE @finux When I used to speak at events (this was several years ago) much of it has been through invitations by the organizers (and the nature of the events don't involve CFPs). So you have to have to be known (by your project/work) in the first place to be invited. So it's a mixture of the two - making the effort to cast the net, and making the effort to be more known.

But yes, there is also time + money to go and speak at these events (and time + money to attend!).

@superruserr @finux Yeah, that is my experience as well. I've done more speaking after being urged by event organizers than I have of my own initiative.

These guys reached out to me, so they were definitely being proactive about finding speakers, as you've described (no CFP).

Which means they're doing that work already and it's mostly a matter of who (and how) they decide to ask.

@superruserr @HerraBRE tried to tag you in this, but i'm shit apparently at mastodon mastodon.social/@finux/9949560

Sorry, was agreeing though :D

@finux @HerraBRE i have a goal to speak at an event by the end of this year - could be a meetup, online only event, free event etc. just to do with timing after moving a lot / changing industries / roles.

already keeping track of cons that i'm interested in.

also sent a link to an event in vienna coming soon to a colleague although i won't be in the region during that time.

there may be one in the middle of this year that suits what i do.

i think online people use hashtags like #cfp to track

@superruserr @HerraBRE so i see you're based in Berlin and have interests in infosec/network etc. Have you considered BerlinSides? It's a BSides like conference, and it's CFP is now open berlinsides.org/

@HerraBRE @superruserr also there is a website here that tracks CFPs for info hacking/infosec/tech conferences too cfptime.org/

@superruserr @HerraBRE and if you get this today (10th) and fancy a trip to Ljubljana (which is very beautiful imho) then BSidesLjubljana CFP closes today. I've spoken there twice before and i've genuinely been impressed with the conference all-in-all. 0x7e2.bsidesljubljana.si/

and i'll stop bombarding with toots now ;)

@HerraBRE If itโ€™s an all-bro libertarian conference with goatees and fedoras, Iโ€™d avoid it like the plague.

@HerraBRE perhaps ask the organizers about this, voice your concerns, and see how they react? Perhaps they react in a way that will make it clear you don't want to have anything to do with them; or perhaps they answer in a way that makes it feel much more okay to take part.

@HerraBRE If men in leadership positions vocally reject offers like this, and explain the rejection is due to a lack of gender representation on panels, I think thatโ€™s a step in the right direction. Better yet suggest women or trans folk who can take your place.

But donโ€™t just say no to the organizers. Make it a public act. Write about why you are saying no on forums, in a public post, to the media. Else your rejection is morally sound but lacks any repercussions.

@HerraBRE If you decide to go, donโ€™t โ€œjust check it out.โ€ Go with the intention of stirring shit up and confronting those prejudices you find. Go with the intention of using your position of clout and privilege to shine a light on any disparities or toxic patterns you find.

Not easy. But neither is being on the receiving end of that kind of communityโ€™s toxic shit.

Good on ya for openly considering your options and recognizing you have a choice to make!!!

@morley That is actually my preferred contribution to many "men sucks" issues.

I have a lot of privilege, and how I use it matters. Whether it's by speaking up or just making sure people get home safe...

The old fashioned concept of "being a gentleman" still has a lot to offer.

But it is work, and I'm not going to go to a event just for that purpose unless I'm heavily invested in the community, which in this case, I'm not.

@HerraBRE Sounds like an answer to me. If you donโ€™t have the energy or bandwidth to attend in a way that is positive and supportive, skip it. Better than being part of a silent consenting majority, adding your name to the weight of the toxic culture.

Support and positive contributions are awesome! But you gotta take care of yourself, too.

Any alternate, more inclusive conference you could attend instead? Not blockchain specific, but overlapping/adjacent perhaps?

@morley If I decide not to go, I'll be looking into exactly that. :grin:

Suggestions are always welcome!

@HerraBRE Heh. Iโ€™m a geological engineer who had to google blockchain. I havenโ€™t a clue!

But if you want to learn about seismic retrofitting of dams I can think of three great conferences in the next year!

@morley That sounds fascinating.

My dad is a geophysicist and Iceland gets most of its electricity from hydro... so I'd be right at home until technicalities started wooshing over my head at high speed.

๐Ÿ˜œ

@HerraBRE Surely, the all-male speaker list is enough reason to refuse, no?