Code of Conduct (CoC)
Tags: Code of Conduct, Being Respectful, Sexual Harassment, Bullying, Giving Participants Room to Be Who They Are
- 🍎 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
- 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
- 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
Crafting a Code of Conduct
Managing a Code of Conduct