Much has been said over the last year or so about codes of conduct (CoC) at conferences and hackathons. I've not heard anyone else talk about them with regard to meetups/user groups but, as a group organiser, they've been on my mind for a long time. Should we have one? Shouldn't we? Do we really need one? What if we do? What if we don't?
I see user group events as being no different to mini-conferences so that seems like a good reason to have this discussion.
As the title suggests we do now have one and I've written about why on the group's website but I thought it might be worth sharing here too.
Ultimately it came down to two reasons:
1. The people who aren't already coming
2. Potential speakers.
The people who aren't already coming.
We haven't had any issues with the people who are coming. (I know that some people assume that CoCs only get created in response to issues. We haven't had any and hope we don't.) This is about people who aren't coming and don't know what to expect if they do.
As a group we're happy for anyone to attend who is interested in the subject (of creating apps). What matters is your interest in the subject. What doesn't matter is where you're from, what you look like or how you identify yourself. In fact having people attend who have a broad range of ideas, experiences and backgrounds is a great thing as those factors can bring new perspectives. It's the opportunity to meet, hear from and exchange experiences and ideas that meeting in person provides. If we were all the same it would be very boring. The CoC just says that we acknowledge differences as a good thing and it's not acceptable to discriminate or act inappropriately in reference to those differences. We know it can be intimidating to go somewhere for the first time when you know you may be different from the other people there. We just want to say that we know that can be the case and we want you to feel welcome if you do come.
Hearing speakers, from other events, start to say that they won't speak at events that don't have a CoC could also have been potentially limiting. They don't want to be involved with communities that aren't addressing this potential issue.
If you're interested you can see it at http://windowsapps.london/conduct/
If you've got an opinion on this I'd love to hear it.