Code of Conduct Incident Response Guidelines

Information on how to report a Code of Conduct (CoC) incident is outlined in our Code of Conduct Incident Reporting Guidelines.

The checklists below outline the steps any community member (workshop host, instructor, helper, etc.) can take during a potential Code of Conduct incident before reporting it to the Code of Conduct committee (CoCc). You may encounter challenging situations and have limited experience or training to feel comfortable enforcing the CoC. These guidelines are meant to help guide you through the process of supporting other community members and yourself during an incident.

All Carpentries community members should feel empowered to enforce the Code of Conduct.

Ideally, we would all be able to defuse an incident. In practice, we have varying comfort with situations depending on our current experience and the environment. Below are ways that you can be supportive and steps that you can take during or after an incident.

If you can, move from being a bystander to being a Code of Conduct first responder. If you see something inappropriate happening, speak up. If you don’t feel comfortable intervening, but feel someone should, please submit a report via the Code of Conduct incident report form to the CoCc. For in person events, please immediately contact a workshop host or instructor so that they can assist you in implementing the Immediate Response Checklist as listed below, and help submit a report to the CoCc.

Immediate Response

The initial response to an incident is very important and will set the tone for The Carpentries community. Depending on the severity and/or details of the incident, an immediate response may be required. If an incident involves physical danger or involves a threat to anyone’s safety (e.g. threats of violence), any member of the community may – and should – act immediately to protect safety. This can include contacting emergency or crisis resources.

Ongoing Incidents

If an incident is ongoing, whether in-person or online, any community member (workshop host, instructor, helper) may act immediately and employ any of the tools available to the community member to pacify the situation. In situations where an individual community member acts immediately, they must inform the workshop host as soon as possible and report their actions to the CoCc for review within 24 hours of the incident. Should there be a need for an immediate response, please see the Immediate Response Checklist.

Checklists for Responding to an Incident

Immediate Response Checklist

  • Assess whether you need a first-responder (law enforcement, etc.) to immediately respond to the incident. If so, ask the reporter to stay with you and dial the appropriate emergency response number.

  • If there is any general threat to participants and/or the safety of anyone attending a Carpentries event, contact the emergency response number established.

  • If individuals are physically safe, contact law enforcement or security only at the reporter’s request.

  • Follow any local guidelines for handling incidents, including if you have a legal reporting role.

In-Person and Online Event Checklist (Carpentries Workshops, CarpentryCon, CarpentryConnect, Carpentries Instructor Training)

  • Ensure participants are safe.

  • If participants are not safe, refer to the Immediate Response Checklist.

  • Ask the reporter to report the incident via the Code of Conduct Incident Report Form.

  • If they would like your help or feel more comfortable if you complete the report, talk to them or communicate via email/online call to get their inputs in getting as much detail as possible, and help submit the report with their assistance.

  • Inform the workshop host or the listed contact person (such as a CoC facilitator) that there was an incident and that a report was submitted via the incident report form. If the incident involves the workshop host or instructor, report the incident directly to the CoCc via the incident report form.

Online Communications Channels Checklist (Teaching Demonstrations, Community Discussions, Carpentries Instructor Training, Slack Channels, TopicBox)

  • Inform the event host/meeting facilitator that there was an issue and send a report via the incident report form.

  • Save screenshot of any online interaction where the issue occured and share in your report.

  • If the incident involves the event host/meeting facilitator, please complete the incident report form and rest assured that confidentiality and your experience in our community is our first priority.

If a community member has violated the CoC via an online event, the CoCc can enact a short-term Termed Suspension, and the reportee’s privileges to all Carpentries communication channels could be suspended until the CoCc has concluded their investigation of the reported incident.

Individuals reported often get upset, defensive, or deny the report. Allow them to give any additional details about the incident. However, remember:

  • It does not matter if they did not intend to hurt anyone; their behaviour still impacted participants negatively.

  • It is not your job to reassure or forgive them.

  • Do not allow the reported person to make an apology to the reporter or impacted person. Often an apology centers the reported person’s feelings and not the person who was impacted. You may accept their apology and offer to pass it on, but you’re not required to if you think it would negatively impact the reporter.

Incidents involving Core Team members

  • If there are CoC reports either about or from (or in any way involving) Core Team members who are Community Initiatives (CI) employees, and those reports have the potential to rise to the level of harassment as defined by CI’s handbook, CI HR must be made aware immediately.

  • If a PEO employee (non-U.S. based Core Team members) is involved, we will need to bring the PEO for country-specific advice.

  • In cases involving CI employees that are definitely not harassment, it is ok to handle through CoCc without involving CI. Examples of types of things that might be reported to the CoCc but that are not harassment are a workshop participant swearing at an Instructor, or a community member who is rude and pushy but not in any way related to sexual advances or protected categories.

If a report involving a Core Team member is susceptible to meet the appropriate criteria for harassment, the CoCc should contact the Core Team liaison to the CoCc. The Core Team CoCc liaison will elevate anything that comes in by or about Core Team members to the Executive Team if appropriate and to Community Initiatives or the PEO if needed. If a report involves the Core Team CoCc liaison, the CoCc needs to contact the Executive Director directly.