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Community Participation Guidelines

The ESIP Community Participation Guidelines can be found below. If you believe you’re experiencing unacceptable behavior that will not be tolerated as outlined below, please use this reporting form or call 1-866-921-6714. Please also report if you observe a potentially dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of these guidelines, even if the situation is not happening to you.

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ESIP Community Participation Guidelines

ESIP’s Community Participation Guidelines (similar to a Code of Conduct) are meant to provide guidance for expected behaviors and behaviors that will not be tolerated, as well as what to do when unacceptable behaviors occur.

For ease of navigation, we provide links to specific sections, but encourage you to read the entire document:

Purpose of These Guidelines

The heart of ESIP is people. We put people first and do our best to recognize, appreciate, and respect the diversity of our global contributors. ESIP welcomes contributions from everyone who shares our goals and wants to contribute in a healthy and constructive manner within our community. As such, we have adopted these Community Participation Guidelines as our code of conduct and require all those who participate to agree and adhere to these guidelines, in order to help us create a safe and positive community experience for all. The ESIP Community Participation Guidelines describe expected behaviors and responsibilities for an individual, group, or organization when involved with ESIP activities.

These guidelines aim to support a community where all people feel safe to participate, introduce new ideas, and inspire others, regardless of:

  • Background
  • Family status
  • Gender
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Marital status
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Native language
  • Age
  • Ability
  • Race and/or ethnicity
  • Caste
  • National origin
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Religion
  • Geographic location
  • Educational background, discipline, or specialization
  • Any other dimension of diversity

Openness, collaboration, and participation are core aspects of our work. Diversity enriches our community, and we actively seek participation from those who increase it. These guidelines exist to further empower diverse individuals and groups to interact and collaborate for mutual benefit.

Section 1 — When to Use These Guidelines

These guidelines outline our behavior expectations as members of the ESIP community in all ESIP activities, both offline and online. Your continued participation is contingent upon following these guidelines in all ESIP activities. These activities include but are not limited to:

  • Working in ESIP spaces.
  • Working with ESIP community participants and ESIP staff members virtually or co-located.
  • Participating in ESIP Meetings.
  • Representing ESIP at public events.
  • Representing ESIP in social media (official accounts, staff accounts, Facebook pages).
  • Participating in ESIP-related forums, mailing lists, wikis, websites, Slack channels, GitHub issues, group or person-to-person meetings, and ESIP-related correspondence.

While these guidelines are specifically aimed at ESIP’s work and community, we recognize that actions taken outside of ESIP’s online or in-person spaces could impact community health. For example, actions taken outside of ESIP’s spaces by an ESIP community member against another ESIP community member may warrant corrective measures as detailed later in this document (Section 4).

Section 2 — Expected Behavior

Recognizing the great opportunities to acquire and exchange knowledge across communities through involvement with ESIP, we each share the responsibility to serve as models for meeting behavioral expectations. The following behaviors are expected of all ESIP community participants:

Be Respectful

Value each other’s ideas, styles, and viewpoints. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. Be open to different possibilities and to being wrong. Be respectful in all interactions and communications, especially when debating the merits of different options. Be aware of your impact and how intense interactions may be affecting people. Be direct, constructive, and positive. Take responsibility for your impact and your mistakes – if someone says they have been harmed through your words or actions, listen carefully, apologize sincerely, and correct the behavior going forward.

Be Direct but Professional

We are likely to have some discussions about criticisms that are respectful and those that are not. We must be able to speak directly when we disagree and when we think we need to improve. We cannot withhold hard truths. Doing so respectfully is hard, doing so when others don’t seem to be listening is harder, and hearing such comments when one is the recipient can be even harder still. We need to be honest and direct, as well as respectful.

Be Inclusive

Seek diverse perspectives. Diverse views and people on teams power innovation, even if diversity is not always comfortable. Encourage all voices. Help new perspectives be heard and listen actively. Be aware of how much time is taken up by dominant members of the group. Provide alternative ways to contribute or participate when possible.

Be inclusive of everyone in an interaction, respecting and facilitating people’s participation whether they are:

  • Remote (on video or phone)
  • Not native language speakers
  • Coming from a different culture
  • Using pronouns other than “he” or “she”
  • Living in a different time zone
  • Facing other challenges to participate

Think about how you might facilitate alternative ways to contribute or participate. If you find yourself dominating a discussion, step back. Make way for other voices and listen actively to them.

