The Carpentries Code of Conduct

  1. Introduction

The Carpentries is a community-led project. We value the involvement of everyone in the community. We are committed to creating a friendly and respectful place for learning, teaching and contributing. All participants in our events and communications are expected to show respect and courtesy to others.

To make clear what is expected, everyone participating in Carpentry activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct applies to all spaces managed by The Carpentries including, but not limited to, workshops, email lists, and online forums such as GitHub, Slack and Twitter. Workshop hosts are expected to assist with the enforcement of the Code of Conduct.

The Carpentry Code of Conduct Committee is responsible for enforcing the Code of Conduct. It can be contacted by emailing All reports will be reviewed by the Code of Conduct Committee and will be kept confidential.

  1. The Carpentries Code of Conduct

The Carpentries is dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all people, regardless of background or identity. As such, we do not tolerate behaviour that is disrespectful to our teachers or learners or that excludes, intimidates, or causes discomfort to others. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on characteristics that include, but are not limited to, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, citizenship, nationality, ethnic or social origin, pregnancy, familial status, veteran status, genetic information, religion or belief (or lack thereof), membership of a national minority, property, age, education, socio-economic status, technical choices, and experience level.

Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to this Code of Conduct. It applies to all spaces managed by The Carpentries including, but not limited to, workshops, email lists, and online forums such as GitHub, Slack and Twitter. Workshop hosts are expected to assist with the enforcement of the Code of Conduct. By participating, participants indicate their acceptance of the procedures by which the Carpentries resolves any Code of Conduct incidents, which may include storage and processing of their personal information.

2.1 Expected Behavior

All participants in our events and communications are expected to show respect and courtesy to others. All interactions should be professional regardless of platform: either online or in-person. In order to foster a positive and professional learning environment we encourage the following kinds of behaviours in all Carpentries events and platforms:

  • Use welcoming and inclusive language
  • Be respectful of different viewpoints and experiences
  • Gracefully accept constructive criticism
  • Focus on what is best for the community
  • Show courtesy and respect towards other community members

Note: See the four social rules for further recommendations.

2.2 Unacceptable Behavior

Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants at any Carpentries event/platform include:

  • written or verbal comments which have the effect of excluding people on the basis of membership of any specific group
  • causing someone to fear for their safety, such as through stalking, following, or intimidation
  • violent threats or language directed against another person
  • the display of sexual or violent images
  • unwelcome sexual attention
  • nonconsensual or unwelcome physical contact
  • sustained disruption of talks, events or communications
  • insults or put downs
  • sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or exclusionary jokes
  • excessive swearing
  • incitement to violence, suicide, or self-harm
  • continuing to initiate interaction (including photography or recording) with someone after being asked to stop
  • publication of private communication without consent

2.3 Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

Participants who are asked to stop any inappropriate behavior are expected to comply immediately. This applies to any Carpentry events and platforms, either online or in-person. If a participant engages in behavior that violates this code of conduct, the organizers may warn the offender, ask them to leave the event or platform (without refund), or engage the Carpentries Code of Conduct Committee to investigate the Code of Conduct violation and impose appropriate sanctions.

Update Log:

  • 2018-09-11 Code of Conduct revised to provide straightforward examples of both beneficial and unwanted behavior. Also includes changes regarding evaluating intent. Contributors: Ethan White, Kari L. Jordan, Karin Lagesen, Malvika Sharan, Samantha Ahern, and Simon Waldman.

Incident Reporting Guidelines

  1. Contact points

If someone violates the Code of Conduct during a Carpentries-related event we ask that you report it to the event host, organiser, or a designated incident response person. The person you have talked to should make a report to the Carpentries about the incident by emailing the Carpentries Code of Conduct Committee If this is not possible for some reason, we would be very grateful if you could report the incident yourself.

If a violation occurs in an online space outside of organised events, please email about the incident.

1.2 Alternate contact points

An email to will be seen by all of the Code of Conduct Committee, who are listed at If you are uncomfortable reporting to the Code of Conduct committee, incidents can also be reported to Cam Macdonell, the designated ombudsman for The Carpentries, at The Carpentries Executive Director Tracy Teal can also be contacted by telephone at 1-530-341-3230.

1.3 What to do if someone is in physical danger

If you believe someone is in physical danger, please ask a staff member or volunteer to contact appropriate emergency responders. All event organizers should, before the event, determine who it would be appropriate to contact in case of an incident.

Once the incident has been resolved, we ask that it be reported to the Code of Conduct committee in the same way as all other incidences.

1.4 Code of Conduct Enforcement

A detailed enforcement policy is available in the Enforcement Manual below.

Update Log:

  • 2018-09-11 Reporting guidelines revised to include alternate contact points. Contributors: Ethan White, Kari L. Jordan, Karin Lagesen, Malvika Sharan, Samantha Ahern, and Simon Waldman.

