Code of Conduct

We are creating a code of conduct. The simplest iteration is:

  • Everyone feels safe
  • Everyone feels heard
  • Everyone has an opportunity to contribute
  • When people make proposals (change of time, topic of discussion for a call), unless there is a significant objection, all proposals are accepted.
  • If there is a violation, anyone can enlist the help of anyone else in the group to address the issue.

A more complex iteration would be:

  • All participants experience “psychological safety” – “Psychological Safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.” - Amy Edmondson, 2014
  • Each person will have their contributions heard and their emotional truth acknowledged (but nobody is required to agree with anyone else)
  • Decisions made today are: time of the calls, topics of the calls. Decisions are made by consensus/ do-ocracy.
  • If anyone feels unsafe or unheard, they are to communicate with another member of the group for help dealing with the issue.
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Have you considered simply adopting the Contributor Covenant? I’ve found it to be a really sensible CoC, and it has been widely adopted among tons and tons of open-source communities. When I adopted it for the #platformcoop mailing list, I was surprised how much easier it made my job as moderator.

As a fun tidbit, the Contributor Covenant just adopted a file in its GitHub repo, using a template from my project. Hopefully this is the start of lots of open source projects having a by default!

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I was unaware of that. It might be more than we need right now which is why Thomas and I came up with these simple rules. Happy to defer to the group if they think Contributor Covenant makes sense.

Regarding governance, dGov itself is experiencing a problem with the governance structure. Dictatorship may not be as good as the contributor covenant makes it sound.

Dear DGOV Community,

thank you for stepping up to define a Code of Conduct (COC). It is important and from my view very welcome, when members of the DGOV Community engage with a definition of a written value system in the form of a COC. The COC serves that everyone can feels safe and has an point of reference for what is welcomed bahavior to resolve arising conflicts. It also serves as a reference for the culture we want to live and can help us to embody those principles as role models. Creating a safe space is one of the very important intentions we had when we birthed the DGOV Community by invited you to DGOV events or by welcoming you into this online space (Forum, Chat, Website).

We (those who wrote it down past than Max, Tim, Anja) haven’t done a good job, to remind the communit,y that we have written down principles. Even though it’s not called a COC in our defined principle served that function in the past, which has served us multiple times in our history of DGOV to ensure that we were able to create safe container for this community. This Code of Conduct goes back to the early days of DGOV and is called “Principles”. We are welcoming active-engagement to improve on them. At the same time I like to share how this served us. I want to remind everyone also that we have co-created shared agreements at our dgov events in verbal form, which was witnessed by many and represents the spirit of the principles but was richer and used a different language which was more accessible. If you haven’t participated, it’s a create opportunity to engage with another member of the community and ask them what they remember about it.

When and how did our principles serve us?
We had multiple times that we where approached members of the community which felt threaten by the participation of a registered participant for a DGOV event. Which lead to us (DGOV Core Team, in this case also the event organizer) to listen closely to the concerns brought forward by our community. We also engaged with the person in question to speak with them. In all those cases we were able to resolve the issue in favor of a safe-container.
Therefore I trust in our ability to build and hold this community in a place of trust and care.

Our Principles we defined back then.

  • Deep and Active Listening,
  • Non-violent communication,
  • Horizontal Organizing and Participatory Leadership,
  • Be excellent to each other,
  • Omni-considerative / omni-win decision making,
  • Maximum integratabtle cognitive diversity
  • The principle Life - Change and Adaption
  • The principles of wholeness - interconnectedness.
  • Collaboration “Act local - think global"

If anybody does not feel safe, or needs support, please feel free to reach out! If you have the feeling that you’re conflicted because you feel not safe by actions taken by one of the core members, please engage another one to transparently resolve the issue.

We believe in shared steward ship, which means we welcome everyone who helps us to live a culture in which we honor our principles and the maintenance of a safe container of trust and care. At the same time I personally feel urged to remind everyone that this community was created to invite you all in. With this I hope we can all respect the origin of this community and the intentions put into it. A CODE OF CONDUCT is similar to a constitution. If you feel that your values deviate from our principles consider starting your own “Chapter”. I personally believe that a diverse community with different “branches” which collaborate, are strongly benefiting from having more inspirational leaders which want to take it into a different direction of exploration. This is how we create resilient and strong communities and reduce influence of single individuals.


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One addition I like to make as this was posted in “Weekly dgov calls” which are defacto currently only organised by Grace (Thank you for that engagement!).

If you choose to set your own rules in a container you create within the community, this is from my opinion very welcome as long as it’s not violating the principles of the community but expands upon them. Everyone who is creating a container is encouraged (especially when acting as a facilitator in this container) to communicate agreements and to hold that space in their way.

This post and also the post before reflect my perspective. I’m not speaking for the other members of the core team to allow everyone of this team to engage as they see fit to share their perspective (@MaxSemenchuk, Phoebe, Ela and @AnjaBlaj).

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