Code of Conduct
A primary goal of all the conferences and user groups that refer to this Code of Conduct is to be inclusive to the largest number of contributors, with the most varied and diverse backgrounds possible. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, transness, physical appearance, body size, technical choices, lack of technical knowledge, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion (or lack thereof) and other personal conditions and choices.
This Code of Conduct outlines our expectations for all those who participate in our community, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior.
We invite all those who participate in our events to help us create safe and positive experiences for everyone.
Don’t be scared off by these rules! They are in place to protect us, not to intimidate people from interacting with each other in a positive manner or from exploring gender and sexuality.
- Participate in an authentic and active way. In doing so, you contribute to the health and longevity of this community.
- Exercise consideration and respect in your speech and actions.
- Attempt collaboration before conflict.
- Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.
- Please avoid making assumptions. If you aren’t aware of what someone’s gender is, and you can’t figure out what pronoun to use, just ask or look at our name tags, where you may find their name and favourite pronoun!
- Please ask before touching anyone at our events. It’s easy, and the worst thing that happens is someone says no! That includes hugging – you might not know that it makes some people uncomfortable, but it does, so please ask first.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and the other participants. Alert community leaders if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem inconsequential.
Unacceptable behaviors include: intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, intentional misgendering, derogatory or demeaning speech or actions by any participant in our community online, at all related events and in one-on-one communications carried out in the context of community business. Community event venues may be shared with members of the public; please be respectful to all patrons of these locations.
- harmful or prejudicial verbal or written comments related to gender, sexual orientation, transness, physical appearance, body size, technical choices, lack of technical knowledge, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion (or lack thereof) and other personal conditions and choices
- trolling, i.e. sustained disruption of conversations, talks or other events
- nonconsensual photography or recording
- inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces (including presentation slides)
- deliberate intimidation, stalking or following
- nonconsensual physical contact
- unwelcome sexual attention
- microaggressions, i.e. small, subtle, often subconscious actions that marginalize people from oppressed groups
- minimizing other people’s experiences
We have no discussion about how your behaviour was meant. What we care about is how it makes our participants feel. Please just respect that if one of the participants is hurt by your behaviour, it is on you to change it or leave.
Please also be aware that many of us have had to explain ourselves a lot and it’s not fair to assume that everybody has time and energy to give you explanations about how they feel or about any other queer topic you may be curious about. If you have questions, feel free to ask, there may be volunteers around to help you answer it or recommend some reading material. Otherwise, the Geek Feminist Wiki is a good place to start.
Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior
Unacceptable behavior from any community member, including sponsors and those with decision-making authority, will not be tolerated. Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to stop immediately.
If a community member engages in unacceptable behavior, the community organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including a temporary ban or permanent expulsion from the community without warning (and without refund in the case of a paid event).
If You Witness or Are Subject to Unacceptable Behavior
If you are subject to or witness unacceptable behavior, feel someone is being treated disrespectfully, or have any other concerns, point out the problem to any member you feel comfortable talking to as soon as possible. If you don’t know who to talk to, there will be designated volunteers who are ready to step in on your behalf. You can also reach us via email or use the message board on meetup.com.
Additionally, community organizers are available to help community members engage with local law enforcement or to otherwise help those experiencing unacceptable behavior feel safe. In the context of in-person events, organizers will also provide escorts as desired by the person experiencing distress.
If you feel you have been falsely or unfairly accused of violating this Code of Conduct, you should notify one of the event organizers via email or in person with a concise description of your grievance. Your grievance will be handled in accordance with our existing governing policies.
We expect all community participants (contributors, paid or otherwise; sponsors; and other guests) to abide by this Code of Conduct in all community venues—online and in-person—as well as in all one-on-one communications pertaining to community business.
Why a CoC?
By creating this CoC, we help foster a safer space which “might be less about an absolute security in which there is no risk, no pain and no difficult conversations, but rather more about a redistribution of the risks and discomforts of speaking and organizing” (Dreher 2009,p.17).
We would prefer to live in a society where we do not need Codes of Conduct. However, Codes of Conduct are essential to establish spaces that are different from – and more inclusive than – general society. If you don’t set up your own rules, you implicitly endorse those prevalent in society – including the unwritten ones – many of which we recognize as unfair to many people. When privileges are not explicitly addressed by the ethos of a space, the burden of education will often be placed upon the people who are living the oppressions. Moreover, since we still perform – consciously or unconsciously – behaviours that have oppressive potential (i.e. patriarchal, racist, sexist, capitalist, (neo)colonialist, etc.), it is essential to reflect on our privileges and on the ways in which they have an impact on our lives and the lives of others.
A code of conduct can help do just that: to bring awareness, consciousness, reflexivity and ultimately change.
Licence and Attribution
This Code of Conduct is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. It is based on the Berlin Code of Conduct, which is distributed under the same license. and HAEQS Code of Conduct. We essentially just mixed together what they did. Thanks, people, for the wonderful work ♥
References: Dreher, T. (2009). “Eavesdropping with permission: the politics of listening for safer speaking spaces.” Borderlands ejournal, 8(1), 1-29.