H&D Code of Conduct
This code was initiated in 2020, in the depths of a pandemic, and is irregularly updated. Last updated: June 2023.
Contributors: Anja Groten, Margarita Osipian, Loes Bogers, Juliette Lizotte, André Fincato, Karl Moubarak, Sylvie van Wijk
About the H&D community
Since 2013 Hackers & Designers (H&D) has grown from an informal meetup series at the intersection of art, technology and design into a large community of international designers, artists, coders, students and practitioners. H&D activities, shared moments of hands-on learning, cater towards active participation, mutual exchange and (un)learning. H&D likes to approach the organization of such activities as 'horizontally' as possible. That is, the way our events are organized is up for discussion, and we try to incorporate as many voices in the process of organizing as possible. We aim for a holistic and intersectional way of thinking about and with sustainability (socially, ecologically, economically, culturally).
About this document
With this code of conduct, we go through the exercise of affirming and articulating the values and behaviours we aim to foster and facilitate amongst ourselves and in the spaces and community we create.
This document is written for the organization of H&D itself, to remind ourselves of our position as hosts who invite people, visitors, collaborators, and participants that join our digital and/or physical spaces. This document functions as a point of reference for accepted and unaccepted behaviour in the spaces where we encounter each other. We hope this document can serve as a guideline for collaboration. If you have suggestions, please let us know. (find contact details at the bottom of the document)
We believe a Code of Conduct can never be finished. Therefore, we approach ours as a living document, written as a collaborative effort, informed by experiences, and in conversation with the references listed below, and updated as we go. Every time we rewrite it and read it out loud, for example at the start of a summer camp, we activate what it stands for and open the floor to additions.
Why a Code of Conduct for H&D?
We are committed to providing an environment of mutual respect that aims to always become safer and is welcoming to all participants. We therefore work on this document to make explicit what it takes for us as a community to create such a safer environment.
We believe there is an importance in defining a common frame of reference, protocol, to lay this down as well as answer the question: what do we do when, in spite of this, things go wrong?
H&D stimulates collaboration across disciplines, technological literacy, different levels of expertise, international borders, ages, languages. To bridge these differences, learn and unlearn from one another does not always go without misunderstanding, feeling excluded, unsafe.
- Attentiveness to language - we use English as the main language of communication. We are mindful of the fact that this, for many of us, is not our native language. We use simple language and avoiding jargon to keep things accessible for everyone. If we use jargon, we explain what we mean by it.
- Dedication and commitment - people put a lot of energy and thought into organizing. Therefore: if you say you would like to come, please show up and be present. If you can't come after all, try to write to us or the workshop leaders in advance.
- Listening to others - we are great at what we do, but there's always an opportunity to learn something new from someone else.
- Shared response-abilty - we expect and encourage everyone (both participants and initiators of workshops) to take and share the responsibility for enacting and sustaining a safer and inspirational space, to be open to different perspectives and encourage one another to make our voices heard. We understand that no space is ever a safe space for everyone; claiming a space to be safe, and actively creating a space that is welcoming and engaging, are two different things. We try to aim for the latter.
- Individual response-ability - we don't assume. Ask questions, speak out about your needs (nobody can read minds), and accept that your needs might not always be met. If you feel you cannot express yourself in a group, please know you can always reach out to an H&D member.
- Willingness to (un)learn - If someone calls us out on something: listen, pause, apologize and thank them for pointing them out. We take responsibility to educate ourselves first if we weren't aware and are hearing something new (borrowed from Recurse and Feminist Club Amsterdam)
- Embrace experimentation - we like to nourish a space for experimentation and collaboration, so we manage our expectations accordingly!
- Adoption of an open source, libre, collaborative spirit - this includes giving credit to original authors and sources. Maybe you could consider putting the work you do in the context of a Summer Camp or workshop explicitly in the open domain, so others can build on it? Other licensing options are discussed below.
- A refusal of meritocratic attitude
- Respect different rhythms of learning and experience. If things go too fast for someone, they should always be able to address it and feel encouraged to ask for help. We consider helping others learn (when they are asking for it) a core activity in sustaining an inclusive community
- Value different practices - we celebrate different skills sets and disciplinary and educational backgrounds. Learn from each other and embrace the fact that you might learn something else than you expected.
- We don't shame people who do not solely use open source and libre tools. However, we strongly encourage you to consider using open source over – often more convenient – corporate and proprietary tools. Free, libre and open source software allows us to look inside, learn from, contribute to and critique. The open character of the tools we use is crucial to a self-determined learning experience.
- Ask permission - we sometimes record our (online) sessions for people to learn from at a later stage. We announce this beforehand and give others the opportunity to turn off their camera if they prefer. We sometimes document on-site workshops for publications or sharing online. Before starting to take pictures, we ask others what they feel comfortable with. Would you prefer your face to be blurred out, or would you prefer not being in the pictures at all? Are you hosting a workshop? Please also announce recordings and screengrabs and give people a chance to opt-out.
