Whether you’re an open source project looking to create an inclusive community or a company looking to increase internal diversity, Otter Tech is here to help. We offer:

  • Allies Skills workshops
  • Code of conduct development advice
  • Incident response training

Incident Response Training

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? You wouldn’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.

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 or remote training 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

I will also help you draft an incident response document for all community and event staff. Customers will receive a copy of the training material under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.

Why Focus on Diversity and Inclusion?

Study after study has shown the benefits of having a diverse work force. Creating an inclusive and safe work environment increases worker productivity, while studies have shown toxic team members have a larger negative impact on company profits than the positive impacts of hiring “rock star” developers.

Paid Consulting

While Otter Tech is very enthusiastic about helping communities improve diversity and inclusion practices, this work is often emotionally draining and impacts our ability to take on additional consulting work. Therefore, we hope you’ll understand that Otter Tech does not offer unpaid consulting services. If you’re from a small community or company without funding for diversity consulting, please consider looking at the geek feminism wiki code of conduct evaluations page and Safety First PDX’s code of conduct website, and watching Audrey Eschright’s “effective incident response” talk.


Please contact Otter Tech at sharp@otter.technology for more information!