BSDS Code of Conduct

The Bay State Design Shop (“BSDS”) community is made up of a mixture of professionals and volunteers from all over the region, working on mission to connect local designers across New England.

Diversity is one of our huge strengths, but it can also lead to communication issues and unhappiness. To that end, we have a few ground rules that we ask people to adhere to. This code applies equally to founders, mentors and those seeking help and guidance.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of things that you can’t do. Rather, take it in the spirit in which it’s intended - a guide to make it easier to enrich all of us and the technical communities in which we participate.

This code of conduct applies to all spaces managed by the BSDS. This includes Slack, mailing lists, BSDS events, and any other forums or programs created by BSDS which the community uses for communication. In addition, violations of this code outside these spaces may affect a person’s ability to participate within them.

If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct, we ask that you report it by conduct@bsds.co. For more details please see our REPORTING GUIDELINES.
 

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THE RULES

  • Be friendly and patient.
     
  • Be welcoming. We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to members of any race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, colour, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.
     

  • Be considerate. Your work will be used by other people, and you in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision you take will affect fellow members, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions.
     

  • Be respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. Members of the BSDS community should be respectful when dealing with other members as well as with people outside the BSDS community.
     

  • Be careful in the words that you choose. We are a community of equals, and we conduct ourselves as such. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other participants. Harassment and other exclusionary behavior aren’t acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:
     
    • Violent threats or language directed against another person.
    • Discriminatory jokes and language.

    • Posting sexually explicit or violent material.

    • Posting (or threatening to post) other people’s personally identifying information ("doxing").

    • Personal insults, particularly those related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or disability.

    • Unwelcome sexual attention. This includes, sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcomed sexual advances.

    • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

    • Inappropriate physical contact. You should have someone’s consent before touching them.

    • Repeated harassment of others. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop.

    • Inappropriate photography or recording.

    • Deliberate intimidation, stalking or following (online or in person).

    • Sustained disruption of community events, including talks and presentations

    • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
       

  • When we disagree, try to understand why. Disagreements, both social, professional, aesthetic or technical, happen all the time and BSDS is no exception. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. We build each other up. We do not break one another down. Remember that we’re different. The strength of BSDS comes from its varied community, people from a wide range of backgrounds. Different people have different perspectives on issues. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. Don’t forget that it is human to err and blaming each other doesn’t get us anywhere. Instead, focus on helping to resolve issues and learning from mistakes.


(Original text courtesy of the Speak Up! project.)


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BSDS Code of Conduct FAQ

This FAQ attempts to address common questions and concerns around the BSDS community’s Code of Conduct. If you still have questions after reading it, please feel free to contact us at conduct@bsds.co


Why have you adopted a Code of Conduct?

We think the BSDS community is the tops. If you’re familiar with the BSDS community, you’ll probably notice that the Code basically matches what we already do. Think of this as documentation: we’re taking implicit expectations about behavior and making them explicit.

We’re doing this because the BSDS community is growing faster than any of us could have anticipated. This is on balance a very positive thing, but as we’ve grown past the point where it’s possible to know the whole community we think it’s very important to be clear about our values.

We know that the BSDS community is open, friendly, and welcoming. We want to make sure everyone else knows it too.


What does it mean to "adopt" a Code of Conduct?

For the most part, we don’t think it means large changes. We think that the text does a really good job describing the way the BSDS community already conducts itself. We expect that most people will simply continue to behave in the awesome way they have for years.

However, we do expect that people will abide by the spirit and words of the Code of Conduct when in "official" BSDS spaces and BSDS events.

In practice, this means our BSDS Slack channels (#general, #jobs, etc.), and "official" BSDS events such as meetups, lectures, field trips, or workshops. In addition, violations of this code outside these spaces may affect a person’s ability to participate within them.
 

What’s the scope of the BSDS Code of Conduct?

We expect all community participants (contributors, paid or otherwise; sponsors; and other guests) to abide by this Code of Conduct in all community venues–online and in-person–as well as in all one-on-one communications pertaining to community business.

This code of conduct and its related procedures also applies to unacceptable behavior occurring outside the scope of community activities when such behavior has the potential to adversely affect the safety and well-being of community members.

 

What about events funded by BSDS?

This Code of Conduct also covers any events that the BSDS funds. This Code of Conduct is all about how we interact as a community. It’s about saying that the BSDS community will be open, friendly, and welcoming. The core issue is about ensuring the conversations we have are productive and inviting for all.

