Foundation/Local Chapters/United States/Code of Conduct Committee/OSM US Code of Conduct

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OpenStreetMap US Code of Conduct


Welcome to OpenStreetMap US! A Code of Conduct exists to support a healthy and sustainable community where diversity and inclusion can thrive. Towards that end, OpenStreetMap US has developed this Code of Conduct (CoC) to govern OpenStreetMap US forums and community events, and act as a guide to make it easier to enrich all of us and the community in which we participate.

OpenStreetMap US is committed to providing a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment for all, regardless of level of experience, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical abilities, neurodiversity, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, national origin, and socio-economic background.

Where This Code Applies

This code of conduct applies equally to all participants and to all spaces managed by OpenStreetMap US. This includes:

If there are other spaces that you think we have missed, please contact the Governance Committee ( to let us know. Likewise, if there are other OSM-related projects or spaces who do wish to opt-in to this code of conduct, please contact the Governance Committee to discuss.

This Code of Conduct does not apply to edits within the OpenStreetMap database, other OpenStreetMap-related communication channels or events, or the conduct of individuals affiliated with OpenStreetMap US outside of the specified spaces.

Projects That Have Opted In

Projects in the OpenStreetMap ecosystem are welcome to opt in to the OpenStreetMap US Code of Conduct and Moderation Process. If you are interested, please contact the Governance Committee for more information. This is a list of those that have opted in to date:

Encouraged Behaviors

  • Be welcoming. OpenStreetMap US strives to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. Some examples of behavior that contribute to creating a positive environment include:
    • The use of welcoming and inclusive language;
    • Respect for differing viewpoints and experiences;
    • Empathy towards other community members.
  • Be considerate and patient. Actively seek to acknowledge, respect, and understand fellow community members. Our community depends on the work of each other to maintain and strengthen the health and integrity of OpenStreetMap. Any decision you make may affect others, and those consequences should be taken into account. While critique is a natural and important part of our culture, good critiques are kind, respectful, clear, and constructive.
  • Assume good faith. It is surprisingly easy to misunderstand each other, be it online or in person; particularly in such a culturally and linguistically diverse setting as OpenStreetMap US. Misunderstandings can easily arise when we are in a rush, or otherwise distracted. Please ask clarifying questions before assuming that a communication was inappropriate.
  • Be respectful. Enthusiastic discussions are part of the lifeblood of a successful project but can also lead to disagreements. We should strive to keep our discussions and disagreements appropriate. Members of the OpenStreetMap US community should be respectful when dealing with others, within and outside of the global OpenStreetMap community. We note, however, that non-OpenStreetMap US spaces are not part of this Code of Conduct.
  • When we disagree, try to understand why. Disagreements, both social and technical, happen easily and often. It is important that we seek to understand each other and work to resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. When someone contradicts your own perceptions, try to understand where the other person is coming from. Try to ask questions that will serve to clarify, rather than to escalate, an issue.

Untolerated Behaviors

Examples of untolerated behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person, including deliberate intimidation or harassment (online or in-person);
  • Verbal, written, or physical abuse;
  • Discrimination of any person or group of persons;
  • Discriminatory jokes and language;
  • Conduct or speech which might be considered sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, ableist or otherwise discriminatory or offensive in nature;
  • The use of unwelcome, suggestive, derogatory or inappropriate nicknames or terms;
  • Disrespect towards others (ex. personal insults, innuendo);
  • Posting sexually explicit or violent material, or including this content in events such as conference presentations, talks, workshops, or parties;
  • Posting (or threatening to post) other people's personally identifying information ("doxing");
  • Inappropriate attention or contact. Be aware of how your actions affect others. If it makes someone uncomfortable, stop. This includes:
    • Continued unwelcomed one-on-one communication after a request to cease
    • Unwelcome sexual attention
    • Repeated harassment of others. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop.
  • Sustained disruptions of community events and discussions;
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior

Scope and Limitations

The Code of Conduct Committee prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. The Committee also has limited resources and a specific scope. We will not act on complaints covering:

  • “Reverse”-isms, including “reverse racism”, “reverse sexism”, and “cisphobia”
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you”
  • Communicating in a “tone of voice” that a person doesn’t find congenial
  • The logistics of physical events, such as the venue, food and beverage options, or failures to meet an individual or group’s particular needs. These matters should generally be discussed with the event organizers rather than the CoC Committee.
  • Edits within the OpenStreetMap database, or other OpenStreetMap-related communication channels or events. We will not act on complaints regarding the conduct of individuals affiliated with OpenStreetMap US outside of the specified spaces, except under truly extreme circumstances (such as a criminal conviction for predatory behavior).

How to Handle a Complaint

If you believe anyone is in physical danger, please notify appropriate law enforcement and/or emergency services immediately.

For all other situations, it is preferable to work out issues directly with the people involved, or to work with other Community Members who can help you resolve the issue. If you witness a potential violation, you are encouraged to speak up. This may take several forms:

  • Talk it out with the offending party (if possible). Assume that communications are positive and that people are treating each other with respect. Cues about emotions are often lacking from digital communications. Many of our modes of digital communication tend towards brevity, which can be easy  to interpret incorrectly as being negative.
  • If the issue occurred online (such as on Slack or a mailing list), please report the behavior to the moderator, even if you are not among the directly affected parties.
  • If you are at an event, reach out to the event organizers to discuss the incident, report inappropriate behavior, and/or seek assistance or moderation. In-person organizers will generally be more familiar with the situation and able to offer more prompt assistance than Governance Committee or OpenStreetMap US board members.
  • Contact a representative of the OpenStreetMap US Governance Committee by emailing Committee members are well-versed in the community and its management. They can offer advice on your particular situation, and know the resources that are available to you.
  • Consider holding a live, moderated discussion with a Governance Committee member present to work through the disagreement prior to submitting an official complaint.

When these informal processes fail, or when a situation warrants an immediate response by OpenStreetMap US, you can evoke the Code of Conduct Complaint - Process for Moderation. This Process has been developed by the Code of Conduct Committee (now the Governance Committee) with participation from the OSM US community to provide a more formal means of enforcement for our community standards. You can start the Process for Moderation by emailing with a description of your complaint, your name, and the name of the offending party. All complaints should be made privately and will be considered confidential. The full process is described here.

If you do not wish to invoke the complaint process for moderation but you do feel that OpenStreetMap US should be aware of the incident, then you can make a confidential Code of Conduct Complaint and specify that you are seeking No Action. If the Governance Committee receives multiple No Action complaints about an individual’s behavior, it may contact the reporters to inform them and ask if they would like to escalate the incidents for moderation.

Credits and Additional Resources

Credits for the sources and inspiration of this code of conduct go to the Speak Up! Project, HOT Code of Conduct, Django Code of Conduct, Geek Feminism Code of Conduct, Slack Code of Conduct and The Ada Initiative under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Below are additional resources for those wishing to explore other codes of conduct: