2020 Code of Conduct Transparency Report

Transparency Report: Reported 2020 Code of Conduct Violations

This is the second year that ORDcamp formed an independent committee to handle code of conduct violations. We feel that maintaining an active independent committee is important to continue trying to make ORDcamp a welcoming and inclusive environment for all participants.

Just as the previous year, we believe that this committee is a work in progress and we will continue to work and iterate to improve our systems. We will also make recommendations for updating the existing Code of Conduct.

Overall Notes

The Code of Conduct Committee seeks to make ORDCamp a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all Campers. In order to do that, we strive to approach our work with a social justice lens and an awareness of power differentials and the larger social context in which ORDCamp occurs.

Last year, we handled multiple concerns about behaviors that weren’t clear violations of the code of conduct, but were nevertheless creating a less inclusive community–these included mansplaining, interrupting and talking over others, and excessive dominance in conversations. While these behaviors weren’t code of conduct violations in isolation, the overall pattern of who gets interrupted and who dominates conversations in our society creates an environment that disproportionately silences women.

This year, we encountered incidents by one attendee of cultural appropriation and micro-aggressions toward Black participants (such as subjecting Black ORDCampers to a higher level of security scrutiny, singling them out for rules-enforcement, and appropriating Black hairstyles). While these incidents were again not clear violations of the Code of Conduct on their own, they nevertheless contributed to an overall pattern of systemic racism that makes camp less welcoming and inclusive for Black ORDCampers.

While statistically it is more common for women to be the recipients of unwanted sexual advances, this year we received two reports of men who were made uncomfortable by unwanted sexual advances from women. Regardless of gender, we take these reports seriously.

While addressing these issues requires uncomfortable and emotionally taxing conversations, we felt that addressing these issues was important to continuing efforts to make ORDCamp more inclusive and welcoming.

Tech Issues

This year, we introduced new technology that allowed ORDCampers to call or text members of the committee during the event, so that we could respond in a timely fashion to incidents. While this system has a lot of potential, we unfortunately encountered some bugs, including texts (and responses) getting repeated–so folks interacting with the committee would get spammed with the same reply three or more times (committee members, likewise, were getting duplicate reports in distracting numbers). It turned out that the app we were using assumed committees would be a certain size. While we were able to resolve this in the short term by removing several committee members from the response number, we hope to work with the developer to make it possible for the entire committee to use the app next year.


Accessibility Issues with the Session Boards

An attendee shared concerns about the chaos of all participants attempting to post session post-its on the board at the same time immediately following the opening plenary. The crowd around the board makes it difficult for many disabled ORDCampers to fully participate.


The Code of Conduct Committee is recommending to ORDCamp organizers that they establish a process to allow full access to all ORDCampers, such as giving disabled ORDCampers priority access to place sessions on the board before others swarm the board, or creating a queue rather than a scrum.

Photos, Social Media, and Consent

An attendee noticed photos from ORDcamp posted publicly on social media without the explicit consent of those in the photograph. In previous ORDcamps the policy was no posting on social media without explicit consent; however, because different coloured lanyards were introduced this year to indicate consent of photographs being taken, there was no clear guideline articulated regarding posting and sharing of those photos.


No action was taken, because the ORDCampers in the photos expressed that they weren’t upset about their photos being posted. However, we are recommending to ORDCamp staff that they make rules around photos and social media clear at next year’s camp.

Starting sexually-explicit conversations with women

Several attendees reported experiencing or witnessing a camper specifically approaching women and starting conversations about his sexually-explicit art project, saying he thought they’d be interested because they are feminists. While sexually explicit content is allowed at ORDCamp in clearly-labelled sessions that have been cleared with the organizers, approaching campers outside of these sessions (and especially approaching only people perceived to be women) to ask if they want to see sexually-explicit artwork is harassment. Care must be taken to make sure that everyone exposed to sexually-explicit content at ORDCamp has opted in.


A member of the Code of Conduct committee spoke to the camper, informing him that his behavior was inappropriate and needed to stop. The camper apologized and agreed to stop.

