ACT Universal Code of Conduct

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Why we have a Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC)

We believe in empowering as many people as possible to actively participate in ACT projects, and all GCA solutions, and spaces, to reach our vision of a world in which everyone can, regardless of their cybersecurity knowledge level, find cybersecurity tools to better protect, themselves, their family, or their organization. We believe our communities of contributors should be as diverse, inclusive, and accessible as possible, in order to protect a wide and diverse population. We want these communities to be positive, safe, and healthy environments for anyone who joins ( them. We are committed to ensuring that it remains so, including by embracing this UCoC and revisiting for updates as needed. Also, we wish to protect our projects against those who damage or distort the content.

In line with GCA's Mission, all who participate in ACT projects and spaces will:

  • Help create a world in which everyone can share and find knowledge about cybersecurity tools
  • Be part of a global community that will avoid bias and prejudice, and
  • Strive towards accuracy and verifiability in all its work

This UCoC defines a minimum set of guidelines for expected and unacceptable behavior. It applies to everyone who interacts and contributes to online and offline ACT projects and spaces. This includes new and experienced contributors, functionaries within the projects, event organizers, participants, employees, board members of affiliates, and employees and board members of GCA. It applies to all ACT projects, technical spaces, in-person and virtual events, as well as the following instances:

  • Private, public and semi-public interactions
  • Discussions of disagreement and expression of solidarity across community members
  • Issues of technical development
  • Aspects of content contribution
  • Cases of representing affiliates/communities with external partners

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Expected behavior
2.1 Mutual respect
2.2 Civility, collegiality, mutual support, and good citizenship
3. Unacceptable behavior
3.1 Harassment
3.2 Abuse of power, privilege, or influence
3.3 Content vandalism and abuse of the projects

1. Introduction

The Universal Code of Conduct provides a baseline of behavior for collaboration on ACT projects worldwide. Communities may add to this to develop policies that take account of local and cultural context while maintaining the criteria listed here as a minimum standard.

The Universal Code of Conduct applies equally to all users of ACTi without any exceptions. Actions that contradict the Universal Code of Conduct can result in sanctions. These may be imposed by designated functionaries (as appropriate in their local context) and/or by GCA as the legal owner of the platforms.

2. Expected behavior

Every user of ACT whether they are a new or experienced editor, a community functionary, an affiliate or GCA board member and employee, is responsible for their behavior.

In all ACT projects, spaces, and events, behavior will be founded on respect, civility, collegiality, solidarity, and good citizenship. This applies to all contributors and participants in their interaction with all contributors and participants, without expectations based on age, mental or physical disabilities, physical appearance, national, religious, ethnic and cultural background, caste, social class, language fluency, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex or career field. Nor will we make exceptions based on standing, skills or accomplishments in the ACT projects or movement.

2.1. Mutual respect

We expect all users of ACT to show respect for others. In communicating with people, whether in online or offline ACT environments, we will treat each other with mutual respect.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Practice empathy. Listen and try to understand what a user of ACT of different backgrounds want to tell you. Be ready to challenge and adapt your understanding, expectations, and behavior as a user of ACT.
  • Assume good faith, and engage in constructive edits; your contributions should improve the quality of the project or work. Provide and receive feedback kindly and in good faith. Criticism should be delivered sensitively and constructively. All ACTians should assume unless evidence otherwise exists that others are here to collaboratively improve the projects, but this should not be used to justify statements with a harmful impact.
  • Respect the way that contributors name and describe themselves. People may use specific terms to describe themselves. As a sign of respect, use these terms when communicating with or about these people, where linguistically or technically feasible. Examples may include but are not limited to :
    • Ethnic groups may use a specific name to describe themselves, rather than the name historically used by others;
    • People may have names that use letters, sounds, or words from their language which may be unfamiliar to you;
    • People who identify with a certain sexual orientation or gender identity using distinct names or pronouns;
    • People having a particular physical or mental disability may use particular terms to describe themselves; and
  • During in-person meetings, we will be welcoming to everyone and we will be mindful and respectful of each other's preferences, boundaries, sensibilities, traditions, and requirements.

