Code of Conduct

As adopted 29.10.2020.

In this document we summarise our shared understanding of what constitutes good collaborative behaviour, and how such behaviour should be actively promoted in the GAMBIT Community. The aim of this code is to foster a healthy collaboration environment for all members of our community. Regardless of personal characteristics, seniority, role or contributions within GAMBIT, all members of our community are expected to read this code, and follow it both in spirit and letter. Below we also outline what steps the Community will take in situations of breaches to our code of conduct.

The GAMBIT Community is by intent a rather informal collaboration. As such, we critically depend on each individual member taking responsibility for our community continuing to function well, both scientifically and socially. Specifically, each community member has the responsibility to personally adhere to the code of conduct, to encourage and help other members to do the same, and to speak up when they observe something that is inconsistent with the code of conduct.

We expect all members of our community to show a fundamentally collaborative attitude. Some key aspects of this are:

  • Be supportive: Encourage and engage with the work of colleagues in the community, and be generous in offering help.
  • Be inclusive: Welcome and encourage contributions from everyone in the community, and make a particular effort to be inclusive with regards to involvement in and authorship of projects. Be mindful of unhealthy social dynamics, and of biases at the individual level and group level that hinder inclusiveness. The latter may include e.g. bias due to race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or religious beliefs.
  • Be considerate: Do not hold colleagues to unrealistic expectations, and show respect for their time and availability. Keep in mind that biases and discrimination, both conscious and subconscious, can negatively impact a colleague's work capacity. Pay attention to the well-being of your colleagues.
  • Be pragmatic and willing to compromise.
  • Display a healthy tolerance to criticism and to the opinions and values of others. Give others a fair chance to voice their opinion.
  • In disagreements, assume in the first instance that others mean well.
  • Be polite and respectful: Keep in mind that behaviours acceptable to one person may not be so to another. In all forms of communication -- including code comments and the git log -- avoid language and jokes that can make others feel uncomfortable. If in doubt, play it safe.
  • Be receptive: Help foster an open atmosphere where it is OK to point out if something is not OK. Be mindful that actions and words can make others uncomfortable even when that is not even remotely the intent. Respond sensitively and with empathy to such reports, and do everything you reasonably can to avoid making others uncomfortable.
  • Recognise that each person will have their own interpretations of, thoughts and opinions on specific interactions between Community members, and that these will likely be influenced by their past experiences. Recognise these as valid, even if they conflict with your own or those of other members, and try to be accommodating of them.

In the GAMBIT Community we do not tolerate harassment, intimidation, bullying, discrimination, or any other form of mistreatment. As community members, each of us has a responsibility to take action if we observe conduct unacceptable by our code of conduct. Such actions may include:

  • having a gentle conversation with the offending member(s) explaining what about their behaviour is undesirable, and why;
  • reminding the offending member(s) of our shared code of conduct;
  • reaching out to the victim(s) to offer support;
  • reporting the misconduct to one or several of the GAMBIT Community Ombudspersons;
  • lodging a formal complaint at the institution of the person accused of the misconduct;
  • reporting the misconduct to other bodies, such as research councils, event organisers or the police.

In most cases, the preferred first course of action should be the gentle conversation. However, this necessarily depends on the nature of the observed misconduct, and must be judged on a case by case basis. In the case of a formal complaint to the institution of the accused, or to other relevant bodies, all GAMBIT Community members should cooperate fully with the investigation as required. We do not tolerate any retaliation against community members who report or participate in an investigation of a possible violation of our code of conduct, policies, or the law.

When an incident is reported to one or several Ombudspersons, the victim(s) and the Ombudspersons together decide what action to take next. The Ombudspersons also act as advisers to the Community on any further courses of action. If the victim(s) so prefer, the Ombudspersons should anonymise the victim(s) when discussing the issue with the Community. However, we recognise that in a small community like ours, complete anonymity will not be possible in all cases.

In the most serious case the Ombudspersons will gather evidence, speaking to both the victim(s) and the alleged offender(s), and will then present the evidence to the GAMBIT Community as a whole, making the case for a warning or expulsion of the member under Section 1.3 of our Collaboration Policies. Expulsion should normally only be resorted to in the most extreme cases. In cases where the offence does not merit immediate expulsion, the Ombudspersons can recommend other actions such as removal of the offender(s) from formal roles in the Community (Working Group leader, etc.). The Ombudspersons may also act as mediators or messengers relaying to relevant parties, explaining to the person responsible what behaviours are making one or more Community members uncomfortable and how to avoid these.

Finally, it is important to note that Community members are of course free to reach out to anyone else in the Community for help and support -- they do not have to go to one of the Ombudspersons.

Disclaimer: This document borrows from the code of conduct of the LZ experiment, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the KDE Community.