Enforcement Manual

This is the enforcement manual followed by The Carpentries Code of Conduct Committee. 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. Enforcement of the Code of Conduct should be respectful and not include any harassing behaviors.

The Code of Conduct Committee
All responses to reports of conduct violations will be managed by the Code of Conduct Committee (“the committee”). The Carpentries Executive Council will jointly establish this committee, comprised of at least three members. One member will be designated chair of the Committee and will be responsible for all reports back to the Executive Council. The Executive Council will review membership on an annual basis.

How the committee will respond to reports
When a report is sent to the committee they will immediately reply to the report to confirm receipt. This reply must be sent within 24 hours, and the committee should strive to respond much more quickly than that. See the reporting guidelines for details of what reports should contain. If a report doesn’t contain enough information, the committee will attempt to obtain all relevant data before acting. The committee is empowered to act on the behalf of The Carpentries in contacting any individuals involved to get a more complete account of events. The committee is also empowered to act if any of its members become aware of ongoing behaviour that, taken as a whole over a long time period, is disrupting or harassing. Such behaviour might not be “over the line” in any single incident, and thus may not generate a report.

Urgent Situations: Acting Unilaterally
If the incident involves physical danger, or involves a threat to anyone’s safety (e.g. threats of violence), any member of the committee may – and should – act unilaterally to protect safety. This can include contacting law enforcement (or other local personnel) and speaking on behalf of The Carpentries.

If the act is ongoing, any committee member may act immediately, before reaching consensus, to diffuse the situation. In ongoing situations, any member may at their discretion employ any of the tools available to the committee, including bans and blocks. In situations where an individual committee member acts unilaterally, they must inform the other committee members as soon as possible, and report their actions to the committee for review within 24 hours.

Less-Urgent Situations
Upon receiving a report of an incident, the committee, or at least three members, will review the incident and determine, to the best of their ability:

  • whether this is an ongoing situation
  • whether there is a threat to anyone’s physical safety
  • what happened
  • whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation
  • who, if anyone, was the bad actor

This information will be collected in writing, and whenever possible the committee’s deliberations will be recorded and retained (i.e. email discussions, recorded voice conversations, etc). These records will be made available to the Carpentries Executive Council and executive staff.

The committee 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 committee will respond to the reporter(s) with an update and projected timeline for resolution.

The committee must agree on a resolution by consensus of all members investigating the report in question. If the committee cannot reach consensus and deadlocks for over a week, they will turn the matter over to the Executive Council for resolution.

Possible responses may include:

  • Taking no further action (if we determine no violation occurred).
  • A private reprimand from the committee to the individual(s) involved. In this case, the committee chair will deliver that reprimand to the individual(s) over email, cc’ing the Committee.
  • A public announcement of an incident, ideally in the same venue that the violation occurred (i.e. on the listserv for a listserv violation; GitHub for a GitHub violation, etc.). The committee may choose to publish this message elsewhere for posterity.
  • An imposed vacation (i.e. asking someone to “take a week off” from a listserv or the Carpentries’ GitHub repos). The committee chair 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 Carpentry spaces (listservs, GitHub, in-person events including workshops, etc). The committee will maintain records of all such bans so that they may be reviewed in the future, extended to new Carpentry communication forums, or otherwise maintained.
  • Assistance to the complainant with a report to other bodies, for example, institutional offices or appropriate law enforcement agencies.

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

Finally the committee will make a report to the Carpentries Executive Council, as well as Carpentries directorship in the event of an ongoing resolution, such as a ban.

The Code of Conduct Committee will never publicly discuss the details of the issue; all public statements will be made by the Carpentries Executive Council.

At the end of every quarter, the Executive Council will publish an aggregated count of the incidents the Code of Conduct Committee dealt with, indicating how many reports it received, how many incidents it investigated independently, how many times it acted unilaterally, and for each of these which under part of the Code of Conduct the incident was classified.

Conflicts of Interest
In the event of any conflict of interest (a committee member, their family member, or someone with whom the committee member has a close academic or employment relationship is involved in a complaint), the committee member must immediately notify the other members, and recuse themselves if necessary.

Update Log:

  • 2016-11-21 Code of Conduct, Reporting Guidelines and Enforcement Manual released. Documents were adapted from guidelines written by the Django Project, which was itself based on the Ada Initiative template and the PyCon 2013 Procedure for Handling Harassment Incidents. Contributors: Adam Obeng, Aleksandra Pawlik, Bill Mills, Carol Willing, Erin Becker, Hilmar Lapp, Kara Woo, Karin Lagesen, Pauline Barmby, Sheila Miguez, Simon Waldman, Tracy Teal.