Code of Conduct
Approved 4/7/2023 by ARDC Board of Directors
- Our Standards
- About the Code
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Report Form
- Conduct Review Committee (CRC)
Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) is committed to fostering a friendly, safe, fair, welcoming, and inclusive environment and community. Furthermore, ARDC encourages contributions from anyone who wishes to advance the art of amateur radio and digital communication. This Code of Conduct aims to ensure that we maintain inclusive spaces where people can work together productively.
These concepts are intended to make more explicit certain social norms that are normally implicit. They are designed to curtail specific behavior we’ve found to be destructive to a supportive, productive, and fun learning environment.1
This code of conduct is not exhaustive or complete. It is an ongoing effort to summarize our shared understanding. We understand that keeping a living document relevant and patched involves sustained effort. Should you have suggestions, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examples of behavior that contribute to a positive environment for our community include:
- Demonstrating empathy and kindness toward other people
- Being respectful of differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences
- Giving and gracefully accepting constructive feedback
- Accepting responsibility and apologizing to those affected by mistakes, and learning from the experience
- Focusing on what is best not just for us as individuals, but for the overall community
Examples of unacceptable behavior include:
- The use of sexualized language or imagery, and sexual attention or advances of any kind
- Trolling, insulting or derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
- Public or private harassment
- Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or email address, without their explicit permission2
About the Code
What is a Code of Conduct?
A “code of conduct” is a statement that specifically addresses the expected standards of behavior for a community. It is not intended to stifle healthy disagreements, but rather to allow productive conversation to proceed in an inclusive manner. We also believe it is important to create an explicit social contract to define our shared values, and — perhaps more importantly — describe what happens when those values are breached.
At ARDC, we look to our values for guidance in how we conduct ourselves. These values are:
- openness & transparency,
- fairness, and
- generosity & gratitude.
We commit to acting in accordance with these values, and we ask that all those who engage with us do the same.
This Code of Conduct applies to interactions with and between ARDC staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors while conducting ARDC business, as well as participants in ARDC-hosted events and platforms, including community meetings, mailing lists, and technology development projects.
Participants are responsible for knowing and abiding by the Code of Conduct.
This Code of Conduct does NOT apply to events, projects or organizations that may have received grant funding from ARDC. Such events, projects, and organizations are independent from ARDC and subject to their own governance. For example, the M17 Project has received funding from ARDC, and they have their own Code of Conduct which applies to their events and activities: https://m17project.org/code-of-conduct.
This Code of Conduct has been created using the wisdom of many codes that have come before us, so some verbiage may seem familiar. ARDC would like to thank the following organizations for their leadership and allowing us to borrow language from their own codes of conduct.
- Contributor Covenant
- Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
- Geek Feminism
- Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington
- Ashe Dryeden
- Invest in Open
In turn, we also grant permission for other organizations to use and modify the ARDC Code of Conduct for their own purposes.
The following procedure is laid out for addressing formal reports from individuals who have concerns regarding potential violations of this Code of Conduct. Formal reports are beneficial for documenting patterns of abuse and ongoing discussions of ethics and compliance that help protect and empower our community, as well as our decision-making for incident resolution.
- Incident reporting. Report the incident to the Conduct Review Committee at email@example.com. Please share any helpful information you can about the exchange, such as when and where the incident occurred, specifics of the nature of the violation, any screenshots or documentation, and any previous attempts to resolve the situation. If you would prefer to remain anonymous, this web form is also available. Please note that we will not be able to follow-up with you afterwards when submitting anonymously. Both the web form and the firstname.lastname@example.org email go to the Conduct Review Committee Members. Please see the below section for more information about this committee, including current membership and the selection process.
- Incident review. The report and incident will be reviewed by the Conduct Review Committees, who will review any evidence related to the reported violation. If the documentation is unclear, they will meet with the parties involved (separately) and hear all sides.
