Flock location and DEI policy


So after seeing various recent news (one about Transnistria, one about West Virginia), I remember the discussion we had 5 months ago, and how it didn’t result in a magic policy appearing out of thin air :stuck_out_tongue: .

I think it is time to change that, and so I would like to start working on a small policy proposal that would clarify what should be the minimal legal red flags to exclude a proposal for Flock at the bid time.

I am aiming for a rather focused proposal in order to avoid scope creep (as it happened in the past) resulting in nothing changing (as it happened in the past).

So in order to avoid scope creep, I think it should be only for Flock, not for others Fedora events. if people want to hold a release party in Orlando, Florida, that wouldn’t apply.

Again in order to make sure the proposal avoid scope creep, I would limit it to looking at laws, and just on the LGBTQ+ perspective. Looking at laws because that mean the proposal can be discussed with a quick check on wikipedia, rather than searching for various surveys and discussion based on anecdata. And focused on LGBTQ+ rights because that’s one where there is a strong legal component. We could surely start to add more questions (eg, accessibility of Flock, visas and travel, experience of racism, etc), but did I already mentioned avoiding scope creep for the initial proposal, who is likely already too large (see the size of this message) ?

For example, the proposal would allow us to say “In Transinistria, we can’t hold a DEI meeting, so we are not going to do Flock in Tiraspol”.

In order to not start from 0, I did some research and there is a few communities who looked at that, and that could serve as example (of what to do, or what to avoid). There is the Safety Policy of OSM, even if that one wasn’t followed since next State of the map is in Nairobi, Kenya (and I let people check the country record on WP to see why that would be a problem).

Another current controversy is the one around Djangocon Africa in Tanzania (see here, here, and here). People who want more details can surely find a Fedora community member that is now working at the PSF that would be happy to give more insights (cough @riecatnor cough ).

As a starter, I would propose the following list (the easy ones) :

  • no country with a interdiction on speaking of LGBT topics. Russia would be on that list, and likely Hungary as well, among others. I guess Florida could be there as well, even if it can be argued that it would not impact Flock. The reason to have that in the list is that it could mean no DEI meeting would be possible (or not one where Fedora pride could hold a meeting, because that could be “propaganda”).

  • no laws that prohibit homosexuality. While I know that situation on the ground is usually no as dire as it seems (and sometime, it is as dire as it seems), it kinda seems to be the minimum. Organising Flock in a country like Senegal would surely prevent some people from coming due to fear of being arrested (and/or come alone), and I think that “people not coming” is not very inclusive.

I am a bit less sure about other ideas I had, and how to formulate them.

For example, there is the question of same sex union recognition. If a woman travel with her wife to Flock in a country that do not recognize the union, would it cause problem ? One example someone gave me was around hospital visit. If your family is not recognized, you can’t visit the person if there was any issue in the country. But that’s lots of hypothetical, starting by policies in the countries wrt hospital visit.

The same goes for travelling with a family. If foster care for same sex couple is forbidden (like in Arkansa in 2008), that would impact people coming with their family .

Another one would be around the question of passport recognition with X marker. Technically, the passport would be accepted, but I do not know how that work in practice.

There is question around trans minors, and how this could impact someone travelling with their kids (for example, to Florida), question about bathrooms (again, Florida).

What would be the best way to brainstorm around that ?


I would also suggest a look at law related to transgender people using bathrooms. For instance, in Florida, a trans person may be arrested for using a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.

I agree that it would be good to have a policy here. That’s important for transparency and clarity. @misc, I like the basic approach you’ve suggested here to start.

I also support requiring locations which:

  • recognize family rights of same-sex married people (this may theoretically be a lower bar than recognizing the marriage)
  • at minimum, allow us to have safe bathroom spaces (including “use what aligns with your gender”, not just “there is a single-occupancy any-gender bathroom available”) for the event and all associated activities
  • have access to safe emergency care for people who may be pregnant

I would suggest that for each requirement, we should have a documented way to check the requirement in some docs, for operational reasons.

