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RIPE Meeting Code of Conduct 3.0 - Draft

A RIPE NCC Impact Analysis for the RIPE Meeting Code of Conduct 3.0 is now available.

(Note: This updated version is the result of the feedback and comments received on draft 2.0

October 2019 
Authors: Diversity Task Force


For over a quarter of a century, the RIPE community's strength has come from its breadth of experience, diversity of views, and open, respectful exchange of ideas – values that we want all RIPE community members to uphold. Therefore, everybody who participates in our community is required to conform to the RIPE Code of Conduct (CoC). The scope of this CoC applies to anyone engaging with the RIPE community either in-person or online, including, but not limited to RIPE Meeting attendees, speakers, sponsors, RIPE Working Group Co-Chairs, the RIPE Programme Committee, moderators, RIPE NCC staff, and volunteers.

If you believe someone may be violating the Code of Conduct, please report it. The RIPE Code of Conduct Team (CoC Team) will handle reports, can support you after you’ve submitted a report, and will decide on a response after investigation.

Why We Need a Code of Conduct

Our goals with having this Code of Conduct are:

  1. To help everyone feel safe and included. Many participants are new to our community. Some participants may have had poor experiences in other communities. We want to set the expectation that harassment and other unpleasant behaviours are not acceptable. If people do have an unpleasant experience, they will know that it’s neither the norm nor acceptable to us as a community.
  2. To build trust. We understand that reporting an incident places the reporter in a vulnerable position. The Code of Conduct Team will listen without judgement or blame, and always with the utmost confidentiality. Even, for example, if the incident concerns someone in a position of power.
  3. To ensure everyone is aware of expected behaviour. We are a diverse community and having a Code of Conduct makes the expectations of everybody’s behaviour explicit and transparent.
  4. To have a framework for report handling. The Code of Conduct is the basis for dealing with a report, assessing whether the CoC was violated, and what action should be taken.

The Code of Conduct is not an exhaustive list of things that you must do or cannot do. Rather, take it in the spirit in which it is intended. It is a guide to make it easier to enrich the experiences for all of us and the communities in which we participate and which we represent.

In the context of behaviour in RIPE community spaces, we must recognise that many different cultures are represented in the RIPE community and each culture has its own ‘norm’ in terms of communication styles, however, that is no excuse for discriminatory or harassing behaviour. As we all need to operate in an international environment, we need to keep respect and tolerance at the forefront of our behaviour.

The Code of Conduct Team will take cultural communication into consideration when investigating reports.

The Principles

We don’t want to explain what it means to be a decent, considerate person. We all have bad days. We all have bad moods. Don’t take it out on those around you.

We do, however, want to be absolutely explicit about what we will not tolerate:

Any behaviour or actions or presentation content displaying discrimination based on gender expression, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, immigration status, social and economic class, education level or technical expertise, experience in the community, sexual orientation, age, size, family status, religion and mental and physical ability. 

Any behaviour or actions which are aggressive and intimidating (e.g. repeatedly interrupting someone’s presentation, insulting someone, calling names, making threats, posting sexually explicit or violent material, inappropriate physical contact or unwanted sexual attention, deliberately outing private details about someone without their consent, pushing someone to drink or take drugs, etc.)  

Some events may provide alcoholic drinks. Participants are expected to drink responsibly. Alcohol use or other intoxication is never accepted as an excuse for CoC violations.


This Code of Conduct applies to all spaces online and onsite at the RIPE Meeting. This includes:

  • RIPE Meetings (including social events and peripheral activities like BoFs, tutorials)
  • Presentation materials used in talks or sessions
  • RIPE mailing lists and the RIPE Forum
  • Online chat software channels used for the RIPE Meeting sessions (IRC, Slack, Zoom, Skype, etc) 
  • RIPE Networking App
  • Social media about the RIPE Meeting, both public and direct messages between meeting participants 

The Code of Conduct does not exclusively apply to events on an official agenda. For example, if after a scheduled social event you go to a bar with a group of fellow participants, and someone harasses you there, that can still be a CoC violation. Similarly, harassment in Twitter direct messages related to the RIPE community can still be covered under this Code of Conduct. In addition, violations of this code outside our spaces may affect a person’s ability to participate in them.

Sponsors, affiliates, and exhibitors

When you sponsor a RIPE Meeting, we welcome you as a member of our community, and we expect you to be respectful to the community you operate within.

