Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Write the Docs is a global community of documentarians who share information, discuss ideas, and work together to improve the art and science of documentation. Everybody who participates in our community in one way or another is required to conform to this Code of Conduct (CoC). This includes online communications, meetup and conference attendees, speakers, sponsors, founders, moderators, organisers and volunteers.

Why do we have a Code of Conduct?

Our goals with having this Code of Conduct are:

  • Helping everyone feel safe and included. Many documentarians are new to our community, and some may have had poor experiences in other communities. We want to set the expectation that harassment and other unpleasant behaviour are not acceptable. If people do have an unpleasant experience, they’ll know that’s neither the norm nor acceptable to us as a community.
  • Helping to build trust that if an incident is reported, we will do a thorough investigation, and not blame the reporter. Even, for example, if the incident concerns someone in a position of power.
  • Informing everyone of the expected behaviour. We are a diverse community, and having a Code of Conduct makes the expectations of everybody’s behaviour explicit and transparent.
  • Having a framework for report handling. The Code of Conduct is the basis for dealing with a report, assessing whether the CoC was violated, and what action should be taken.

The Code of Conduct isn’t an exhaustive list of things that you must do, or can’t do. Rather, take it in the spirit in which it’s intended. It’s a guide to make it easier to enrich all of us and the communities in which we participate, and which we represent.

If you believe someone is violating the Code of Conduct, please report it. Contact details for each space are listed at the end of this page. When handling a report, we follow our Code of Conduct Response Guide.

The principles

  • Be friendly and patient.
  • Be welcoming. We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to members of any race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, color, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, size, family status, religion, and mental and physical ability.
  • Be considerate. Your work will be used by other people, and you in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision you take will affect users and colleagues, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions. Remember that we’re a world-wide community, so you might not be communicating in someone else’s primary language.
  • Be respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. Members of the Write the Docs community should be respectful when dealing with other members as well as with people outside the community.
  • Be careful in the words that you choose. We are a community of professionals, and we conduct ourselves professionally. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other participants, individually or as a group. Harassment and other exclusionary behavior aren’t acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • Violent threats or language directed against another person.
    • Discriminatory jokes and language.
    • Posting sexually explicit or violent material.
    • Personal insults, especially those using discriminatory terms.
    • Inappropriate physical contact or unwelcome sexual attention.
    • Harassing photography or recording, including taking photos of someone who is wearing a no photo-lanyard.
    • Sustained disruption of talks or other events.
    • Deliberate misgendering.
    • Deliberate “outing” of any private aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse. This includes sharing personally identifying information (“doxing”).
    • Knowingly making harmful false claims about a person.
    • Pushing a person to drink alcohol when they don’t want to drink, or deceiving someone into drinking alcohol.
    • Harassment of others in any form. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop.
    • Advocating for, threatening to, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

Some events may provide alcoholic drinks. However, participants are expected to drink responsibly. Alcohol use or other intoxication are never accepted as an excuse for CoC violations.

Where does the Code of Conduct apply?

This Code of Conduct applies to all spaces managed by Write the Docs. This includes:

  • Conferences (including social events and peripheral activities)
  • Unconferences and sprints
  • Meetups, including their discussion boards
  • Workshops
  • Presentation materials used in talks or sessions
  • Slack
  • Mailing lists
  • GitHub
  • Twitter hashtag and mentions
  • Any other forums created by the which the community uses for communication.

The Code of Conduct does not exclusively apply to events on an official agenda. For example, if after a scheduled social event you go to a bar with a group of fellow participts, and someone harasses you there, we would still treat that as a CoC violation. Similarly, harassment in Twitter direct messages related to Write the Docs can still be covered under this Code of Conduct.

In addition, violations of this code outside our spaces may affect a person’s ability to participate in them.

Sponsors, affiliates, and exhibitors

When you sponsor a Write the Docs event, we welcome you as a member of our community, and we expect you to be respectful to the community you operate within.

All exhibitors in the expo hall, sponsor or vendor booths, or similar activities are also subject to the Code of Conduct. In particular, exhibitors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material. Booth staff (including volunteers) must not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment.