Given the poor judgment the camper displayed and the impact his behavior had on others, the Code of Conduct committee has taken this issue to the organizers to determine if further action is warranted.

Questions About An Ongoing Prank

Two attendees self reported about an inside joke prank they were pulling on another camper to make sure it wasn’t a violation or causing harm/distress.


Members of the Code of Conduct committee heard the details of the prank, and determined that it was not a violation of the Code of Conduct. They encouraged the attendees to make arrangements to clean up any leftover components, which the attendees did.

An Attendee Put His Foot In His Mouth

An attendee self reported that he felt like a comment he made towards another participant caused distress. He didn’t want to center himself or create more harm by apologizing but wanted to let the COC know in case there was a report. The reporting camper told the committee he was planning to stay away from the other camper for the rest of camp.


The Code of Conduct committee determined that approaching the other camper to inform them that the incident had been brought to us could potentially have the same effect of causing further harm. Given the nature of the comment and the self-reporting participant’s assurance that they would avoid the other camper, the committee determined that no further action was needed unless the other camper requested assistance.

Cultural Appropriation and Microaggressions

Several attendees reported discomfort with a camper who was culturally appropriating Black hairstyles. This same camper was reported multiple times for microagressions towards Black attendees while serving as an ORDCamp volunteer. Cultural appropriation is not currently a code of conduct violation but we strongly suggest that the Code of Conduct be amended to address cultural appropriation and microaggressions.


The attendee was spoken to about both of these issues, and agreed to refrain from volunteering for the remainder of camp. The Volunteer Coordinator was informed. Given the poor judgment the camper displayed and the impact their micro-aggressive behavior had on others, the Code of Conduct committee has taken this issue to the organizers to determine if further action is warranted.

Verbal Altercation After A Session

An attendee reported that a woman approached him after his session and expressed very angrily and aggressively that she hated his session and continued to berate him for an extended period of time. This is not currently a clear code of conduct violation but while we absolutely welcome disagreement and differences of opinion they have to be shared in a respectful way.


Members of the Code of Conduct Committee were unable to find the camper in question to speak to her about her behavior. However, had we been able to speak with her, we would have made it clear that this behavior is not acceptable at camp.

Unwanted Sexual Attention

Post event, an attendee reported that another camper propositioned him and invited him back to her room, and that this was an unwanted proposition. This is a violation of the code of conduct’s prohibition on unwelcome sexual attention.


The reporting attendee declined to name the person who had propositioned him, so no action was taken. However, ORDCamp has historically had a rule against “pitches and pickups” that was not publicized during the opening plenary this year. The Code of Conduct Committee is recommending to the organizers that they reiterate this rule at the beginning of future camps.

Sexual Harassment and Assault

Post event, an attendee reported another participant became visibly drunk during camp. She became disruptively loud, invaded his personal space, and got “handsy”. This is a violation of the code of conduct. Unwanted touching is assault, and as with the previous report, sexual and romantic propositioning is not allowed at ORDCamp.


Given the poor judgment the camper displayed and the impact her behavior had on others, the Code of Conduct committee has taken this issue to the organizers to determine if further action is warranted.

In addition, the reporting attendee expressed that interactions like this one make him uncomfortable in situations where people are drunk. The Committee is recommending that the Code of Conduct be amended to note that while alcohol is allowed at ORDCamp, excessive drinking is not appropriate, as it creates an uncomfortable environment for others. Alcohol is never an excuse for hostility, harassment, or assault.


(Additional items added by the organizers)

Behavior inconsistent with ORD Camp CoC outside of camp

Before the event, a prospective attendee had reports of aggressive behavior towards employees and other campers in addition to having been accused of sexual assault. 


Given the situation the camper was uninvited from ORD Camp and removed from the email list.

Behavior inconsistent with ORD Camp CoC outside of camp

After the event, an prospective attendee was accused of throwing tantrums, managing by fear and bullying, and racist behavior. Their employees observed fits of anger so severe they feared they would lead to violence.


Given the situation the camper was uninvited from ORD Camp and removed from the email list.