Code of Conduct

A formal code of conduct, a policy setting out expected standards of behaviour, is de rigeur for Python and Django events, and a formal requirement for events that are funded by the Python or Django Software Foundations.

A code of conduct serves a number of purposes:

  • it provides reassurance to atttendees that they will not be subjected to unpleasant treatment by other people
  • it reminds people that the way they interact with other people matters
  • it helps remove ambiguity about acceptable standards of behaviour
  • it makes it easier to deal with any problems that do arise

You don’t have to have a code of conduct, but there will be plenty of people who won’t attend or won’t speak if you don’t, and sponsors who won’t want to be involved.

Occasionally, people raise questions about the need for a code of conduct, on various grounds (that people should be trusted to behave decently; that it’s unnecessary to remind attendees not to harrass others; that it’s part of some sort of feminist conspiracy to prevent men from having fun, and more).

These questions tend to be raised by people who have never been harrassed, insulted, abused or otherwise had their enjoyment of a conference spoiled by someone else.

A more serious issue is that a code of conduct is not a guarantee that nothing untoward will happen, and even worse, that it’s not a guarantee that the right things will be done if something does happen. All the same, this is not an argument for not having a code of conduct, but for not having a code of conduct that isn’t properly communicated or enforced - so make sure that you do both.

See the example for a suggested code of conduct text.

Communicating the code of conduct

The code of conduct should be in a prominent place on the Website and in the Programme booklet. It should also be in a visible place on the registration desk or on poster around the venues, and specifically mentioned to attendees when they arrive.

Needless to say, your Committee and Volunteers need to know and understand the code of conduct very well, and what they are supposed to do about it.

Code of conduct liaisons

It’s recommended that you have a couple of committee members, one male and one female, who will be on-call and available throughout the event. They should each be introduced at the start of the event, and mentioned in the programme booklet and on the website.

Documented procedures

It’s useless to have a code of conduct without having properly-documented procedures for its enforcement. They should be written down and communicated to every volunteer.

How to raise a code of conduct issue also needs to be communicated to the general conference audience.

To be completed

  • how to enforce it
  • things to watch out for