Code Of Conduct Guidelines


The Ubuntu Code of Conduct sets the standard of behaviour expected of members of the Ubuntu community. However people joining/ entering the community face different forms of abuse.


This specification hopes to table inappropriate behaviour to be avoided when working alongside women and gender diverse peoples in Ubuntu/FOSS communities.

Working Plan

We hope to bridge this gap by providing an outline of what is commonly considered inappropriate behaviour. This document only describes approximately certain online social Etiquette's that should be considered when working alongside women and gender diverse volunteers in Ubuntu to enable smooth working relations.

The Dispute Resolution document is another document intended to provide a tangible solution to such issues.

Etiquette Guidelines

These are guidelines and much of it may not be relevant to one and all so feel free to discuss, edit and add as you see fit.

1. Learn to recognise and respect differences in others as much as in oneself. Women and gender diverse peoples from different parts of the world volunteer in FOSS for different reasons. They may have similar or contrasting views on any given subject or idea. Focus on respecting this difference of opinion even in disagreement.

2. Agree to disagree. Difference of opinion is common even among people who work together in real life. Agreeing to disagree is essential for a harmonious workplace. Many FOSS projects are carried out online by people who never meet, through mediums which tend to remove intonation and body language. This makes it even more important to promote harmony and understanding. Interacting with people who have different perspectives is never an excuse to flame, badger or insult your project team members. Agree to disagree politely, always.

3.Use Gender Neutral/inclusive Language. Always use gender neutral or inclusive language and do not gender others. Gendered references are in order only when you know that the person in question is comfortable in identifying as such. Most cultures are deficient in their progress on these aspects. Therefore, we recommend that you follow this summary and act accordingly.

4. Respect their privacy and don't ask personal questions. Respect their privacy and don't ask personal questions. It is natural to be curious about your project members. However, it is important to respect their boundaries. Many women and gender diverse persons choose to not discuss their personal life online or are uncomfortable sharing it with strangers or people they have never met before. Even though you consider yourself trust-worthy, they may be interested only in the technical aspects of volunteering and may not necessarily be interested in a social interaction outside of the volunteer field.

Avoid asking personal questions such as location, religion, caste, age, work, status, phone number, availability, etc... directly or indirectly. Even though you may consider it friendly to share your life history with others, this is not universal. If someone does not reciprocate, respect their privacy. If you do learn personal facts about another project member, keep those to yourself. Regardless of whether you think it's harmless to share this information with others, it is a breach of their trust and is unprofessional.

5. Keep it simple, polite and short unless you are discussing specifications. Different project members have different amounts of time available to spend on the project. Some will have health, family or carer issues that physically restrict the time they can donate. If a project member redirects you to a FAQ, relevant mailing list or IRC channel rather than answering your question directly, don't be offended. Accept the help gracefully, it's not a personal insult.

6. Respect their time as much as you do yours. Different project members have different amounts of time available to spend on the project. Remember that in most cases, project members are volunteering to work on the project. Don't demand responses to every request. In particular be flexible about response times, as differences in timezones and current activities can delay members' abilities to respond immediately. It is very rare to find project volunteers who are able to be available on demand 24x7.

7. Respect their contributions. Some project members don't actually contribute to the project, and this is unfortunate. On the other hand other project members may be fantastic contributors even though their contributions aren't easily visible. For example documentation proof-readers, and how-to testers may not make a lot of commits, but their work greatly enhances the overall project quality. Your personal project contributions, no matter how significant, are not sufficient reason to discredit another's contributions just because you don't know what they are.

8. Anonyminity is okay. It isn't compulsory for people to reveal their real identity to volunteer in FOSS. In fact it's very common for people to use a nickname or other tag online. Lots of people are not interested in revealing their real identity/gender/location, etc. for all sorts of reasons, including personal safety. Accept this and do not insinuate or imply that this is deterrent to contributing in FOSS. Just so long as the work gets done, nothing else matters.

9. Follow the Guidelines. Follow the guidelines above and avoid sexist and gender discriminatory language and behavior.

Discussions and Comments

This draft has been prepared by members of the Ubuntu-Women community. If you wish to discuss this on a mailing list please use the UW mailing list. Over there you can suggest how this document can be improved or better still feel free to make changes and add your name in the credits section.


  • Ubuntu Svaksha : Initial draft.

    Ubuntu Jacinta Richardson is a director for Perl Training Australia as well as the Training Coordinator. She supports Perl user groups throughout Oceania as well as promoting women in computers as much as possible.

    Ubuntu Ubuntu A. Mani is a researcher in algebra, logic and rough sets in

India. She is also an active free software contributor, teacher, activist and consultant.

  • Ubuntu If you have contributed to this document, please add your name here.

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