Code of Conduct

  1. Purpose
  2. Welcoming environment
  3. Expected Behavior
  4. Unacceptable Behavior
  5. Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior
  6. If You Witness or Are Subject to Unacceptable Behavior
  7. Scope
  8. Contact and Trust Committee
  9. Credits


A primary goal of Rails Girls Summer of Code is to be inclusive to all of our participants — students, coaches, mentors, sponsors, supervisors and everyone in the organizing team with the most varied and diverse backgrounds possible.

As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion (or lack thereof).

This Code of Conduct outlines our expectations as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior.

The Code of Conduct pertains to all those who participate in our community online, at events, and in one-on-one communications carried out in the context of teamwork. Community event venues may be shared with members of the public; please be respectful to all patrons of these locations.

We invite all those who participate in Rails Girls Summer of Code to help us create safe and positive experiences for everyone.

Welcoming environment

We encourage community participants to create an open and welcoming environment by recognizing the relationship between our actions and their effects on our community.

Communities mirror the societies in which they exist, and positive action is essential to counteract the many forms of inequality and abuses of power that exist in society.

Expected Behavior

  • Participate in a supporting and active way: In doing so, you contribute to the health and longevity of this community.
  • Exercise consideration and respect in your speech and actions.
  • Attempt collaboration before conflict.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert the trust committee if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem inconsequential.

Unacceptable Behavior

If you are unsure if something is appropriate behavior, it probably isn’t. Each person you interact with can define where that line is for them and it is your responsibility to respect that line.

Impact matters more than intent. Ensuring that your behavior does not have a negative impact is your responsibility. Problems arise when we assume that our way of thinking or behaving is the norm or okay for everyone. This is particularly problematic when we are in a position of power or privilege.

Here are a few examples of unacceptable behavior:

  • Negative or offensive remarks related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental health condition, socioeconomic status or background, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, clothing, race, or religion. Consider that calling attention to differences can feel alienating.
  • Touching people without their affirmative consent.
  • Sustained and negative disruption of meetings or talks.
  • Patronizing, passive-aggressive, intimidating, condescending, or sarcastic language or behavior.
  • Aggressive and micro-aggressive behavior, such as unconstructive criticism, providing corrections that do not improve the conversation (sometimes referred to as “well, actually”s), repeatedly interrupting or talking over someone else, feigning surprise at someone’s lack of knowledge or awareness about a topic, or subtle prejudice, for example, comments like “That’s so easy my grandmother could do it.”
  • Referring to people in a way that misidentifies their gender and/or rejects the validity of their gender identity; for instance, by using incorrect pronouns or forms of address (misgendering).
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces (including presentation slides); deliberate intimidation, stalking or following; harassing photography or recording.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior from any community member, including sponsors and those with decision-making authority, will not be tolerated.

Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. If a community member engages in unacceptable behavior, the community organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, up to and including a temporary ban or permanent expulsion from the community.

When unacceptable behavior is reported, the Rails Girls Summer of Code team will take action and send out a first and last warning to the person who engaged in the unacceptable behavior. If any further breaches of our Code of Conduct are reported, the person will be removed from the program immediately, without any other warning necessary.

If You Witness or Are Subject to Unacceptable Behavior

If you are subject to or witness unacceptable behavior, or have any other concerns, please notify a member of the trust committee as soon as possible.

Additionally, members of the trust committee are available to help community members engage with local law enforcement or to otherwise help those experiencing unacceptable behavior feel safe. In the context of in-person events, organizers will also provide escorts as desired by the person experiencing distress.


We expect all community participants (contributors, paid or otherwise; sponsors; and other guests) to abide by this Code of Conduct in all community venues — online and in-person — as well as in all one-on-one communications during all activities related to Rails Girls Summer of Code.

Contact and Trust Committee

We have set up a trust committee that consists of both people directly involved with Rails Girls Summer of Code and externals. You can choose to contact whichever person you feel most comfortable reaching out to.

By offering external contacts that are not involved in the project we want to make sure that if you have problems with people involved in the organization, you have a safe contact to turn to. They will act as a mediator.

The trust committee will leave your request anonymous (unless this is not an issue for you) and devote their time to fixing any issue you might have. This covers everything from feeling uncomfortable with somebody, having personal issues in your life you need help with, feeling bullied, misunderstood, discriminated against, disrespected, etc.

Trust Committee

Uta Sommer (external) is a doctoral candidate in German Literature at Humboldt-University in Berlin. Besides that, she is working as a women’s representative at Humboldt Graduate School, an organization for structured research programs. Her involvement includes, amongst other things, counseling and support in cases of discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and/or violence.

Uta participated in a few Rails Girls Workshops in Berlin; since 2015, she has been a member of the Trust Committee of RGSoC.


Jan Schulte (external) has been involved with coaching newcomers how to program for over four years now. He started as Rails Girls Berlin coach in mid-2013 at one of their beginner workshops. Since then he’s been accompanying newcomers with their programming journey in study groups and several workshops as a coach. Since April 2017 he is part of the Travis CI Team in Berlin.


Anna Nagy (organizer) has been involved in STEM education since 2013, teaching and advocating for non-traditional students. Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, she is committed to making technology more accessible to everyone. She joined Travis CI in May of 2016 and became involved with Rails Girls Summer of Code in April of 2017.



This Code of Conduct is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license and is based on the Citizen Code of Conduct as well as the 18F Code of Conduct.