Updating the DrupalCon Code of Conduct

DrupalCon has long had a Code of Conduct that we all agree to as part of participating in the event. It was originally derived from the Drupal Code of Conduct and added sections specific to in-person events.

We are constantly striving to improve all that we offer to make DrupalCon a great event for all Drupal professionals and it is now time to make a change to our DrupalCon Code of Conduct.

Making a positive change

When I first started at the Drupal Association at the beginning of the year, I was very pleased to discover that the Association staff had already made significant progress on an updated version of the DrupalCon Code of Conduct that included clearer description of what is expected of participants at DrupalCon, where various responsibilities were held for enforcement and what consequences should be expected for falling foul of the code. As the new Community Liaison, though, it was important that I took this work to the Drupal and wider web professional community and gained further insight into producing something that worked for us all.

Consulting the community

Having spent time on the Community Working Group, I was aware that consulting the community at large is hugely important but can be a huge undertaking that can potentially become never ending. Indeed, when the original Drupal Code of Conduct was in development, the process took many months to reach a result. Whilst we wanted to involve people, we also wanted to deliver something better than the current Code in time for DrupalCon Nashville 2018.

So, my methodology was to choose eight people from different parts of our community to comment on the draft Code of Conduct, plus ask them to nominate two extra people who I should also ask to make comment. I requested that they nominate someone who they felt would have a similar outlook to themselves and someone they thought might have a different outlook. This meant we had a focused team of people from the community that could work on this over a very short period, but one that I knew wouldn’t be overly influenced by my personal choices. I was also careful to choose people from several continents.

The vast majority of suggestions and comments they proposed were accepted, either directly or with some adjustment by either Association staff or our lawyers. At the end of the day, the code has to be legal, enforceable and protect both conference participants and the project’s legal entities.

The New Code

The draft has now been reviewed by Drupal Association staff, Drupal Community members and the Drupal Association Lawyers. It is ready to go and will now be applied to DrupalCon Nashville 2018.

I do want to talk about a few of the improvements we have made, though.

Clarity

One of the challenges of the old Code was that, whilst being very positive, it failed to make it clear to all DrupalCon participants exactly what was expected of them. We have taken the time to write about what behaviors are and are not acceptable in the context of DrupalCon. You will also see that we clearly state that the expectations of leaders at DrupalCon are expected to uphold even higher standards.

Our actions have consequences

We have also added sections that detail exactly what is expected of people and how failing those requirements will be dealt with.

One of the significant changes here is we separated the responsibilities for dealing with unacceptable behavior from that of supporting participants in resolving conflicts. Who to contact in the case of each is more clearly displayed, along with exactly who will be initially handling reported incidents.

Best practices

We didn’t just make all this up. We spoke with many organisations and used well-known best practice where it was available. We have detailed where much of the best practice was found at the end of the Code of Conduct.

We are also sharing the new DrupalCon Code of Conduct under a Creative Commons license, as before. If you are organising a Drupal event, you are very welcome to make use of this and add in your own contact information.

Release early, release often

Finally, I want to talk about the future. As mentioned earlier, whilst we consulted members of the Drupal Community, we were not able to incorporate all their comments at this time. Some comments would simply not have met our objectives to protect the Community and the Project but others, whilst beneficial, require further development that would mean we would not be ready for Nashville. There are also other initiatives taking place within the overall Drupal Project, like the refreshing of the Drupal Project’s value statement and a Drupal Community Code of Conduct, that we would want to incorporate back into the DrupalCon Code of Conduct. I’m sure the aforementioned best practices will evolve over time, too, and I want a mechanism where we can take advantage of that.

Well, we already have an established (and, I feel, successful!) process in Drupal Core; which now makes releases on a regular schedule. I propose that we make an annual DrupalCon Code of Conduct release, at this time each year. I will be setting up a project to manage this. So, if you believe there are ways we can still improve our Code of Conduct, there will be a mechanism to achieve it.

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