Code of Conduct Incident Response Procedure and Enforcement Guidelines
This document outlines the Incident Response Procedure and Enforcement Guidelines followed by The Carpentries Code of Conduct Committee (CoCc) once an incident report is received through the incident report form or other channels. These guidelines are used when the CoCc reviews and resolves incidents to ensure consistency, transparency, and fairness. The Carpentries has access to legal support through our fiscal sponsor, Community Initiatives, should there be a need.
The CoC committee will attempt to ensure your safety and help with any immediate needs, particularly at in-person events. The incident reporter(s) will receive an email from the Code of Conduct committee acknowledging receipt of an incident report within 24 hours of the form submission, and we aim for the same response time through other channels.
If there is an ongoing incident or a threat to physical safety, the committee’s immediate priority will be to protect everyone involved. This means we may delay an “official” response until we believe that the situation has ended and that everyone is physically safe.
The committee will make all efforts to meet within two business days to review the incident and determine next steps such as setting a 1:1 meeting with the reporter(s) and/or reportee(s). Once the committee has a complete account of the events, they will make a decision as to how to respond. Examples of possible incident responses are outlined in The Carpentries Enforcement Guidelines. The committee will respond within one week to the original reporter with either a resolution or an explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved.
Once the committee has determined its resolution, the original reporter will be contacted to let them know what action (if any) will be taken. The committee will take into account feedback from the reporter on the appropriateness of its response but may decide not to act on that feedback.
Finally, the Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee and Executive Council Liaison will write up a transparency report for incidents reported through the incident report form or other channels. Names of the reporter and any persons involved in the incident will not be included unless the resolution results in a termed suspension. The Executive Council may choose to make a public report of the incident while maintaining anonymity of those involved.
Reporter: Person reporting an incident.
Reportee: Person being reported.
Incident Response Group (IRG): Group of people who work on a specific incident. There will be a minimum of three people from the CoC committee on each IRG.
Incident Response Lead (IRL): Person on the CoC committee heading the IRG. This person is appointed on a per-incident basis by the IRG.
Incident Response Procedure for The Carpentries Code of Conduct Committee
The following is a summary of the steps the Code of Conduct Committee takes when responding to an incident reported via the incident report form. More detailed information is also provided below the summary.
If there is a need for an immediate response (physical danger, disruption in a workshop, ongoing online conversation) communicated through any channel, the CoCc can activate the Termed Suspension Checklist.
For non-immediate responses submitted via the incident report form, an auto-generated email is sent to the Code of Conduct committee that a report has been received.
An auto-response is sent to the reporter acknowledging that the incident report was received via the secure form.
The first person on the Code of Conduct committee to see the report reviews it and provides an initial response to the reporter within 24 hours of the report being submitted or immediately, if safety is an issue.
This response will include a timeline of what to expect as the Code of Conduct committee works to provide a resolution.
The first person on the Code of Conduct committee to see the report completes an incident data collection form to share with the CoC Committee.
A minimum of three members of the Code of Conduct Committee (the Incident Response Group (IRG)) meet to discuss the incident. The incident report document is shared with the IRG prior to this meeting.
An Incident Response Lead (IRL) is appointed by the IRG.
The IRG determines if the incident occurred in a Carpentries space and is therefore appropriate to review.
The IRG reviews all of the information included in the incident report and determines whether more information is needed. If so, that information is requested from the reporter.
The IRL contacts the reportee(s) to set up a meeting, if necessary. At least two IRG members should be present at the meeting with the reportee(s).
An optional meeting with the reporter takes place to obtain more information. At least two members of the IRG should be present at the meeting.
After further collection and review of information, if needed, the IRG determines a resolution. Possible resolutions are located in this documentation and include, but are not limited to, a private reprimand, public reprimand, and termed suspension.
The IRL updates the reporter and solicits feedback on the resolution. Feedback may or may not be used to update the resolution.
The IRL updates the reportee(s).
IRG conducts a final meeting/communication to ensure that reportee understands the resolution and has an opportunity to clarify concerns.
The Core Team Liaison determines whether the Termed Suspension Checklist should be employed or other actions taken.
Essential personnel are notified to implement any actions. Report details remain confidential.
Decisions and outcomes are logged on the private Code of Conduct Committee GitHub repository.
The Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee and Executive Council Liaison write up a transparency report.
When a report is received, any one of the Code of Conduct committee members will reply to the reporter to confirm receipt. This reply will be sent within 24 hours of the incident being reported, and the CoCc will strive to respond much more quickly than that.
For details about what the incident report should contain, see the Incident Reporting Guidelines. If a report does not contain enough information, the committee will attempt to obtain all relevant information to resolve the incident. The committee is empowered to act on the behalf of The Carpentries in contacting any individuals involved, unless this is not requested by the reporter. Protecting the safety of the reporter is the priority in any incident report or review. 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 inappropriate.