- Incident resolution. Resolution will be dependent on the nature of the event. Whenever possible, this will include a plan to (a) keep behavior from happening again and (b) keep folks in the group. Parties involved will be notified of the result privately in writing, if contact information was provided. Possible resolutions may include:
- Removal of posts containing hateful, hurtful, or exclusionary comments
- Written warning
- Temporary time-out or mute on a shared platform. This means the user will still be able to access and read, but their posting privileges will be temporarily removed.
- Removal of current and/or future ARDC resources, such as IP assignments, mailing address membership, or eligibility for future grants. This action is taken very seriously and requires written approval from either the Executive Director or a member of ARDC’s Board of Directors who is not on the Conduct Review Committee.
Sometimes complaints are made that do not point to an actual violation of this Code of Conduct. If this is true, then no disciplinary action may be required; only communication and clarification. If, however, it is found that a complaint does not point to an actual violation of this Code AND seems to be made with malicious intent or to otherwise undermine this Code (particularly if done repetitively), then the above disciplinary resolutions may apply to the complainant.
Should any involved party strongly disagree with the prescribed resolution, they may email email@example.com, which forwards to both the Conduct Review Committee as well as ARDC’s Board of Directors.
- Decision Appeal. In the event that there is disagreement about the moderation decision, it will be reviewed by the Executive Director and ARDC’s Board of Directors for a final determination. In the event that the Executive Director, a member of the Conduct Review Committee, or a Board Member are the subject of a complaint, the incident will be reviewed only by ARDC’s Board of Directors, in discussion with the other Conduct Review Committee members.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How will this code actually stop people from engaging in inappropriate behavior?
Unfortunately, codes of conduct do not necessarily stop all poor behavior, in much the same way that establishing laws don’t necessarily stop people from breaking them. A code of conduct lays the ground rules and notifies both bad actors as well as the people at the receiving end of that behavior that there are consequences for those actions. A code of conduct helps by signaling that attendees can trust organizers or staff to respond appropriately should a report be made. While the ARDC Code of Conduct can’t stop all poor behavior, it provides a framework for ARDC platforms, meetings, etc. not to be used to enable such behavior.
What prompted the implementation of a code of conduct? Was there a serious incident?
ARDC decided to implement a code of conduct, not because of any incidents, but as a matter of good practice. We consulted many peer organizations and community members in order to develop this code so that should incidents occur we would be prepared to respond.
Isn’t this censorship?
Our Code of Conduct is designed to keep discussion as open as possible, while protecting the health of our community.
I’m worried because I was called out / I may have inadvertently done something in the past that would be considered a violation under this policy.3
That happens. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes (that we often regret), but the important part is to apologize, learn, and be better next time. The goal isn’t to burden everyone with a bunch of annoying rules, or to give us a stick to bludgeon people with for “being bad.” Rather, these rules are designed to help all of us build a pleasant, productive, and fearless community. Just genuinely apologize and recognize the mistake, reflect for a second, and move on.
To report an incident, please use the ARDC Code of Conduct Report Form.
To support anonymous reporting, name and contact information is optional. However, contact information may be helpful to confirm a report, and is required to receive a Report Response from the Conduct Review Committee after review and determination.
Should you need technical assistance, please contact Merideth Stroh, Operations Manager, with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 858-477-9900.
Conduct Review Committee (CRC)
The objective of the Conduct Review Committee (CRC) is to ensure that ARDC spaces, defined above, are welcoming and productive places to work and collaborate. They keep their eyes out for Code of Conduct violations, field and evaluate complaints as they relate to the ARDC Code of Conduct, and determine resolutions. They may also make recommendations to ARDC’s Board of Directors for potential updates and changes to this Code.
The 2023 inaugural committee will be composed of a Board Member and two members of ARDC staff:
- Keith Packard, Board Member
- Merideth Stroh, Operations Manager (HR Lead)
- Tim Pozar, IT Consultant
Beginning in 2024, the Conduct Review Committee will consist of a Board Member, ARDC’s HR Lead, and 1-3 volunteers from our community. An additional member of ARDC staff may be added if needed.
