Banned from following a conference
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.
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.
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:
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.)
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.