Code of Conduct

Civic Tech DC is an organization working, as a group, to empower ourselves and others to improve our local community through technology. Civic Tech DC is committed to providing a safe and welcoming space, without regard to age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, mental or physical disability, physical appearance, neuro(a)typicality, religion, level of knowledge, level of experience, parental status, marital status, socioeconomic status or background, political affiliation, or any other attribute. The captains of Civic Tech DC (“Captains”) share the responsibility of enforcing these policies as necessary to maintain an open and welcoming environment.

As the organizers of Civic Tech DC, we believe that the below principles are essential to maintaining this environment. In addition, we believe that they are good principles for life in general.


This code of conduct serves to ensure that everybody and anybody who wishes to participate is able to do so, and applies to all Civic Tech DC events, from hackathons to happy hours. Further, it applies to online activities related to Civic Tech DC, including postings on GitHub, Slack, and Google Groups.


Do Not Harass

Harassment is any unwelcome or hostile behavior towards another person for any reason. This includes, but is not limited to, offensive verbal comments related to personal characteristics or choices, sexual images or comments, deliberate intimidation, bullying, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of discussion or events, nonconsensual publication of private comments, inappropriate physical contact, or unwelcome sexual attention. Conduct need not be intentional to be harassment.

Civic Tech DC will not tolerate such behavior.

Respect the Opinions and Abilities of Others

Civic Tech DC is designed as a place for people all of different skill levels and approaches to meet and work together toward common goals. As a result, we do not expect that everybody will share the same opinion. However, we do expect that disagreement is done respectfully.

Additionally, we expect that members will educate others respectfully. To this end, do not assume anybody else’s level of expertise or knowledge. Do not belittle a lack of information, or insist on unnecessary precision. We are all learning, so afford others—as well as yourself—room to grow.

Keep Your Team Open

Except for instances where it would significantly impede productivity, there is always room on a Civic Tech DC project for one more person. Unless doing so would be counter-productive to the goals of the project, anybody who is interested in a project is allowed to join it.


While this document exists primarily to prevent certain bad behavior, we also believe that our community members should work towards a higher standard. To that end, we strongly encourage the following conduct, though they are considered aspirational rather than necessary.

Build With, Not For

Work to ensure that the community is well-represented in all stages of development. Seek out those who are under-represented, and remove barriers to access. Listen as much—or more—than you speak, and give full consideration to all ideas, even if they seem improbable at first.

Empower, Experiment, and Find a Way for Everybody to Contribute

When more people share their knowledge and skills, they give a project a greater chance to succeed. When somebody shows up with an unusual skill, look for ways to fit them into the team rather than reasons why it wouldn’t work. Experiment with new approaches, and don’t be afraid to try something that might not work.


Please be aware that in order to grow and promote our organization, for general record keeping, and to build community amongst our participants, photography and videography often occur at our events. Participation at our events is voluntary. By participating in our events, it is understood that your image or likeness may be included in the photography or videography and shared on public websites and media content. If you would like further information about this policy, please contact


Making a Report

If you are unable to resolve the issue, or are uncomfortable doing so, you should contact a Captain, either in person or electronically. You can email us at, which goes to all of the leadership team. Captains agree to keep information shared in association with a Code of Conduct violation private, and may reveal it only with the approval of the affected person(s).

When making a report, the following information is useful, but not required:

  • Who violated the Code of Conduct?
  • Where and when did the violation occurred?
  • What happened?
  • Who may have witnessed the violation?
  • Who are you?


Captains agree to treat all violations impartially, and will strive to apply this code of conduct consistently. In situations where this may not be possible due to personal or business relationships, Captains shall refer the violation report to another appropriate decision-maker with the approval of the affected person(s).

Captains may take any appropriate action, including expulsion and a ban from future events, to resolve a violation of this code of conduct. In the event of gray areas, precedence will be given to the target of the conduct.

Contributing to This Code

This is a living document and is ultimately owned by the Civic Tech DC community. We are interested in your comments and suggestions! You can contribute to the code by opening an issue or pull request on this repository or by contacting the leadership team at