Real-life events, however, require a bit more care. The BSDS wants to be sure that any events it funds have policies and procedures in place for handling harassment. It’s especially important to us that real-life events take steps to protect the physical and mental security of their participants.

So the BSDS will require that any events it funds have some sort of anti- harassment policy in place. The BSDS thinks the Ada Initiative's template is pretty good, but we’re open to alternatives.

 

Are there any additional safety policies?

No weapons will be allowed at BSDS events, community spaces, or in other spaces covered by the scope of this Code of Conduct. Weapons include but are not limited to guns, explosives (including fireworks), and large knives such as those used for hunting or display, as well as any other item used for the purpose of causing injury or harm to others. Anyone seen in possession of one of these items will be asked to leave immediately, and will only be allowed to return without the weapon. Community members are further expected to comply with all state and local laws on this matter.

 

What happens if someone violates the Code of Conduct?

Our intent is that the anyone in the community can stand up for this code, and direct people who’re unaware to this document. If that doesn’t work, or if you need more help, you can always contact conduct@bsds.co. For more details please see our Reporting Guidelines.

 

Why do we need a Code of Conduct? Everyone knows not to be a jerk.

Sadly, not everyone knows this. However, even if everyone was kind, everyone was compassionate, and everyone was familiar with codes of conduct it would still be incumbent upon our community to publish our own. Maintaining a code of conduct forces us to consider and articulate what kind of community we want to be, and serves as a constant reminder to put our best foot forward. But most importantly, it serves as a signpost to people looking to join our community that we feel these values are important.

 

This is censorship! I have the right to say whatever I want!

You do — in your space. If you’d like to hang out in our spaces (as clarified above), we have some simple guidelines to follow. Please honor this Code of Conduct in our spaces.
 

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BSDS Code of Conduct - Reporting Guide

If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct we ask that you report it to the BSDS City Council by emailing conduct@bsds.co. All reports will be kept confidential. In some cases we may determine that a public statement will need to be made. If that’s the case, the identities of all victims and reporters will remain confidential unless those individuals instruct us otherwise.

If you believe anyone is in physical danger, please notify appropriate law enforcement first. If you are unsure what law enforcement agency is appropriate, please include this in your report and we will attempt to notify them.

If you are unsure whether the incident is a violation, or whether the space where it happened is covered by this Code of Conduct, we encourage you to still report it. We would much rather have a few extra reports where we decide to take no action, rather than miss a report of an actual violation. We do not look negatively on you if we find the incident is not a violation. And knowing about incidents that are not violations, or happen outside our spaces, can also help us to improve the Code of Conduct or the processes surrounding it.

In your report please include:

  • Your contact info (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up)

  • Names (real, nicknames, or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there were other witnesses besides you, please try to include them as well.

  • When and where the incident occurred. Please be as specific as possible.

  • Your account of what occurred. If there is a publicly available record (e.g. a screenshot, or Slack message) please include a link.

  • Any extra context you believe existed for the incident.

  • If you believe this incident is ongoing.

  • Any other information you believe we should have.


What happens after you file a report?

You will receive an email from the BSDS City Council acknowledging receipt within 24 hours (and will aim for much quicker than that).

The BSDS City Council will immediately meet to review the incident and determine:

  • What happened.

  • Whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation.

  • Who the bad actor was.

  • Whether this is an ongoing situation, or if there is a threat to anyone’s physical safety.

If this is determined to be an ongoing incident or a threat to physical safety, the BSDS City Council’s immediate priority will be to protect everyone involved. This means we may delay an "official" response until we believe that the situation has ended and that everyone is physically safe.

Once the BSDS City Council has a complete account of the events they will make a decision as to how to response. Responses may include:

  • Nothing (if we determine no violation occurred).

  • A private reprimand from the BSDS City Council to the individual(s) involved.

  • A public reprimand.

  • An imposed vacation (i.e. asking someone to "take a week off" from our Slack channel).

  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all BSDS spaces (Slack, etc.) and/or events.

  • A request for a public or private apology.

We’ll respond within one week to the person who filed the report with either a resolution or an explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved.

Once we’ve determined our final action, we’'ll contact the original reporter to let them know what action (if any) we’ll be taking. We’ll take into account feedback from the reporter on the appropriateness of our response, but we don’t guarantee we’ll act on it.

Finally, the BSDS City Council will document the situation for future record. The BSDS City Council may choose to a public report of the incident.

Reconsideration

Any of the parties directly involved or affected can request reconsideration of the BSDS City Council’s decision. To make such a request, contact the BSDS City Council at conduct@bsds.co with your request and motivation and the BSDS City Council will review the case.
 