Understand Different Perspectives

Our goal should not be to “win” every disagreement or argument. A more productive goal is to be open to ideas that make our own ideas better. Strive to be an example for inclusive thinking. “Winning” is when different perspectives make our work richer and stronger.

Appreciate and Accommodate Our Similarities and Differences

ESIP community participants come from many cultures and backgrounds. Cultural differences can encompass everything from official religious observances to personal habits to clothing. Be respectful of people with different cultural practices, attitudes, and beliefs. Work to eliminate your own biases, prejudices, and discriminatory practices. Think of others’ needs from their points of view. Use preferred titles (including pronouns) and the appropriate tone of voice. Respect people’s right to privacy and confidentiality. It is unrealistic to expect ESIP community participants to know the cultural practices of every ethnic and cultural group. Be open to learning from and educating others as well as educating yourself.

Lead by Example

By matching your actions with your words, you become a person others want to follow. Your actions influence others to behave and respond in ways that are valuable and appropriate for our organizational outcomes. Design your community and your work for inclusion. Hold yourself and others accountable for inclusive behaviors. Make decisions based on the highest good for ESIP’s Mission.

Section 3 — Behaviors That Will Not Be Tolerated

The following behaviors are considered to be unacceptable under these guidelines.

Violence and Threats of Violence

Violence and threats of violence are not acceptable – online or offline. These include incitement of violence toward any individual, including encouraging a person to commit self-harm. These also include posting or threatening to post other people’s personally identifiable information (“doxxing”) online.

Personal Attacks

Conflicts will inevitably arise, but frustration should never turn into a personal attack. It is not okay to insult, demean, or belittle others. Attacking someone for their opinions, beliefs, and ideas is not acceptable. It is important to speak directly when we disagree and when we think, as a community, we need to improve, but such discussions must be conducted respectfully and professionally, remaining focused on the issue at hand.

Derogatory Language

Hurtful or harmful language related to:

  • Background
  • Family status
  • Gender
  • Gender identity or expression
  • Marital status
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Native language
  • Age
  • Ability
  • Race and/or ethnicity
  • Caste
  • National origin
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Religion
  • Geographic location
  • Education background
  • Other attributes

is not acceptable. This includes deliberately referring to someone by a gender that they do not identify with, and/or questioning the legitimacy of an individual’s gender identity. If you’re unsure if a word is derogatory, don’t use it. This also includes subtle and/or indirect discrimination; when asked to stop, stop the behavior in question.

Unwelcome Sexual Attention or Physical Contact

Unwelcome sexual attention or unwelcome physical contact is not acceptable. This includes sexualized comments, jokes, or imagery in interactions, communications or presentation materials, as well as inappropriate touching, groping, or sexual advances. This includes touching a person without permission, including sensitive areas such as their hair, pregnant stomach, mobility device (wheelchair, scooter, etc.) or tattoos. This also includes physically blocking or intimidating another person. Physical contact or simulated physical contact (such as emojis like “kiss”) without affirmative (explicit) consent is not acceptable. This includes sharing or distribution of sexualized images or text.

Unwelcome sexual attention or unwelcome physical contact is not acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Sexualized comments, jokes, or imagery in interactions, communications, or presentation materials.
  • Inappropriate touching, groping, or sexual advances, including touching a person without permission and touching sensitive areas such as their hair, pregnant stomach, mobility device (wheelchair, scooter, etc.) or tattoos.
  • Physically blocking or intimidating another person.
  • Physical contact or simulated physical contact (such as emojis like “kiss”) without affirmative (explicit) consent.
  • Sharing or distribution of sexualized images or text.

Disruptive Behavior

Sustained disruption of events, forums, or meetings, including talks and presentations, will not be tolerated. This includes:

  • ‘Talking over’ or ‘heckling’ speakers.
  • Drinking alcohol to excess or using recreational drugs to excess, or pushing others to do so.
  • Making derogatory comments about those who abstain from alcohol or other substances, talking about their abstinence or preferences to others, or pressuring them to drink – physically or through jeering.
  • Otherwise influencing crowd actions that cause hostility in the session.