All exhibitors in the meeting venue or similar activities are also subject to the Code of Conduct. In particular, exhibitors should not use sexualised images, activities, or other material. Booth staff (including volunteers) must not use sexualised clothing/uniforms/costumes or otherwise create a sexualised environment.


Reporting Violations 

Please do not feel like you may be a burden by reporting incidents. Even if you happen to report multiple incidents. By knowing about an incident, we can act on it and often prevent it from continuing or repeating. If we do not know, we cannot take action.

If you are not sure whether the situation was a Code of Conduct violation, or whether the CoC applied to that particular space, we encourage you to still report it. We would much rather have additional reports where we decide to take no action, rather than miss a report of an actual violation. We do not look negatively on you if we find the incident is not a violation. Knowing about incidents that are not violations, or that happen outside our spaces, can also help us to improve the Code of Conduct or the processes surrounding it.

You can contact a member of the RIPE CoC Team in person or by email. This email address is only accessible by the team and all reports will be handled with strict confidentiality. 

Email the RIPE CoC Team [link to email account].

The RIPE CoC Team is comprised of a minimum of four and maximum of six volunteers from the RIPE community. You can find more information about the team, its selection, how it investigates reports, and the appeal procedure at the end of this document. 

In your report please include, when possible:

  • Your contact info (so we can get in touch with you)
  • Names or descriptions of anyone who was involved or who witnessed the incident
  • When and where the incident occurred (please be as specific as possible)
  • Your account of what occurred. If there is a written record (e.g. tweets or chat messages) please include screenshots, or otherwise a link
  • Any extra context you believe existed for the incident
  • If you believe this incident is ongoing
  • Any other information you believe we should have

If you do not have all of this information at the time or do not want to share some of the information, please still make the report and include as much information as you have.

All reports will be kept confidential. In some cases, a public statement might be required (e.g., in a CoC transparency report following a RIPE Meeting), but these reports are anonymised and will never include any personally identifying information. Do note that if the incident was a one-on-one interaction, any action by the CoC Team could lead the other person to conclude that you reported it, as nobody else could have.

If you feel unsafe reporting in person, you may choose someone to represent you. In this case, we will need their contact information, but we ask you to make clear that this person represents you.

If you believe anyone is in immediate and serious physical danger, please consider notifying appropriate law enforcement first when possible. If you are unsure which law enforcement agency is appropriate, please include this in your report and we will attempt to notify them.

Other assistance

RIPE NCC staff at the Registration Desk and on the Meet & Greet Team will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the RIPE Meeting. However, we will not contact security or law enforcement without your consent unless the safety risk is so significant that there is no other reasonable option.

What can happen if the CoC is violated?

In the case of a Code of Conduct violation, some of the most common actions that the CoC Team may take include:

  • Requiring that a participant stop their behaviour
  • Giving a warning
  • A private or public reprimand
  • Requiring that a public apology is made
  • Requiring that a participant prevents further contact with certain other participants
  • Requiring an amendment to a presentation (e.g. in case of content that violates the CoC)
  • Removing a presentation from the website (e.g. in case of content that violates the CoC and there is a refusal to remove the offending material)
  • Cancelling a presentation
  • Removing a participant from the RIPE Meeting, meetup or online space, without refund
  • Not allowing someone to participate further in RIPE Meetings and/or other RIPE community spaces, for a set period or an indefinite period
  • No action (if the team determines no violation occurred)

The action taken is at the discretion of the CoC Team except in cases where a decision is taken to remove a person and prevent future participation from the RIPE Meeting. In this case, the RIPE CoC Team will consult with the RIPE Chair and the RIPE NCC. 

Participants are expected to comply immediately, and further action may be taken in case a participant does not comply. 

A record will be kept of all incidents.

In cases where a report involves a RIPE Working Group Mailing List, the RIPE CoC Team will consult with the respective RIPE Working Group Chairs to gather context or any other relevant information that may help with its investigation.

Reports about a Code of Conduct Team Member

If your report concerns a member of the CoC Team, you can report the issue to any other team member or any other organiser. <INSERT FURTHER CONTACT DETAILS>

CoC Team Composition

The RIPE CoC Team is comprised of a minimum of four and maximum of six volunteers from the RIPE community. 