I thought also of the question of abortion as that was a big deal with one Linux Fundation event in may 2022, but I figured this would be hard to exactly describe in simple way. One simple example is that abortion in Italy is legal. However, in practice, it is hard depending where you are, and so I am not sure how it can be decided if this is safe or not.

So to me, that’s the kind of criteria that would be suitable once we have a structure for the easy ones with simple binary answer.

This also inspire me with a workshop for next Flock. We get folks in a room, create small groups of 3/4 people, distribute a list of location to each group (for example the previous list of fudcon/flock), along the list of criteria, and a internet access, and we let people search, debate around and present their understanding of the criteria and what they would decide, or what is unclear, what is missing.

This way, we can see gaps in the understanding of a criteria list that can be tested against real life examples, and see how the data can be found before adoption of the policy (especially since there is no emergency, next Flock discussion is at least 8 month away). And that’s a scalable group activity (since it work for 2 to 30 people) with a rather direct outcome.


I like the approach of basing the decision on laws and a list of requirements.


cc: @jonatoni, @decathorpe, @jflory7

Just a call out that we should take a scoped approach - Flock and Local Hosted Events do require a nuance that we should consider. Events that are “all community” events are what this thread is talking about should have this nuance to ensure inclusion, but I also think we should be clear what we’re saying about locally run events by local community members.

I’m the first person in the room to say this matters as there’s plenty of parts of the world you can be jailed for just who you are (I remember driving across state borders not to long ago and suddenly not having my family recognized in the United States), we just need to be sure we’re able to support the communities who may want to build a space for Fedora community members in jurisdictions where regrettably would have challenges. If we define this to narrow, we could accidentally exclude participation.

My logic here is always you change minds by showing strength and vibrancy - and I would love to see Fedora be a safe place where community can thrive, even where it can be a risk just to be who you are.

As a sidebar to my bit of a rant, does it make sense that we also consider Accessibility requirements? Elevators, considerations for hotel spaces, etc?


This is actually not a sidebar but related in a way. People with extra needs often are forgotten by the “abled”.


Events that are “all community” events are what this thread is talking about should have this nuance to ensure inclusion

As I said in the 1st message : “So in order to avoid scope creep, I think it should be only for Flock, not for others Fedora events”. Others events would need others guidelines, as the context is not the same.

As a sidebar to my bit of a rant, does it make sense that we also consider Accessibility requirements? Elevators, considerations for hotel spaces, etc?

It would make sense (as I mentioned in my initial message as well), but again, I think we should avoid scope creep. I think that trying to cover everything is what prevented completion of the last attempt to get a event guide focused on DEI (the one from 2018-ish time, if my memory serve me well, from the previous iteration of the team).

The proposal is a light touch directed process as a starting point, and that’s on purpose. The initial questions should be rather simple yes/no questions in order to get the structure in place, and once that’s done (eg, once the idea of having some criteria is accepted, written and applied ), there is nothing that prevent from adding more.

Evaluating accessibility of a venue would be a rather different process than what I propose, as it would need to happen at a different time of the selection process. You can’t evaluate accessibility from afar, as you can’t rely on people saying “we are accessible” for 2 reasons: accessibility norms are different around the world, and there is often a difference between what is said and what is on the ground. (because I think that officially, we assume it would be fine as that’s already a obligation in most of the place we go). On top of that, for Flock, there is also the issue of the evening events, where you may not have a professional staff that can spend hours answering questions.

But people should be free to start discussing that as long as it doesn’t block simpler requirements from being adopted.

My logic here is always you change minds by showing strength and vibrancy - and I would love to see Fedora be a safe place where community can thrive, even where it can be a risk just to be who you are.

My reasoning stem from noticing that the number of protests against what I would call “diversity washing” is growing. Communities are increasingly stating they want to be more diverse and work toward that with some results. That’s good. However, this result also in a growing amount of intra-group protest related to event locations (for example: Linux Foundation with Austin in 2022, Wikimedia Foundation in 2022 for Singapor, 2019 for a event in Tunis, 2018 in NC, 2008 in Egypt, Openstreetmap in 2024 for nairobi, a few time inside Red Hat, etc).

I think this will happen more and more, as every community tend to follow the same trends (see CoC adoption as a example ).

