The Code of Conduct Active Response Ensurers (CARE) are in charge of handling reports until their completion. It is their task to ensure all reports are handled timely and professionally. Our CARE team is still in the making - volunteers are welcome.
Participants look towards the CARE team for appropriate behaviour, even more than other staff, and that makes it essential for their behaviour to remain within the Code of Conduct. Violations by CARE team members can severely erode trust in the Code of Conduct process.
CARE team members almost never act on their own, including tasks like replying to Code of Conduct related e-mails. If it’s not possible to meet with the entire CARE team in time, at least one other team member should be consulted.
Receiving a report
Reports are typically received by e-mail, in Slack, or from another staff member. If the report was received from someone else, it may be best to meet with the original reporter first, depending on how complete the information is. The information the CARE team aims to collect is listed in the Code of Conduct reporting guide, but sometimes not all information is available.
When receiving a report, the CARE team acknowledges receipt as soon as possible, and aims to be understanding and compassionate. However, there should be no commitment on whether this is a violation or which action will be taken.
Acting as a team
The CARE team generally works, decides and communicates as a team. If the report indicates that immediate action is required and other CARE team members are not available, any CARE team member may take the action they see appropriate. The same guidelines for unilateral action apply as listed above for other staff members. If possible, it’s still preferred to take action after a brief discussion with at least one other CARE team member, or even any other organiser, rather than acting entirely unilaterally. Formal processes and guidelines must never get in the way of preventing threats to anyone’s safety.
Reviewing the report
Based on the report and any other available information, the CARE team will meet to determine, to the best of their ability:
- What happened
- Whether this event constitutes a Code of Conduct violation
- Who, if anyone, was the bad actor(s)
- What the appropriate resolution is
A written record will be kept of each incident and its review. Although that sometimes seems superflous at the time, hectic environments like conferences can make it easy to forget or confuse details later.
As a result of the meeting, the CARE team may come to a conclusion about a resolution, or may conclude that additional information should be obtained. In the latter case, this additional information will be collected as soon as possible. Any conversations as part of this should generally be done by two people from the CARE team.
Conflicts of interest
As soon as reasonable, but at the latest at the report review meeting, team members should declare any conflicts of interest. This can mean being friends with one of the involved parties, or anything else that may make it harder to remain neutral.
A conflict of interest does not inherently mean the team member can no longer participate in the process, as that would make it very hard for the team to act on reports involving well-known people in the community. However, if a report concerns someone a team member is very close to, they probably should not take part in the process. The team will decide together on where to draw this line in individual cases. Where possible, any conversations with offenders should not be done by their friends, as it can be very unpleasant for everyone involved.
The most common resolutions the CARE team can decide on are:
- No action (if the team determines no violation occurred).
- Demanding that a participant stops their behaviour.
- Demanding 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, without refund.
Resolutions are not restricted to these options. Any conversations with bad actors are done by two people from the CARE team, and notes from this conversation will be added to the record of the incident.
When deciding on a resolution, our basic goal is to address the report in an appropriate way, while also looking to prevent or reduce the risk of continuing harm in the future. For example, we may try to distinguish whether a violation occurred intentionally or not, especially in not too severe cases like inappropriate jokes. In intentional cases, or severe behaviour, we'll probably choose for stronger measures. The CARE team can also use behaviour on social media, the conference Slack, or personal interactions to further build a picture of the person(s) involved.
Informing the reporter
After the resolution is complete, the reporter should be informed of the action taken by the CARE team, and the reasoning behind this.
As a general rule, conference staff should not make any public statements about the behaviour of individual people during or after the conference. An exception to this are situations that happened in a fairly public context, because attendees may otherwise think no action was taken, eroding trust in the Code of Conduct process. The CARE team will decide together whether to make a public statement, and if so, in how much detail. This should not be decided unilaterally.
After each conference, a Code of Conduct transparency report will be published by the CARE team with anonymised information about any violations that might have occurred.
Any public statements should be handled with care not to divulge personally identifying information about anyone affected, and should serve as a means to ensure that attendees will be comfortable reporting harassment and that our community will be kept accountable for supporting and encouraging safe spaces.