Version 4 - updated October 30, 2018. Comments on this code of conduct are welcome, and should be sent to Joe(at)sparcopen.org or commented on our public Github issue regarding the OpenCon Code of Conduct. You can find the last version of our code of conduct here.
This code of conduct outlines our expectations for participants within the OpenCon community, both online and at in-person events affiliated with OpenCon, as well as steps to reporting unacceptable behavior. We are committed to working to provide a welcoming, safe, and inspiring community for all and expect our code of conduct to be honored. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be asked to leave the community.
Our community values are outlined in our OpenCon Community Values Statement.
- Participation Guidelines
- Anti-Harassment Policy: At Events & Online
- Harassment Definitions
- How to Report a Code of Conduct Violation
- How We Respond to Reports
In following OpenCon’s code of conduct, you should keep the following expectations about behavior in mind, which are essential for creating a welcoming and safe environment:
- Physical, sexual, and verbal harassment are unacceptable.
- Do not discriminate against people because of their identity (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, age, class background, ability, religion, and more).
- We expect participants to work together to create a welcoming, inclusive, and safe(r) environment for people from diverse backgrounds.
You should take the time to read about what constitutes harassment and discrimination in our full Code of Conduct (below). However, here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind when checking whether you are putting the Code of Conduct into practice:
Ask for consent (i.e. permission) and respect people’s boundaries.
Ask for permission before you engage in physical interactions with participants. This applies to everything from friendly interactions, such as asking “Can I hug you?” before you hug someone, to sexual attention and/or sexualized physical contact at conference social events or after hours, off-site. If you ask someone’s permission and they indicate no, respect that and don’t continue. Sexual harassment (including verbal comments or gestures) is unacceptable, including online, at conference social events, and after-hours at the conference.
Be considerate in your interactions with others and careful about the words you use. Is the language that you’re using discriminatory?
There is a lot of everyday language which discriminates against people, and interactions that seem harmless from one perspective may perpetuate bias when viewed from another. We ask that participants be thoughtful in the language you use and avoid using terms or phrases that—overtly or implicitly—discriminate against minorities such as people of color, LGBTQ+ people, or those with disabilities. We also ask that community members are sensitive to microaggressions1 and unconscious bias. If someone calls you out for using problematic language or microaggressions, please take the time to listen, apologize, and put effort into not using the language again. You may be asked to leave the community for using this kind of language.
Be mindful of how much time and space you’re taking up. Be aware of the dynamics of power and privilege, and whether you’re taking advantage of it.
Are you taking up a disproportionate amount of time for questions or discussion? Are you giving a chance for participants from an underrepresented country or a marginalized group to speak? Are you attempting to engage in a physical or intimate interaction with someone who doesn’t have the capacity to consent (e.g. at an evening social event with alcohol)? Are you taking the time to listen to the perspectives of those who are different from you? We ask that participants be considerate of how their actions shape the community and create space for others to participate fully themselves.
Anti-Harassment Policy: At Events & Online
We value your participation. We do not tolerate harassment of OpenCon community members in any form—online or at in-person events. Community members asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.
Our Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy extend to all aspects of OpenCon where individuals’ behavior affects the ability of others to participate. This includes online interactions (e.g. conference hashtag, interacting on conference-related platforms such as Github), as well as “after hours” at the conference, including evening social events. All conference and community participants, including sponsors, are subject to the anti-harassment policy.
If needed, conference hosts will provide information for participants to contact local law enforcement. Hosts will also make efforts to provide escorts or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe, at the request of a participant. A full list of potential sanctions is provided below.
For purposes of this code of conduct, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct interferes with an individual’s ability to participate in the OpenCon community or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Some examples of sexual harassment include (but are not limited to):
- Unwelcome and repeated flirtations, propositions, advances, or other sexual attention—including gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour
- Unwelcome physical contact
- Looking at someone in a way that makes them uncomfortable
- Improper gestures
- Use of stereotypes
- Offensive, insulting, derogatory, or degrading remarks
- Unwelcome comments about appearance
- Sexual jokes or use of sexually explicit or offensive language
- Gender- or sex-based pranks
- Display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures
- Demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable or preferential treatment
Other harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, personal appearance, political affiliation, marital status, family responsibilities, veteran status, matriculation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, or any other legally protected status, and that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for participation or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s ability to participate in the community.
Some examples of other harassment include (but are not limited to):
- Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, race, age, regional discrimination, lifestyle, political or religious affiliation
- Using epithets or slurs
- Mocking, ridiculing, or mimicking another’s culture, accent, appearance, or custom
- Deliberate misgendering. This includes deadnaming (referring to someone who has changed their name by their previous name) or persistently using a pronoun that does not correctly reflect a person’s gender identity. Address people by the name on their name tag (or by their username or handle, if appropriate) unless they invite you to refer to them by another name.
- Threats of violence, both physical and psychological
- Deliberate intimidation
- Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm
- Physical contact and simulated physical contact without consent or after a request to stop
- Stalking or following
- Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes
- Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease
- Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect others from intentional abuse
- Publication of non-harassing private communication
We will not act on complaints regarding reverse-isms (e.g. reverse racism, reverse sexism), reasonable communication of boundaries (such as “leave me alone”), refusal to explain or debate topics, or criticism of ‘tone’ or oppressive behavior.