- Introductions and pronouns - when introducing yourself, please also indicate your preferred pronouns. It's a good idea to add your preferred pronouns after your screenname on Jitsi and other platforms (e.g. "Margarita she/her") for easy reference.
- General video conferencing etiquette - having our camera on is not a must. But if possible, it is definitely nice for facilitators to see we all do, so they don't feel like they're speaking into a void. Keep our mic's muted unless we want to say something to the group. Using the chat is a good option to ask questions and make comments without interrupting the flow of the session. (see also https://etherpad.hackersanddesigners.nl/p/hdsa2020-tool-ecology for more recommendations)
The following types of behaviour are unacceptable at H&D, both online and in-person, and constitute code of conduct violation:
- Hatred or violence - here is no space for racism, sexism, queer/transphobia, ageism, ableism or classism here.
- Trolling / bullying / making fun of
- Exclusionary social behaviours - in the form of well-actually's, feigned surprise, backseat driving and subtle-isms. We borrow these social rules from Recurse and find they are very helpful in communities that engage in technical practices and learning. Feigned surprise, for example: Dan: "What’s the command line?" Carol: "Wait, you’ve never used the command line?". For more examples, see also: https://www.recurse.com/social-rules#no-subtle-ism.
Reporting & Intervening
While we strive for open communication, addressing problems when they arise, we also realise the limitations thereof as the sole means for conflict resolution. We don't always feel safe enough, in possession of the means to do so, and so on. It's for this reason that we want to list what the alternatives are.
Situation that require immediate aid
In case of harassment, abusive behavior, or if there's something else making you feel uncomfortable/unsafe/excluded, you can contact the people from H&D that might be present with you in the space or contact those specifically tasked with ensuring the code of conduct is respected:
We are not trained in conflict resolution but are happy to help and mediate where we can. Don't keep what's bothering you to yourself, we are often better in company.
If we receive a report about abusive behaviour we will will contact those person(s) involved to have a conversation with them. We will revoke access to workshops, activities and physical or digital collaboration spaces if an individual's unacceptable behavior persists.
What you share is confidential. If we really feel like it would be important to share what you discussed with the H&D team or someone else, we explicitly ask for your consent.
Why reach out?
It's important for us to know how to improve and learn from experiences as well as make.
Sharing the responsibility of making the spaces and moments we co-create safe(r) and welcoming.
Situations that require immediate aid beyond our capacity: emergency hazards
The emergency number in the Netherlands is 112
Call 112 in case of fire hazards, floods, immediate medical assitance, acute physical danger, etc.
Together we will embark on the adventure of learning, making and living together at the Summer Camp. With this format we aim for a holistic and intersectional way of thinking about and practicing sustainability (socially, ecologically, economically, culturally) and reknit arbitrary boundaries between work, play, leisure, maintenance and care. For this occassion, we updated the code of conduct and added a section specifically for the camp, taking into consideration the elements of co-living and the climatic conditions.
Be respectful of our surroundings (human & non-human)
Assume responsibility for co-creating the camp
- Divide mental charge - be active in signing up for communal tasks. If you are unable to make it to your shift for one reason or another, please try to swap your shift or let one of the H&D members know.
- Show up for each other - everyone made an effort to create a workshop
- Minimize loud noises at night - sound travels far in the country side, disturbing both human and non-human neighbours.
- Don't leave traces - here, we are talking about unwanted, unneccessary marks that prevent others from inhabiting our spaces freely (littering, leaving dishes, etc).
How do we compose ourselves in the midst of climate change? What does this very concretely mean for our presence here, at Het Wilde Weg, for the upcoming week and a half?
Mimizime the chances for wildfires
This summer has already started off with high temperatures and a longstanding drought. There are concerns about wildfires in the Netherlands
- Carefully dispose of smoking materials - douse cigeratte butts with water, store them in fire proof containers, under no circumstances dispose of them on the ground.
- Avoid the use of heating and spark-producing equipment near dried-up vegetation - this includes parking cars away from dry vegetation
- Be careful with bonfires - only in wind-still conditions. Use stone fire-ridges and place a bucket of water and shovel close. Stay attentive and present while the fire is on. Leave when the fire is off and and completelt cold.
- Avoid storing flamable materials and items close to tents and huts
Use water considerately
Last summer, a water shortage was announced in the Netherlands and a crisis management team to divide the water. This is likely to happen again this year.
- Find inventive ways for mimising and re-using water - don't toss cooking water, fill a bucket for dishes rather than letting the tab running, use toilets only for toilet business ad perceive rain as a moment to collect water.
- The following statement about safe[r] spaces is part of a 'Manifesto on moderation' written by Amal Alhaag and Margarita Osipian: "Understand that no space is ever a safe space for everyone; claiming a space to be safe, and actively creating a space that is welcoming and engaging are two different things. Try to aim for the latter."