Code of Conduct Response and Enforcement Manual for NumFOCUS Events and Meetups


This is the code of conduct response manual followed by NumFOCUS for our events and meetups. It’s used when we respond to a report of a code of conduct violation to make sure we’re consistent and fair. It should be considered an internal document, but we’re publishing it publicly in the interests of transparency. Enforcement of the code of conduct should be respectful and not include any harassing behaviors.

We encourage to you make use of this checklist to ensure you are implementing all of the necessary steps outlined in detail throughout this document.


Who is this document for?

This document is designed to provide standard, consistent guidance to anyone tasked with enforcement of the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct at an in-person event or meetup, including:

  • PyData event organizers, staff, and volunteers
  • PyData Meetup organizers and volunteers
  • Organizers and volunteers of NumFOCUS-affiliated events, such as those held by NumFOCUS Sponsored or Affiliated Projects (JuliaCon, JupyterCon, FEniCS Con, etc.)


Getting Help

Members of the community are welcome and encouraged to contact the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team at or reach out directly to Leah Silen, NumFOCUS Executive Director, at .



Code of Conduct Violation
A code of conduct violation is any behavior forbidden by the Code of Conduct.

Critical Incident
A critical incident is defined as any event that occurs outside the range of normal operations and that creates a disruption and/or threatens the physical or mental well-being of an individual or group. Examples include, but are not limited to, a Code of Conduct violation, an emergency requiring immediate response (see below), civil disturbance, act of violence (with continuing risk of danger), hostage situation, natural disaster, chemical spill, fire, explosion, or gas leak.

Person reporting an incident or violation.

Person being reported/Reported Person
The person that the reporter names as being responsible for behavior that they believe is in violation of the Code of Conduct.

CoC Response Team
The group of individuals at a particular event or meetup who are responsible for responding to Code of Conduct violation reports.



All attendees: read the code of conduct, agree to follow the code of conduct, report incidents they observe

Event/meetup volunteer: as above, and also help report incidents, help attendees find a member of the response team

Event/meetup organizers and response team: take reports, gather additional information if necessary, address immediate safety and health concerns, convene with on-site support, event staff, and/or NumFOCUS to address incidents

NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team: review reports and responses after the incident, be available for discussion and consultation before, during and after the event

NumFOCUS Code of Conduct (includes PyData)


NumFOCUS Code of Conduct:

PyData Code of Conduct:
PyData is an educational program of NumFOCUS and thus abides by the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct.


Reporting Guidelines

Information on how to report a Code of Conduct (CoC) incident is detailed in the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct, here.

Immediate Response to Critical Incidents or Emergencies

Depending on the severity and/or details of the incident, an immediate response may be required. If an incident involves physical danger or involves a threat to anyone’s safety (e.g. threats of violence), any member of the community may – and should – act immediately to protect safety. This can include contacting emergency or crisis resources.


Ongoing Incidents

If an incident is ongoing, whether in-person or online, any community member may act immediately and employ any of the tools available to the community member to pacify the situation.

In situations where an individual community member acts immediately, they must:

  1. inform the event organizer or meetup leader as soon as possible, and
  2. within 24 hours of the incident, report their actions to the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team for review. (Use or the Code of Conduct incident report form)


Immediate Response Checklist

  • Assess whether you need a first-responder (law enforcement, etc.) to immediately respond to the incident. If so, ask the reporter to stay with you and dial the appropriate emergency response number. No community member (including the Code of Conduct Response Team) should feel compelled to take any action that would put them in danger or risk their personal safety.
  • You are expected to remain with the person reporting an incident or a person in need of assistance until the CoC response team members and/or first-responders arrive.
  • If there is any general threat to participants and/or the safety of anyone attending a NumFOCUS event, contact the emergency response number established.
  • If individuals are physically safe, contact law enforcement or security only at the reporter’s request.
  • Follow any local guidelines for handling incidents, including if you have a legal reporting role.

Guidelines for Events and Meetups: Preparing to Enforce the Code of Conduct


The initial response to an incident is very important and will set the tone for the NumFOCUS community. You may encounter challenging situations and have limited experience or training to feel comfortable enforcing the CoC. These guidelines are meant to help guide you through the process of supporting other community members and yourself during an incident.

All NumFOCUS community members should feel empowered to enforce the standards of community behavior as outlined in the Code of Conduct.

Ideally, we would all be able to diffuse an incident. In practice, we have varying comfort with situations depending on our current experience and the environment. Below are ways that you can be supportive and steps that you can take during or after an incident.

If you can, move from being a bystander to being a Code of Conduct first responder. If you see something inappropriate happening, speak up. If you don’t feel comfortable intervening, but feel someone should, please submit a report in person to an event organizer/volunteer or via the Code of Conduct incident report form to the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team.


