The mission of DBCares is to create an inclusive and diverse Database community with zero tolerance for abuse, discrimination, or harassment.
DBCares was co-started by VLDB Endowment and Sigmod Executives in 10/2018. Initially, it will mainly serve VLDB and Sigmod to ensure that all VLDB and Sigmod activities are carried out in an inclusive and diverse environment. In the long run, DBCares may expand to serve other DB conferences as well.
DBCares follows the ACM policy against abuse, discriminatory harassment, and sexual harassment. Unacceptable behaviors include the following (quoted from ACM policy).
- Abuse: Any action directed at an individual that (a) interferes substantially with that person’s participation; or (b) causes that person to fear for his/her personal safety. This includes threats, intimidation, bullying, stalking, or other types of abuse.
- Discriminatory Harassment: Any conduct that discriminates or denigrates an individual on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship, nationality, age, sexual or gender identity, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law in the location where the ACM activity takes place.
- Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal/physical conduct of a sexual nature.
ACM policy advises members of our community who have experienced any abuse or harassment to report to “the event chair, a SIG leader, an onsite ACM staff member, and other event organizers who have been designated to handle such complaints at this activity”. The purpose of DBCares is to provide advice from respected and approachable people in the community, such that the reporting is easier and less intimidating.
DBCares has the following responsibilities.
- DBCares listens to reports of unacceptable behavior at VLDB- and SIGMOD-related activities, and provides advice for targets to file official complaint if desired.
- DBCares ensures confidentiality for targets to reach out for advice and to report cases.
- DBCares provides advice to VLDB and SIGMOD executives for next steps to investigate, if a complaint has been registered with VLDB/SIGMOD executives.
- DBCares provides to SIGMOD/VLDB executives a summary report of our activities based on the committee members’ experiences in working with the community, with suitable anonymization.
- DBCares educates all members of our community to take actions against abuse, discrimination, or harassment.
Note: Although DBCares has started with VLDB and SIGMOD, it will also listen to cases from other DB conferences.
Below are actions outside the scope of DBCares.
- Any official complaint will be filed by the targets involved (if desired), not by DBCares.
- The consequences of unacceptable behavior will be decided and executed by SIGMOD and VLDB executives, not by DBCares.
What if an Unacceptable Behavior Happens?
Scenario 1. When an unacceptable behavior happens, a target can report to event chairs, VLDB/SIGMOD executives, onsite ACM staff members at SIGMOD, and other event organizers who have been designated to handle such complaints.
DBCares will provide insights to SIGMOD/VLDB executives on appropriate actions to execute. DBCares will use the ACM policy, previous cases, legal resources for ACM and VLDB Endowment and sister communities for clarifications and suggestions.
SIGMOD and VLDB executives will make the final decision on the consequences of unaccepted behaviors and take actions accordingly.
Scenario 2. When an unacceptable behavior happens, a target can also report to any DBCares committee member, in person or by email. The DBCares committee member who receives such a report has responsibility to understand the case and report to the DBCares committee. The committee will meet to discuss the case and the best action in a confidential manner.
Then the committee will help a target understand the process and possible consequences in a confidential manner. If with full information, a target decides to report, then DBCares will assist in filing official complaint, and follow up with SIGMOD/VLDB executives on appropriate actions to execute as in Scenario 1.
Scenario 3. When a witness becomes aware of an unacceptable behavior directed at another member of the community, he or she can report to any DBCares committee member, in person or by email. The DBCares committee member who receives such a report has responsibility to report to the DBCares committee. The committee will then contact any target of the unacceptable behavior to understand the case in a confidential manner. When appropriate, the committee will meet to discuss the case and the best action, give advice to the targets as in Scenario 2.
Xin Luna Dong
H. V. Jagadish
E-mail DBCares at firstname.lastname@example.org.