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Original Google Doc where we drafted the Code of Conduct, and workshop any potential revisions.
2016 announcement of our installation of a Code of Conduct and its lineage: https://publiclab.org/notes/Shannon/07-06-2016/public-lab-code-of-conduct
Public Lab, PO Box 426113, Cambridge, MA 02142
We are coming together with an intent to care for ourselves and one another. We want to nurture a compassionate democratic culture where responsibility is shared. We -- visitors, community members, community moderators, staff, organizers, sponsors, and all others -- hold ourselves accountable to the same values regardless of position or experience. For this to work for everybody, individual decisions will not be allowed to run counter to the welfare of other people. This community aspires to be a respectful place both during online and in-person interactions so that all people are able to fully participate with their dignity intact. This document is a piece of the culture we're creating.
This code of conduct applies to all spaces managed by the Public Lab community and non-profit, both online and in person. It was written by the Conduct Committee (formed in 2015 during Public Lab’s annual conference “The Barnraising”) and facilitated by staff to provide a clear set of practical guidelines for multi-day events such as Barnraisings, events led by organizers and community members, and online venues such as the website, comment threads on software platforms, chatrooms, our mailing lists, the issue tracker, and any other forums created by Public Lab which the community uses for communication.
Our community is best when we fully invite and include participants from a wide range of backgrounds. We specifically design spaces to be welcoming and accessible to newcomers and folks from underrepresented groups. Public Lab is dedicated to providing a harassment-free, safe, and inclusive experience for everyone, regardless of personal and professional background, gender, gender identity and expression, style of clothing, sexual orientation, dis-/ability, physical appearance, body size, race, class, age, or religion. Public Lab resists and rejects: racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, body shaming, religion shaming, “geekier-than-thou” shaming, education bias, the shaming of people nursing children, and the dismissal or bullying of children or adults.
While we operate under the assumption that all people involved with Public Lab subscribe to the basic understanding laid out above, we take these issues very seriously and think they should, in general, be taken seriously. Therefore, individuals who violate this Code both in and outside of Public Lab spaces may affect their ability to participate in Public Lab ranging from temporarily being placed into online moderation to, as a last resort, expulsion from the community. If you have any questions about our commitment to this framework and/or if you are unsure about aspects of it, email email@example.com and we will do our best to provide clarification.
Sometimes things go wrong. When a situation is uncomfortable, hurtful, exclusionary, or upsetting, there is a problem that should be addressed. This code of conduct is an effort to maintain a safe space for everyone, and to talk about what might happen if that space is compromised. Please see additional guidelines below for community behavior on how we expect people to interact with one another.
Conduct Committee (ConductCom): If at any time you experience something that you are not comfortable with, you may contact the Conduct Committee.
For Barnraising and Crisis Convening July 2018, in person Conduct Committee members are:
If you would like to have a confidential conversation, connect with ConductCom in person or email via firstname.lastname@example.org, they will be checking emails before, during and after Barnraising and Crisis Convening July 2018. A minimum of two committee members will confer and respond as swiftly as possible. If you would prefer to speak privately with a representative of the nonprofit, please contact the executive director directly either in person or by email: email@example.com.
To submit a report anonymously for review by ConductCom, click the button at the top of this page to view the reporting form. The form will be monitored daily at 8am CST during in-person events like Barnraisings and weekly at all other times. During multi-day in-person events hosted by the Public Lab non-profit, there will also be a physical suggestion box available. This box will be monitored throughout the event and can also be used to let us know if you need us to check on an anonymous online submission sooner.
Moderators Group: The moderators group is responsible for addressing immediate moderation issues that arise during online violations of the code over email lists and Public Lab community websites, as well as approving first-time posts and generally handling spam. Instructions on how to become a moderator, and, if you’ve been placed in moderation how to begin the process of getting out of moderation can be found at: https://publiclab.org/wiki/moderation.
We begin interactions by acknowledging that we are part of a community with complementary goals. Different views are allowed to respectfully coexist in the same space. When something's happened and someone is uncomfortable, our first choice is to work through it. Endeavor to listen and appropriately adjust your behavior if someone approaches you privately with a request that you apologize or publicly requests that you stop an ongoing presentation. If someone questions your words, actions or motives, or "calls you out", hear their feedback and respond respectfully. It’s okay to not understand why something is hurtful or causes discomfort, as long as you approach it respectfully, with empathy. Repeating hurtful behavior after it has been addressed is disrespectful and is not allowed. Doing so will result in removal and subsequent banning from in-person events and being placed into moderation in online spaces.
During in-person gatherings, consent is important to highlight because the negotiation of consent can be subtle, and it’s easy to miss each other’s non-verbal cues, resulting in miscommunication and/or offense. During online interactions, consent can be even harder to distinguish.
We make guesses or assessments of consent (willingness, welcome, invitation) all the time. Then we stay open to signs that the consent isn't there. Handshakes are a clear example of consent: someone offers a hand, and you take it if you want to shake it. A friendly smile might indicate consent to start a conversation. It might not. We learn that in the interaction. Sometimes we ask directly. We are open to making mistakes, and learning from them. The more we learn to be empathetic and see other people, the more we're able to talk about consent.
Before you engage with someone on any level, be sure you have their consent. If your indications aren't being heard, you can also ask for help from other folks, especially Conduct Committee members and staff of the non-profit: "They aren't taking the hint. Will you help?" Turning a blind eye to hurtful interactions can be as bad for our community as the exchange itself. If you witness something, it's your responsibility to say something. This is how we keep each other accountable, encourage empathy, and keep our community safe.
Online modes of interaction involve large numbers of people without the helpful presence of gestural, expression, and tonal cues regarding consent. Because of this, respectful and self-aware online conduct is both especially important and difficult. Our community has evolved specific guidelines for online interactions.
If someone violates these guidelines, someone from the Moderators group will place them into moderation by changing that person’s posting permission on the relevant list, on the website, or both.
Our triple notification standard for moderation means a point person from the Moderators group will:
If you wish to begin the process of getting out of moderation, respond to the email sent to you from firstname.lastname@example.org. The Moderators group has the option to involve ConductCom.
Staff are bound by their Employment Handbook, you must reference it. Additionally: