PSA: Linking to a Code of Conduct Template is Not the Same as Having a Code of Conduct
Did you know we have a site that lists all upcoming conferences related to front-end web design and development? We do! If you’re looking to go to one, check it out. If you’re running one, feel free to submit yours.
Now that we’re running this, I’ve got loads of Pull Requests for conferences all around the world. I didn’t realize that many (most?) conferences use the template at confcodeofconduct.com. In fact, many of them just link to it and call it a day.
That’s why I’m very happy to see there is a new, bold warning about doing just that.
This code of conduct page is a template and should not be considered as enforceable. If an event has linked to this page, please ask them to publish their own code of conduct including details on how to report issues and where to find support.
It’s great that this site exists to give people some starter language for thinking about the idea of a code of conduct, but I can attest to the fact that many conferences used it as a way to appear to have a code of conduct before this warning while make zero effort to craft their own.
The primary concern about linking directly to someone else’s code of conduct or copy and pasting it to a new page verbatim is that there is nothing about what to do in case of problems. So, should a conduct incident occur, there is no documented information for what people should do in that event. Without actionable follow-through, a code of conduct is close to meaningless. It’s soul-less placating.
This is just one example:
It’s not to single someone out. It’s just one example of at least a dozen.
I heard from quite a few people about this, and I agree that it’s potentially a serious issue. I’ve tried to be clear about it: I won’t merge a Pull Request if the conference is missing a code of conduct or it simply links to confcodeofconduct.com (or uses a direct copy of it with no actionable details).
I know the repo is looking for help translating the new warning into different languages. If you can help with that, I’m sure they’d love a PR to the appropriate index HTML file.