GOSH Code of Conduct

Updated October 2022

The Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) is a diverse, global community working to enhance the sharing of open source scientific technologies. Specifically, this includes open source hardware (OSH) for scientific purposes which we refer to as open science hardware (OScH).

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, religious affiliation, 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 from 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 document is written with this principle in mind.

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, please email code@openhardware.science and we will provide clarification.

This Code of Conduct falls under the purview of the GOSH Community Council Management (admin) governance domain. We envision further changes or improvements to this document could be done with the Community Council in coordination with the wider GOSH community such as, but not limited to, as described in the GOSH Constitution.

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 organizer.

Via email — GOSH Organizers: If you experience or witness something in a GOSH-hosted space in person or online, you can also email the moderators at code@openhardware.science.

Once you have reported something, we will strive to contact you privately within the same day or in the first hour of the event’s start the following morning.

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.

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. For example, there are many ways people greet each other. Before physically touching someone else, ask how they would like to be greeted. 

  • Ask first.
  • We respect everyone else’s right to walk away at any time for any or no explicit reason.
  • 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 code@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 or unwelcome 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. Be aware and mindful 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.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.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 code@openhardware.science or reporting to the designated person(s) at in-person events.Do not expect that people who are subject to Code of Conduct violations are comfortable or able to address or report them themselves.
Respond to the point and content of what others are saying, e.g. “I think instead of x, we could do y”.Do not respond to others in a way that makes things personal, e.g. “You are wrong about x”.

Additional guidelines for online community behavior

In addition to the guidelines above, 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 challenging. 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 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 GOSH forum 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 space (vs a website), notify the community that one of our members has been placed into moderation with a brief explanation of what is not tolerated. Moderators will strive to take these actions in a transparent and documented manner and treat these issues as an opportunity for all to learn how to be more upstanding and help hold a respectful culture.

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

With just a few moderators, we rely on the GOSH community to flag any code of conduct issues or violations. The moderators and contact email (code@openhardware.science) will be listed in a pinned post on the GOSH forum. 

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. (expressions of appreciation and encouragement could be done, for example, via the “heart” emoticon or emoji in response to forum posts)
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.

As an example, below is how participation guidelines are introduced at the beginning of GOSH online community events such as Community Calls: 

Guidelines on Respect:
Overall, respect all participants in all ways at all times. In particular:

  • Respect the time limits: when we allocate a specific number of minutes for dialogue, please be mindful of our need to move forward on the agenda.
  • Focus on listening and honor whoever is speaking.
  • In particular, don’t interrupt others while they are speaking.
  • Please don’t make noises or gestures of disrespect, such as rolling your eyes.

Guidelines on Inclusion:
Language: speak slowly and clearly for those who have English as a second language, and always make sure to avoid jargon and acronyms, using vocabulary everyone can understand.

A reminder as well that the GOSH code of conduct applies to both in-person and virtual spaces.

Another useful resource is the Anti-Oppression Resource & Training Alliance (AORTA) meeting facilitation guidelines: http://dev.aorta.coop/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/AO-Facilitation-Resource-Sheet.pdf 

Media Consent

  • There will be a media release form for all attendees to sign at GOSH 2022 in Panama. This gives the GOSH organizers permission for the official photographer/videographer to include you in event photos and videos. If you do not wish to be photographed or sign the release, you are responsible for informing the official photographer, such as, but not limited to, raising your hand in the moment to alert them to move you out of frame. We are happy to accommodate you. 
  • If you are taking a photograph, let people in the room know.
  • If you do not want to be in photos/videos taken by participants other than the official photographer, please communicate this to them. However, we cannot be responsible for enforcing this among attendees.
  • Always check with parents about posting anything with minors (such as those less than 18 years old), and never post the name of a minor in conjunction with their photograph.


  • 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 participating in any GOSH on/offline spaces, you are agreeing to this code of conduct.

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