Code of Conduct (CoC)#
🍎 Articulate a Code of Conduct for your event
Get inspired by Codes of Conduct that have been phrased for other conferences (see also “Further Reading”)
A Code of Conduct should:
Be easy to read (You shouldn’t need a law degree to understand it.)
Be easy to find
Explain how to report problematic or unethical behavior
Explain the consequences of violating Code of Conduct provisions
Include timelines/deadlines for enforcement action that will be taken
Additional ways to support and implement your Code of Conduct:
Encourage positive behavior (don’t just discourage negative behavior)
Have a “quick” version and a “less quick” version (e.g. JSConf)
Make sure that everyone involved in your conference/event is aware that the Code of Conduct applies to them: that not only includes participants, but also speakers, sponsors, committee members etc.
🍎 Tick box at registration that confirms that the participant has read the Code of Conduct
A pop-up with a short version may also be a good idea.
Provide a link to the full (“less quick”) version of the Code of Conduct, hosted on its own page.
🍎 Include a copy of the Code of Conduct in the sponsor packet
🍎 Mention that the Code of Conduct applies to the speakers in the speaker guidelines
🍎 Ensure that Code of Conduct is easily accessible on the conference website
Implement additional web-based highlights of the CoC via loading pages, pop-ups, screen savers, etc.
🍎 Include a short version of the Code of Conduct on the printed schedule as a reminder
🍎 Mention the Code of Conduct in the welcome talk and at the start of every day, including who to contact if there is a problem/violation
🍎 Place Code of Conduct reminders on tables at lunch and also signs in rooms reminding people during the day
🍎 Create a large banner sign at key entrances on the Code of Conduct as a reminder.
If you send out daily event e-mails, include an item on “Seeing or experiencing something that makes you uncomfortable”
“Remember that you can always speak to one of our ombudspersons about any matter of concern, no matter how small.”
Include short blurbs about the Code of Conduct during breaks (e.g. during slide breaks), on websites, etc.
Consider a visual “workflow” of Code of Conduct violation:
Report -> Action -> Resolution
Make it clear what the consequences or resolutions of a violation are
Ensure confidentiality of the person who is reporting the violation (and the alleged violator)
Ensure that the data is stored securely with limited access
Make sure that people are aware of reporting mechanisms:
Face to face with staff (Who is the dedicated ombudsperson or -persons?)
Dedicated email, e.g. to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fill out an online form, e.g. O’Reilly Report CoC
Consider how a report against an authority figure would be submitted — e.g. if the ombudsperson is the subject of a CoC violation report, who is the report submitted to? (A good reason to have more than one ombudsperson.)
Be clear on how long it will take to resolve the situation or take an action on the violation
Discuss in advance with the organizing committee what the specific process will be for recording and addressing a CoC violation
When recording a CoC violation, ensure that the data are stored securely and that everyone’s identities are protected. Access to the data should be limited.
When possible, have a third party review the violation report (Another good way to handle the challenge of potential reports against authority figures.)
Ensure the person who made the CoC violation report is aware of how it is being handled and when it has been resolved.
Why You Need a Code of Conduct
You literally cannot pay me to speak without a Code of Conduct
Human Decency Is Not Enough: Why Cons Need Better Anti-Harassment Policies
Should my tech conference community have a code of conduct and recommended resources
Crafting a Code of Conduct
Managing a Code of Conduct