So the choice is between “doing nothing until it hit like a brick”, or “anticipate”. My proposal aim to anticipate that, and have Fedora display a serious commitment on DEI. And it also reduce the risk of a social media storm, something that sponsors tend to not like at all.

I disagree that having Flock in a “bad” location would change minds, or at least, not at the scale that would offset the bad PR we would face, nor the chilling effect on people in the community. As a event, Flock bring at most 200 people (I counted ~119 in 2023 on eventbrite ). Most of the them are not locals, and most of the locals coming to Flock are also already connected to Fedora in some way.
Flock is a rather inward facing event, so there isn’t much strength to show. There is some more outward facing ones where organizers contact the local press, convince local politicians to give speech, etc. I think have the potential to change minds. But Flock is not that kind of event.

I also disagree that this proposal would accidentally exclude participation. Not because it wouldn’t, but because it realistically wouldn’t exclude more than what we do now. As soon as a location is picked, we are limited by budget among others.

Of course, adding more constraint might mean having to say no to a proposal of a cheap event in Baku, Azerbaijan and being forced to do a more expensive one in Valetta, Malta (to take the 2 European extreme of the map compiled by ILGA Europe ). But that’s also the point, because what would it say of the community DEI efforts if in the end, that’s just tossed aside when it get inconvenient ?

I completely missed this - my apologies! Honestly, I am agreeing with you 100% though in this!

Agreed, I was trying to tease out the difference between an All In Community Event versus something like “Fedora Oregon Users Group” or something. But we’re on the same page. :100:

+1 for setting up a policy on Flock locations! It’s something we really need. To brainstorm and gather more ideas from the DEI team, let’s create a GitLab ticket. We can discuss this further in our upcoming meeting, scheduled for Thursday. After that, we can use hackmd (or another platform) to collaborate on the actual proposal. @misc, could you please open a ticket? I’ll ensure to include it on our agenda for the next DEI meeting.


I hope the DEI Team are wanting a whole community approach as well. I think of Flock as something for all of the Fedora community, and agree with @misc in the point that it could cause some to feel alienation if their geographic location is excluded from the list. I would suggest that when referring to human rights issues as noted by @mattdm , there is also accessibility added to that list.

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@jakfrost :100:

Btw, in 2019, we created an event guidelines checklist to support the Fedora community in organizing more diverse and inclusive events and conferences. We adapted it from the NumFOCUS Discover Cookbook. Although this work was never published, the DEI team aims to work on it in Q2/2024. There are some overlaps with what was discussed in this thread - more information here.

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I did some homework on that, and I learned at least 5 new latin expressions such as lex loci celebrationis to use during fancy cocktails at FOSDEM. There is a ton of papers dedicated on that issue in general with fun historical cases exploring the various corner cases such as prohibition on mariage between relatives where the degree of relatedness is not uniform in the world (on the issue of 1st cousins among others), the issue of recognizing a divorce abroad in Ireland for the purpose of a 2nd marriage before 1996 (when divorce ban was lifted), miscgenation laws in the US before Love v. Virginia, polygamy. And that’s just for common law system, I didn’t explore the legacy of french colonial system, nor anything else.

On the topic of same sex unions recognition across borders (upon which derive family rights inter alia (see, fancy latin expressions !)), there is at least 4 books dedicated on that specific topic like this one, or this one. That’s around 350 pages each of fun law analyses.

The complexity of the topic make me think that’s definitely a subject that would generate lots of discussions, with lots of hypothetical, and so should be left for a later stage of discussion (eg, one where the initial structure is in place, at least 1 item on the list be applied ). I would even wait until we got the process for discussing them be clarified. If that’s a topic that keep lawyers busy and unable to get a definitive answer, it will likely result in a big “we do not know” or “it depend” if tackled too soon.

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Also, for transparency, I am at FOSDEM this weekend, and I planned (see the timing of the initial post :stuck_out_tongue: ) to go see at least @jonatoni to discuss.


I created a ticket:

and we discussed during meeting:

so on going work will likely be on gitlab for the time being (in case people want to follow up)

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