Code of Conduct
The intent of the following is to maintain an open, friendly, and inclusive community in which Upstate New York’s tech community can adeptly connect, communicate and collaborate.
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Last modified: June 1, 2018

Table of Contents

  1. Why have a Code of Conduct
  2. Goals
  3. Where does the Code of Conduct apply
  4. Member Values
  5. Our Standards
  6. Working Group and Moderation
  7. Reporting Issues and Conflict Resolution
  8. Infraction and Offense Consequences
  9. Changes and Modifications
  10. Summary
  11. Attribution

Why have a Code of Conduct

The intent of the following is to maintain an open, friendly, and inclusive community in which Upstate New York’s tech community can adeptly connect, communicate and collaborate.

Online communities include people from many different backgrounds. The Hack Upstate community is committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of:

  • gender, gender identity, or gender expression
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • disability
  • nationality
  • ethnicity
  • religion and religious beliefs
  • physical appearance
  • or similar personal characteristic

Goals

The Code of Conduct has three primary goals:

  1. Specify a baseline standard of behavior so that people with different social values and communication styles can collaborate effectively, productively, and respectfully.
  2. Provide a mechanism for resolving conflicts in the community when they arise.
  3. Make our community welcoming to people from different backgrounds.

We believe that healthy debate and disagreement are essential to a healthy community. However, it is never ok to be disrespectful. We value diverse opinions, but we value respectful behavior more. The Code of Conduct is not a mechanism for people to silence others with whom they disagree.

Where does the Code of Conduct apply

If you participate in or contribute to the Hack Upstate ecosystem in any way, you are encouraged to follow the Code of Conduct while doing so.

Explicit enforcement of the Code of Conduct applies to to the following:

  • Events hosted by Hack Upstate including but not limited to:
    • 24 hour hackathons at The Technology Garden
    • Classes hosted by Hack Upstate
  • Hack Upstate Slack Community

Member Values

These are the values to which everyone in the Hack Upstate community should aspire:

  • Be friendly and welcoming
  • Be patient
    • Remember that people have varying communication styles and that not everyone is using their native language. (Meaning and tone can be lost in translation.)
  • Be thoughtful
    • Productive communication requires effort. Think about how your words will be interpreted.
    • Remember that sometimes it is best to refrain entirely from commenting.
  • Be respectful
    • In particular, respect differences of opinion.
  • Be charitable
    • Interpret the arguments of others in good faith, do not seek to disagree.
    • When we do disagree, try to understand why.
  • Avoid destructive behavior:
    • Derailing: stay on topic; if you want to talk about something else, start a new conversation.
    • Unconstructive criticism: don't merely decry the current state of affairs; offer—or at least solicit—suggestions as to how things may be improved.
    • Snarking (pithy, unproductive, sniping comments)
    • Discussing potentially offensive or sensitive issues; this all too often leads to unnecessary conflict.
    • Microaggressions: brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral and environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative slights and insults to a person or group.

People are complicated. You should expect to be misunderstood and to misunderstand others; when this inevitably occurs, resist the urge to be defensive or assign blame. Try not to take offense where no offense was intended. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Even if the intent was to provoke, do not rise to it. It is the responsibility of all parties to de-escalate conflict when it arises.

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
  • Gracefully accepting constructive criticism
  • Focusing on what is best for the community
  • Showing empathy towards other community members

Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:

  • The use of sexualized language or imagery and unwelcome sexual attention or advances
  • Insulting, demeaning, hateful, or threatening remarks
  • Discrimination based on age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexuality, or similar personal characteristic
  • Bullying or threats of harm or harassment
  • Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or electronic address, stalking, or doxxing
  • Anything that compromises the safety of community members
  • Incitement to any of these

Working Group and Moderation

The Code of Conduct Working Group is a group of people that represent the Hack Upstate community.

They are responsible for handling conduct-related issues. Their purpose is to de-escalate conflicts and try to resolve issues to the satisfaction of all parties. If you experience abuse, harassment, discrimination or feel unsafe, please let a moderator know or email team@hackupstate.com.

Here are a list of current moderators and their emails:

  • Doug Crescenzi, doug@hackupstate.com
  • Jesse Peplinski, jesse@hackupstate.com

Reporting Issues and Conflict Resolution

If you encounter a conduct-related issue, you should report it to the Working Group using the process described below. Do not post about the issue publicly or try to rally sentiment against a particular individual or group.

  • Mail team@hackupstate.com.
  • Your message will reach the Working Group and remain confidential.
  • You may contact a member of the group directly if you do not feel comfortable contacting the group as a whole. That member will then raise the issue with the Working Group as a whole, preserving the privacy of the reporter (if desired).
  • If your report concerns a member of the Working Group they will be recused from Working Group discussions of the report.
  • The Working Group will strive to handle reports with discretion and sensitivity, to protect the privacy of the involved parties, and to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • You should receive a response within 48-72 hours.
  • The Working Group will meet to review the incident and determine what happened.
    • With the permission of person reporting the incident, the Working Group may reach out to other community members for more context.
  • The Working Group will reach a decision as to how to act. These may include:
    • Nothing.
    • Passing the report along to the offender, where the offending member will:
      • Listen without interruption to the concerns raised
      • Internalize them without disqualifying what the offended member(s) have to say
      • Ask for tips and suggestions concerning how to avoid making offensive and potentially harmful remarks in the future
      • Apologize to the original reporter and community members affected
    • A recommendation of action to the relevant forum moderators.
  • The Working Group will reach out to the original reporter to let them know the decision.
  • Appeals to the decision may be made to the Working Group, or to any of its members directly.

Infraction and Offense Consequences

Note that the goal of the Code of Conduct and the Working Group is to resolve conflicts in the most harmonious way possible. We hope that in most cases issues may be resolved through polite discussion and mutual agreement.

For minor infractions, individuals may be temporarily suspended from the Hack Upstate Slack Community & Hack Upstate hosted events.

Upon repeat offenses, or if the community and/or Working Group believes you are not acting in good faith, you may be asked to leave the Hack Upstate Slack Community and blacklisted from all Hack Upstate events.

Changes and Modifications

This is a "living" document, and subject to refinement and expansion in the future. Pull requests with modifications to help advance the policy are encouraged. They will be shared and discussed among the Working Group and community before ultimately being merged.

Summary

  • In short, be cool, have empathy and do the right thing.
  • Treat everyone with respect and kindness.
  • Be thoughtful in how you communicate.
  • Don’t be destructive or inflammatory.
  • If you encounter an issue, please mail team@hackupstate.com.

Attribution

This document was primarily derived from the Code of Conduct document for golang. Thank you to the Working Team there and all those who contributed to the creation of their Code of Conduct. Also thanks to the folks behind the iOS Developers’ Slack Code of Conduct for our first iteration.