Code of conduct

Open Knowledge Australia policies and Code of Conduct

Throughout these policies, ‘we’ refers to the Open Knowledge Australia community of volunteers and organisers.

If you attend any Open Knowledge Australia events, or participate in an Open Knowledge Australia project, we consider you to be part of the community.

By taking part in any Open Knowledge Australia event or project, you agree to uphold and promote these policies and Code of Conduct.

This is a living document and may change at any time.

Code of Conduct: be awesome

Open Knowledge Australia is an environment where everyone is welcome. We are a diverse community from a wide range of backgrounds and interests. To ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and enriching experience, please bring a spirit of respect and friendly inquiry to all your interactions at Open Knowledge Australia.

We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, education, ability, physical appearance, body size, ethnicity, or religion.

Be awesome. Be polite and friendly to everyone in the community.

Be welcoming. Open Knowledge Australia is a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. People from all fields of inquiry are welcome.

Be respectful. Our community comes from a huge range of backgrounds and experience levels. Listen and support others to learn. Remember that everyone has their own field of expertise, and we are all on a journey.

Be mindful. Be aware of the group’s mood and activities. If everyone is quiet, avoid disruptive behaviour. Some events or projects are aimed at more experienced players and are advertised as such. If you’re not experienced in the technology being used or matter being discussed, please come along to an event aimed at a more general audience, or find a different way of contributing. If you’re not sure if your skill level meets the environment, please ask! You will always receive a friendly response.

Be kind. Be careful in the words that you choose. Do not insult or put down other participants. Endeavour to make your language inclusive. Suggested readings about inclusive language are included at the end of this document.

Be considerate. Respect the space and facilities. Help the organisers by looking after equipment and cleaning up after yourself and others.

Be forgiving. People sometimes make mistakes. Please assume that participants and organisers are acting with the best intentions. If you choose to engage with them regarding something you feel is inappropriate or unfair, aim to be diplomatic and forgiving.

Organisers are people too. This is a do-ocracy. Open Knowledge Australia runs largely on volunteer effort. Please be cooperative. If you feel like pitching in with setup, cleaning or otherwise being helpful, we’d appreciate it.

Let us know. If you’re not sure about something or have a concern, feel free to ask an organiser for advice; we’re happy to help. Organisers are usually the people opening doors, stacking chairs, pointing at the food and otherwise being helpful.

List of policies

Photography/video/audio recording policy

Reporting/blogging/social media policy

Anti-harassment policy

Photography / video / audio recording policy

We will be taking photographs and (sometimes) videos of sessions at Open Knowledge Australia events. These images and recordings may be used to promote our activities.

If you do not wish to be photographed or recorded, please let the organisers and event participants know. Your wishes will be respected.

If someone indicates that they do not wish to be photographed, respect their wishes. If you have a photo that someone is uncomfortable with, work together to ensure everyone’s rights are respected, either by deleting or cropping the photo/s, editing videos, or blurring the person out beyond recognition.

Reporting / blogging / social media policy

We encourage all Open Knowledge Australia community members to join the conversation on Twitter, blogs and any other social media forums. We often cover events by live-tweeting and blogging. We remind attendees that the Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment policy extend to online interactions associated with Open Knowledge Australia.

Comments made on social media may be republished with attribution (for example retweeting or embedding of tweets in blogs). If you wish to attribute an opinion or statement to an individual in a long-form piece, please verify with that individual that they feel you have written an accurate representation of their view.

We try not to distract other participants by photographing/ live tweeting excessively during events. Please do the same.

Anti-harassment policy

Play nice or go home.

Open Knowledge Australia is dedicated to providing an enjoyable, safe, and harassment-free experience for everyone at our events and in our forums. We do not tolerate harassment or discrimination of community members in any form. Attendees violating these rules may be cautioned, expelled or banned from Open Knowledge Australia events and forums at the discretion of organisers and moderators.

Detailed policy

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or ethnicity, religion, or other personal attributes or identities
  • unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices
  • sexual images in public spaces
  • deliberate intimidation
  • stalking or following
  • threats of violence or incitements to violence against an individual
  • violating any OKN policy
  • sustained disruption of talks or other events
  • sustained attacks on someone’s project, work or idea
  • inappropriate physical contact and invasions of personal space
  • unwelcome sexual attention.

We encourage engagement with each other’s projects, but all criticism should be courteous and constructive, and should avoid rude language and personal attacks.

Sometimes a comment one person thinks is innocuous is quite offensive to someone else. If someone tells you they find your language or comments offensive, please take that on board graciously.

If we ask participants to stop any harassing behavior they are expected to comply immediately. Any Open Knowledge Australia member can issue a verbal warning to a participant that their behaviour violates the community’s anti-harassment policy. A record of complaints received and warnings issued will be maintained to enable any repeat offenders to be identified.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender, or in extreme cases, expelling or banning them from OKN events.

In case of harassment

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact an Open Knowledge Australia organiser. If you are being harassed by an Open Knowledge Australia organiser, please contact someone else you trust from the Open Knowledge Australia community, preferably an organiser, as soon as you are comfortable doing so.

Open Knowledge Australia organisers will be happy to help attendees contact police or crisis services, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe. We value your attendance and will do our best to take care of community members.

Please note, while we take all concerns raised seriously, we will use our discretion in determining when and how to follow up on reported incidents and may decline to take any further action. All concerns will be recorded.

We expect participants to follow these rules at Open Knowledge Australia events and online forums.

Further reading

This policy is based on several other similar policies, including the Django Community Code of Conduct, the Hopper Fund is working on a guide to improving conference diversity, the Geek Feminism anti-harassment policy and the anti-harassment policy developed by the Ada Initiative.

Inclusive language: the Australian National LGBTI Health Alliance has an excellent guide to inclusive sex and gender diverse language. Feel free to extrapolate the guidelines for size, ability, education and ethnicity. The Australian Network on Disabilities also has a guide to inclusive language you might want to look at.