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Code of Conduct Training

Dealing with Code of Conduct Violations

Many online communities and events have adopted a Code of Conduct, but those communities often don’t have direct experience dealing with Code of Conduct violations. A poorly written or badly enforced Code of Conduct gives your community a false sense of security.

You wouldn’t write a legal agreement without an experienced lawyer, so why would you copy-paste a Code of Conduct without seeking expert advice on how you would enforce it?

You shouldn’t deploy an untested code base without having a plan for dealing with zero-day bugs, so why would you add a Code of Conduct without developing a plan to address safety issues in your community?

Programmers understand that having “zero bugs” means something is wrong with your bug reporting system or test suite. Having no reports of Code of Conduct incidents may mean your Code of Conduct or reporting instructions could be improved.

Code of Conduct Incident Response Workshop

Otter Tech can provide you with the hands-on training your community managers, developer relations, and event planners need to create a safe and inclusive environment. For customers seeking advice on conference or event Code of Conduct enforcement, we offer a 4-5 hour in person training workshop that will cover:

  • Prepping for incidents before events or conferences
  • Hands-on practice taking in-person incident reports
  • Creating a weapons policy for events in states that have concealed carry laws
  • Dealing with banned attendees
  • How to create a safe reporting space
  • Following up with reporters
  • Creating safe conference events
  • Handling conflicts of interest between staff members and incident reporters
  • Dealing with incidents involving speakers or vendors
  • Dealing with known harassers in your community

For customers seeking help with online Code of Conduct enforcement, Otter Tech can provide in-person workshops that cover:

  • Advertising your Code of Conduct
  • Responding to reporters and asking follow-up questions
  • Deciding the appropriate response to violations
  • Following up with people who have been reported
  • Deciding when (and when not) to publicly advertise your response
  • Dealing with harassment on multiple platforms
  • Encouraging community members towards inclusive language
  • How to deal with borderline incidents
  • Tools for community members to spot flamewars
  • Handling conflicts of interest between community members and incident reporters

The in-person training includes time spent drafting an incident response document for all community and event staff.

What Clients Say

The in-person Code of Conduct workshops are a great way for communities to have an experienced facilitator guide them through complex enforcement issues.

“The training was really great, both for the info you brought and for the way you facilitated the conversations that came up.”

– John Sullivan, Executive Director, Free Software Foundation


“We all appreciated your expertise, and to me, it felt like you were able to be very welcoming and open in spite of the potential challenges of the ideas we explored.”

– Georgia Young, organizer for Libre Planet conference

The in-person workshop offers community moderators and conference volunteers a chance to work through several examples of Code of Conduct incidents. Participants use role-play to go through the scenarios as a reporter of a Code of Conduct violation, a responder to a CoC violation report, and a responder following up with the reported person. The role-play allows participants to practice calm and firm responses to incidents, and allows insight into the diverse lived experiences of people in tech.

“The role playing really nudged people to share, and investigate their similar experiences, questions and reactions.”

– Emma Irwin, Community Development, Mozilla

Ready to Learn More?

Otter Tech is happy to provide a 30 minute informational session to discuss your Code of Conduct training needs. Drop us an email at or schedule your session today!

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