If you experience or witness unacceptable behavior—or have any other concerns—please make a report using the means described below.
If you experience or witness behavior that violates the code of conduct at OpenCon’s flagship meeting or online, please submit a report to the OpenCon Code of Conduct Committee via this form. Alternatively, you may also submit reports directly to the staff representatives on the committee at the following methods:
Nicole: nicole(at)sparcopen.org, +1 203 216 7112 (phone or WhatsApp)
Nick: nick(at)sparcopen.org, +1 615 400 1449 (phone or WhatsApp)
If you are more comfortable submitting a report anonymously, please do so using this Google Form. We will do our best to respond to the situation, and reports submitted anonymously are taken seriously; however, submitting anonymously may inhibit the committee’s ability to take specific action.
The OpenCon Code of Conduct Committee is composed of staff from the OpenCon organizing team and individual OpenCon community members. All reports will be handled with discretion by hosts and the Code of Conduct Committee.
In your report, please do your best to include:
- Your contact information
- Identifying information of the participant who has violated the code of conduct
- The behavior that was in violation
- The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made)
- Where the code of conduct violation happened
- The circumstances surrounding the incident
- Other people involved in or witness to the incident
- If you believe the incident is ongoing, please let us know
- If there is a publicly available record (e.g. mailing list record), please include a link, or any relevant documentation
- Any additional helpful information
At OpenCon’s flagship meeting, there will be Code of Conduct Committee members on site, including at official evening events, to receive reports and respond to any code of conduct violations. At satellite events, this is encouraged of hosts and is their responsibility. If you report a code of conduct violation at a satellite event and have concerns with how it is handled, please contact the OpenCon Code of Conduct committee using the means described above.
If, for any reason, you don’t feel comfortable reporting an incident as described above, please contact Shawn Daugherty at shawn(at)sparcopen.org. If a member of the organizing team or Code of Conduct Committee is reported for inappropriate behavior, they will not be allowed to review your incident. We will make every effort to respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting those who submit code of conduct reports. Actions taken following a report will depend on an investigation by the Code of Conduct Committee, described in more detail below.
How We Respond to Reports
At OpenCon’s flagship meeting and online, responses to reports are decided by the Code of Conduct Committee.
After a report is submitted related to OpenCon’s flagship meeting or online community, the incident will be documented, the Code of Conduct Committee will be notified, and the person making the report will be contacted (if possible) to confirm the report, gather more information, and determine how the person making the report can be best supported. All reports will be investigated to the extent the details provided allow. The Code of Conduct Committee will meet to discuss the report and decide what actions to take, in consultation with the person making the report, if known, and in as timely a manner as possible. During this part of the process, we will do our best to protect your confidentiality, if you wish your report to be confidential; however, reporting an incident anonymously or wishing not to disclose key details (e.g. the name of the person being reported) may inhibit the committee’s ability to take action. Once appropriate actions are determined by the committee, they’ll be communicated to the person who violated the code of conduct and the person making the report.
Actions in response to reports can range from warnings with instructions on how to correct behavior that violated the code of conduct to immediate removal from OpenCon events, online communities (e.g. email lists, community calls), and future engagement.
At OpenCon satellite events, local hosts will handle your report. Hosts are encouraged to adapt OpenCon’s code of conduct for their events. If you have concerns with the process provided (or if the process in unclear), you can contact OpenCon’s Code of Conduct Committee at the means described above, and the committee will make efforts to provide support.
The following is a list of potential sanctions for anyone who violates the code of conduct, depending on the severity of the violation. The sanctions will be decided by the Code of Conduct Committee:
- Warning the accused to cease their behaviour and that further reports may result in sanctions
- Ending a talk that violates the policy early
- Not publishing the video or slides of a talk that violated the policy
- Not allowing a speaker who violated the policy to give (further) talks at the event
- Immediately ending any event volunteer responsibilities and privileges the accused holds
- Requiring that the accused not volunteer for future events (either indefinitely or for a certain time period)
- Requiring that the accused immediately leave the event and not return
- Banning the accused from future events (either indefinitely or for a certain time period)
- Being banned or blocked on online community platforms, e.g. on our Community Discussion List, reported on Twitter, removed from OpenCon online community groups (e.g. Github repositories)
- Being reported to the proper authorities
We would like to thank the individuals, communities, and projects whose work significantly contributed to OpenCon’s code of conduct:
- The TODO Group Open Source Code of Conduct served as a starting point for this code of conduct, which was adapted.
- Our section outlining our processes for responding to Code of Conduct violations and sanctions is adapted from Geek Feminism’s “Conference Anti-Harassment/Responding to Reports” page
- The Conference Code of Conduct served as a starting point for the “At Events” section.
- The following are notable contributors to the TODO code of conduct: Django, Python, Ubuntu, Contributor Covenant, Geek Feminism, Citizen Code of Conduct
- New Venture Fund
- Members of the OpenCon community for their considered feedback.
For questions about codes of conduct we recommend you check the Code of Conduct FAQ.
 Microaggressions are the brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual-orientation, and religious slights and insults to the target person or group.
Adapted from Sue, D. (2010). Microaggressions in everyday life. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, p.5.