It is imperative that Conduct Review Committee members receive training about how to evaluate complaints and find resolution. The 2023 members have completed the Otter Tech Code of Conduct Enforcement Training, which is highly regarded throughout the open source community. https://otter.technology/code-of-conduct-training/
In addition to the Review Committee listed above, ARDC’s Executive Director, Rosy Schechter KJ7RYV, has also completed this training.
CRC members must be participants of the amateur radio, computer networking, and/or open source communities, and they must be familiar with – and supportive of! – ARDC’s mission and core activities. Ideally these members have familiarity with Codes of Conduct and their enforcment. An amateur radio call sign is ideal but not required.
With the exception of ARDC’s HR Lead, who is an ongoing member, Conduct Review Committee members are generally asked to serve until the end of the calendar year in which they started. At the end of the calendar year, the Board will evaluate existing committee members and determine whether to ask those existing members to continue for another calendar year, as well as add new members as necessary (as described in the Adding New Members section below).
3-year term limits followed by 1-year pause. 1-year terms may be renewed for a total of 3 terms. After that point, a Conduct Review Committee member must take one year off. They may be re-nominated for a CRC role at the end of that off year. At that point, they may serve up to three more terms before needing to take another break, and so on.
No presumptive renewal. Renewal of terms should not be presumed. Information regarding votes to renew terms and potential conditions for removal may be found in the Renewing Terms and Departure and Removal sections below.
Following discussions about how to handle a complaint, Committee members will take a vote to determine resolution.
In the event of a tie vote, it is the duty of the Executive Director to serve as a tiebreaker. In the event that the Executive Director is serving on the committee, not available, or the subject the complaint being voted upon, then an ARDC Board Member will cast the tie-breaking vote.
Adding New Members
- Nominations. Anyone may nominate a qualified candidate for a seat on the Committee, including self-nomination. It is recommended that nominations – along with any supporting materials such as resume, website, or CV – be sent to email@example.com to ensure inclusion in the nomination process. Typically the call for nominations happens in the fourth quarter of a calendar year, for selection in time for the first quarter of the following year.
- Nominee research and confirmation of qualifications. Following nomination, an ARDC staff member, director, officer, and/or CRC member (or a combination therein) will research the qualifications and availability of the nominee. This may be done through a combination of:
- reviewing materials, such as a nominee’s CV, resume, and/or website;
- email correspondence with the nominee; and/or
- interview(s) with the nominee.The results of this investigation will be provided to the ARDC Board for review.
- Board Review. Following the nominee investigations, the ARDC Board will review the pool of investigated nominees and make a determination of CRC members they would like to add. If this happens at the end of the calendar year, this review will concur with a review of existing CRC members to determine composition for the following year.
- CRC New Member Review. Once the Board has made its determination, it will bring those determinations to the CRC for review, creating an opportunity for CRC members to provide insight regarding the determination. Following this review, the Board may decide to keep or remove nominees in the pool.
- Board Vote. Following the CRC review, the Board votes to add new members to the CRC.
Departure and Removal
Voluntary Departure. CRC members may voluntarily resign at any time, even if is before the end of a term. Notice of departure must be submitted in writing to the ARDC Board member serving on the Committee, and/or ARDC’s Executive Director.
Removal. In some cases, it may be required to remove a CRC member before the end of their term. Reasons for removal include but are not limited to:
- Habitual missing of meetings or non-participation;
- Harassment or other unwanted behavior as outlined in the Code of Conduct that persists despite intervention; and/or
- The result of an investigation indicating conflict of interest or other improper conduct.
In the event of any of the above, the ARDC Board may remove an CRC member of their post. The CRC member will be informed of the decision in writing.
Filing a complaint about a CRC Member. Anyone may file a complaint about a CRC member by following the decision appeal steps noted earlier.
Revising this Policy
Revisions to the policy must be approved by the ARDC Board of Directors. If you have a suggestion for a revision, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- From TOR: https://community.torproject.org/training/code-of-conduct/
- From Contributor Covenant 2.1, with minor adjustment: https://www.contributor-covenant.org/version/2/1/code_of_conduct/
- From Ashe Dryden: https://www.ashedryden.com/blog/codes-of-conduct-101-faq#cocfaqjerks