In addition, sponsors and affiliates of conference, meetups, and online activities should not employ aggressive recruiting techniques, invasive marketing behavior, or similar actions towards community members. In case of violations, sponsors might be sanctioned and expelled from the event or activity with no return of the sponsorship contribution.

What can happen if the CoC is violated?

In case of a Code of Conduct violation, some of the most common actions organisers may take are:

  • No action (if the team determines no violation occurred).
  • A private or public reprimand.
  • Requiring that a public apology is made.
  • Requiring that a participant stops their behaviour.
  • Requiring that a participant prevents further contact with certain other participants.
  • Not publishing the video of a conference talk.
  • Cancelling a conference talk.
  • Removing a participant from the conference, meetup or online space, without refund.

The action taken is at the discretion of the Code of Conduct team. Participants are expected to comply immediately, and further action may be taken in case a participant does not comply. A record will be kept of all incidents.

What to do in case of violations

If a Code of Conduct incident happens that affects you, or witness it affecting someone else, please contact the appropriate CoC team immediately. See the contact details below for the different teams for different spaces. In all cases, you may email, but contacting local organisers may be faster. Email to the is received by all members of the Core Operations (CoreOps).

Guidelines for reporting incidents

Please do not feel like you may be a burden to us by reporting incidents. Even if you happen to report multiple incidents. We rather consider reports an opportunity for us to act: by knowing about an incident, we can act on it, and often prevent it from continuing or repeating. But if we don’t know, we can’t take action.

If you are not sure whether the situation was a Code of Conduct violation, or whether the CoC applied to that particular space, we encourage you to still report it. We would much rather have a additional reports where we decide to take no action, rather than miss a report of an actual violation. We do not look negatively on you if we find the incident is not a violation. And knowing about incidents that are not violations, or happen outside our spaces, can also help us to improve the Code of Conduct or the processes surrounding it.

In your report please include, when possible:

  • Your contact info (so we can get in touch with you)
  • Names or descriptions of anyone who was involved or who witnessed the incident.
  • When and where the incident occurred. Please be as specific as possible.
  • Your account of what occurred. If there is a written record (e.g. tweets or Slack messages) please include screenshots, or otherwise a link.
  • Any extra context you believe existed for the incident.
  • If you believe this incident is ongoing.
  • Any other information you believe we should have.

If you don’t communicate all of this information at the time, please still make the report and include as much information as you have.

If you feel unsafe reporting in person, you may choose someone to represent you. In this case, we’d need their contact information, but we’d ask you to make clear that this person represents you.

When handling a report, we follow our Code of Conduct Response Guide.

All reports will be kept confidential. In some cases a public statement might be required (for example in a CoC transparency report following conferences), but these reports are anonymized and do not include any personally identifying information.

Other assistance

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. However, we will not contact security or law enforcement without your consent, except if the safety risk is so significant that there is no other reasonable option.

Reporting and contact information

  • Each Write the Docs conference has a Code of Conduct team. For each conference, their names and contact details are listed below. They will be introduced at the start of the conference. You can also approach any other staff member, who can be identified by t-shirts or special badges.
  • For online platforms, we ask that you make any reports by emailing This is received by all members of the Core Operations (CoreOps). For reports on incidents on Slack, the core team may involve the moderation team.
  • For meetups, please report the incident to the local meetup organisers. If you feel uncomfortable with this, if you feel the incident was not well handled by the local organisers, or if you are a meetup organiser and would like to ask for input, you can email

If you believe anyone is in physical danger, please notify appropriate law enforcement first when possible. If you are unsure which law enforcement agency is appropriate, please include this in your report and we will attempt to notify them.

Reports about a Code of Conduct response team member

If your report concerns a member of the Code of Conduct team of a conference, you can report the issue to any other response team member or any other organiser. For reports regarding meetup organisers, you can make the report to another meetup organiser, if there is one. If this is not possible, or for any reason you feel uncomfortable with this, you can also email

If your report concerns a member of the Core Operations (CoreOps), which receives emails to, you can report the issue individually to any of the other core team members.

Portland conference Code of Conduct Team

Eric Holscher

Samuel Wright