2.2 Civility, collegiality, mutual support, and good citizenship

We strive towards the following behaviors:

  • Civility is politeness in behavior and speech amongst people, including strangers.
  • Collegiality is the friendly support that people engaged in a common effort extend to each other.
  • Mutual support and good citizenship means taking active responsibility for ensuring that the ACT projects are productive, pleasant, and safe spaces, and contribute to the GCA mission.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Mentorship and coaching: Helping newcomers to find their way and acquire essential skills.
  • Looking out for fellow contributors: Lend them a hand when they need support, and speak up for them when they are treated in a way that falls short of expected behavior as per the Universal Code of Conduct.
  • Recognize and credit the work done by contributors: Thank them for their help and work. Appreciate their efforts and give credit where it is due.

3. Unacceptable behavior=

The Universal Code of Conduct aims to help community members identify situations of bad behavior. The following behaviors are considered unacceptable within the ACT movement:

3.1 Harassment

This includes any behavior intended primarily to intimidate, outrage, or upset a person, or any behavior where this would reasonably be considered the most likely main outcome. Behavior can be considered harassment if it is beyond what a reasonable person would be expected to tolerate in a global, intercultural environment. Harassment often takes the form of emotional abuse, especially towards people who are in a vulnerable position and may include contacting workplaces or friends and family members to intimidate or embarrass. In some cases, behavior that would not rise to the level of harassment in a single case can become harassment through repetition. Harassment includes but is not limited to:

  • Insults: This includes name calling, using slurs or stereotypes, and any attacks based on personal characteristics. Insults may refer to perceived characteristics like intelligence, appearance, ethnicity, race, religion (or lack thereof), culture, caste, sexual orientation, gender, sex, disability, age, nationality, political affiliation, or other characteristics. In some cases, repeated mockery, sarcasm, or aggression constitute insults collectively, even if individual statements would not.
  • Sexual harassment: Sexual attention or advances of any kind towards others where the person knows or reasonably should know that the attention is unwelcome or in situations where consent cannot be communicated.
  • Threats: Explicitly or implicitly suggesting the possibility of physical violence, unfair embarrassment, unfair and unjustified reputational harm, or intimidation by suggesting gratuitous legal action to win an argument or force someone to behave the way you want.
  • Encouraging harm to others: This includes encouraging someone else to commit self-harm or suicide as well as encouraging someone to conduct violent attacks on a third party.
  • Disclosure of personal data (Doxing): sharing other contributors' private information, such as name, place of employment, and physical or email address without their explicit consent either on the ACT projects or elsewhere, or sharing information concerning their ACT activity outside the projects.
  • Hounding: following a person across the project(s) and repeatedly critiquing their work mainly with the intent to upset or discourage them. If problems continue after efforts to communicate and educate, communities may need to address them through established community processes.
  • Trolling: Deliberately disrupting conversations or posting in bad faith to intentionally provoke.

3.2 Abuse of power, privilege, or influence

Abuse occurs when someone in a real or perceived position of power, privilege, or influence engages in disrespectful, cruel, and/or violent behavior towards other people. In ACT environments, it may take the form of verbal or psychological abuse and may overlap with harassment.

Abuse of office by functionaries, officials, and staff: use of authority, knowledge, or resources at the disposal of designated functionaries, as well as officials and staff of the GCA or GCA affiliates, to intimidate or threaten others.

Abuse of seniority and connections: Using one's position and reputation to intimidate others. We expect people with significant experience and connections in the movement to behave with special care because hostile comments from them may carry an unintended backlash. People with community authority have a particular privilege to be viewed as reliable and should not abuse this to attack others who disagree with them.

Psychological manipulation: Maliciously causing someone to doubt their perceptions, senses, or understanding with the objective to win an argument or force someone to behave the way you want.

3.3 Content vandalism and abuse of the projects

Deliberately introducing biased, false, inaccurate or inappropriate content, or hindering, impeding or otherwise hampering the creation (and/or maintenance) of content. This includes but is not limited to:

  • The repeated arbitrary or unmotivated removal of any content without appropriate discussion or providing explanation
  • Systematically manipulating content to favor specific interpretations of facts or points of view (also by means of unfaithful or deliberately false rendering of sources and altering the correct way of composing editorial content)
  • Hate speech in any form, or discriminatory language aimed at vilifying, humiliating, inciting hatred against individuals or groups on the basis of who they are or their personal beliefs
  • The use of symbols, images, categories, tags or other kinds of content that are intimidating or harmful to others outside of the context of encyclopedic, informational use. This includes imposing schemes on content intended to marginalize or ostracize.