Better Code of Conduct

Originally posted to github here.


The community standard of "be excellent to one another" is woefully inadequate at best as a code of conduct. It says a lot about tech culture that a single Bill and Ted quote is non-ironically considered all that's necessary as a behavioral policy. 

This Code of Conduct is an answer to this problem, drawn from my own experiences leading an open source team. Rather than just stating the "don'ts", it also contains guidelines and examples of desired behavior, and how they relate to team values. Thus it seeks to be a more comprehensive and holistic alternative to the typical boilerplate codes available on the internet.

[Group/Organization Name] Code of Conduct

To maximize benefits for our members, we try to make the culture at [group/organization name] more welcoming than the world at large. Here are some of the values you can expect others to share and some general guidelines. This code of conduct applies to visitors as well as participants and team members. See also our anti-harassment policy. 

Base Assumptions

  • Prioritizing historically marginalized identities and their needs is encouraged and needs no justification
  • Privilege exists, has a profound impact on individual opportunity and life experience, and affects everyone
  • Diversity is not limited to racial diversity and is crucial for strong teams and organizational excellence
  • All interactions should come from a place of shared equality and respect

Our Culture

[Brief but clear description of how the group/organization's stated values translate into the culture that defines the everyday working environment.]

Our Pledge

In the interest of fostering an open, welcoming, and productive environment, we as [Group/Organization Name] team members pledge to making participation in our project and our community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, social class, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, gender identity and expression, level of experience, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation, or any other attribute that is not relevant to one's quality of work and participation.

Our Standards

Examples of behavior that contributes to creating a positive environment include:

  • Using welcoming and inclusive language
  • Being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences
  • It's OK to disagree, but if you get called out on something, apologize and learn from it
  • Gracefully accepting constructive criticism
  • Being proactive about accomplishing outstanding tasks and helping others
  • Focusing on what is best for the team and community
  • Showing empathy towards other team and community members

Examples of unacceptable behavior include:

  • Taking away someone's keyboard/tools instead of showing them how to do something
  • Condescending to or belittling others for any reason
  • Playing devil’s advocate
  • Taking “reverse isms” seriously
  • Asking/demanding someone to educate you about their identity
  • Sustained disruption of discussion or work time
  • Policing people’s bodies or touching people without explicit verbal consent
  • Petting or interacting with anyone's service animal without explicit verbal consent
  • Excessive posting of topics unrelated or marginally related to the [Group/Organization Name] project
  • Public or private harassment as described in our Anti-Harassment Policy (provide link, page number, etc.)
  • Other conduct which could reasonably be considered disruptive or inappropriate in a professional setting
  • Rules-Lawyering when receiving disciplinary action

Our Responsibilities

[Abuse Team] members are responsible for clarifying the standards of acceptable behavior and are expected to take appropriate and fair corrective action in response to any instances of unacceptable behavior.

Any team member has the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or reject comments, commits, code, wiki edits, issues, and other contributions that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct, or to ban temporarily any contributor or visitor for other behaviors that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful. [Abuse Team] members reserve the right to permanently ban any contributor or visitor for unacceptable or harassing behavior.


This Code of Conduct applies to visitors as well as participants and team members in all [Group/Organization Name] project spaces both online and off, public and private, including [public and private spaces], etc. Additionally, this Code of Conduct applies both within private and public spaces when an individual is representing the project or its community. Examples of representing a project or community include using an official project e-mail address, posting via an official social media account, or acting as an appointed representative at an online or offline event. Representation of a project may be further defined and clarified by project maintainers. Anyone who violates this Code of Conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the [Abuse Team].


Instances of abusive, harassing, or otherwise unacceptable behavior may be reported by contacting [Abuse Team] at [contact info]. All complaints will be reviewed and investigated and will result in a response that is deemed necessary and appropriate to the circumstances. [Abuse Team] is obligated to maintain confidentiality with regard to the reporter of an incident. Further details of specific enforcement policies may be posted separately.

Visitors, participants, and team members who do not follow or enforce the Code of Conduct in good faith may face temporary or permanent repercussions as determined by [Abuse Team].


Portions of this Code of Conduct have been adapted from the [Contributor Covenant][homepage], version 1.4, available at [][version]