The document presented below is the text of the code of conduct for the Twin Cities Maker organization. This document was reviewed and approved by members of the Board of Directors of TC Maker in November 2011. The original text was drafted October 13, 2011 by member Chris Odegard at the request of the Board of Directors in the course of their regular business. This document was crafted by combining the adopted principles of the organization with similar documents from other organizations. The most substantive contribution was the adoption of a code of conduct structure created for the open-source Ubuntu project, and the efforts of that organization are acknowledged with deep appreciation.
Reference to a Code of Conduct is made throughout Article II of our current bylaws. The need for the drafting, discussion, and eventual adoption of the resulting form of this document was identified by the Board of Directors. Authority for the dissemination and enforcement of this document, once approved, comes from our by-laws Article II, Sections 2.4: Documents to Members and 2.6: Termination.
Collaboration and community depend on good relationships among the participants. To this end, we've agreed on the following codes of conduct to help define the ways we think collaboration and cooperation should work. This document expands upon, and should not be interpreted as conflicting in any way with the three core principles of the Twin Cities Maker organization:
This code of conduct covers TC Maker member behavior in any forum, mailing list, wiki, website, Internet relay chat (IRC) channel, install-fest, public meeting, private correspondence or any other interactions related to TC Maker business and any activities at or on behalf of the Hack Factory. All individuals with elected or appointed community responsibilities are ultimately accountable to the full membership of TC Maker, and the Board of Directors (or a separate body of members appointed by the board) will arbitrate in any dispute over the conduct of a member of the community. Under extraordinary circumstances, including repeated and willful disregard for these stated principles, a member may have their membership privileges suspended or removed in a manner as defined by the TC Maker Board of Directors.
When in doubt, this rule wins all conflicts. Essentially, it means that while your interactions with members and resources (space, tools, materials, etc.) should certainly be fun and valuable to you, you'll get a lot more out of them if you put more in. A key element of excellence is thinking about the space, and the organization as a whole, as if everything were our individual responsibility — from paying the bills or teaching a class, to sweeping the floor and emptying the trash bins. This is the very essense of responsible “do-ocracy,” of being the change you want to see. It is also important to consider three other, essential aspects of excellence: one) Being excellent does not mean being boring; a community without a sense of humor is most un-excellent; two) It is excellent to stand up and take responsibility for your own actions, especially when those actions have the potential to negatively affect other people or stuff; and three) It is definitely excellent to forgive others for their mistakes.
Any activity related to TC Maker should be executed thoughtfully, with due consideration to how your actions will affect others. If it puts members, the public, or the organization at undue risk (which includes doing illegal things), it is not okay. We try to resolve conflicts through consensus, and by focusing on the best outcome for the space and community as a whole. Remember that your actions and activity may be seen or heard by people outside our community, or by those within our community that have different views and assumptions, with a different basis for their core principles. To reduce the potential for ambiguity in such matters, all members are assumed to share the same common principles of the society we reside within. In other words, we all act in accordance with the laws and statutes of the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the State of Minnesota, and the United States of America, and in all interactions we attempt to honor the social niceties and norms as we individually understand them.
Our community and its members treat one another with respect. Everyone can make a valuable contribution. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It's important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. We expect members of our community to be respectful when dealing with other members as well as with people outside the organization. Our members are expected to treat all people as they would, themselves, prefer to be treated; regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, neurotype, phenotype, political beliefs, profession, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, sub-culture, place of birth, technical ability, or any other arbitrary criteria.
Collaboration is central to our organization and to the larger community. We encourage individuals and teams to work together whether inside or outside the Hack Factory. Internally and externally, we should always be open to collaboration. Wherever possible, we should work with others in the local metropolitan community, or the worldwide makerspace community, to coordinate our efforts in all areas whether they be technical, artistic, advocacy, or educational. Collaborative work, including the administrative business of the organization, should be done transparently and should involve as many interested parties as early as possible.
Disagreements, both social and technical, happen all the time and the maker community is no exception. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively and with the help of the community and community processes. We have a Board of Directors, Shop Management personnel, and a wide variety of fellow members with a broad range of life experiences to turn to when resolving disagreements of any kind.