Establish a Response Team

Every NumFOCUS/PyData event and meetup should establish in advance a Code of Conduct Response Team. In many cases, this team will be made up of the primary event/meetup organizers and volunteers.

We also encourage you to solicit volunteers from your local community specifically to serve as CoC responders. It is helpful to have a large CoC response team so that the community a) is easily able to locate a team member to make a report and b) has multiple options for reporting in case of conflict of interest or personal discomfort.

The role of response team members is to:

  • Take incident reports
  • Protect reporter privacy
  • Assess the situation
  • Find additional help
  • Resolve the incident
  • Respond to those impacted
  • Document the incident
  • Follow up with NumFOCUS and relevant organization leaders about the incident


Train the Response Team

Ensure that everyone on your CoC response team has read two documents in their entirety:

  • The NumFOCUS Code of Conduct
  • This document, the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Response and Enforcement Manual

If possible, hold a meeting of the CoC response team in advance of the event to review protocols and do some role-playing practice. It really helps!


Publicize the Response Team

Make sure to let everyone at your event/meetup know who is a part of the CoC Response Team. Good options include:

  • Have the CoC response team members stand/wave at the introductory portion of the event
  • Give the CoC response team members eye-catching t-shirts or buttons so they are easily identifiable
  • List the contact information for the CoC response team on your event website/meetup page
  • Send around the names, photos, or contacts for the CoC response team in a pre-event email

Because the goal is awareness, we recommend that you implement as many of the above as possible, plus any other ideas you have for ensuring that the CoC response team members are quickly and easily identifiable.


Publicize Code of Conduct Reporting Instructions

Ensure that your event/meetup has published CoC reporting instructions on your event website/meetup group page:

In addition to providing the link to the Code of Conduct incident report form and the address for the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team, you should also list contact methods for your local CoC response team.

We recommend that you list at least two points of contact. It can also be helpful to set up a group email alias so that when someone contacts the group email it will be sent to multiple CoC response team members.

Response Protocol for Events and Meetups


For the Response Team

You are responsible for assessing the situation, taking a report, and implementing an appropriate response, with assistance from the event/meetup organizers and the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team.


Reporting and Response Procedure

  1. Receive initial report
  2. Assess incident impact and risk level
  3. Formulate a response
  4. Resolve the incident and respond to those affected, including the person who reported the incident
  5. Document the incident (record the incident details and resolution)
  6. Report the incident to the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team and relevant organization leaders for review and possible follow-up


1) Receive Initial Report

When taking a report about a potential Code of Conduct violation,

  • stay as neutral and supportive as possible
    • “I hear you” can be a good, neutral way to empathize (rather than “I’m sorry”)
  • take the report in private, away from people who may overhear
  • defer judgements about the situation until all details are gathered.


Remember “LASER”:

  • Listen and summarize
  • Acknowledge emotions with “you” statements (e.g. “you felt angry about what was said”)
  • Seek assistance or resources as needed
  • Ensure everyone is safe
  • Report or Respond to the incident


Information to gather in the report

  • Contact information for the reporter including name, email, and phone number. This should be kept confidential (only you, the initial responder taking the report, will know their identity) if requested. Otherwise, the reporter’s identity may be shared with the CoC response team and the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team.
  • The approximate time and location of the incident (please be as specific as possible)
  • Identifying information (e.g. name, nickname, screen name, physical description) of the individual whose behavior is being reported
  • The account of what happened/description of the behavior. Note any supporting materials, such as message screencaps, photos, or emails.
  • Additional context for the situation, if appropriate.
  • Whether or not the incident is ongoing
  • Names and contact info, if possible, of anyone else who witnessed or was involved in this incident. (Did anyone else observe the incident?)
  • Any additional information that is relevant

Repeat the details the person says back to them. This can help you remember what to note down later in your written report.

If you choose to take notes while the person is speaking to you, let them know that is what you are doing. “I just want to let you know I’m going to take notes — I am listening and want to make sure I get down the important information. I might have to ask you to repeat something just so I can be sure to get it correct.”

After taking the report:

  • Ask the reporter:
    • Do you need anything else right now? (such as a quiet room, water, a friend, safe exit from the building)
    • Is there anything else we should know about this?
  • Thank the reporter for their report
  • Evaluate reporter privacy (find out whether they want to keep their identity confidential, determine how that can be accomplished given the details of the situation)
  • Ask for contact information for follow-up afterwards


If someone doesn’t want to be associated w/the report:

  • Take an anonymous report
  • “Escrow” a report — take a report; if something similar happens again, we will act on it. (2 people is a pattern)
  • If there’s a safety concern and the reporter wants to remain anonymous, see if the reporter will give you the degree of permission re: protecting vs revealing their identity to enable follow-up so that we can ensure everyone’s safety.


