GOSH Code of Conduct

The Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) is a diverse, global community working to enhance the sharing of open, scientific technologies.

We strive to make open science hardware open to everybody, regardless of scholarly or professional background, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, ability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, economic background, country of origin or employment, religion, and other differences. Because we come from different backgrounds, it is important to be intentional about providing respectful, equitable spaces — both online and in person — for our community to come together and engage in constructive, respectful discourse. As our manifesto states: GOSH is used for peaceful purposes and causes no harm.

GOSH is equitable. Equity is different than equality; equality is about treating everyone exactly the same, while equity recognizes that everyone does not start from the same position and so treating everyone the same may leave them in the same uneven positions they began in. For this reason, we are intentional about actively reducing the inequitable barriers that stand between science and those who create, use, and learn from it.

This code of conduct applies to all GOSH spaces, both online and in person.

While we operate under the assumption that all people involved with GOSH subscribe to the GOSH Manifesto and the values laid out above, we take Code of Conduct violations very seriously. Therefore, individuals who violate this Code may affect their ability to participate in GOSH, ranging from temporarily being placed into online moderation to, as a last resort, expulsion from the community or in-person events. If you have any questions about our commitment to this framework and/or if you are unsure about any aspects of it, email organizers@openhardware.science and we will provide clarification.

How It Works

This Code is an effort to maintain a respectful space for everyone and to discuss what might happen if that space is compromised. Please see the guidelines below for community behavior at GOSH 2017 in Santiago.

We listen.

We begin interactions by acknowledging that we are part of a community with complementary goals. When something has happened and someone is uncomfortable, our first choice is to work through it through discussion. We listen to each other.

  • For active listening, we ask questions first, instead of making statements.
  • We give people time and space to respond.
  • We appropriately adjust our behavior when asked to.
  • We know that repeating hurtful behavior after it has been addressed is disrespectful.
  • We avoid this ourselves and help others identify when they are doing it.

We practice consent.

At in-person gatherings, everyone’s physical space must be respected at all times. We do not touch other people without asking first — this includes physical greetings such as hugs, handshakes, or kisses, since not everyone is comfortable with the same type of touch..

  • Ask first.
  • We respect everyone else’s right to walk away at any time.
  • If you see or experience a violation of consent on a GOSH platform or at a GOSH event, please contact the GOSH organizers in person or on organizers@openhardware.science.

Note that many forms of harassment do not look like physical or verbal abuse, but still fall into this category. Non-consent can include exhibiting sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, photography or recording without permission, sustained disruption of talks or conversations, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Examples of in-person community behavior

Ask permission to take pictures of and post about others on social media (see Media Consent, below).Do not upload photos, tag or mention others online without their consent.
Speak your own narrative, from your own unique experiences and culture. Do not imitate the cultural expressions of groups you are not a member of, or dismiss people’s experiences as illegitimate or merely personal.
Use accessible language to talk about your area of expertise. If others in the group seem confused, slow down; stop and ask for input. Do not present information in a way / language that no one else in the room can understand, with no attempt to include others in the discussion. Accessible language is part of the GOSH manifesto.
Give everyone a chance to talk, only interrupting if absolutely necessary – for example, for Code of Conduct violations or time updates.Do not repeatedly disrupt a discussion.
Stop, listen and ask for clarification if someone perceives your behavior or presentation as violating the Code of Conduct.Do not ignore or argue others’ request to stop potentially harmful behavior, even if it was an accident or you don’t mean it as it is being interpreted.
Use words that accurately describe the situation rather than culturally or socially loaded terms – For example, “The wind was ridiculously strong!” instead of “The wind was crazy!” Do not use disability and mental/emotional health terminology to describe a situation metaphorically, even if it seems normal to use it.
Ask someone before you touch them, even when joking or greeting, unless the other person has given verbal consent. Hugs, cheek kisses, and handshakes are normal greetings in some cultures, but not in all cultures. Do not initiate or simulate physical contact without consent, even if it seems normal.
Disengage and find another activity if someone did not invite you and is not engaging with you.Do not violate personal space by continuing your physical presence into private spaces without consent.
Use an even tone, rate, and volume of voice when disagreeing.  Note that differences will be common, and some will be irreconcilable in a diverse movement. Do not verbally or physically abuse, harass, yell at, or intimidate any attendee, speaker, volunteer, or exhibitor.
Use the pronouns people have specified for themselves.Do not purposely misgender someone (ie, refusing to use their correct gender pronouns) after they have told you their correct pronouns.
Step up and comment when you see violations occur by emailing organizers@openhardware.science.  Do not expect that people who are subject to Code of Conduct violations are comfortable or able to address or report them themselves.

Additional guidelines for online community behavior

Online modes of interaction involve large numbers of people without the helpful presence of visual cues. Because of this, respectful and self-aware online conduct is especially important and difficult. In addition to the Code, which remains in play in online spaces, our community has created specific guidelines for online interactions. If someone violates these guidelines, someone from the Moderators group (currently GOSH organizers) will place them into moderation by changing that person’s posting permission on the relevant list or forum, on the website, or both. Our triple notification standard for moderation means a point person from the Moderators group will 1) email the person directly with a brief explanation of what was violated, 2) send a summary email to the rest of the moderators group, 3) if it happened on a public list (vs a website), notify the list that one of our members has been placed into moderation with a brief explanation of what is not tolerated.

If you wish to begin the process of getting out of moderation, respond to the email sent to you from organizers@openhardware.science.

Stay on topic to make long threads easier to follow.Do not send unnecessary one-line responses that effectively “spam” hundreds of people and lower the overall content quality of a conversation. (Exception: expressions of appreciation and encouragement!)
Start a new thread to help others follow along. Important if your response starts to significantly diverge from the original topic.Do not respond with off-topic information, making it hard for the large group of readers to follow along.
Write short and literal subject lines to help the readers of the list manage the volume of communication.Humor and euphemisms in subject lines are easily misunderstood, although enthusiasm is welcome!
Mind your tone. We are not having this conversation in person, so it is all the more important to maintain a tone of respect.Do not write in an aggressive, disrespectful or mocking tone. Note: writing in all caps is regarded as shouting.

Media Consent

  • There will be a media release for GOSH 2017. If you do not wish to be photographed or sign the release, you are responsible for placing stickers on your nametags, and/or raising your hand in the moment to alert photographers to move you out of frame. We are happy to accommodate you.
  • If you are taking a photograph, let people in the room know.
  • Always check with parents about posting anything with minors, and never post the name of a minor in conjunction with their photograph.

How To Report A Problem

In Person — Safety Officer or GOSH Organizers: If you are at a GOSH event with a designated Safety Officer, feel free to approach them or an organiser.

Via email — GOSH Organizers: If you experience or witness something, you can also email the organizers at organizers@openhardware.science. 

Reporting should never be done via social media.


  • Anyone requested to stop behavior that violates the Code of Conduct is expected to comply immediately, even if they disagree with the request.
  • The GOSH organizers may take any action deemed necessary and appropriate, including immediate removal from the meeting without warning.
  • The organizers reserve the right to prohibit attendance at any future meeting.

By attending GOSH events and posting in our online forum, you are agreeing to this code of conduct.

This Code of Conduct was created collaboratively and drew from other CoCs, including those by Public Lab, International Congress of Marine Conservation 2016, and TransH4CK.