Code of Conduct Committee Governance


Any voting member of the Carpentries community, as defined in The Carpentries bylaws, may express their interest to volunteer to sit on the Code of Conduct Committee (CoCc) (the Committee). The Committee will onboard its members on a yearly basis through open calls and from available volunteers. The Executive Council (EC) will be notified about any new members. New members will undergo an application and onboarding process before they are officially seated on the Committee.

The EC has oversight of the governance of the Code of Conduct Committee but will have no influence over potential incidents and their resolutions.

Onboarding and training

The onboarding process is determined by the Committee, and the EC will be notified about this process. New members are not immediately seated on the Committee, and thus not included in issue resolution, until after onboarding is completed.

The current onboarding process involves reading assignments in The Carpentries Code of Conduct documents and selected chapters from How to respond to Code of Conduct Reports (by Valerie Aurora, based on a short guide written by Mary Gardiner). Additionally, incident response training will be organised for the new and existing members to ensure they can confidently serve on the committee.


The Committee consists of a minimum of five members; approximately 10 is recommended. The Committee, in addition, has a liaison from the Carpentries Core Team and a liaison from the EC. The liaisons have the responsibility of informing the CoCc of anything that is relevant from their respective groups. They are also responsible for conveying issues and updates to their respective groups from the CoCc that are relevant for them while respecting the confidentiality requirements of the Committee.

The Committee has two chairs - a Governance Chair and an Incident Response Chair. These individuals are responsible for guiding the Committee’s work.


The CoCc participates in two types of voting - votes about incidents and those not about incidents (e.g. business, policy, administrative matters).

Non-incident voting

For non-incident related matters, the Committee passes votes with a simple majority of the non-liaison members, with the Governance Chair breaking any ties. The Carpentries Core Team and Executive Council liaisons do not vote on motions, but are welcome to provide feedback and insight.
Quorum in meetings is more than 50% of the non-liaison CoCc members.

Incident voting

For incident related matters, the liaisons to the CoCc will abstain from voting, unless their vote is needed to ensure that an incident or other need can be responded to in a timely manner according to the Incident Response Guidelines. The Incidence Response Lead of the Incident Response group will make this decision and indicate that a liaison vote will be necessary to resolve the incident.

Should the Executive Council liaison participate in a CoCc vote, and that resolution is appealed before the Executive Council, the liaison member will abstain from that appeal vote.

Terms of office

The expected term of office for each Committee member is one to three years, however, members may remain longer if continuity of the Committee is a concern. During their time on the Committee, members may temporarily withdraw from Committee work for up to 3 months provided they inform the Governance Chair in writing. If the members are unavailable for longer than 3 months, they will be asked to take a leave from the Committee. They may volunteer to rejoin when they are available again following the onboarding procedure described earlier in the document. This will allow us to maintain privacy for the reports that will be handled in their absence and create an opportunity for new members to join the Committee.

The Chairs are expected to sit for approximately one year. New Chairs are selected from among those who have been on the Committee for at least one year. One of the available members can volunteer to be elected to take on the role of a Chair.

Main duties of the position holders

All members of the CoCc must read, understand and abide by the membership agreement. In addition to the roles and responsibilities outlined in the membership agreement (e.g. engaging in GitHub issues and reviewing transparency reports), committee officers have the duties outlined below.

Chairs’ roles

  • The CoCc utilises two Chair positions, Governance Chair and Incident Response Chair, who share leadership and operational responsibilities. Both the Chairs will share the following responsibilities:

  • Keep an overview of the ongoing work in the Committee

  • Draft and review new policies with other members of the Committee

  • Assign Committee related tasks to the Committee members fairly

  • Help and support other members in using tools and approaches effective for the Committee’s work

  • Plan training scheduled for Committee members and other stakeholders of CoC enforcement on a yearly basis

  • Communicate CoCc activities on via the Carpentries communications channels

Specific roles of the Governance Chair

  • Schedule and chair business meetings quarterly

  • Collect agenda points from Committee members for the business meetings

  • Write, update, and maintain the business meeting minutes for the committee

  • Co-edit and co-release transparency reports in collaboration with the EC liaison and Committee members

  • Identify gaps in the current Code of Conduct, specifically governance, and raise them to the Committee

Specific roles of Incident Response Chair

  • Monitor channels where the CoCc receives incident reports

  • Organise incident response meetings for any new CoC incident report, and establish the Incident Response Group

  • Support the Incident Response Group in documenting the incident -handling process, and in coordination with the Governance Chair, assist the Incident Response Group in communicating with the reporter and reportee

  • Identify gaps in the current Code of Conduct, specifically in the incident reporting and incident-handling aspects, and raise them to the Committee

Core Team Liaison

  • Represent the CoCc in any relevant communication with the Core Team

  • Relay information to the Core Team members when required

  • Intervene in any communication or potential incident in Carpentries online spaces that may lead to a CoC incident

  • Notify and request a review from the Carpentries Executive Director regarding any public communication from the CoCc, when needed

EC Liaison

  • Represent the CoCc in any relevant communication with the EC

  • Relay information to the EC members when required

  • Co-edit and co-release transparency reports with the Incident Response Chair

  • Notify, and request a review if needed, from EC regarding any public communication from CoC committee

Incident Response Group’s roles and responsibilities

  • An Incident Response Group of a minimum of 3 people are convened for any reported incident

  • An Incident Response Lead is selected in the Incident Response Group to ensure accountability of the report handling

  • The Core Team liaison will create a collaborative document for each case and share with the Incident Response Group

  • A note-taker will ensure that the notes are maintained for the Incident Response Group and shared with the Code of Conduct committee

  • A time-keeper will notify the Incident Response Group of the various deadlines