A term on the team lasts for two years (four RIPE Meetings), although team members are free to step down before the term is up if they need to. Interested people may submit their interest and motivation to the RIPE Chair when a call for volunteers opens. 

We will have at least three team members on-site at a meeting. Two months prior to each meeting, the RIPE Chair will contact all CoC Team members to confirm who will be on-site for the upcoming meeting. 

Before acting on behalf of the CoC Team, each member must receive training from a third-party on how to handle reports. The training will be arranged by the RIPE NCC. The RIPE Chair will inform the RIPE NCC of confirmed team members so that third-party training can be arranged.  

CoC Team Selection 

The RIPE Chair will open a call for volunteers when positions become available. The call for volunteers will be shared with the RIPE community via email to [email protected]. Interested parties should submit their motivation to join the team to the RIPE Chair by email.

The call for volunteers will open whenever the size of the team is less than six standing members. The call for volunteers will last for four weeks. At the end of this four-week period, the names + a brief bio of their motivation will be shared with the RIPE community via the ripe-list. 

After the four-week call for volunteers has closed,  the RIPE Chair will discuss the volunteers with the RIPE Diversity Task Force. 

In selecting RIPE CoC Team members, priority will be placed on creating a diverse team (gender, race, age, nationality, technical ability, etc). CoC Team members must also have attended at least three RIPE Meetings in the past. 

Once the RIPE Chair has selected the new team members, this will be shared to the RIPE community via [email protected].

The CoC Team will have a page on the RIPE NCC’s website as well as the relevant RIPE Meeting website. It will also have a private email account that is only accessible by the standing team members. 

CoC Team Selection - Objection to a Volunteer 

Once the RIPE Chair has shared the list of volunteers standing forward for consideration for the CoC Team, the community will have a four-week period to submit any concerns/objections about a particular volunteer directly to the RIPE Chair. An objection must specify the reasons why the nominee would not be a good candidate for the team.  


The CoC Team is expected to:

  • Uphold the RIPE Meeting CoC through their own behaviour 
  • Act with the utmost confidentiality when receiving reports of CoC violations
  • Intervene when they witness violations (e.g. asking someone to stop what they’re doing)
  • Respond to reports in a timely manner
  • Confirm receiving a report via email before the start of the next meeting day (including an explanation of next steps, timeline, etc)
  • Investigate a report as quickly as possible 
  • Take action to resolve the report if a violation is determined
  • Keep a confidential written record of each report 
  • Compile a public transparency report at the end of the meeting for the RIPE Chair to share with the community (with all identifying details removed)

Receiving Reports 

The team receives reports by email or in person. It could be that in some cases, a report comes in from someone who witnessed a violation.

When receiving a report, the response team acknowledges the receipt as soon as possible and aims to be understanding and compassionate. However, no commitment should be made on whether this is a violation or which action will be taken until the team has investigated the report.

The CoC Team will respect the reporter’s wishes on whether or not they want the CoC Team to take action on their behalf.

Acting as a Team

When a report is received, the team must consult each other (at least one other member) before replying or responding. 

Members may take action on their own in the very rare case when no other team member is available or the situation requires immediate unilateral action: 

  • If any delay of action will likely bring unacceptable further harm to others (e.g. ongoing aggression or serious harassment);
  • If someone is in immediate physical danger, it can be appropriate to contact local law enforcement.

In such cases of unilateral action, the rest of the team should be briefed as soon as possible. 

Reviewing Reports

Once a report is received, the team will meet to determine:

  • What happened
  • Whether the report constitutes a Code of Conduct violation
  • Who, if anyone, was the bad actor(s)
  • What the appropriate resolution is

A confidential written record will be kept of each incident and its review. 

As a result of the meeting, the CoC Team may come to a conclusion about a resolution or may conclude that additional information should be obtained. In the latter case, this additional information will be collected as soon as possible. Any conversations as part of this should generally be done by two people from the team.

Conflicts of Interest

As soon as reasonable, but at the latest at the report review meeting, team members should declare any conflicts of interest. This can mean being friends with one of the involved parties, or anything else that may make it harder to remain neutral.

A conflict of interest does not inherently mean the team member can no longer participate in the process, as that would make it very hard for the team to act on reports involving well-known people in the community. However, if a report concerns someone a team member is very close to, it is likely that they should not take part in the process. The team will decide together on where to draw this line in individual cases. Where possible, any conversations with offenders should not be done by people who know them, as it can be very unpleasant for everyone involved.