Intentional efforts to exclude people from ESIP activities (except as a consequence of these guidelines or other official action) are not acceptable and will be dealt with appropriately.

Influencing Unacceptable Behaviors

We will treat influencing or leading unacceptable behaviors the same way we treat the unacceptable behaviors themselves. Thus, the same consequences (Section 4) apply.

Section 4 — Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

Bad behavior from any ESIP community participant, including those with decision-making authority, will not be tolerated.

Reports of harassment/discrimination will be promptly and thoroughly investigated by the people responsible for the safety of the space, event, or activity. Appropriate measures will be taken to address the situation.

Anyone being asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. Violation of these guidelines can result in (1) being asked to leave an event or online space, either temporarily or for the duration of the event; (2) being banned from participation in spaces or in future events and activities in perpetuity; or (3) other actions as determined necessary by the ESIP leader(s) involved in the review. Refunds for any participation fees may or may not be made, at the discretion of the ESIP leader(s) involved. In extreme cases, the Partner organization of the individual(s) may be removed from ESIP, as described in Policy and Procedure 1.2, section 4.6.

ESIP Staff are held accountable to these guidelines. ESIP staff in violation of these guidelines may be subject to further consequences, such as disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. For contractors or vendors, violation of these guidelines may affect continuation or renewal of contract.

In addition, any participants who abuse the reporting process will be considered to be in violation of these guidelines and subject to the same consequences. False reporting, especially to retaliate or exclude, will not be accepted or tolerated.

Section 5 — Reporting

We encourage you to report incidents where someone has engaged in behavior that is potentially illegal or makes you or someone else feel unsafe, unwelcome, or uncomfortable as explained in these guidelines. Note that intentional false reports will be considered a violation of these guidelines, but ESIP will not retaliate against community participants who report in good faith.

If you experience or witness unacceptable behavior, you may ask the person to stop their unacceptable behavior. You should also contact relevant authorities (for example, event security, emergency medical services) as you feel necessary. However, you are not obligated to take these actions prior to making a report to ESIP.

ESIP has engaged a third-party reporting service, IntegrityCounts. This is a private, confidential, and optionally anonymous reporting system, meant to encourage reporting without fear of retaliation and afford transparency in the process by providing an independent record. Note that it is possible to make an anonymous report and to exclude certain individuals from the process.

If you believe you have experienced or are experiencing unacceptable behavior as outlined in Section 3, please use one of the following methods of reporting to ESIP via IntegrityCounts:


Toll Free Number: 1-866-921-6714


Additional details on the reporting process can be found in the ESIP GitHub / Governance policies and procedures.

If you feel you have been unfairly accused of violating these guidelines, please follow the same reporting process. Acts of retaliation should also be reported via the same process as described above.

Section 6 — Ask Questions

Everyone is encouraged to ask questions about these guidelines. If you are organizing an event or activity, reach out for tips on building inclusion for your event, activity or space. Your input is welcome and you will always get a response if you reach out to

Section 7 — Contacts at ESIP Spaces and Events

ESIP events will have emergency contacts designated for each event. These contacts will be posted prominently throughout the event, and in print and online materials.

Participants should be asked to review and agree to these guidelines when they sign up for an event. Conveners of ESIP events are requested to speak about these guidelines at the start of an event, so that participants are reminded of their responsibility to abide by the guidelines.

Each physical or virtual ESIP space shall have a designated contact. If not otherwise stated, the session lead and any ESIP staff present shall be considered the designated contact. More information on the role of designated contacts can be found here.

Section 8 — Modifications to These Guidelines

ESIP may amend these guidelines from time to time and may also vary the procedures it sets out where appropriate in a particular case. Material modifications to these guidelines will be announced via the ESIP Monday Update, on the ESIP website, and through other appropriate channels. Continued participation in ESIP events and spaces, after an announcement of material changes, would indicate your agreement to these changes.

Section 9 — License and Attribution

This document and all associated processes are only possible with the hard work of many, many ESIP Community Participants.

This set of guidelines is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

These guidelines have been modified from Mozilla’s Community Participation Guidelines.

NB: For the official version of this Policy, please see here. This Policy was revised and approved by the Board of Directors of ESIP on July 20, 2020. This Policy was revised on this site on September 15, 2020.