PKP Community Code of Conduct


At the Public Knowledge Project (PKP), our work is guided by our commitment to quality, openness, participation, and inclusiveness. We respect people, value diversity, and actively seek to expand spaces for many voices and experiences, both locally and globally, in and through our work. These values help us to build positive and constructive working relationships in our community. As such, we have adopted this Code of Conduct and require all those who participate in our community to agree and adhere to it in order to ensure a safe and positive experience for all. 

This Code of Conduct aims to support a community where all people feel safe to participate, introduce new ideas, and inspire others, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, colour, 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.

When and how to use this Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct was developed by the PKP Equity and Inclusion team to provide guidance and expectations for behaviour for the entire PKP community and those who interact with us, including staff, group and committee members, development partners, software users, contributors, and others. This Code of Conduct applies in all spaces, whether in person or online, where the PKP community works, collaborates, and communicates. This includes the PKP Community Forum; PKP Slack channels; PKP meetings, workshops, sprints, conferences, social gatherings, and other events; PKP GitHub repositories; social media and other communication channels.

Expected behaviour

The following behaviors are expected and requested of everyone in the PKP community.

Be considerate

Your work can be used by other people, and you in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision you make will affect users and colleagues, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions. Strive to collaborate and listen closely to others’ perspectives and ideas before advancing your own. Express gratitude for others’ contributions and strive to make everyone feel valued, welcome, and heard. Assume good intentions from everyone in our community, and work to clarify misunderstandings as they arise. 

Be respectful

Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. When we disagree, try to understand why. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively, and do not allow frustration to turn into a personal attack. Remember that we’re different, and 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 resolving issues and learning from mistakes. 

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. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. PKP community participants should be respectful when dealing with other participants as well as with people outside the PKP community.

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 inclusive

Our community is global and is made stronger by a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, languages, and cultures. Be respectful of people with different cultural practices, attitudes and beliefs. Remember that you may not be communicating in someone else’s first language, and everyone comes with different areas of expertise and varying degrees of technical knowledge. Encourage all voices, listen actively, contribute patiently, and step back when needed to ensure other perspectives can be heard.

Use gender-neutral terms available in your language, such as using they / them to refer to a person whose gender pronouns you do not know.  For example, use “thanks, folks” or “thanks, everyone” instead of “thanks, guys” or “thanks, ladies” to refer to a group of people. If someone has identified a preferred gender pronoun (e.g., she or her), please use it.  

Ask for consent

When you’re not sure if someone is comfortable with a certain behaviour, please ask them. This includes: 

  • Ask before taking someone’s picture or posting it online
  • Ask before giving a team member who you consider a friend a hug or other physical greeting
  • Ask what gender pronoun someone prefers
  • Ask someone before you use a nickname for them

Behaviour that will not be tolerated

The following actions are considered a violation of PKP’s Code of Conduct. If you, as a PKP staff or community member, see or experience these behaviours, please report them following the instructions below. 


Violence and threats of violence will not be tolerated. This includes encouraging a person to self-harm, verbal abuse, or any aggressive behaviour that makes someone feel unsafe.

Hurtful or harmful language 

It is unacceptable to use derogatory words about a person’s attributes or lifestyle, including the following:

  • Ability
  • Age
  • Background
  • Gender and gender identity or expression
  • Geographic location
  • Marital status and/or Family status
  • National origin and/or Citizenship
  • Language and/or accent
  • Physical and mental health
  • Physical appearance
  • Race and/or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socioeconomic status 

If you are unsure if a word is derogatory, don’t use it. 

Personal attacks

Personal attacks or insults about a person’s opinions, beliefs, or culture are not acceptable.

Unwelcome sexual attention or physical contact

This includes the following: 

  • Sexualized comments, jokes, or imagery
  • Inappropriate touching, groping, or sexual advances
  • Touching a person without their permission, including in instances where the person is unable to give permission
  • Physically blocking or intimidating another person

Disruptive behaviour

Behaviour that disrupts an event, presentation, or discussion is not acceptable. This includes interrupting someone who is talking or presenting, talking over someone, heckling speakers, and excessive use of alcohol or drugs.

Continued unwelcome communication or interaction

This includes continuing to communicate with someone after they have asked you to stop, photographing or recording someone after they asked you not to, and stalking or following someone.  

Sharing private information about a person without their consent

If a person shares private information with you about their identity or background, you should not share it publicly. This includes publishing private communication. 

Addressing an incident

Who can report an incident?

Anyone who participates in any of the spaces mentioned in the section “When and How to Use this Code of Conduct” can report an incident. 

The incident can be one that affects you or another PKP community member. We are all responsible for making PKP’s virtual and real spaces friendly, welcoming, respectful, and inclusive. If you notice behavior that doesn’t adhere to this Code of Conduct, you can act. 

If the incident is minor and you think the person just needs to be made aware of our community guidelines, you can point out the issue and refer the person to the Code of Conduct. However, if it is a more serious incident, if the incident escalates, or if you do not feel comfortable addressing it yourself, you can follow the instructions in the next section on how to report an incident.

How to report an incident

If you experience something that violates this Code of Conduct, please make a report using our Incident Form. Reports will be received and managed by the Code of Conduct Committee. A person implicated in an incident report will not be involved in responding to the report.

We will protect the privacy and confidentiality of the person who makes the report. We will usually protect the privacy and confidentiality of those involved in the incident. However, we may publicly name a person about whom we have a complaint or privately warn third parties about them, if we believe that doing so will increase the safety of PKP community participants or the general public. You may report an incident anonymously if you do not feel comfortable disclosing your name. However, please note that this may limit the Committee’s ability to fully respond to the incident. If you do include your name and contact information, the Committee may follow up with you for further information or to communicate actions that have been taken as a result of your report.


Reports will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Appropriate measures will be taken to address the situation.

If we ask someone to stop any behavior that violates this Code, they are expected to stop immediately. Online content that has been identified as in violation of this Code may be deleted by moderators or flagged for deletion. 

Violation of these guidelines can result in you being asked to leave an event or online space, either temporarily or for the duration of the event, or being banned from participation in spaces, or future events and activities in perpetuity.

PKP 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.

Questions and feedback

If you have questions about anything in this Code of Conduct, including what certain words or concepts mean, please ask us.  We are happy to explain. We also welcome feedback on how to improve the Code of Conduct. Please contact us with any questions or feedback .

License and attribution

These guidelines have been adapted with modifications from Mozilla’s Community Participation Guidelines, the Creative Commons Code of Conduct, and the GitHub Citizen Code of Conduct, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license; and Geek Feminism and Double Union Code of Conduct, used under CC0.

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