Tech conference changes policy, rescinds requirement for chipped, unremovable bracelets for attendees

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I guess they need an asterisk after the “everyone” part of the tagline.

That policy definitely does not sound inclusive to me.


Policy has already been modified:

Their main concern, as I understand it, was that badgesharing would let folks access the refreshments for the “pro” attendees. They looked to other conferences and festivals for inspirations on how to solve that, and ended up in a position that made nobody happy.

(I’ve been a long-time fan of the work Code&Supply does, and I will be a speaker at this conference)

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So the point is not to come up with as many ways as you can to bypass the system?

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One of the talks at the conference is entitled “Your Work Has Moral Implications. Own it.”:

“A non-trivial number of us are working for companies with highly questionable business models: models which depend on morally questionable methods to make a profit. There are many examples, from the obvious (we’ll use your data in ways that aren’t in your best interests) to the sneaky (give us your data and we might give you a discount while we sell it to someone else) to the downright dastardly (we’re sending your data to people that will use it against you.)”

It sure does.


So now you can cut off your wristband, but not without consequences.


Hey, I don’t think the wristband approach was the most elegant solution to stopping badge sharing, but in conversations with the organizers- by having the “pro” level, they were able to make regular tickets cheaper- but only if nobody abuses the free snacks for “pro” attendees. Only a fraction of the attendees have the “pro” pass. (This is my understanding from the conversations)

The moment they announced this policy, they’ve been accepting feedback and trying to adapt.

Doesn’t that mean that only the pro attendees would need non-removable bands?


If the intent is to not allow for badge sharing, why not just embed the RFID chip into a regular badge? There’s always a risk of someone abusing these kind of things but if it’s explained to attendees that this kind of abuse won’t be tolerated I’d hope that people would honor this. (And in any event what’s to stop someone with a badge from obtaining snacks or coffee for someone else?) This all seems like a great way to kill good will and create bad PR.

It’s great that the policy was modified but it doesn’t address some fundamental concerns. Is this meant to replace name tags? What if you can’t wear this item on your right wrist? What if you have some sort of aversion to wearing things that can’t be easily removed? What if you have a sensitivity or allergic reaction? What if you don’t have a right wrist?


That’s absolutely fine, but there are plenty of ways to prevent this abuse without resorting to 24-hour RFID tracking. For example, “Thank you for registering for our conference at the Pro level. Here is your attendee badge, and here are your tickets granting you entry to the free coffee and breakfast lounge (one for each day).”

And all the language about “Your wristband must be visible at all times. If security sees you are not wearing your wristband, you will be removed” makes it sound so severe. All this for free coffee?


I mean, it’s more than just free coffee, like the idea that they want to have the conference have more of a festival atmosphere (the schedule stacks the talks in a way that guarantees you’ll skip some sessions and just hang out in the hallways), which is where I believe they got the idea for the wristbands.

I’m not saying it wasn’t an awkward misstep, but it’s a small conference run by a minuscule team, and they’ve been pretty open about the fact that they were going to figure out how to adjust from pretty much the instant someone objected.

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If they were going for “festival-like atmosphere” and not “dystopian, Big Brother-like PIA” then they failed, epically.


Ah, so “forced inclusion” by design? The extreme introvert in me cringes at this.

(I realize this isn’t your doing and I’m not trying to shoot the messenger here.)


I mean, you’re not forced to hang out in the hallways. They’re just trying to encourage it. If it’s anything like the last time they ran this (2016, I believe), there’ll be some “always running” activity stations, like a board game room, stuff like that.

On a similar thing, they don’t want any Q&A during talks, and they want to instead have those sorts of hallway chats.

It says that it’s a discipline conference.


It would be an absolute horror if someone who wasn’t entitled to it had a doughnut and a cup of coffee. You might as well have complete anarchy.


That’s alot of pain and expense to make sure only the right people get free snacks.

I don’t recall ever selecting a conference based on the availability of free snacks.


I know I’d have been miffed to be treated like some kind of lab experiment (or a criminal on house arrest) after paying good money to attend such a venue.

As someone else stated up above, they could have simply used tickets to ensure that only the people who paid the most got the extra perks and privileges - it would have been more cost effective and had way less negative press coverage.


I take it the conference is outside the EU. It would be quite illegal under GDPR - or at least very difficult to justify since the law requires that collection and use of data is proportionate.


Providing different access based on amount spent is not inclusive.