Nobody knows everything, and nobody is expected to be perfect. Asking questions avoids many problems down the road, and so questions are encouraged. Those who are asked questions should be responsive and helpful. However, when asking a question, care must be taken to do so in an appropriate forum, and the inquiry should be respectful.
Members of every community come and go and we are no different. When somebody leaves or disengages from the organization, or a collaborative project, we ask that they do so in a way that minimizes disruption as much as possible. This means they should tell people they are leaving, assume responsibility for any material they may have in the shared space, and take proper steps to ensure that others involved with any collaborative projects can pick up where the departing member left off.
The TC Maker code of conduct describes the standard for all conduct in our community. Leaders however, are expected to be held to a higher standard. This document provides a set of guidelines and explains to all members the high standards of conduct to which leaders in the community should be held. Our community depends on the drive and inspiration of members that step forward to assume a particular set responsibilities. We expect anybody who takes on a leadership role to meet this higher standard of conduct.
We expect leadership by example. Leadership is not an award, right, or title; it is a privilege. A leader will only retain his or her position as long as he or she acts as a leader. This means that they act with civility, respect, and trust in the ways described in the code of conduct. It also means that their contributions are sustained, significant, and reliable for the period that they lead. Leaders in our community are not autocrats. Leaders can not, and will not, stay leaders only because they got there first. Their role stems from shared recognition and respect from the community.
The code of conduct does not only apply to leaders; it applies to leaders more. Leaders must show more patience, more respect, and more civility — they must demonstrate more excellence — than other members of our community. As leaders, they represent the organization and, ultimately, the whole makerspace movement. Leaders do their best to reflect the values that TC Maker stands for and the behaviors that we hold as paramount. Additionally, they take care to act in accordance with governance principles and structures and work within the system to change them.
A leader is judged by their actions within the realm of their responsibilities. A leader knows when to ask for help and when to step back. Good leaders know when not to make a decision but to delegate it to others with the same goal. The best leaders balance hard work in the community. Of course, leadership does not mean that leaders delegate unpleasant work to others. Instead, leaders balance hard work on their own — leadership by example — with delegation to others and hard work on their own. A leader's foremost goal is ensuring that their area of responsibility is taken care of, and those affected by it benefit from the results.
A good leader does not seek the limelight but aims to congratulate those under their leadership, and to celebrate the successes only as a member of the community affected. While leaders are sometimes more visible than other members, leaders use their visibility to highlight the great work of the entire community as a whole.
A leader notices when they are conflicted and then delegates decisions to others. When in doubt, leaders publicly ask for a second opinion. Leaders recognize that perceived conflicts of interest are as important as real conflicts of interest and are cognizant of perceptions; they understand that their actions are as tainted by perceived conflicts as by real ones.
A leader recognizes his or her personality and personal feelings and desires may diverge from the interests of the community as a whole. When acting in their capacity as leaders, they should not ignore their own beliefs, feelings, and principles but must hold the interests of the organization above their own convictions. Leaders make difficult choices but are careful to act in the best interests of their communities. They work with established processes in the community and delegate decisions to others who can.
The TC Maker code of conduct discusses the importance of gracefully stepping down from a position. This is particularly important for leaders who are responsible for decisions or specific processes. If someone in a leadership role does not have time to fulfill their role temporarily, they should warn the Board of Directors and other community members in advance. If an absence becomes extended, they should step down from their leadership position until they have more time to follow through. Similarly, leaders should step down gracefully — as described in the code of conduct. When someone takes on a leadership position within TC Maker, they are making a commitment to step down gracefully and to ensure that others on the team can easily continue where they leave off.
This code of conduct is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. Anyone may re-use this material for any project, and modify it as desired; just please allow others to also use any modifications and give credit to the Twin Cities Maker organization. This document is an adaptation of the codes of conduct created for use with the Ubuntu project (specifically the references code of conduct and leadership code of conduct), and TC Maker honors their contributions.