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Code of Conduct for brumPHP

brumPHP is a hosted monthly event based around PHP and the wider tech community in Birmingham.

We value the participation of each member of the community and want all attendees at each event to have an enjoyable experience. Accordingly, all attendees of our events are expected to show respect and courtesy to other people throughout the event.

To make clear what is expected: all attendees, speaker(s), organizers and volunteers at any brumPHP event are required to conform to the following Code of Conduct. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event and you will be reminded of it at the start of the event and any subsequent days that this event occurs over.

TL;DR

We want people to feel safe. Please don't contest or feel the need to be difficult should you be officially cautioned/removed.

The Short Version

  • brumPHP events are dedicated to providing a harassment-free event for everyone each month, regardless of any personal characteristic including, but not limited to: gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form. The tech industry currently has some old stereotypes about some of these things, and we do not support them.

  • All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any venue, including talks and socialising.

  • Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other people. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate at our events.

  • Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave the event with a caution at the sole discretion of the organisers. A second violation of these rules will result in a ban from all futher brumPHP events.

In addition to these agreements, brumPHP wants to be a welcoming event each month. We encourage all our attendees to act in the following manner:

  • Be friendly and patient.
  • Be welcoming towards everyone. This includes new attendees and especially those who are still learning.
  • Be considerate of others and treat them as you wish to be treated.

In short: be excellent towards each other.

Thanks in advance to our attendees for each event, for knowing our rules and being lovely.

The Longer Version

Harassment includes: offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion or any other similar personal characteristic. Harassment also includes: sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Excessive swearing and offensive jokes are not appropriate for our events.

If a participant engages in behavior that violates this code of conduct, the organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or a ban from all further events.

Contact Information

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact an organizer.

The organisers are: James (Jim) Seconde Matt Rose

An organiser will always be available at an event.

Procedure for Handling Harassment

If you feel like you are being harassed or feel uncomfortable and would like to talk to a member of staff, then please follow the following steps so that we can help you as quickly as possible:

(This procedure has been adopted from the Ada Initiative's guide titled "Conference anti-harassment/Responding to Reports".)

Report the harassment incident (preferably in writing) to a staff member. All reports are confidential. Please do not disclose public information about the incident until the organisers have had sufficient time in which to address the situation. This is as much for your safety and protection as it is the other attendees'.

When reporting the event to staff, try to gather as much information as available but do not interview people about the incident. Staff will assist you in writing the report/collecting information.

The important information consists of:

  • Identifying information (name) of the participant doing the harassing.
  • The behavior that was in violation.
  • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made).
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident.
  • Other people involved in the incident.

If everyone is presently physically safe, involve law enforcement or security only at a victim's request. If you do feel your safety is in jeopardy please do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement by dialing +44 121 626 5000. If you do not have a mobile phone, you can simply ask an organiser.

Note: Incidents that violate the Code of Conduct are extremely damaging to the community, and they will not be tolerated. The silver lining is that, in many cases, these incidents present a chance for the offenders, and the community at large, to grow, learn, and become better. brumPHP organisers request that they be your first resource when reporting an incident, so that they may enforce the Code of Conduct and take quick action toward a resolution.

Staff Procedure for incident handling

(This procedure has been adopted from the Ada Initiative's guide titled "Conference anti-harassment/Responding to Reports".)

Please make sure that you and other organisers have read this document in its entirety to ensure everyone helping to run this event is aware of the code of conduct and its procedures.

Try to get as much of the incident in writing from the reporter. If you cannot, transcribe it yourself as it was told to you. The important information to gather includes the following:

  • Identifying information (name/badge number) of the participant doing the harassing.
  • The behavior that was in violation.
  • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made).
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident.
  • Other people involved in the incident.

Prepare an initial response to the incident. This initial response is very important and will set the tone for events hosted by brumPHP. Depending on the severity/details of the incident, please follow these guidelines:

  • If there is any general threat to attendees, or the safety of anyone including staff is in doubt, summon security or police.
  • Offer the victim a private place to sit.
  • Ask "is there a friend or trusted person who you would like to be with you?" (if so, arrange for someone to fetch this person).
  • Ask them "how can I help?".
  • Provide them with your list of emergency contacts if they need help later.
  • If everyone is presently physically safe, involve law enforcement or security only at a victim's request.

There are also some guidelines as to what not to do as an initial response:

  • Do not overtly invite them to withdraw the complaint or mention that withdrawal is OK. This suggests that you want them to do so, and is therefore coercive. "If you're OK with it [pursuing the complaint]" suggests that you are by default pursuing it and is not coercive.
  • Do not ask for their advice on how to deal with the complaint. This is a staff responsibility.
  • Do not offer them input into penalties. This is the staff's responsibility.

Once something is reported to a staff member, immediately meet with the event chair and/or event coordinator. The main objectives of this meeting is to find out the following:

  • What happened?
  • Are we doing anything about it?
  • Who is doing those things?
  • When are they doing them?

After the staff meeting and discussion, have a staff member (preferably the event chair or event coordinator if available) communicate with the alleged harasser. Make sure to inform them of what has been reported about them.

Allow the alleged harasser to give their side of the story to the staff. After this point, if the report stands, let the alleged harasser know what actions will be taken against them.

Some things for the staff to consider when dealing with Code of Conduct offenders:

  • Warning the harasser to cease their behavior and that any further reports will result in sanctions.
  • Requiring that the harasser avoid any interaction with, and physical proximity to, their victim for the remainder of the event.
  • Ending a talk that violates the policy early.
  • Not publishing the video or slides of a talk that violated the policy.
  • Not allowing a speaker who violated the policy to give (further) talks at the event now or in the future.
  • Immediately ending any event volunteer responsibilities and privileges the harasser holds.
  • Requiring that the harasser not volunteer for future events your organization runs (either indefinitely or for a certain time period).
  • Requiring that the harasser refund any travel grants and similar they received (this would need to be a condition of the grant at the time of being awarded).
  • Requiring that the harasser immediately leave the event and not return.
  • Banning the harasser from future events (either indefinitely or for a certain time period).
  • Removing a harasser from membership of relevant organizations.
  • Publishing an account of the harassment and calling for the resignation of the harasser from their responsibilities (usually pursued by people without formal authority: may be called for if the harasser is the event leader, or refuses to stand aside from the conflict of interest, or similar; typically event staff have sufficient governing rights over their space that this isn't as useful).

Give accused attendees a place to appeal to if there is one, but in the meantime the report stands. Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to encourage an apology from the harasser.

It is very important how we deal with the incident publicly. Our policy is to make sure that everyone aware of the initial incident is also made aware that it is not according to policy and that official action has been taken - while still respecting the privacy of individual attendees. When speaking to individuals (those who are aware of the incident, but were not involved with the incident) about the incident it is a good idea to keep the details out.

Depending on the incident, the event chair, or designate, may decide to make one or more public announcements. If necessary, this will be done with a short announcement either during the plenary and/or through other channels. No one other than the event chair or someone delegated authority from the event chair should make any announcements. No personal information about either party will be disclosed as part of this process.

If some attendees were angered by the incident, it is best to apologize to them that the incident occurred to begin with. If there are residual hard feelings, suggest to them to write an email to the conference chair or to the event coordinator. It will be dealt with accordingly.

License

This Code of Conduct was forked from the Hackference 2018 Code of Conduct, which was forked from the Pycon US policy, which was originally forked from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Ada Initiate and other volunteers. which is under a Creative Commons Zero license.

Credits

Thanks to Mike Elsmore for allow us to use and edit the Hackference CoC, which in turn thanks Paul Hallett and Orlando Kalossakas for creating the template .