Incident Response Assessment
Upon receiving a report of an incident, at least three members of the CoCc will form the Incident Response Group (IRG). The IRG will meet to:
Assign an Incident Response Lead (IRL).
Review report documentation to determine the content and context of the incident.
Consult documentation of past incidents for patterns of behaviour (if available and applicable).
Discuss appropriate resolutions to the incident.
Determine the follow up actions for the reportee, reporter and anyone else named in the report who may have been impacted.
The deliberations of the incident response assessment will be stored in the Code of Conduct Committee’s private GitHub repository.
The committee will aim to have a resolution agreed upon within one week of receipt of the incident response form. In the event that a resolution cannot be determined in that time, the IRL will respond to the reporter(s) with an update and projected timeline for resolution.
Following up with the Reportee
When following up with the reportee, the CoCc representatives will:
Explain that an incident was reported that involves the reportee.
In this explanation, the focus will be on the impact of their behaviour, not their intent.
Reiterate the Code of Conduct and that their behaviour was deemed inappropriate.
Provide concrete examples of how they can improve their behaviour.
Give them the opportunity to state their view of the incident.
Remind them of the consequences of their behaviour, or future consequences if the behaviour is repeated.
Explain the possible resolutions that may be enforced should the CoCc determine there is a breach.
Conduct a final meeting to ensure that the reportee understands the resolution and has an opportunity to clarify concerns. In some cases, this final communication could be carried over email at the discretion of the IRG.
The committee must agree on a resolution by the majority of all members investigating the incident in question. If the committee cannot reach a majority decision and deadlocks for over one week, they will turn the matter over to the Executive Council for resolution.
What follows are examples of possible resolutions to an incident report. This list is not comprehensive, and The Carpentries Code of Conduct Committee reserves the right to take any action it deems necessary to resolve an incident. Possible resolutions to an incident include:
Nothing, if the Code of Conduct committee determined there was no breach in the Code of Conduct.
A private verbal reprimand from the committee to the individual(s) involved.
This conversation may happen in person, over video conference call, or by phone.
The IRL will write a short report of the conversation to be shared with the reportee for verification purposes and then shared with the CoCc and maintained on record in the private GitHub repository.
A private emailed reprimand from the committee to the individual(s) involved.
The IRL will deliver a reprimand to the individual(s) over email, cc’ing the Code of Conduct Committee.
Requiring that the reportee avoid any interaction with, and physical proximity to, another person for the remainder of The Carpentries event.
Refusal of alcoholic beverage purchases by the reportee at Carpentries events.
Ending a talk that violates the Code of Conduct early.
Not publishing the video or slides of a talk that violated the Code of Conduct.
Not allowing a speaker who violated the Code of Conduct to give (further) talks at Carpentries workshops or events now or in the future.
Requiring that the reportee not volunteer for future Carpentries events either indefinitely or for a certain time period determined by the CoCc.
Requiring that the reportee refund any travel grant funding they received.
Requiring that the reportee immediately leave an event and not return.
Immediately ending any volunteer responsibilities and privileges the reportee holds.
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 CoCc may choose to publish this message elsewhere for posterity.
An imposed suspension (i.e. asking someone to “take a week off” from a listserv or The Carpentries’ GitHub repos).
The IRL will communicate this suspension to the reportee. They will be asked to take this suspension voluntarily, but if they do not agree, then a temporary ban may be imposed to enforce this suspension.
A permanent or temporary ban from some or all Carpentries spaces (listservs, GitHub, in-person events including workshops, etc).
The CoC committee will maintain records of all such bans so that they may be reviewed in the future, extended to new Carpentries 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 IRL will contact the reporter and any other affected parties to explain the proposed resolution. The IRL will ask if this resolution is acceptable and must note feedback for the record. However, the CoC committee is not required to act on this feedback.
Any individual(s) involved in a Code of Conduct report handled by CoC committee (CoCc) has the right to appeal a decision made by the committee. An appeal can be made directly to the CoCc (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or to the ombudsperson (email: email@example.com) by sending an email with subject line Code of Conduct Incident Appeal.
The email should include documentation related to the incident to support the appeal. The said documentation may include, but does not have to be limited to:
Information from the reportee justifying reasoning for the appeal.
Letters of support from community members.
Statements from other individuals involved in the incident to support the appeal.
Appeals can be requested up to 30 days after a resolution has been determined.
The CoC committee will submit a report to The Carpentries Executive Council and The Carpentries Executive Director in the event of an ongoing resolution such as a termed suspension or ban.
The CoC committee will never publicly discuss the details of an incident; any 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 reviewed, indicating how many reports it received, how many incidents it investigated independently, how many times it acted unilaterally, and, for each of these, under which 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.
In the case that a CoCc member is involved in a report, the member will be asked to recuse themselves from ongoing conversations, and they will not have access to reports after the enforcement decision has been made. Resolution action may also include removal of that member from the Code of Conduct committee.