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. 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 diffuse 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 in person to a workshop host or instructor or via the Code of Conduct incident report form to the Code of Conduct committee.

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 Code of Conduct Committee 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 Event Checklist (Carpentries Workshops, CarpentryCon, CarpentryConnect, Carpentries Instructor Training)

  • Ensure participants are safe.

  • If not, refer to the Immediate Response Checklist.

  • Listen to the reporter and write down as many details as possible.

  • Ask the reporter to report the incident via the Code of Conduct Incident Report Form. If they would rather you complete the report, complete the report with their assistance.

  • Inform the workshop host that there was an incident and that a report was submitted via the incident report form. If the incident involves the workshop host, report the incident directly to the Code of Conduct committee via the incident report form.

Online Events and 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.

  • 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 CoC committee can enact a short-term Termed Suspension, and the reportee’s privileges to all Carpentries communication channels could be suspended until the Code of Conduct Committee 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.