A Code of Conduct is best used as a tool for community health. ‘Encourged Behaviors’, is a way to teach and encourage the behaviors that are most welcome, and important for success of project and community - and sets a positive tone.

For example…

Members of the community are open to collaboration, whether it’s on PEPs, patches, problems, or otherwise. We’re receptive to constructive comment and criticism, as the experiences and skill sets of other members contribute to the whole of our efforts. We’re accepting of all who wish to take part in our activities, fostering an environment where anyone can participate and everyone can make a difference.[^14]

The following behaviors are expected and requested of all community members:

  • Exercise consideration and respect in your speech and actions.
  • Attempt collaboration before conflict.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants.
  • Alert community leaders if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem inconsequential.[^15] In addition to having a code of conduct as an anti-harassment policy, we have a small set of social rules we follow.[^16]

Mozilla’s CPG has some good examples

The following behaviors are expected of all Mozillians:

  • Be Respectful
  • Be Direct but Professional
  • Be Inclusive
  • Understand Different perspectives
  • Appreciate and Accomodate our Similarities
  • Lead by Example


Terms that are clearly support healthy interactions.

  • Kind
  • Welcoming
  • Collaborative


  • Terms that reinforce unequal power dynamics.
    • Offensive
    • Rude
    • Polite
    • Nice
    • Civil
    • Victim
    • Criminal

Red flags

  • No section for Encouraged, or positive behavior.

Statements that appear dismissive to people who have experienced harassment and abuse:

  • “We’re all adults here” — age of participants doesn’t determine whether something causes harm
  • “Be excellent to each other” — this is a cultural reference that not all people will know, and it’s loosely defined
  • “Be nice” — also vague, and puts a higher value on overt politeness over whether harm is caused
  • “Don’t be a dick” or “don’t be an ass” — slang that’s open to interpretation

Statements about intention

  • ‘Assume good or best intentions’, is not an effective way to resolve code of conduct issues. Whether someone intends to cause harm is separate from the impact.

Previous section:
Next section: