I'll admit, I have done some soul searching since I heard about donglegate about whether I would attend PyCon 2014. I hear other responses saying things like "If I were a python dev, I would ...", so let me be clear here: I have commit privs to Python core (though I don't exercise them as much as I'd like), I'm involved in the conference (again, not as much as I'd like). I say this to make it clear that when I say I was seriously considering not going to 2014, it's somewhat of a big deal. I'm involved, however this is in no way an official statement from PyCon, these are my thoughts and my thoughts alone.
But here's the thing... Not going doesn't really send a message to the conference organizers, or at least it doesn't send the one you think it does. More on that in a moment. What it *DOES* send is a message to people who will take any opportunity to grandstand on their agenda, that they can find an audience at these conferences, to the extent that it goes on for multiple years. It doesn't matter whether the actions taken here were grandstanding or not. Irrespective of her intentions, many people are seeing it as such, so I think it's fair to say it can send a message to others who would, without speculating on the intentions that started this.
If conference attendance were way down next year, the story would be about how donglegate caused it, and it would be feeding all the horrific sentiments behind this. If, however, attendance is up next year, the story will be how despite this the Python community remained strong, shutting down the bad sentiments and making it into a positive story.
Unfortunately, I and a number of folks are expecting attendance to be down next year, before any of this donglegate stuff came out. PyCon tends to lose attendees every time it moves cities -- though moving to Santa Clara didn't suffer from that. Moving it such that a significant number of Americans need passports, who haven't in the past, may reduce attendance. On the other hand, there may be people who come from around the world who didn't want to deal with the TSA... It's all speculation, but an informal poll I took showed about half the people were expecting it to be smaller.
So why doesn't it send a useful message to the organizers? Because the conference organizers did all they could about this incident. When the incident was reported, they acted swiftly (by all accounts), spoke to the 3 involved, apologies were given and apparently accepted, and everyone went away happy. No complaints were filed about the posting of the photograph.
Everything that happened that is making this show up on slashdot happened *OUTSIDE THE CONFERENCE*. The incident itself happened, I believe, in the last hour of the conference (her blog post sounds like it happened during the closing Lightning Talks, the last session of the conference). But in any case, the firing and rage happened largely on the Internet, in response to her post of that picture.
What can the conference do? Ban any of them from the show in future years? The only official complaint to the conference was handled to the satisfaction of all involved, at the time. Excluding someone from the conference without any complaint would lead to another storm...
As I said in the subject, PyCon is a wonderful thing. I've been to 10 of them, I've only missed one. PyCon has been working hard to include more diversity, and this year we had around 20% women. I remember when we literally had a hand-full of women at PyCon, and I was married to one of them. In order to get here PyCon has had to do a lot of outreach and take reports of harassment and the like very seriously. The community is stronger for it. And we now have experience dealing with someone tweeting "shame photos"...
Retaliating against the conference for this is going to do more harm than good. Plain and simple.
Am I going to PyCon 2014? Absolutely!