Code of Conduct Documentation Revised for Transparency and Clarity

Collaboration and transparency: Keys to our improved Code of Conduct

In September 2018 the Code of Conduct Committee released revisions to The Carpentries Code of Conduct. The updated Code of Conduct now provides straightforward examples of both beneficial and unwanted behaviour in order to clarify expectations for our community members. The committee quickly realised during this process that updates to our reporting guidelines, and enforcement manual were needed as well. The Executive Council authorized a small committee to make updates to these documents, and to our Incident Response Procedure. A request for comments for the drafts of these documents was open from 31-January through 17-February, and the documents have been revised. Check out the documentation in our handbook.

Who Was Involved

Tracy Teal, Kari L. Jordan, Elizabeth Wickes, and Simon Waldman were the individuals who served on the task force to update the Code of Conduct documentation. Additional support came from the Code of Conduct Committee and various community contributors who will be named in the ‘thank yous’ section of this blog post.

How We Collaborated

A task force charter was developed to outline the scope, aims, and anti-aims of this undertaking. Several resources were used to determine how the documentation should be presented. Those resources included the OpenCon Code of Conduct, Frameshift Consulting Code of Conduct Enforcement Book, and Code4Lib Community Code of Conduct.

The task force worked primarily in the coc-guidelines-taskforce project on GitHub and via Google documents.

Structuring the Documentation

The task force realised that our documentation should be split into multiple parts to make clear who the intended audience is, and for ease of locating it in the Carpentries handbook. The documentation includes: Incident Report Guidelines, Incident Response Procedure, and Enforcement Guidelines.

The links above lead to each of the Google documents where you will find comments from the community and all of the tracked changes before the text was transferred to the handbook.

Additionally, the task force developed an incident report form as a means of securely collecting incident reports as opposed to having community members send e-mails to the Code of Conduct committee.

Request for Comments

A request for comments (RFC) for the drafts of these documents was open from 31-January through 17-February. The announcement for the RFC was posted to the Carpentries blog, on Discuss and through Twitter.

Highlights from Documentation Revisions

We received extremely valuable and thorough feedback from community members. Highlights from this feedback include:

  • Allowing reports to be filed anonymously.
  • Explaining if and when Executive Council and Carpentries Staff would be made known of Code of Conduct incidents.
  • Providing incident response checklists for in-person events.
  • Specifying the audience for each of the Code of Conduct documents.
  • Processes to ensure reports will maintain the reporter’s anonymity.

You will find all of the revised documentation in our handbook.

Next Steps

These documents have all now been updated in our handbook, and will be the guidelines for handling incidents going forward.

The Code of Conduct Committee is currently accepting new members. If you are interested in serving on the committee, reach out via e-mail.

Additionally, the CoCc is working with the Instructor Training Team and Workshop Team on ways to educate the community about the Code of Conduct in terms of how to discuss it in a workshop, and feeling comfortable with enforcing and reporting incidents.

It is not too late to get involved with the iterations for our Code of Conduct documentation. If you have recommendations, please file an issue in the Carpentries Handbook GitHub repository.

Thank Yous

There were many people involved with the process of updating our Code of Conduct documentation. We’d like to offer thanks to the Code of Conduct Committee, and the following individuals who contributed language and insight to improving our CoC documentation: Otter Tech, Malvika Sharan, Simon Waldman, Samantha Ahern, Elizabeth Wickes, Karin Lagesen, Kirstie Whitaker, Peter Hoyt, Lex Nederbragt, and François Michonneau.

Dialogue & Discussion