When someone reports an uncomfortable situation that they’re not certain violates the code of conduct:

  • Take their report
  • Acknowledge that it was appropriate to report the situation
  • Assess whether this situation requires a response to protect community safety or ensure the community standards for behavior are upheld
  • Ask “is there anything else I can do to support you?”


When the reporter or people affected by the incident are worried about their safety and letting others know they made a report:

  • Make sure you collect all information in private (always do this!)
  • Find out what response they feel would be best for their safety
  • Assess what actions will keep the rest of the community safe


2) Assess Impact and Risk Level

The severity of an incident’s impact is determined by things like how many people are affected, whether it was a public or private situation, or whether there are additional implications for other event participants.

The risk level is determined by things like whether this is a repeat incident, if there are multiple perpetrators, or if there are additional medical or legal issues involved.


Assessment Matrix


  Low Risk High Risk
Low Impact Racist joke made by a participant in private conversation Participant found to have previous sexual assault allegations
High Impact Racist joke made by a visible participant such as a program leader or a keynote speaker Persistent coordinated harassment against another participant or the event/program itself
(Bomb Threat, Attack, etc.)

3) Formulate a Response


Response Matrix



Low Risk

High Risk

Low Impact

“Don’t do that, that’s not appropriate”


“We’ll remove you if you continue this behavior”

Gather information in case the situation becomes more critical later

High Impact

Reprimand and/or removal of the person who caused the incident + public statement by organizers/NumFOCUS

Will require a coordinated response from the whole team plus additional specialized assistance – likely need to call in first-responders


Identify Needed Resources

Do you need backup, more information, or other support?

Possibilities include:

  • Other CoC response team members
  • NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team input
  • Building/venue staff
  • Security officers
  • Police officers
  • Emergency medical response
  • Past incident reports to verify previous issues and responses
  • Help from a crisis line
  • Online safety resources


Communicate with the Reported Person about the Incident

As soon as possible, let the reported person know that there is a complaint about them (before the response team meeting mentioned below). This conversation should be prior to and separate from the meeting in which you communicate the consequences of the CoC violation to the reported person.

Let the reported person tell someone on the CoC response team their side of the story; the person who receives their side of the story should be prepared to convey it at the response team meeting.

How to approach someone who has been reported as violating the code of conduct:

  • “Hi, can I talk to you privately”
  • “We received a report about a code of conduct issue at {time/place} involving {topic}.”
  • Do not name the person who reported it
  • “This behavior isn’t appropriate for our event/meetup”
  • Allow them to respond
  • Do not force a particular response such as an apology
  • Emphasize the result/impact of the behavior and that it should cease/stop


When hearing the reported person’s perspective about a potential Code of Conduct violation,

  • stay as neutral as possible
    • “I hear you” can be a good, neutral way to empathize (rather than “I understand”)
  • talk to them in private, away from people who may overhear
  • defer deciding or implementing consequences about the situation until all details are gathered.

Meet with the Response Team and/or NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team

Available CoC response staff should meet as soon as possible after a report to discuss:

  • what happened?
  • are we doing anything about it?
  • who is doing those things?
  • when or where are they doing them?

Neither the reporter nor the reported person should attend. People with a conflict of interest should exclude themselves or if necessary be excluded by others.

When possible, connect with the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team to confer about possible responses in advance of carrying out the response. Let us know what your timeframe is when you reach out to us; we can often get back to you within 24 hours.

The CoC response team as a whole should ideally agree upon the consequences/course of action to be taken. When there is disagreement, defer to the judgment of the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team (or, in their absence, the event organizers/meetup leadership).


Use a Consequence Ladder to Help Choose and Plan to Communicate a Resolution

The notion of a ‘ladder’ is that each time we take an action (ban, warning, etc.) the individual (reported person) is made aware of future consequence. That’s not to say that someone cannot jump right to a permanent ban, or that we can’t jump ‘two’ steps in the ladder. Rather, it’s a way of communicating escalation.


Sample Consequence Ladder:

Level 0: No Action
For example, if the CoC response team determines the complaint has not been substantiated or if it is deemed to be outside the purview of the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct. You may decide not to act on reports if you feel it is being made in bad faith and/or in an attempt to harass or intimidate other community members.


Level 1: Private Warning Issued
A private warning from event/meetup leadership, with clarity of violation, consequences of continued behavior. Boundaries for further action set. (next time x happens) — You may have already issued a private warning when initially communicating with the reported person about the incident (i.e. – stop this behavior).


