Build Better Defenses
October 29–30, 2017: Training
October 30–November 1, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
New York, NY

Consensual software: Prioritizing user trust and safety

Danielle Leong (GitHub)
2:10pm–2:50pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Tools and processes
Location: Beekman
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Product managers, architects, and engineers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with online harassment on social media platforms

What you'll learn

  • Explore consensual software basic concepts
  • Learn how GitHub builds consensual software
  • Discover how a "consent filter" can create a safer user experience


Getting consent is as simple as making someone a cup of tea. Consensual software means we should get an explicit “yes” from users in order to interact with them or their data. In doing so, we ensure that the features we build aren’t used to annoy, harass, or endanger people. Assuming that a user has implicitly consented to using a feature creates vulnerabilities and loopholes that can be exploited to harass others.

As an engineer on GitHub’s community and safety team, it’s Danielle Leong’s job to close abuse vectors and build antiharassment tools to improve collaboration on open source projects. Danielle explores the concept of consensual software, the cost of ignoring harassment on your platform, and how GitHub’s community and safety team builds consensual software and reviews other teams’ features for abuse and harassment vulnerabilities. Along the way, you’ll learn how to apply a “consent filter” to product decisions to create a safer user experience and help protect your most vulnerable users from harm.

Photo of Danielle Leong

Danielle Leong


Danielle Leong is an engineer on GitHub’s community and safety team who loves building tools to help make open source a more welcome and inclusive environment. Danielle is also the founder of Feerless, an app that provides trigger warnings for Netflix users with PTSD. She’s passionate about consensual software, inclusivity in tech, mental health awareness, and improving online good citizenship. In her spare time, she climbs rocks, rides motorcycles, and dresses up as a T-rex, occasionally all at the same time.