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BSDS Code of Conduct - Enforcement Manual

This is the enforcement manual followed by BSDS City Council. It’s used when we respond to an issue to make sure we’re consistent and fair. It should be considered an internal document, but we’re publishing it publicly in the interests of transparency.

How the BSDS City Council Will Respond to Reports:

When a report is sent to the committee they will reply within 24 hours to the report to confirm receipt, and the group should strive to respond much quicker than that.

See the reporting guidelines for details of what reports should contain. If a report doesn’t contain enough information, the BSDS City Council will obtain all relevant data before acting. The BSDS City Council is empowered to act on the BSDS’s behalf in contacting any individuals involved to get a more complete account of events.

The committee will then review the incident and determine, to the best of their ability:

  • What happened

  • Whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation

  • Who, if anyone, was the bad actor

  • Whether this is an ongoing situation, and there is a threat to anyone’s physical safety

This information will be collected in writing, and whenever possible the group’s deliberations will be recorded and retained (i.e. Slack transcripts, email discussions, recorded voice conversations, screenshots, etc).

The BSDS City Council should aim to have a resolution agreed upon within one week. In the event that a resolution can’t be determined in that time, the group will respond to the reporter(s) with an update and projected timeline for resolution.


Acting Unilaterally

If the act is ongoing (such as someone engaging in harassment in #general), or involves a threat to anyone’s safety (e.g. threats of violence), any BSDS City Council member may act immediately (before reaching consensus) to end the situation. In ongoing situations, any member may at their discretion employ any of the tools available to the working group, including bans and blocks.

If the incident involves physical danger, any member of the working group may—and should—act unilaterally to protect safety. This can include contacting law enforcement (or other local personnel) and speaking on behalf of the BSDS City Council.

In situations where an individual BSDS City Council member acts unilaterally, they must report their actions to the full BSDS City Council for review within 24 hours.

Resolutions

The BSDS City Council must agree on a resolution by consensus. If the group cannot reach consensus and deadlocks for over a week, the group will turn the matter over to the BSDS founders.

Possible responses may include:

  • Taking no further action (if we determine no violation occurred).

  • A private reprimand from the BSDS City Council to the individual(s) involved. In this case, a designated BSDS City Council member will deliver that reprimand to the individual(s) over email or Slack direct message, cc’ing the group in either case.

  • A public reprimand. In this case, a designated BSDS City Council member will deliver that reprimand in the same venue that the violation occurred (i.e. in Slack for an Slack violation; email for an email violation, etc.). The group may choose to publish this message elsewhere for posterity.

  • An imposed vacation (i.e. asking someone to "take a week off" from our channels or events). A a designated BSDS City Council member will communicate this "vacation" to the individual(s). They’ll be asked to take this vacation voluntarily, but if they don’t agree then a temporary ban may be imposed to enforce this vacation.

  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all BSDS spaces (Slack channels, events, field trips, etc.). The group will maintain records of all such bans so that they may be reviewed in the future, extended to new BSDS fora, or otherwise maintained.

  • A request for a public or private apology. The chair will deliver this request. The group may, if it chooses, attach "strings" to this request: for example, the group may ask a violator to apologize in order to retain his or her membership in BSDS.

Once a resolution is agreed upon, but before it is enacted, the BSDS City Council will contact the original reporter and any other affected parties and explain the proposed resolution. The working group will ask if this resolution is acceptable, and must note feedback for the record. However, the BSDS City Council is not required to act on this feedback.

Finally the BSDS City Council will make a report for future record. All public statements regarding the issue will be made by BSDS City Council at their discretion.

Conflicts of Interest

In the event of any conflict of interest a BSDS City Council member must immediately notify the other members, and recuse themselves if necessary.
 

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Additional Information & Sources

It is our expectation that this will be a living document and change as we grow to understand how to meet this challenge and best serve our community and ideals. Most similar guides are written on the assumption of an in-person event. However, the BSDS community doesn’t exist solely in one place, and most of the time we’re spread out across the region and interact online. This makes trying to define and enforce community standards a different type of challenge.


This document is adapted from the Django Code of Conduct which, in turn, was adapted from the Ada Initiative template and the PyCon 2013 Procedure for Handling Harassment Incidents, but changed to reflect the nature of our community. Additional content was adapted from the Citizen Code of Conduct which, in turn, also featured portions of text derived from the Django Code of Conduct and the Geek Feminism Anti-Harassment Policy.

This adapted Code of Conduct is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.