Community Guidelines

This mentorship program aims to create a diverse, global community working to enhance the sharing of open hardware. Because of this diversity, it is important to be intentional about providing respectful, equitable spaces — both online and in person — for our community to come together and engage in constructive, respectful discourse.

The following guidelines are inspired by the experience of the Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) community. It applies to all spaces where the mentorship program is run, both online and in person.

Individuals who violate this Code may affect their ability to participate in the program, ranging from temporarily being placed into online moderation to, as a last resort, expulsion from the community or in-person events.

Anyone requested to stop behavior that violates the Code of Conduct is expected to comply immediately, even if they disagree with the request. The organizers reserve the right to interrupt participation in the program based on CoC violations.

General principles

We strive to make open hardware open to everybody, regardless of scholarly or professional background, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, economic background, country of origin or employment, religion, and other differences.

We practice equity. Equity recognizes that everyone does not start from the same position and so treating everyone the same may leave them in the same uneven positions they began in. For this reason, we are intentional about actively reducing the inequitable barriers that stand between tool development and those who use them, hack them and learn from them.

We listen.

We begin interactions by acknowledging that we are part of a community with complementary goals. When something has happened and someone is uncomfortable, our first choice is to work through it through discussion. We listen to each other.

  • For active listening, we ask questions first, instead of making statements.
  • We give people time and space to respond.
  • We appropriately adjust our behavior when asked to.
  • We know that repeating hurtful behavior after it has been addressed is disrespectful.
  • We avoid this ourselves and help others identify when they are doing it.

At in-person events such as hackathons, sprints or any other sessions, everyone’s physical space must be respected at all times. We do not touch other people without asking first — this includes physical greetings such as hugs, handshakes, or kisses, since not everyone is comfortable with the same type of touch.

  • Ask first.
  • We respect everyone else’s right to walk away at any time.
  • At events, if you do not wish to be photographed please alert photographers to move you out of frame. If you are taking a photograph, let people in the room know.

Note that many forms of harassment do not look like physical or verbal abuse, but still fall into this category. Non-consent can include exhibiting sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, photography or recording without permission, sustained disruption of talks or conversations, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Examples of online community behavior

Do Don't
Stay on topic to make long threads easier to follow. Do not send unnecessary one-line responses that effectively "spam" hundreds of people and lower the overall content quality of a conversation. (Exception: expressions of appreciation and encouragement!)
Start a new thread to help others follow along. Important if your response starts to significantly diverge from the original topic. Do not respond with off-topic information, making it hard for the large group of readers to follow along.
Write short and literal subject lines to help the readers of the list manage the volume of communication. Humor and euphemisms in subject lines are easily misunderstood, although enthusiasm is welcome!
Mind your tone. We are not having this conversation in person, so it is all the more important to maintain a tone of respect. Do not write in an aggressive, disrespectful or mocking tone. Note: writing in all caps is regarded as shouting.

Examples of in-person community behavior

Do Don't
Ask permission to take pictures and post about others on social media (see Media Consent, below). Do not upload photos, tag or mention others online without their consent.
Speak your own narrative, from your own unique experiences and culture. Do not imitate the cultural expressions of groups you are not a member of, or dismiss people's experiences as illegitimate or merely personal.
Use accessible language to talk about your area of expertise. If others in the group seemed confused, slow down; stop and ask for input. Do not present information in a way / language that no one else in the room can understand
Give everyone a chance to talk , only interrupting if absolutely necessary – for example, for Code of Conduct violations or time updates. Do not repeatedly disrupt a discussion.
Stop, listen and ask for clarification if someone perceives your behavior or presentation as violating the Code of Conduct. Do not ignore or argue others' request to stop potentially harmful behavior, even if it was an accident or you don't mean it as it is being interpreted.
Use words that accurately describe the situation rather than culturally or socially loaded terms – For example, "The wind was ridiculously strong!" instead of "The wind was crazy!" Do not use disability and mental/emotional health terminology to describe a situation metaphorically, even if it seems normal to use it.
Ask someone before you touch them, even when joking or greeting, unless the other person has given verbal consent. Hugs, cheek kisses, and handshakes are normal greetings in some cultures, but not in all cultures. Do not initiate or simulate physical contact without consent, even if it seems normal.
Use an even tone, rate, and volume of voice when disagreeing. Note that differences will be common, and some will be irreconcilable in a diverse movement. Do not verbally or physically abuse , harass, yell at, or intimidate any attendee, speaker, volunteer, or exhibitor.
Use the pronouns people have specified for themselves. Do not purposely misgender someone (ie, refusing to use their correct gender pronouns).
Step up and comment when you see violations occur by emailing openhardware4me@gmail.com Do not expect that people who are subject to Code of Conduct violations are comfortable or able to address or report them themselves.

How To Report A Problem

Reportings should not be done via social media.

  • In Person: If you are at an event that is part of the mentorship program, feel free to approach an organiser.

  • Via email: If you experience or witness something, you can also email the organizers at openhardware4me@gmail.com

Moderation process

Online modes of interaction involve large numbers of people without the helpful presence of visual cues. Because of this, respectful and self-aware online conduct is especially important and difficult.

If someone violates these guidelines, someone from the organizers team will place them into moderation by changing that person’s participation permission on group chats, forums or other virtual platforms.

Our triple notification standard for moderation means a point person from the organizers group will:

  1. Email the person directly with a brief explanation of what was violated,

  2. Send a summary email to the rest of the moderators group,

  3. If it happened on a public way, notify the rest of participants that one of our members has been placed into moderation.