Codes of Conduct for RO packages


I’ve been thinking about having clearer guidelines for our package onboarding, especially regarding recommendations vs requirements, and had some thoughts about Codes of Conduct that I wanted to jot down in advance of the community call next month.

  • Right now our guidelines include a code of conduct but can be ambiguous, so when we update to clarify recommended vs required I think we should specify that it is required.
  • However, people may adopt such a CoC without thinking about exactly what it entails or have a good idea of how to enforce it.
  • It might be better, rather than burying the CoC language in the package guidelines, to put it right up in the checkbox at package submission. Something like: “I agree that, if accepted, to maintain this package under rOpenSci’s Code of Conduct and enforce it jointly with rOpenSci’s editors.”
  • Then we link to CoC as part of the rOpenSci footer when the package is transferred to the repository.

One positive advantage here is that we don’t worry about different people adopting different codes of conduct or different reviewers interpreting the requirement differently. Also, we can step in on anything going on in the repos that are part of our repository. Not every package maintainer wants/is prepared to do enforcement.

I wouldn’t advocate for this for every organization like ours. It wouldn’t make sense for JOSS. But we are in general pretty strongly opinionated about the software we accept, keep a close eye on it, host it and brand it with our logo. So I think it makes sense for us to handle the CoC. It doesn’t mean we have to watch every conversation all the time, but the CoC could link back to the rOpenSci editors so people have a contact other than the package maintainer if need be.

Anyway, just some thoughts which perhaps we can resolve after the community call.


Agree, sounds good.

Yeah, probably makes sense that we are ultimately responsible for enforcement.

Other thoughts:

  • We should make sure we’re communicating to everyone that they’re not in this alone, and to let us know of any problems