Code of Conduct Committee Governance
Any voting member of the Carpentries community, as defined in The Carpentries bylaws, is eligible to volunteer to sit on the Code of Conduct Committee (CoCc).
The Committee will onboard its members on a regular basis (for example, annually) through open calls and from available volunteers. New members will undergo an application, selection and onboarding process before they are officially seated on the Committee.
The Executive Council (EC) will be notified about any new members. The EC has oversight of the governance of the Code of Conduct Committee but will have no influence over potential incidents and their resolutions.
The onboarding process is determined by the Committee, and the EC will be kept informed about this process. New members, including the Staff and EC Liaison, are not immediately seated on the Committee and thus not included in issue resolution until after onboarding is completed.
The current onboarding process is described in the onboarding procedure document. 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 will have upto two chairs who will oversee the activities of the committee - these positions are taken for one year by the current CoCc members. The election is based on self-nomination and committee voting by CoC members who have already worked with the CoC committee for at least 6 months, and preferably through at least one report handling procedure.
These individuals are responsible for holding regular business meetings and guiding the Committee’s work.
The committee members will select specific areas of CoC work and assume the roles of “area leads” after a committee vote/confirmation. Some areas of work identified by the current CoCc are: incident response, training, onboarding/offboarding and themed discussion.
Based on these areas of work, all area leads along with the Core Team and EC Liaisons will seek to improve the CoC policies and procedures.
The CoCc participates in two types of voting - votes about incidents and those not about incidents (e.g. business, policy, administrative matters).
For non-incident-related matters, the Committee passes votes with a simple majority of the non-liaison members, with the chairs breaking any ties. The Carpentries Staff(Core Team) and Executive Council (EC) liaisons can vote on matters such as election of chairs and area leads. Members not attending can provide feedback and insights. Quorum in meetings is more than 50% of the non-liaison CoCc members.
For incident-related matters, any Incident Response Group (IRG) member will vote and the Chair will break any ties (refer Incident Response Guidelines).
The Incident Response Lead of the Incident Response Group will make this decision and indicate that the Incident Response Lead’s vote will be necessary to resolve the incident as per the guideline for responding.
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 a minimum one year, however, members may remain longer if they are able to offer their continued service or continuity of certain committee work 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 handled in their absence and create an opportunity for new members to join the Committee.
The Chairs are expected to sit for a minimum of six months. Before stepping down, chairs will invite nominations and chair a meeting to elect a new chair. New Chairs are selected from among those who have been on the Committee for at least six months. 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.
The CoCc will share the following responsibilities:
Keep an overview of the ongoing work in the Committee
Collect agenda points from Committee members for the business meetings
Assign Committee-related tasks to the CoCc members fairly
Communicate CoCc activities via the Carpentries communications channels
Before they step down, invite nominations for and chair a meeting to elect a new chair.
Core Team/Staff Liaison
Represent the CoCc in any relevant communication with the Core Team
Liaise with the CoCc to schedule the business meetings quarterly
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
Represent the CoCc in any relevant communication with the EC
Liaise with the CoCc to co-edit and co-release transparency reports
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
Specific roles for all area leads
Coordinate with co-leads to define action points, roadmaps and outcomes from their areas of work
Help and support other members in using tools and approaches from their areas of work to make CoCc process effective
Communicate activities from other areas of work to the CoCc via private Slack channels as well as the CoCc documents and business meetings
Write, update, and maintain the business meeting minutes and other official documents for the committee
Identify gaps in the current Code of Conduct, specific to their areas of work, and raise them to the CoCc
Create drafts for and review new policies with other members of the CoCc based on to their areas of work
Specific roles of Incident Response Leads
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
Incident Response Group’s roles and responsibilities
An Incident Response Group of a minimum of 3 or 5 people is convened for any reported incident. An odd number of people is needed to avoid ties during voting.
An Incident Response Group must contain at least one member who has handled a live incident as part of a previous Incident Response Group within The Carpentries CoCc or have attended a CoC training organised by CoCc/Staff
An Incident Response Lead is selected in the Incident Response Group to ensure accountability of the report handling and completion of all report-handling and enforcement process
The Incident Response Leads 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
The liaisons and other members of the committee can fully participate in the Incident Response Group with voting rights provided there is no conflict of interest.
Communication and collaboration spaces
CoCc communication happens primarily in the #coc-discussion private channel of The Carpentries Slack workspace. Incident report discussions happen initially in the #coc-2023 private channel (as of 2023) and then move to separate, private documents shared among members of the Incidence Response Group for each case (reference [https://docs.carpentries.org/topic_folders/policies/enforcement-guidelines.html#incident-response-procedure-for-the-carpentries-code-of-conduct-committee]). The #coc-year channel is archived every year to avoid giving access to past discussions to new members. Members of the committee are expected to set their notifications to be alerted for all new messages posted to either channel.
Members are not expected to be present on Slack perpetually, but should check the channels with some regularity. Subteam communications and other general discussions will happen in written form on Slack, and each member’s input is valued with asynchronous participation encouraged.
For incident responses, each member will provide a preferred way to receive urgent notifications.
The CoCc leverages a shared Google Folder to manage documents that are not on GitHub, such as meeting notes, a membership roster, and incident reports.