Code of Conduct for Communities

Lately, there's been a ton of discussion of seriously awful behavior by some dudes at PyCon. People have been fired. People have gotten upset. And there are now some "thou shalt not" style code of conduct things floating around for conferences.

I'm a big fan of defining expected behavior. This applies to most aspects of my life. I work hard to tell my dog and my kids what I expect of them... how they can succeed. User stories are excellent definitions of how developers can succeed: do this thing and you'll make the user happy.

I think that codes of conduct should be positive definitions of expected behavior rather than a series of prohibitions.

Here's the code of conduct I'll use for my next conference:

Please make this conference excellent for everyone

You are spending your valuable time and money to attend this conference and we (the conference organizers and other attendees) want to make the conference most excellent for you and all the attendees.

There are many ways this conference can be a success for you including:

  • You learn something
  • You meet new people
  • You associate faces and voices with people you've only met online
  • You create new business opportunities
  • You see solutions to problems that were challenging you

In order for you to achieve most of the above goals, you will be interacting with people who are different. Those differences will help you see things in a different way, learn, and grow... socially and career-wise. Embracing differences will result in a better outcome for you and for the community as a whole.

After each interaction at the conference and before you go to bed each night, please ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I treat each person that I interacted with the way I would hope they would treat me if the situations were reversed?
  • How did the differences between me and others help me understand approaches and choices better? If not, how can I open my mind to learn next time?

We are all part of this community and the community thrives of the energy and contributions of each of us. The conference organizers take the community and quality of community interactions very seriously. If you feel that another participant is behaving in a way that is damaging to the community, please bring the issue to our attention. We will listen, discuss the issue privately, and take what we consider appropriate action and we hope our actions resolve your concerns. We ask that, with the exception of imminent physical harm, that you bring the issue to us so we can resolve the issue in keeping with making the community excellent.

Okay... back to your regularly scheduled day. And I certainly hope we, all us geeks, all us folks who cross between the virtual and real worlds, can make the world one where we listen to everyone and create communities that are inviting to a wide range of folks because wide ranging perspectives will only serve to make our individual lives better.