Version 1 - posted September 23rd. Comments on this code of conduct are welcome, and should be sent to Joe AT righttoresearch DOT org.
This code of conduct outlines our expectations for participants within the OpenCon community, both online and in-person, as well as steps to reporting unacceptable behavior. We are committed to providing a welcoming 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.
- Code of Conduct in Brief
- Diversity Statement
- Anti-Harassment Policy - At Events & Online
- OpenCon Community Values
- How to Report A Code of Conduct Violation
- OpenCon's Process for Responding to Reports
- Sanctions for Code of Conduct Violations
- Attribution & Acknowledgements
Our Code of Conduct, in brief, covers three main things:
- Physical, sexual, and verbal harassment are unacceptable: we have a zero tolerance policy.
- Don’t 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 they say no, respect that and don’t continue. Sexual harassment is unacceptable, including on online, at conference social events, and after-hours at the conference.
Be 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. Using racial slurs, or phrases like “that’s lame”, “that’s gay”, or “that’s retarded” may seem harmless to some, but actually discriminates against minorities such as people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, or those with disabilities. If someone calls you out for using problematic language, 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 your power and privilege, and whether you’re taking advantage of it.
Are you a man who is taking up all the time for questions in a workshop full of mostly female participants? Are you a Western academic who isn’t giving a chance for a participant from an underrepresented country 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 encourage everyone to participate and are committed to building a community for all. We seek to treat everyone both as fairly and equally as possible. Whenever a participant has made a mistake, we expect them to take responsibility for it. If someone has been harmed or offended, it is our responsibility to listen carefully and respectfully, and do our best to right the wrong.
Although this list cannot be exhaustive, we explicitly honor diversity in age, gender, gender identity or expression, culture, ethnicity, language, national origin, political beliefs, profession, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and technical ability. We will not tolerate discrimination based on any of the protected characteristics above, including participants with disabilities.
Anti-Harassment Policy: At Events & Online
We value your attendance. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organisers. A full list of sanctions is listed below. Sponsors are also subject to the anti-harassment policy.
In particular, sponsors should not use sexualised images, activities, or other material. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualised clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualised environment.
Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference, at the request of a participant. We expect participants to follow these rules at conference and workshop venues and conference-related social events.
Harassment includes, but is 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, political or religious affiliation
Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment
Deliberate misgendering. This includes deadnaming or persistently using a pronoun that does not correctly reflect a person’s gender identity. You must address people by the name they give you when not addressing them by their username or handle
Physical contact and simulated physical contact (eg, textual descriptions like “hug” or “backrub”) without consent or after a request to stop
Threats of violence, both physical and psychological
Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm
Stalking or following
Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes
Sustained disruption of discussion
Unwelcome sexual attention, including gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour
Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others
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, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’
Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “please go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you”
Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial
Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions
*IMPORTANT: Our Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment policy extends to all hours and aspects of OpenCon. This includes online interactions (e.g. using the conference hashtag (#OpenCon) interacting on conference-related platforms such as Github or message boards), as well as “after hours” at the conference, including evening social events. There will be designated staff members on site at evening events to report and respond to Code of Conduct violations.
OpenCon Community Values
Our community strives to:
Be friendly and patient.
Be welcoming: We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to, members of any race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.
Be considerate: Your work will be used by other people, and you in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision you take will affect colleagues, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions. Remember that we’re a worldwide community, so you might not be communicating in someone else’s primary language.
Be respectful: Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.
Be careful in the words that we choose: we are a community of professionals, and we conduct ourselves professionally. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other participants. Harassment and other exclusionary behavior aren’t acceptable.
Try to understand why we disagree: Disagreements, both social and technical, happen all the time. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. Remember that we’re different. The strength of our community comes from its diversity. Different people have different perspectives on issues. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. Don’t forget that it is human to err and blaming each other doesn’t get us anywhere. Instead, focus on helping to resolve issues and learning from mistakes.
If you experience or witness unacceptable behaviour—or have any other concerns—please report it by contacting us via:
Nicole: nicole(at)sparcopen.org, +1 203 216 7112 (phone or WhatsApp)
Nick: nick(at)sparcopen.org, +1 615 400 1449 (phone or WhatsApp)
All reports will be handled with discretion.
In your report please do your best to include:
- Your contact information.
- Identifying information (e.g. names, nicknames, pseudonyms) 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)
- If possible, where the code of conduct violation happened
- The circumstances surrounding the incident
- Other people involved in 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
- Any additional helpful information.
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, given the restrictions of anonymity.
After filing a report, a representative will contact you personally, review the incident, follow up with any additional questions, and make a decision as to how to respond.
If, for any reason, you don’t feel comfortable reporting an incident as described above please contact Shawn at Shawn@sparcopen.org. If the person who is harassing you is part of the response team, they will recuse themselves from handling your incident. We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse.
OpenCon’s Process for Responding to Reports
After filing a report, a representative will document your report, contact you personally (if possible), and contact the person who has violated the code of conduct to let them know they have done so. If they have your permission, the representative will review the incident with other designated staff members. They will then follow up with any additional questions, and have a discussion to decide how to respond. They will communicate sanctions to the person who has violated the code of conduct. Staff members will do their best to be respectful about any requests or boundaries you communicate to make the rest of your conference experience safer.
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 on collectively by a subset of the Organizing Committee designated to review reports:
Warning the harasser to cease their behaviour and that any further reports will result in sanctions
- Requiring that the harasser avoid any interaction with, and physical proximity to, their victim for the remainder of the event
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 harasser holds
Requiring that the harasser not volunteer for future events your organization runs (either indefinitely or for a certain time period)
requiring that the harasser refund any travel grants and similar they received (this would need to be a condition of the grant at the time of being awarded)
Requiring that the harasser immediately leave the event and not return
Banning the harasser from future events (either indefinitely or for a certain time period)
Removing a harasser from membership of relevant organizations
Publishing an account of the harassment and calling for the resignation of the harasser from their responsibilities (usually pursued by people without formal authority: may be called for if the harasser is the event leader, or refuses to stand aside from the conflict of interest, or similar, typically event staff have sufficient governing rights over their space that this isn't as useful)
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)
Attribution & Acknowledgements
We all stand on the shoulders of giants across many open source communities. We’d like to thank the communities and projects that established code of conducts and diversity statements as our inspiration:
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
Members of the OpenCon community for their considered feedback.