Like the technical community as a whole, the Root Access team and community is made up of a mixture of professionals and hobbyists, working on every aspect of the mission – including mentorship, teaching, connecting people, and building cool stuff.

Diversity is one of our huge strengths, but it can also lead to communication issues and unhappiness. To that end, we have a few ground rules that we ask people to adhere to. This code applies equally to founders, leadership, and those seeking help and guidance.

This isn't an exhaustive list of things that you can't do. Rather, take it in the spirit in which it's intended – a guide to make it easier to enrich all of us and the technical communities in which we participate.

This code of conduct applies to all spaces managed by Root Access. This includes the hackerspace itself, outreach events, Slack, social media, and any other forums created by the space which the community uses for communication. In addition, violations of this code outside these spaces may affect a person's ability to participate within them.

Expectations

Be friendly and patient.

Be welcoming. We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to members of any race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, color, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.

Be considerate. Try to be aware of peoples' personal and auditory space. Avoid interjecting your opinion into a conversation from across the room ("conversation lobbing")

Be respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It's important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. Members of the Root Access community should be respectful when dealing with other members as well as with people outside the Root Access community.

Be careful in the words that you choose. We are a community of professionals, and we conduct ourselves professionally. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other participants. Harassment and other exclusionary behavior aren't acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person.
  • Discriminatory jokes and language.
  • Posting sexually explicit or violent material.
  • Posting (or threatening to post) other people's personally identifying information ("doxing").
  • Personal insults, especially those using racist, sexist, or homophobic terms.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
  • Repeated harassment of others. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop.
  • Keep swearing and cursing to a minimum. Keep in mind, there may be minors and/or adults present in the space who may not appreciate that language.

During disagreements, try to be understanding. Disagreements, both social and technical, happen all the time and Root Access is no exception. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. Remember that we're different. The strength of Root Access comes from its varied community, people from a wide range of backgrounds. Different people have different perspectives on issues. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn't mean that they're wrong. Don't forget that it is human to err and blaming each other doesn't get us anywhere. Instead, focus on helping to resolve issues and learning from mistakes.

Anti-Harassment Policy

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, color, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of discussion, inappropriate contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, Root Access leadership may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or temporary or permanent expulsion from the physical space and/or online community.

Any member permanently expelled for Code of Conduct violations will immediately have their membership revoked and will not receive a refund for their remaining time.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact Root Access leadership as soon as possible. They will address the issue as soon as they are able.

Reporting Guidelines

If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct we ask that you report it to Root Access by emailing conduct@rootaccess.org. All reports will be kept confidential. In some cases we may determine that a public statement will need to be made. If that's the case, the identities of all victims and reporters will remain confidential unless those individuals instruct us otherwise.

If you believe anyone is in physical danger, please notify appropriate law enforcement first. If you are unsure what law enforcement agency is appropriate, please include this in your report and we will attempt to notify them.

If you are unsure whether the incident is a violation, or whether the space where it happened is covered by this Code of Conduct, we encourage you to still report it. We would much rather have a few extra reports where we decide to take no action, rather than miss a report of an actual violation. We do not look negatively on you if we find the incident is not a violation. And knowing about incidents that are not violations, or happen outside our spaces, can also help us to improve the Code of Conduct or the processes surrounding it.

In your report please include:

  • Your contact info (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up)
  • Names (real, nicknames, or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there were other witnesses besides you, please try to include them as well.
  • When and where the incident occurred. Please be as specific as possible.
  • Your account of what occurred. If there is a publicly available record (e.g. a mailing list archive or a public IRC logger) please include a link.
  • Any extra context you believe existed for the incident.
  • If you believe this incident is ongoing.
  • Any other information you believe we should have.

Root Access prioritizes marginalized people's safety over privileged people's comfort, and we reserve the right not to act on complaints regarding:

  • 'Reverse' -isms, including 'reverse racism,' and 'reverse sexism,'
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as "leave me alone," "go away," or "I'm not discussing this with you."
  • Communicating in a 'tone' you don't find congenial
  • Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions

What happens after you file a report?

You will receive an email from the Root Access Code of Conduct committee acknowledging receipt immediately. We promise to acknowledge receipt within 24 hours (and will aim for much quicker than that).

The committee will immediately meet to review the incident and determine:

  • What happened.
  • Whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation.
  • Who the bad actor was.
  • Whether this is an ongoing situation, or if there is a threat to anyone's physical safety.

If this is determined to be an ongoing incident or a threat to physical safety, the committees' immediate priority will be to protect everyone involved. This means we may delay an "official" response until we believe that the situation has ended and that everyone is physically safe.

Once the committee has a complete account of the events they will make a decision as to how to respond. Responses may include:

  • Nothing (if we determine that no violation occurred).
  • A private reprimand from the committee to the individual(s) involved.
  • A public reprimand.
  • An imposed vacation (i.e. asking someone to "take a week off" from the hackerspace or Slack).
  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all Root Access spaces (the hackerspace, Slack, etc.)
  • A request for a public or private apology.

We'll respond within one week to the person who filed the report with either a resolution or an explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved.

Once we've determined our final action, we'll contact the original reporter to let them know what action (if any) we'll be taking. We'll take into account feedback from the reporter on the appropriateness of our response, but we don't guarantee we'll act on it.

Finally, the committee will make a report on the situation to the Root Access board. The board may choose to a public report of the incident.

What if your report concerns a possible violation by a committee member?

If your report concerns a current member of the Code of Conduct committee, you may not feel comfortable sending your report to the committee, as all members will see the report.

In that case, you can make a report directly to any or all of the current (vice/co) chairs of the Code of Conduct committee. Their email addresses are listed on the Code of Conduct page. The chairs will follow the usual enforcement process with the other members, but will exclude the member(s) that the report concerns from any discussion or decision making.

If your report concerns all current (vice/co) chairs of the committee, please send your report directly to the Root Access board at board@rootaccess.org instead.

Reconsideration

Any of the parties directly involved or affected can request reconsideration of the committee’s decision. To make such a request, contact the Root Access Board at board@rootaccess.org with your request and motivation and the Root Access board will review the case.

Contact Information

Derek Payton, Executive Director
derek@rootaccess.org

Code of Conduct Committee
conduct@rootaccess.org

Board of Directors
board@rootaccess.org