Novacon Code of Conduct
A Convention is a private event and, as such, the Committee has always had the right and the ability to remove any attendee for antisocial behaviour. Over recent years, it has become standard practice for such events to publish a Code of Conduct providing guidelines as to what that antisocial behaviour may include.
The Code of Conduct governs not only behaviour at Novacon, but also in certain spaces elsewhere, including but not limited to activity online, such as in messages or replies to Novacon accounts on social media, and posts in Novacon pages and groups. The Novacon Code of Conduct team receives complete information from preceding Novacon Code of Conduct teams, and passes complete information to future Novacon Code of Conduct teams. It also maintains an awareness of activity which has been of concern to other conventions.
For most people, the simple principle of, “Behave like a decent human being,” is enough of a guideline. However, just in case, these are the behaviours we feel lead to that result:
- Be welcoming. We expect all our attendees to respect each other’s right to be at Novacon. In particular, discriminatory behaviour or harassment will not be tolerated.
- Be courteous and aware we all have different sensitivities. If your language or behaviour is unwelcome to another attendee then stop. Anything else may be considered harassment.
- Be respectful of other people’s boundaries. Physical contact should only occur with all parties’ enthusiastic consent. Remember, not everyone likes being hugged.
- Be aware that communication may be verbal or non-verbal.
Discrimination includes, but is not limited to, discrimination on the grounds of: sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexuality, ethnicity, age, religion and mental or physical disability.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to, any behaviour that can be reasonably expected to disturb or intimidate another convention attendee. It includes the wearing of symbols associated with fascism and racism, independent of the intent of the wearer. Harassment may be verbal or non-verbal.
Dealing with discrimination or harassment
If you feel comfortable, address the person and the problem behaviour directly. In most cases this will be all that is required.
If you are not comfortable with a direct approach, or it proves insufficient, then either:
- Report the matter to the Duty Committee Member (look for the ??? waistcoat). He/she will contact the Designated People who will come to talk to you as soon as possible, or
- Contact one of the Designated People directly on the number below.
Convention Response and Responsibilities
The Novacon Convention Committee is responsible for enforcing the Code of Conduct and for maintaining confidentiality. This responsibility is delegated in the first instance to a team of three people (the Designated People); at least one will always be a member of the Novacon committee, and at least one will not.
The complaint will be heard, in confidence, in a private place, and an appropriate response agreed upon with the complainant. This may be any of the following:
- Arbitration between the parties involved
- One, and only one, verbal warning.
- Rescinding of convention membership without refund and/or refusal of membership at future Novacons.
- Reporting the incident to the police.
The committees’ decision in this matter is final.
If a complaint is made about you, either to your face via the Duty Committee Member or via the Designated People your interaction with the complainant is over.
In cases of a dispute with the hotel, the committee will support the hotel and the hotel’s own Code of Conduct.
The standard of judgement in these matters is the “reasonable person” standard as applied by the designated committee members. Attempts to “rules lawyer” the Code of Conduct will be seen as a sign of bad faith.
This Code of Conduct is considered to be a living document and is expected to evolve year on year. In advance of each convention, we fix the Code of Conduct for that convention. This is the iteration that will be in use Novacon 51. Constructive comments are welcome and will be considered when drawing up the Code of Conduct for next year’s Novacon. Please address suggestions to the Code of Conduct team on the email below.
Designated People for Novacon 53: contact numbers and email
The names of the three Designated People, and a contact telephone number, will be made available at the convention.
Code of Conduct team email: CodeOfConduct@novacon.uk