Level 2: Warning + Mandatory Cooling Off Period (during event)
A private warning from event/meetup leadership, with clarity of violation and consequences of continued behavior. Require that the reported person has no further interaction with the people involved during the event/meetup, including unsolicited interaction with those enforcing the Code of Conduct. This includes avoiding any interactions in digital or online channels like social media (including ‘following/liking/retweeting’) or text message.


Level 3: Extended Ban
Imposed temporary break (few weeks or months).
Accounts deactivated/banned temporarily.
Require that the reported person has no further interaction with the people involved during the event/meetup, including unsolicited interaction with those enforcing the Code of Conduct. This includes avoiding any interactions in digital or online channels like social media (including ‘following/liking/retweeting’) or text message. All community leadership roles suspended (including volunteering positions). No attendance at NumFOCUS/PyData/Project events during ban period. At end of ban period, reiterate warning from event/meetup leadership, with clarity of violation and consequences of continued or repeat behavior.


Level 4: Permanent Ban
No attendance at NumFOCUS/PyData/Project events going forward.
All accounts deactivated permanently.
All community leadership roles permanently suspended.

The goal should be to be able to communicate to the reported person: “The action we will be taking as a result of this incident is X, but if it happens again or the behavior continues, we will escalate the consequences to Y.”


Enforcing a Ban:


When someone not permitted to attend the event attempts to register or enter the event space:

  • Tell them that they are not permitted to attend the event
  • Do not provide additional details or explanation
  • Ask them to leave
  • Call on-site support for assistance if the person does not leave
  • If they still will not leave, call the police non-emergency line to report trespassing
  • Use staff to block their movement into the event space

4) Resolve the Incident

On the basis of the report you’ve received, your assessment of the incident risk and impact, and after conferring with response team and/or NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team members, determine an appropriate incident resolution and do it.

You never have to explain the reasons for your chosen resolution outside the reporting team and the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team.

You should aim to take action as soon as reasonably possible. During an in-person event, a response within the next half-day is usually an appropriate time frame, depending on the length of the event.


Communicate with the Reported Person about the CoC Violation and Consequences

As soon as possible after the response meeting, let the reported person know what action is being taken. Give them a place to appeal to if there is one, but in the meantime the action stands. “If you’d like to discuss this further, please contact <primary response team member>, but in the meantime, you must <whatever the determined consequences/limitations are>.”

When communicating with the reported person:

  • Emphasize that the impact of their behavior is more important than their intent
  • Make sure that they have a concrete behavior modification plan
  • Call them in: “I want you to help us make this community as inclusive as it can be”
  • Don’t give them reassurance:
  • “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again” instead of “I’m sure you just made a mistake”
  • “This behavior is not appropriate at our event/meetup”
  • “We need everyone to uphold the standards of behavior for our community”
  • This is NOT a teaching moment for the reported person. They can have the teaching moment later, but your focus should be on resolving the incident and making sure it doesn’t happen again.


Remember “JARRING”:

  • State what happened with no Judgment words
  • Affirm the impact on the reporter and/or community
  • Allow the reported person to Respond
  • Your job is not to Reassure
  • Focus on the Impact of their behavior
  • Call them IN, “I need your help making this a welcoming/inclusive/safe event/community”
  • Give them a plan to modify their behavior


When someone wants to make an apology:

  • Don’t allow them to apologize to the reporter – if needed, say “I can relay your apology”
  • Listen and accept their apology on behalf of the event organizers
    • It’s not your job to reassure them that their intentions were good
  • Do not allow them to approach the person who made the report without permission from the reporter
    • Emphasize that doing so will increase the stress and discomfort of the people they hurt

5) Document the Incident

Be sure to record the incident details (include any additional information beyond what was originally recorded in the initial report) and the resolution. Keep it in a secure place; ensure that this information cannot be easily accessed by anyone outside of the CoC response team and/or NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team.

6) Follow up with NumFOCUS and Event/Organization Leaders

Send the documentation of the incident to the NumFOCUS Code of Conduct Enforcement Team (). It is important that NumFOCUS be kept informed so that we can monitor any ongoing patterns of behavior, respond appropriately to any potential legal issues, and use the (anonymized) detail of a situation to ensure consistent and equitable outcomes across our events and meetups.

You should also ensure that the leadership of the event/meetup/project is informed of the incident and your response, so that any appropriate follow-up action can be taken. For example, leadership may need to:


  • Monitor the reported person’s behavior after the incident or event (there may be an ongoing pattern of behavior)
  • Make a public statement (depending on the severity or public nature of an incident, a formal and public response from leadership may be appropriate)
  • Enforce a ban (whether temporary or permanent)
  • Learn from the incident and train response teams to better handle or possibly prevent future similar scenarios