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RFC Title Author Status Type
Chef Community Guidelines
Nathen Harvey <>

Date of Last Revision: September 16, 2014

Chef Community Guidelines

A guideline that outlines the code of conduct expected when participating in the Chef Community and the remedies available when this code is not followed.


As a member of the Chef community I want a set of ground rules that encourage respect and cooperation between members and provide a remediation process when there are violations so that I feel welcome and safe.


The following shall become our Community Guidelines.

Community Guidelines

The Chef community is a mixture of professionals and volunteers who come from all over the world and work together to make Chef better. Community members fulfill many roles, including mentoring, teaching, and connecting with other members of the community.

Diversity is one of our biggest strengths, but it can also bring increased communication challenges at times.

Be careful in the words that you choose. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down others. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. If you think your conversation is making another community member uncomfortable, try to make amends and move forward.

Our community convenes in many physical and virtual spaces. These guidelines may be used in any location where the Chef community has gathered or is working. However, events that take place in public spaces, such as conferences and meetup groups, will generally have their own code of conduct or similar community guidelines. As such, the guidelines for a specific event should be followed.

As you are working with other members of the community, please keep in mind the following guidelines, which apply equally to founders, mentors, those who submit new features and pull requests, and to anyone who is seeking help and guidance.

The following list isn’t exhaustive; it is intended to help all of us communicate well so that the community can work better together:

  • Be welcoming, inclusive, friendly, and patient.
  • Be considerate.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be professional.
  • Be careful in the words that you choose.
  • When we disagree, let’s all work together to understand why.

The previous list applies to all forms of communication: Slack, the mailing list, the issue tracker, and any other forum that is used by the community.

Please keep in mind that:

  • Your work will be used by other people, and you, in turn, will depend on the work of others.
  • Decisions that you make will often affect others in the community.
  • Disagreements happen, but should not be an excuse for poor behavior and bad manners. When disagreements do happen, let’s work together to solve them effectively and in a way that ensures that everyone understands what the disagreement was.
  • People may not understand jokes, sarcasm, and oblique references in the same way that you do. So remember that and be kind to the other members of the community.
  • Sexist, racist, and other prejudicial or exclusionary comments are not welcome in the community.

Unacceptable Behavior

Harassment comes in many forms, including but not limited to: offensive verbal or written comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, and sexual images.

As a community that often meets at public spaces, harassment also includes: stalking, persistent following, intrusive or otherwise unwanted photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Harassment and other exclusionary behavior aren't acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person.
  • Sexist, racist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language.
  • Posting sexually explicit or violent material.
  • Posting (or threatening to post) other people's personally identifying information ("doxing").
  • Personal insults, especially those using racist or sexist terms.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
  • Repeated harassment of others. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop.

Any physical violence or intimidation, threatened or acted on, is a serious offense.


  • The Decider has final say on community guidelines and final authority on corrective actions and appeals. As per the Chef RFC process, the top-level decider is Adam Jacob.
  • The Community Ombudsperson guides and meets regularly with community advocates, helps enforce corrective actions, hears appeals, is responsible for maintaining a list of incidents, and ensures pertinent information is shared with necessary parties. The Community Ombudsperson is appointed by the decider.
  • Community Advocates may be assigned for each area where the community convenes online (Slack, IRC, email list, GitHub, etc.). Community Advocates are volunteers who have the best interests of our community in mind. They act in good faith to help enforce our community guidelines and respond to incidents when they occur.
  • A Community Member is anyone who participates with the community whether in-person or via online channels. Community members are responsible for following the community guidelines, suggesting updates to the guidelines when warranted, and helping enforce community guidelines.

Community Advocates must be agreed on by the community: a simple majority of other advocates must approve. The Decider retains veto power. Create a pull request against this document to volunteer or nominate someone as a community advocate for a particular area. Create a pull request against this document to propose an area that needs coverage.

Procedure for Handling Disagreements and Incidents

When we disagree, we consult others

Disagreements, both social and technical, happen all the time. When they occur, we seek to resolve disagreements and differing views constructively and with the help of the community and community processes. When disagreements escalate, we ask our community advocates to step in to moderate, mediate, and help resolve tense situations.

The Chef Community advocates are well informed on how to deal with incidents. Report the incident (preferably in writing) to one of the community advocates listed below. See the "Roles" section above for a description of each role.

Guidelines for handling conflict

Here are some guidelines to consider when conflicts or disagreements occur:

  • Steer conflict in the direction of respectful discussion.
  • Be respectful and follow our community guidelines.
  • Consider the other person's experience and view point.
  • Consider the other person's perception of your experience and view point.
  • Listen to what the other person has to say.
  • Ask open-ended, clarifying questions.
  • Step away from the disagreement or conflict - walking away from a situation is often a great way to prevent escalation.
  • Bring the conflict to some resolution or escalate to a community advocate.

Guidelines for handling incidents

When an advocate notices someone behaving in a way that is outside of our guidelines (a violator) the advocate should make every reasonable attempt to help curtail that behavior. The advocate may:

  • Remind the violator about our Community Guidelines and provide a link to this document.
  • Ask the violator to stop the unacceptable behavior.
  • Raise the issue with a fellow community advocate, the ombudsperson, or the decider.
  • Allow time for the violator to correct the behavior.

The advocate should take the following steps if the behavior is not brought inline with our guidelines or the incident is not resolved.

  • Consult with another community advocate to make a judgment call about what reasonable corrective actions are warranted.
  • Apply the corrective action.
  • Document the incident.

Documenting Incidents

All incident reports will be kept in a private repository that is shared with the Community Advocates, Community Ombudsperson, and the Decider.

The important information to report consists of:

  • Identifying information (name, email address, slack username, IRC nick, etc.) of the person doing the harassing
  • The behavior that was in violation
  • The approximate time of the behavior
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Other people involved in the incident

If you feel your safety is in jeopardy please do not hesitate to contact local law enforcement.

Note: Incidents that violate the Community Guidelines 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 community as a whole to grow, learn, and become better. The community advocate team requests that they be your first resource when reporting a Chef Community-related incident, so that they may enforce the Community Guidelines and take quick action toward a resolution.

Corrective Actions

Crafting a list of quid pro quo corrective actions in our community guidelines would be inadequate and incomplete. Each incident will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The Community Advocates and Community Ombudsperson will maintain a list of incidents and actions taken. If patterns emerge this section may be updated to include some suggested corrective actions.

Our first response should always be to ensure the immediate safety and well being of all parties involved. In the ideal case, an attempt to stop and prevent the violation behavior would be made before any corrective action is decided.

When corrective action is warranted, a Community Advocate may use one or more of the following remedies:

  • Removal from the space where the incident occurred for a period of time.
  • Banned from the space where the incident occurred indefinitely.
  • Removed or banned from other online spaces.
  • Banned from one or more upcoming in-person events.


People subjected to corrective action may appeal the action by contacting a community advocate, ombudsperson, or the decider. An appeal will be acknowledged within 48 hours and processed within seven days.


This Code of Conduct was forked from the example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers which is under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This document has also been inspired by the Speak Up! project, the Django code of conduct, and the PyCon Code of Conduct.


This work is in the public domain. In jurisdictions that do not allow for this, this work is available under CC0. To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.