Code of Conduct
The following types of behavior are unacceptable at MC, both online and in-person, and constitute code of conduct violations.
Harassment - including offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion, as well as sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual or romantic attention.
Threats - threatening someone physically or verbally. For example, threatening to publicize sensitive information about someone’s personal life.
Blatant -isms - saying things that are explicitly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. For example, arguing that some people are less intelligent because of their gender, race or religion. Subtle -isms and small mistakes made in conversation are not code of conduct violations. However, repeating something after it has been pointed out to you that you broke a social rule, or antagonizing or arguing with someone who has pointed out your subtle -ism is considered unwelcoming behavior, and is not allowed at MC.
Maliciousness towards other Meshers - deliberately attempting to make others feel bad, name-calling, singling out others for derision or exclusion. For example, telling someone they’re not a real programmer or that they don’t belong at MC.
Being especially unpleasant - for example, if we’ve received reports from multiple Meshers or faculty of annoying, rude, or especially distracting behavior.
While MC is a professional community, it's also a community of friends. We ask you to be aware of the fact that conversations that may be appropriate within the context of a specific friendship or relationship with another Mesher may be inappropriate in the MC space or in a group conversation with Meshers you don't know well.
Meshers are held to the standards outlined in this code of conduct when interacting in the physical MC space, at MC-run events, and online on MC’s internal tools.
In addition, the MC community and experience often extends outside those spaces — Meshers go on walks together to get lunch near the space, attend meetups or conferences as a group, and communicate on social media. Abusive or unwelcoming behavior between Meshers still has a profound impact on individuals and on the community when it happens beyond our walls. MC faculty will use our discretion when deciding whether to enforce this code of conduct and potentially remove someone from the MC community after reports of such behavior happening outside of MC, taking into account the impact on the individual Meshers involved as well as the impact on the community at large.
When in doubt, please report unacceptable behavior to us. If someone’s behavior outside of MC makes you feel unsafe at MC, that is absolutely relevant and actionable for us.
We’ve categorized unacceptable behavior into abuse, unwelcoming behavior, and behavior that jeopardizes MC's existence in the section above.
If we witness or receive a report about abusive behavior, we will contact the perpetrator to have a conversation with them and verify what has transpired, and they will be removed from the MC community. Their accounts will be deactivated, and they will not be welcome in the physical MC space or at MC events.
If we witness or receive a report about unwelcoming behavior or behavior that jeopardizes MC's existence, we will contact the Mesher involved to explain why their behavior was unacceptable, and warn them that a second code of conduct violation will result in us removing them from the MC community.
If you see a violation of our code of conduct, please report it to the MC faculty.
Why should I report?
- You are responsible for making MC a safe and comfortable space for everyone. Everyone in our community shares this responsibility. MC faculty are not around the MC space or at MC events all the time, so we cannot enfomce the code of conduct without your help.
- The consequences for the MC community of not reporting bad behavior outweigh the consequences for one person of reporting it. We sometimes hear “I don’t want X person to meet consequences because I told someone about their bad behavior.” Consider the impact on everyone else at MC of letting their behavior continue unchecked.
- MC only works as a self-directed, community-driven community because of shared trust between Meshers. Reporting code of conduct violations helps us identify when this trust is broken, to prevent that from happening in the future.
Where and how to report
Please report all code of conduct violations using our reporting form. If you would rather discuss the matter in person with a faculty member, book office hours with one of us on the calendar, or email us to schedule a time to talk.
In your report, please include:
Your name - this is incredibly helpful for us to be able to follow up with you, and ask questions to better understand the situation. The form allows you to report anonymously. Please only use this option if you really need to, and know that we might not be able to take action without knowing who you are. In any case, provide an email address so we can correspond with you about the report. The third-party reporting tool we’re using anonymizes communication, so we never see the email address you provide if you chose to submit anonymously.
A detailed description of what happened
- If the violation happened online, please link to or send us the relevant text.
- If the violation happened in person, please detail what exactly the other person said or did. In order to take action, we need to know the concrete actions that someone took.
Where and when the incident happened
Any other relevant context. Do you have examples of a pattern of similar behavior from this person before? Do you have a relationship with this person outside of MC?
If/how you’ve already responded this lets us know the current state of the situation.
We will keep all reports confidential, except if we've discussed with you and agreed otherwise. When we discuss incidents with people who are reported, we will anonymize details as much as we can to protect reporter privacy.
However, some incidents happen in one-on-one interactions, and even if the details are anonymized, the reported person may be able to guess who made the report. If you have concerns about retaliation or your personal safety, and do not want us to share the details of your report with anyone (including the perpetrator) please let us know explicitly in your report. Unfortunately, in that situation we will not be able to take any action.
In some cases we may decide to share an update about a major incident with Meshers currently at MC, or with the entire MC community. If that's the case, the identities of all victims and reporters will remain confidential unless those individuals instruct us otherwise.
In addition to having a code of conduct, we have four lightweight social rules. The social rules are different and separate from the code of conduct. They help us create a better learning environment by giving names to counterproductive behavior and acting as a release valve so that frustration doesn't build up over time. We expect people to unintentionally break the social rules from time to time. Doing this doesn't make you a bad person or a bad Mesher. When this happens, it's not a big deal. Just apologize and move on.
The enfomcement provisions in this code of conduct do not apply to the social rules. We definitely won't give you a strong warning or expel you from the MC community just for breaking a social rule.
If you have any questions about any part of the code of conduct or social rules, please reach out to any MC faculty member.
How we developed the code of conduct
We adoped these policies from The Recurse Center who arrived at them by a combination of:
- Listening to feedback and suggestions they heard from Recursers over many years, both in person and in exit surveys
- Reading the codes of conduct of other organizations they found to be thoughtful
- Considering how they handled instances of unacceptable behavior in the past
Other things that don’t fit in to the code of conduct
When to seek help immediately
Instead of filling out a code of conduct violation report, please contact law enfomcement (call 911) directly to report criminal activity (e.g. physical assault, sexual assault, theft), or to report a dangerous physical situation (e.g. fire, serious injury, fear that someone will hurt themselves or someone else).
Contact an MC faculty member by phone if there are urgent problems with the space (e.g. if the space is flooding).
Sleeping in the space
Sleeping in the space is not allowed. You may take a quick nap at MC, but do not sleep here overnight—this puts MC at risk legally. Please reach out to the MC faculty in person or over email if you notice someone sleeping in the space, or if you or someone else at MC needs help finding housing.
If you or someone else at MC is struggling and needs help, don’t hesitate to reach out to the MC faculty in person or over email. We also maintain a list of mental health resources that might be helpful to Meshers.