If a report is received concerning a member of a CoC Team, that member must not be involved in any way in the response process. The rest of the team will meet and decide on the report without the reported team member being present, and will not share more information than they would have with a non-member. If a member of the response team is found to have violated the CoC, they may no longer be able to keep serving on the response team.

Report Resolutions

Should the team deem that the report was not a CoC violation, they will issue a response outlining their conclusion and the rationale to the reporter. No further action will be taken. 

If the team determines that there was a violation, they will reply back to the reporter and discuss the next steps towards a resolution. 

Any conversations with violators are done by two people from the CoC Team, and notes from this conversation will be added to the record of the incident. 

When deciding on a resolution, the basic goal is to address the report in an appropriate way, while also looking to prevent or reduce the risk of continuing harm in the future. For example, the team may try to distinguish whether a violation occurred intentionally or not, especially in less severe cases (like inappropriate jokes). In intentional cases or severe behaviour, stronger measures are probably appropriate. The CoC Team can also use behaviour on social media, the session chat rooms or personal interactions to further build a picture of the person(s) involved.

To provide a number of examples, these are situations where immediate removal from a space is likely appropriate:

  • Repeated violations that resulted in one or more previous warnings
  • Continuing to harass after any “No” or “Stop” instruction
  • A pattern of harassing behaviour, with or without warnings
  • A single physical assault offence (e.g., punching or groping someone)
  • A single obviously intentional offense (e.g., taking up-skirt photos)
  • Intentionally deceiving someone into drinking alcohol or taking drugs

The CoC Team should not involve venue security or law enforcement unless they have consent from the affected person(s) or if the safety risk is so significant that there is no other reasonable option. Venue security can be involved to ensure a person can not re-enter the building. Details of the incident or the reporter must not be shared.

For online spaces, a response must be sent within one week to the person who filed the report with either a resolution or an explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved. For conferences and meetups, the ideal response time is typically a few hours at most, though the specific circumstances of a report may require faster action or more investigation.

Informing the reporter

After the resolution is complete, the reporter should be informed of the action taken by the CoC Team and the reasoning behind this.

Appealing a decision

In case either party disagrees with the decision of the CoC Team, there is a process for appeal. 

  • An appeal must be submitted within five working days to the RIPE Chair and the CoC Team explaining the rationale behind the appeal - any new information should be included
  • The CoC Team, together with the RIPE Chair, will review the report again with any new information (if applicable) 
  • Together, the CoC Team and the RIPE Chair will reach consensus on whether the original decision on the report stands or if there is a change. This appeal process will be completed as soon as possible.
  • The CoC Team and the RIPE Chair will communicate the outcome of the appeal to all parties involved (separately) via email.
  • Once the decision on the appeal has been made, no further appeal can be lodged

In more serious cases of CoC violations where an attendee is to be removed from the meeting, the RIPE Chair and the RIPE NCC will be involved. The RIPE NCC, as meeting organiser, has the right to appeal if it disagrees with the decision of the CoC Team and RIPE Chair to remove someone from the meeting. If this occurs, the CoC Team and the RIPE Chair will work with the RIPE NCC to reach a resolution agreeable to all parties. 

An appeal process could take anywhere from a day or two to several months. In serious cases where someone is asked to leave the meeting or law enforcement is involved, a thorough investigation is necessary. 

Public statements

As a general rule, meeting staff should not make any public statements about the behaviour of individual people during or after the meeting. An exception to this are situations that happened in a fairly public context, because attendees may otherwise think no action was taken, eroding trust in the Code of Conduct process. The response team will decide together whether to make a public statement and if so, in how much detail. This should not be decided unilaterally.

Any public statements should be handled with care not to divulge personally identifying information about anyone affected and should serve as a means to ensure that attendees will be comfortable reporting suspected CoC violations and that our community will be kept accountable for supporting and encouraging safe spaces. 


This Code of Conduct was originally based on the Write the Docs Code of Conduct, in turn, based on the DjangoCon Europe 2018 Code of Conduct and the Django Project Code of Conduct, the Speak Up! Project, the Fedora Project, as well as the Python Mentorship Project and many others.