Have a code of conduct
A code of conduct explains what sort of behaviour is acceptable at your event, how violations will be dealt with, and how to report a problem. It shows potential attendees that they should feel safe at your event.
It’s important to run an event where everybody is shown respect, courtesy, and kindness, and a code of conduct (CoC) is a reminder for everybody to do that.
A good code of conduct will explain:
- What sort of behaviour is acceptable at the event
- What to do if somebody sees bad behaviour (i.e., how to report it to the organisers)
- How the organisers will handle a report
Advertise the CoC prominently – on your website, when buying tickets, in your introductory remarks at the start of the day. Make sure people know about it.
A code of conduct is only as good as its enforcement – so you have to follow through with it. Have a documented procedure for dealing with bad behaviour, and stick to it.
Don’t be shy about calling out problems if they occur. At PyCon UK 2016, if there was a CoC violation, we did three things:
- We tweeted about it from the conference Twitter account
- The problem was mentioned in the opening remarks the following day, with an explanation of what happened and how it was resolved
- After the conference, there was a code of conduct report that summarised the two issues
This helps people see that you’re enforcing the CoC (and hopefully makes them feel more comfortable making a report, if they need to). It also serves as a counterpoint to people who say “this sort of behaviour doesn’t happen in our community” – unfortunately, it almost certainly does.
Ashe Dryden has written a very thorough Codes of Conduct 101 and FAQ. It has lots of detail about what makes a good CoC, and answers common questions and objections.
A lot of tech conferences have a Code of Conduct. You can Google around to find some examples.
Transparency reports are rarer, but here are a couple: