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I went to Defcon24 as Purism representative. It was (as usual) held in Las Vegas, the city of sin. In the same module as with DebConf, here we go with good, bad and ugly.


Badges are really cool. You can find good hackers here and there (but very small number compared to total number). Some talks are good and workshop + village idea looks good (although I didn't manage to attend any workshop as there was place for 1100 and there were 22000 attendees). The movie night idea is cool and Arcade space (where you can play old arcade games, relax and hack and also listen to some cool music) is really lovely. Also you have a camp/village for kids learning things such as electronics, soldering etc but you need to pay attention that they don't see too much of twisted folks that also gather on this con. And that's it. Oh, yea, Dark Tangent appears actually to be cool dude.


One does not simply hold a so-called hacker conference in Las Vegas. Having a conference inside hotel/casino where you mix with gamblers and casino workes (for good or for bad) is simply not in hacker spirit and certainly brings all kind of people to the same place. Also, there were simply not enough space for 22000 Defcon attendees, and you don't get proud of having on average ONLY 40min lines. You get proud if you don't have lines! Organization is not the strongest part of Defcon.

Huge majority of attendees are not hackers. They are script kiddies, hacker wannabes, comic con people, few totally lost souls etc etc. That simply brings the quality of a conference down. Yes it is cool to have mix of many diverse people but not for the sake of just having people.


They lack Code of Conduct (everyone knows I am not in favor of any writens rules how people should behave but after Defcon I clearly see need for it). Actually, tbh, they do have it but no one gives a damn about it. And you should report to Goons, more about them below. Sexism is huge here. I remember and hear about stories of sexual harassment in IT industry, but Debian somehow mitigated that before me entering its domains, so I never experienced it. The sheer number of sexist behavior on Defcon is tremendous. It appears to me that those people had lonely childhood and now they act as a spoiled 6 year old: they're spoiled, they need to yell to show their point, they have low and stupid sexist jokes and they simply think that is cool.

Majority of Goons (their coordinators or whatever) are simply idiots. I don't know do they feel they have some superpowers, or are drunk or just stupid but yelling on people, throwing low jokes on people, more yelling, cursing all the time, more yelling - simply doesn't work for me. So now you can see the irony of CoC on Defcon. They even like to say, hey we are old farts, let us our con be as we want it to be. So no real diversity there. Either it is their way, and god forsaken if you try to change something for better and make them stop cursing or throwing sexist jokes ("squeeze, people. together, touch each other, trust me it will feel good"), or highway.

Also it appears that to huge number of vocal people, word "fuck" has some fetish meaning. Either it needs to show how "fucking awesome this con or they are" or to "fucking tell few things about random fucking stuff". Thank you, but no thank you.

So what did I do during con. I attended few talks, had some discussion with people, went to one party (great DJs, again people doing stupid things, like breaking invertory to name just one of them) and had so much time (read "I was bored") that I bought domain, brough up server on which I configured nginx and cp'ed this blog to (yes, recently I added letsencrypt because it is, let me be in Defcon mood, FUCKING AWESOME GRRR UGH) and now I even made .onion domain for it. What can boredom do to people, right?

So the ultimate question is - would I go again to Defcon. I am strongly leaning to no, but in my nature is to give second chance and now I have more experience (and I also have thick skin so I guess I can play calm for one more round).