Banned from following a conference

JSConf.eu: love through JavaScript

I attended JSConf.eu for the first time in 2011. It was great! It was an opportunity to visit Berlin, watch and learn; it was also an opportunity to see many skilled speakers. It was rather expensive, but my employer was generous enough to pay for the ticket. I enjoyed the conference, so I attended again in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Being an experienced (Czech) speaker myself, I also tried submitting multiple talk proposals from 2012 to 2017. In retrospect, I think I submitted about 25–30 proposals on JavaScript and CSS topics. All of them were rejected.

I recently realized that I can only see official @jsconfeu tweets when someone else retweets them. This happens when someone blocks you on Twitter: their tweets no longer appear in your timeline and opening their profile shows the You are blocked from… message. It was obvious: the official conference Twitter account banned me from following.

No tweets for you!

Some people are probably pretty used to various blocking endeavors on social media. I am not one of them; I take this kind of behavior rather seriously. I decided to investigate what is going on and what can I do to fix and/or remove the imposed ban.

Now you might be thinking that I am probably some nefarious abuser and Internet troll. Not at all: I challenge you to scan my online presence for harassment, trolling, bullying, abuse, and other offensive behavior. I prefer to use a polite form of conversation; I tend to evade all kinds of conflicts.

Contacting the official Twitter account was a no-go, so I decided to message Malte, one of the conference organizers/curators. I received no reply. After waiting for some time, I tried the same approach with Holger, another organizer/curator. No reply as well.

Perhaps my lame skill with social media was prohibiting me from getting a meaningful response, so I decided to go old school and sent a regular (politely written) e-mail question to the official conference mailbox. I was rather surprised when I received a response almost immediately! Here is what it contained:

Hi Ondrej,
dealing with this is at the bottom of our rather indefinitely long priority list. Don’t expect a swift resolution.
We’d appreciate not being bugged about this again.

Now I might be reading between the lines here, but to me, this message sounds a bit like “Die in flames, KTHXBAI.” It also probably means that every subsequent communication attempt is predestined to fail.

So: my blocking was apparently not an accident, but the conference organizers are completely silent when it comes to giving details, including the reason, ban duration and so on. (Compare: convicted criminals are typically given an explanation about what did they do wrong and how long is their punishment going to take.)

Perhaps the main problem was joining the club in 2011…

I am not aware of breaking any rule, violating a Code of Conduct, behaving in an improper way during any of the events. I am prepared to apologize in case I offended someone by a misformulated (not a native speaker) statement or similar. But as long as the conference is turning a deaf ear, my situation is probably not going to improve.

I would be curious to hear (in the comments section) if anyone else has a similar experience and what are my options. I am aware that I can still see conference tweets by logging out of Twitter, but this workaround is rather annoying and completely misses my point about asking for an explanation.

So long, and thanks for all the coffee
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