The Orga Support Pattern
There are times when organizers, volunteers or others who just support your event will come under attack from external forces. It may be everything from an opportunistic blogger to an abusive speaker.
- Never tolerate abusiveness within your organization or from outside your organization.
- Teach everyone in your event to recognize the difference between disagreements and hostility.
- Encourage civil discussion of disagreements, and swiftly react in ways that signal hostility as unacceptable.
Anyone should be able to freely express their views on your event in a civil and respectful manner. Unfortunately, many hackers resort to abusive tactics without much provocation at all. In the name of preventing drama, many people will allow attacks on organizers, volunteers, staff or others to go unanswered. At times, volunteers may attack organizers or vice versa.
Example: A popular speaker repeatedly abuses and makes unreasonable demands of staff. It sends a very powerful message to eject such a speaker if, after repeated warnings, they do not respect the hard work and dedication of your organization and volunteers. The same goes for attendees.
Example: An organizer comes down on one side of a controversial decision. The "losing" side goes on the attack, posting rants to the internal mailing list, forwarding blog posts, sending death threats to the organizer, etc. The role of the orga and volunteers is to support their leadership, even if they disagree with the decision. Personal attacks should never be acceptable, but there are times when emotions prevail and those trusted with leadership often feel very lonely when making tough calls. A properly functioning HE knows when to rally around the leader to make sure they know they have the support to continue working on what is almost always a thankless job.