I think there's also both an implied targeting of a person, and repetitiveness or persistence with the word "harassment" that's not at all captured in that definition. The definition Ian quoted is so broad I think most contemporary network sitcoms would qualify as "harassment".
Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship, McMaster University
On 2013-01-25, at 10:17 AM, Gary McGath wrote:
> I haven't been following the discussion slowly till someone proposed
> violence as a response to unspecified harassment. Now I'm worried.
> The policy which Ian quotes is based on the idea that no one must be
> offended, which is a deadly opposite to academic freedom and open
> discussion. What is "offensive"? With a policy like that, people must
> weigh every word they say against the possibility that someone somewhere
> might feel offended by it.
> For example, I don't think there is any good evidence for the existence
> of a deity. My saying just that could offend a lot of religious people.
> If I follow the policy, I must not express that view in any public space
> or online forum, including this one. I am already in violation of the
> policy; kick me out.
> "Non-verbal expressions" are included. Even a disapproving look could be
> considered "harassment."
> There can't be any free give and take of ideas without the possibility
> that someone will be offended. Too many people, especially in the
> academic world, prefer a nice quiet environment where no one says
> anything troubling to a free and open exchange of ideas. It isn't far
> from there to banning "offensive" books from libraries.
> On 1/25/13 9:23 AM, Ian Walls wrote:
>> My concern over the anti-harassment policy is part of the definition of
>> "harassment", particularly:
>> "It includes offensive verbal comments or non-verbal expressions related to
>> gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability,
>> physical appearance, body size, race, age, religious beliefs, sexual or
>> discriminatory images in public spaces (including online)".
>> I'm sure that no one in the community would intentionally "threaten another
>> person or group, or produce an unsafe environment", but the policy does not
>> seem to be oriented around intent, but rather the reaction of the person or
>> group who feels offended. People can be offended by all variety of
>> material, and there is no universal, objective consensus as to what is and
>> is not offensive. This translates roughly to:
>> "I am offended by something you said, therefore you harassed me".
>> This makes me uncomfortable, because even though I can control my own
>> behavior and treat others with respect, I cannot anticipate the reactions of
>> others with sufficient accuracy to compensate for the risk of the sanction.
>> Therefore for any interaction in Code4Lib under this policy, I have the
>> wonder if something I've said may be misinterpreted or read into in such a
>> way as to produce offense. Very stressful, and a deterrent to participating
>> in the community.
>> Having a section of the policy to deal with misunderstandings and
>> inadvertent offense would go a long way towards alleviating my fear of
>> banned for what would appear to me as no reason.
> Gary McGath, Professional Software Developer