Some thoughts on community…


Over the past week, I had the pleasure of attending Kiwicon X. This was my first Kiwicon, and was a fantastic experience – the talks were interesting, and the Kiwicon Crue were fantastic hosts. As you likely know, there is no Kiwicon 2017, as the Kiwicon Crue have decided to take a break – I cannot thank them enough for their hard work, and their service to the community in the past.

Still, I cannot help but be disheartened by the events of the past week, and our response to them. From blatant acts of vile racism and homophobia to multiple acts of borderline sexual assault (to clarify, none of this is within the control of the Kiwicon Crue: if anything, they deserve commendation for their handling of such events), this is the community we are sadly faced with today.

It is often argued that this is the nature of the community, and that others should change to “fit in”: on this, I disagree. While I cannot expect to come to an infosec con and have everyone talk about fishing because I love fishing on the weekend, everyone should have a reasonable expectation that people aren’t going to be absolute cunts. Everyone should have the ability not to be discriminated against, especially for things outside of their control.

To paraphrase DEFCON, “it’s not about what you look like but what’s in your mind and how you present yourself”. May we judge each other on the quality of our behaviour and ideas alone.

In light of this, it is easy to deem the community “not salvageable”, turn our back upon our friends and silently work alone, sharing our work no further than a close group of co-conspirators. Still, as a community organiser, I – we – have an obligation to do a little more.

The Platypus Initiative does not intend to do nothing, but by the same token, it is important that we clarify the principles which guide our thinking, and thus, the “rules”.

Therefore, without further ado:

  • Don’t be a jerk: Commonly referred to as the golden rule of the infosec community, don’t be a fucking asshole. If we catch you, you’re out, no warnings. Use your judgement – if you’re unsure, or if your behavior is making others uncomfortable, stop.
  • All of us are responsible: If you see someone doing something stupid, say something. If you’re not comfortable saying something, find an event organiser, or find the police if appropriate.
    • This goes both ways. If you see someone in Platypus doing something stupid, please call them out, or please come find us.
    • This goes double for everyone in leadership: if you are organising something with us, or if people look to you for guidance, you bear the mantle of leadership – and the burden of responsibility.

Note that this doesn’t only apply to Platypus events – while we are not the morality police (or the actual police), we reserve the right to kick people without warning if they be dickheads at a Platypus event or elsewhere – we will not allow our compact to fracture.

These principles come into effect immediately.

May this be my last ever, post on the topic.

See you all at the Startcon CTF this weekend.

About Norman

Sometimes, I write code. Occasionally, it even works.
This entry was posted in Bards and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.