Our community written code of conduct and anti-harassment policy

Equality and community equity are two core components of building a vibrant civic hacker / civic technology community.

Last year, we worked with the Code for America Brigade program to popularize “safe spaces.”

This year, as BetaNYC grows its membership platform, we wanted internal buy in and consensus. We wanted to further demonstrate our commitment to equality and grow community equity. On July 2nd, BetaNYC sought out global feedback and comments.

Today, we are happy to announce that on 15 July 2014, BetaNYC’s Board of Directors, Chris Whong, Ariel Kennan, and Noel Hidalgo, unanimously accepted BetaNYC’s Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy. These two documents grow from BetaNYC’s and Code for America’s collective desire to ensure that a government for the people exists by the people built with all the people.

With in BetaNYC, these two documents will be our community foundation and will be seen as living documents. On a yearly basis, BetaNYC’s membership committee will solicit public feedback and all good standing members of BetaNYC will have an opportunity to vote to adopt those changes.

The following document was last updated on 24 January 2018.

BetaNYC’s Code of Conduct

Our activities and events should foster meaningful collaboration between participants, community members, and government partners. We expect internal governance, participants, advocacy, activities, and events to be:

  1. Provide a safe, respectful, and welcoming environment where all are free to fully express their ideas and identities free from discrimination or harassment. All spaces, online or physical, shall be governed by BetaNYC’s anti-harassment policy.
  2. Default to open and work to be objective.
  3. Collaborate for the purpose of generating ideas that empower, innovate, and develop local capacity.
  4. Presume the value of others and cherish everyone’s ideas, skills, and contributions.
  5. Encourage participants to listen as much as they speak, ask respectful questions, and demystify context.
  6. Foster energy that builds “yes, and” ideas and permit the ability to stretch.
  7. Build ideas, tools, and platforms that are open and free for reuse. Activities should prioritize public use, not private gain.
  8. Work to prioritize access for and input from those who are traditionally excluded from the civic process, be inclusive of all Boroughs, and be considerate of our Hudson River neighbors.
  9. Actively involve stakeholders, community groups, and those with subject matter expertise in all decision-making processes.
  10. Ensure that relationships and conversations between, and among, stakeholders e.g. elected officials, their staff, and government representatives, community based organizations and their partners, and members of the BetaNYC community — remain respectful, participatory, and productive.

BetaNYC reserves the right to ask anyone in violation of these policies not to participate in BetaNYC’s events or network of activities.

BetaNYC’s Code of Conduct is an adaptation of Code for America’s Community Code of Conduct policy. BetaNYC agrees to review this policy annually and have it voted on by members in good standing.

BetaNYC’s Anti-Harassment Policy

This anti-harassment policy is based on Code for America’s Anti-Harassment policy and the example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers.

This policy is based on several other policies, including the Ohio LinuxFest anti-harassment policy, written by Esther Filderman and Beth Lynn Eicher, and the Con Anti-Harassment Project. Mary Gardiner, Valerie Aurora, Sarah Smith, and Donna Benjamin generalized the policies and added supporting material. Many members of LinuxChix, Geek Feminism and other groups contributed to this work.

All BetaNYC events, workplaces, staff, presenters, and participants are held to the following anti-harassment policy.

In addition to governing its own events by this policy, BetaNYC will only lend its brand and fund groups which offer a similar anti-harassment policy to their attendees. For information on how to offer an anti-harassment policy to your group, see Code for America’s guide.

BetaNYC is dedicated to providing a harassment free experience for everyone. We welcome everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, faith, national origin, source of income, and language preference. To build a democracy, we need everyone.

We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any BetaNYC event or network activity, including talks. Anyone in violation of these policies may be expelled from BetaNYC events or network activities; this will be at the discretion of BetaNYC leadership and/or event organizers.

Harassment includes but is not limited to offensive verbal or written comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, faith, national origin, source of income, and language preference; sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation; stalking; following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; unwelcome sexual attention; unwarranted exclusion; and patronizing language or action.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, BetaNYC leadership and/or event organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender and expulsion from BetaNYC events and network activities.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the event staff immediately. 

Additionally, you can contact our safespace team at < safespace@beta.nyc > or reach out to any of the leaders listed below.

BetaNYC leadership and/or event staff 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 event. 

If you cannot reach the event organizer and/or it is an emergency, please call 911 and/or remove yourself from the situation.

Lastly, you can also contact Code for America Communities about harassment safespace@codeforamerica.org. The Code for America Communities team acknowledges that they are not always in a position to evaluate a given situation due to the number of events and the fact that our team is not always present.  

We value your attendance and hope that by communicating these expectations out widely we can all enjoy an environment that is welcoming to all.  BetaNYC agrees to review this policy annually and have it voted on by members in good standing.

How to advertise this text

  • For all online discussion spaces, BetaNYC events, and co-sponsored invites, the following text should be used: “BetaNYC is committed to hosting safe and open spaces for all. By participating in this space you are committing yourself to BetaNYC’s Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy.” With a link to (bit.ly/betanyc-coc)
  • At all BetaNYC events, the following text should be posted: “By attending this event, you are committing yourself to our Code of Conduct & Anti-Harassment Policy.” (Link bit.ly/betanyc-coc)
  • For events co-sponsored by BetaNYC, we expect BetaNYC members to abide by our Code of Conduct and we will work with event planners to adopt a similarly framed Anti-Harassment Policy.


To ensure that people are comfortable reporting violations, independent ombudspeople are available to receive complaints. These are BetaNYC’s community leaders who monitor < safespace@beta.nyc >. If you feel more comfortable reaching out to them directly, please do so.

Lauren Rennée Leadership Committee Member at Large, BetaNYC Co-captain, Code for America Brigade Program lauren@beta.nyc