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4 min

Community Code of Collaboration

Written by
Published on
September 25, 2018

Open Heroines is an international online community of over 600 women and growing, who work in the fields of open government, open data, and civic tech. The group is a safe virtual space for all those who identify as women and non-binary people to meet like-minded people, share their experiences, get advice, and organise events to amplify the voices and work of women and non-binary people.

As an open and collaborative space, the following norms guide our community:

  1. If you want to lead, lead! — If you want to lead an initiative or a discussion, feel free to do so. Any member of the Slack can suggest an activity or ask a question. Just remember to follow this Community Code of Collaboration.
  2. Lurking is also welcome! — We all have busy phases when we can’t participate actively, or when we just feel shy. That’s ok. Don’t feel like you can’t suggest activities or discussions because you were inactive for a while or you haven’t been active yet. Activity on the channel does not give you merit; good ideas and a will to work on these ideas do.
  3. How do I suggest an idea? — Post the idea in the #general channel or in the relevant activity channel. If after 24 hours you didn’t get a reply, feel free to run with your idea yourself. If you do get a reply, you’ve got your team!
  4. Take care in how you communicate. We are a global community and often come from different backgrounds and cultures, with different norms and values. Remember that exclusionary jokes or comments can be offensive to those around you.
  5. Assume all communications are positive. It is easy to misunderstand each other when we’re in a rush, or distracted. Please also remember that not everyone has English as their first language and there are diverse cultural norms. When in doubt, seek to clarify and build towards a shared understanding.
  6. When we disagree, try to understand why. If there are disagreements or differing views, it’s important to resolve them constructively. These things happen, please try to be respectful and seek to understand where the other person is coming from. Asking questions and seeking clarifications helps, and acknowledging that people make mistakes. We can solve issues together.
  7. If someone did make an inappropriate comment, please tell our Slack moderators — @morchickit, @hera and @seorton. We are self-governing with an informal and formal complaint handling process outlined below.
  8. Stuff that is shared on Slack, stays on Slack — This is a safe space. Conversations that take place on Slack are considered off the record and confidential. If you want to quote something or share something written by a member to another person, you must receive permission from the person who made the post first. Exceptions: The #opportunities and #events are all considered public. If you contribute to a channel that is public but don’t want it shared with anyone, explicitly state so.
  9. Use the appropriate pronoun on the Slack — If you do want to refer to a member with their pronoun, use the pronoun they want to use. If you prefer not to use the pronoun “She/Her” please mention that in your Slack profile details.

The Open Heroines Slack Community Code of Collaboration was developed by our members, and draws inspiration from Speak Up! Project, HOTOSM, and others.

Complaint Handling Process

We commit to being transparent and accountable through this process to ensure that women and non-binary people feel empowered and comfortable to raise issues. As a first step, we would ask members to try to resolve issues directly with the people involved, or to work with other community members who can help you resolve the issue. This may take several forms:

  • Talk with one another. Assume that communications are positive and that people are treating each other with respect. Cues about emotions are often lacking from digital communications. Many of our modes of digital communication tend towards brevity, which can be easier to interpret incorrectly as being negative.
  • Contact a representative of the Open Heroines Council, which exists to support the Open Heroines community. Council members are available to discuss any concerns about behaviour within the community, or ideas to promote positive behaviours.

When these informal processes fail, or when a situation warrants an immediate response by Open Heroines, you can submit a complaint to the Open Heroines Council through this form.

  • All complaints will be considered confidential and can be sent anonymously to the Open Heroines Council.
  • The Open Heroines Council will review the complaint within 7 days. If the complaint is related to a member of the Open Heroines Council, they will not be part of the investigation.
  • If the Open Heroines Council agrees the complaint is accurate, the Open Heroines member who the complaint was made about will be asked to immediately stop the behavior and/or not repeat it. This communication will be sent to the person the complaint is made against, and kept on file in Open Heroines membership related records. In more serious cases, the Open Heroines Council may consider more serious sanctions, such as removing the member from the Slack.

Last update: 23 April 2020

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