Tags: Code-of-Conduct, Being-Respectful, Sexual-Harassment, Bullying, Giving-Participants-Room-To-Be-Who-They-Are

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:

  • Include FAQs

  • 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

    • Should be in main navigation or in the footer (footer is a known pattern, near privacy policy / terms of service)

    • 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:

  • 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.

Further reading#

Why You Need a Code of Conduct

Crafting a Code of Conduct

Managing a Code of Conduct