Code of Conduct

From Free Geek Toronto
Jump to: navigation, search



This is the code of conduct applies to volunteering in person at Free Geek Toronto facility, Free Geek Toronto Workgroup and Council meetings, Free Geek Toronto mailing lists, forums IRC channels, Facebook pages and any other online or offsite properties associated with Free Geek Toronto.

This list is not exhaustive and is meant to be a living document, i.e. subject to change. Please consider suggesting other guidelines that you feel would be helpful.


Free Geek Toronto (FGT) I an organization and a place collaboratively built by people. Communication is essential for the growth and maintenance of the organization. This code is designed to provide guidelines about what constitutes safe, positive and healthy. Freedom is important to us, but so is mutual respect and tolerance.

This code of conduct is not optional. People wishing to participate in the Free Geek community must follow this policy, to facilitate the enjoyment of this community by its participants. Every day presents opportunities to renew and maintain a safe, positive, and healthy community!

Alcohol and addictive substance use

People under the influence of alcohol and other addictive substances can be a danger to themselves, and to other volunteers and the organization.

Free Geek Toronto has a zero tolerance policy for alcohol and addictive substance use on premises.

Alcohol shall not be consumed in the FGT building or outside in the parking lot which is adjacent to the building.

People showing signs of alcohol use when coming into the facility shall be asked to leave by the key holder. If the person does not comply, the police can be called.

If the same person exhibits repeated patterns of alcohol and substance abuse, they will be asked to stop volunteering at FGT to reduce the risks to themselves, others and the organization. If they are a member, their membership may be revoked through established processes.


Theft is a serious offence as it reduces the ability of the organization to sustain itself over the long term, eventually reducing opportunities for hundreds of people to benefit form an organization others have built.

There are three types of theft · Theft of money/cash · Theft of equipment · Theft of data

Theft of money/cash

Theft of money/cash takes away from hard work put in by volunteers. Anyone proven to be responsible for theft of any form of money, including cash, cheques, tokens shall not be able to volunteer at FGT. If they are a member, their membership may be revoked through established processes.

Simple mistakes such as forgetting to put in a receipt for cash reimbursed shall not be considered theft, ask long as the mistake is rectified as soon as possible.

Theft of equipment and parts

Theft of equipment takes away from the valuable donations made by our customers and the hard work put in by volunteers to obtain those donations. Anyone proven to be responsible for theft of any form of equipment including parts shall not be able to volunteer at FGT. If they are a member, their membership may be revoked through established processes.

On occasion, we do allow volunteers to take home equipment in return for a specific service. The equipment granted to volunteers shall be equipment not in demand by our customers, and permission has to explicitly granted by the key holder on shift and the equipment granted shall be explicitly noted in a log book, or an email.

Theft of data

People who come to FGT trust us with their personal data. We also maintain commercial data in dealing with customers. Anyone proven to be responsible for theft or attempted theft of any form of data , including emails, phone numbers, and addresses shall not be able to volunteer at FGT. If they are a member, their membership may be revoked through established processes.

We do restrict access to the membership database and the CRM to protect privacy of data. That’s why the login and password for the membership database and the CRM is given to trusted volunteers who have been at FGT for a while, and not to any new volunteer.

Council and Workgroup meetings, Email List, Online Forum, Wiki, Blog and Facebook pages

We are each here because of our love of Free Geek but sometimes our emotional side takes over our intellectual side and we can cause a lot of mental and emotional harm to ourselves and spread collateral damage to others if we don’t recognize what we are doing can be harmful.

  • For online forums, we should abide by netiquette ("net etiquette") at all times,
  • We should assume good intent on behalf of the author
  • We should be conservative in what we say, and liberal in what we accept from others.
  • However, we should not devalue or degrade others by omission, use ignorance as an excuse or defend doing so, especially when it's blatantly affected
  • Make extra effort to convey your messages in a way they can be received
  • Make extra effort to understand messages in the way they were intended
  • We should not send private info to public forums
  • e.g. Foo Corp wants to drop off some equipment, and we should call their manager Jane Doe at 604.555.1234
  • Private or performance-related information about staff, directors, or volunteers has no place on the mailing list. They are people, not celebrities.
  • We should not make things personal.
  • e.g. A complaint about a volunteer, staff, or director
  • Criticize in private, Compliment in public
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • We should be civil, even if the conversation heats up
    • Seek to understand before being understood
    • Don't forget a sense of humour :)
      • Do not be an insensitive clod or welcome overlords :)
  • Even if you disagree, try to understand how the person feels and trust that they are saying something that is important to them.
  • Directors, staff, and senior volunteers should be mindful that they are official representatives of Free Geek Toronto, and that their words carry additional weight and responsibility
  • Leaders in a community must be extra mindful and disciplined to set a positive and productive tone
  • We should use public forums for relevant discussion and proposals
  • Use discretion when cross-posting from non-Free Geek related events/links/news; they should not be contradictory to our principles.

Example: “My friend needs help moving, can someone help” is NOT a Free Geek related posting

  • Public forums are not the best place for back and forth arguments
  • We should not pursue disputes in public forums
  • Free Geek's public forums are for Free Geek business and communication amongst folks who are interested in Free Geek. There are separate avenues to address grievances and complaints. Contact a staff person or director for help. They can act as your ombudsperson and can keep your issue in confidence.
  • If you have an issue with an individual at Free Geek, you can ask for mediation to resolve the conflict. Contact a staff person or director for help with conflict resolution.
  • We should not post libel, insults, or threats
  • Kindness and respect are required of everyone
  • Making unprovable or untrue remarks about people is not fair and can be illegal
  • We should not use profane language, or terminology that excludes, miscategorizes or targets others
  • Demeaning remarks related to gender, orientation, ethnicity, age, gender expression, class, spiritual views, nationality, disability, eccentricities, etc. are not okay.
  • While swearing is no big deal to some, it can alienate people of certain generations, cultures, or sensibilities
  • Be sensitive when using acronyms, jargon, ideological constructs or slang . Do not assume others are familiar with them, and understand that they may present barriers to understanding or make people feel devalued or excluded. Do not accuse anyone of living in their mother's basement either.
  • Free Geek's public forums are an extension of Free Geek's physical building.
  • Very occasionally, Free Geek bans someone from the premises (e.g. for theft, or violence of any kind etc.). If you have been banned from Free Geek's premises, you are also banned from Free Geek's public forums for the duration of your ban.
  • If you wish to appeal a ban, contact a staff person or director who can act as your ombudsperson.
  • Do not trivialize people's contributions by insinuating negating connections, such as of social gratitude being owed.
  • Experimenting with new things to do with technology can be useful in extremely surprising ways. Do not treat this as a an easy opportunity to ridicule people with unusual approaches.


Netiquette at Free Geek