Code of Conduct?

While commenting on the Synthrotek owner's rape jokes / thread deletion thread my thoughts came to the idea of community codes of conduct (CoC) and whether or not lines has or needs one.

It is my opinion this is by far the highest quality music, art, and technology community on the net andI would love to see it continue to thrive. While many of us “know each other” from many interactions in the virtual and sometimes physical world, there is also an continued influx of many other people as word spreads. The community is already up to nearly 2600 users and growing.

While I haven’t really seen any sign of it yet, there’s always the danger of a community drifting away from its original sprit as it continues to grow. I’ve seen it happen with many other forums I’ve participated in the past. I kind of feel like having a CoC is a good way to codify some of the values of a community and keep them from becoming diluted. In programming communities I’m familiar with that have implemented codes of conduct there has also been increased inclusion of traditionally underrepresented groups because people feel more

Do other people think it is worth discussing formalizing some kind of community code of conduct? or does that feel too heavy handed and unnecessary?


i’m up for this, but it should be minimal. does anyone have a suggestion for a starting point? does discourse have a model? it feels almost unnecessary as it comes down to 1. no intimidation 2. no trolling 3. no shitposting 4. no spam which are pretty universally understood bad behavior (though allowed on twitter/fb/etc)

re: moderation

this is less of a code of conduct than housekeeping.

  • if your topic is in the wrong category, it will be moved
  • if your topic title is vague or misleading or wrong, it will be changed
  • thread locking and deletion will be discussed in public prior to action. locking preferred over deletion.

We used the Geek Feminism wiki’s Conference anti-harrassment policy, the Ada Initiative’s policies, and the PyCon Code of Conduct (2018’s code is linked, but we used the 2013 code) as reference for the Music Hack Day Code of Conduct.

All of these are event-focused, so their requirements are a bit different than for digital spaces.

When I was involved with CRASHspace in LA, we attempted to make things encouraging rather than discouraging, so we wound up with the primary rule of Be Awesome, though some extra language is necessary to explicitly mention things that are decidedly not awesome.


I can agree to all of this

concise & very clear

Unless issues appear and are recurrent, I’m not sure this kind of things would be necessary here. As many others have mentioned, it’s one of the most civilized places online… :slight_smile:

The only other forum I am in any way active in (ilovefuzz) has no rules except a sort of informal “don’t be a dick” and it seems to work pretty well.

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I like these.

I do think that lines is small enough that an element of contacting people to discuss the first two points would be welcome and not too much of a burden on the moderators.

I’ve always found that a quick note saying hello and explaining that a thread might be better in a different category or that the person might want to reconsider/edit the title makes a huge difference to the way moderation actions are perceived. Somebody doing it themselves rather than a moderator doing it for them helps increase a person’s engagement and means they are more likely to consider these issues in the future prior to posting rather than perhaps feeling they have been the subject of unexplained, heavy-handed, moderation.


One of my favourite codes of conduct is for the Go Community:

There was a fair bit of resistance when it was initially brought in, it didn’t exist from the outset of the community, but since it was implemented the effect has been quite visible and positive. The basic rules are pretty much what @tehn suggests, but I like that it also explicitly states some community values, and also the goal of having such a code in the first place.

That’s something that came up when implementing the Go CoC as well. While it’s true there are not many issues now, just having and committing to a CoC makes the community a lot more welcoming for people who have had bad experiences in the past elsewhere. I think it helps address some of the issues brought up in threads like Where are the women and non cis males?


Necessary bump. I took a stab at a draft, merging an inclusivity statement and a code of conduct. It’s made some rounds with the mods and now community feedback would be super helpful:

The lines moderators are committed to the equitable treatment of all community members, regardless of: class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, sex, sexual orientation and religious, non-religious, or spiritual beliefs.

lines is a space that embraces civil dialogue, which can sometimes challenge biases through discussion and analysis. Diversity of thought is valued and encouraged.

Empathy is the core of communication on lines. Disagreement can remain healthy if each member: a) assumes positive intent and b) genuinely seeks to understand others.

Flagging is a tool for members to help moderators identify communication that does not exhibit empathy. To foster the growth of our community’s culture, all members should be held to a clear system of accountability.

When a post is flagged for incivility, a moderator will review it:

  • If the moderator agrees, they will contact the flagged member and share the community’s feedback. Members are not punished for their ideas or opinions, but they are held accountable for their presentation. The mod will encourage a revision of the post or other necessary action.
  • If the moderator disagrees, they will share their review with the flagging member to help guide good discourse.

If the flagged member receives additional related flags:

  • Their ability to post will be temporarily revoked.
  • A moderator will be available to discuss their actions and community impact.
  • If they express interest in remaining a contributing member of the lines community, they will be re-granted posting privileges after one week.

If, upon their return, the member does not demonstrate growth toward more empathetic communication (weighed by additional flags or other measures), this will be grounds for account termination.


A strong encouragement to use Discourse’s “mute thread” feature would not be out of place. I’m mainly here for the modules and development of same, for instance, not political or (usually) social discussions that (in this forum especially) tend to grate on my nerves.

Muting the other stuff helps keep the signal to noise higher for some of us and potential for annoyance and/or conflict lower.


@dan_derks this seems extremely thoughtful, and it’s an amazingly succinct answer to the question “why is lines different?”

Is there any way to make this more prominent, especially for brand new forum members?


i’m thankful that you feel that way and appreciate the feedback @jasonw22!

i’m going to leave discussion open for another day or two, just in case anyone had any suggestions or questions. i’ll circle back with the mods after that period and find a way to formalize.

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that is a good point imho. Maybe the same concept can be expressed without getting too much into the details. Maybe saying “The lines moderators are committed to the equitable treatment of all community members” is enough?

I know this is of course a bit of a subjective thing, but do you feel the “mute thread” function is not discoverable enough on Discourse as is?


agreed, @papernoise + @Rodrigo! great point, thank you.

also, that string is so recognizable that it hazards folks going into autopilot at the top.


Honestly I would feel more comfortable if the list was there, it already says ‘all community members’ before the list, so the list isn’t being exclusive. People who have never had contact, with, for example, trans people, aren’t going to consider they might be a part of all community members. Additionally, I have know people who ‘accept everybody as humans’ to be aggressively transphobic. Being specific here is a message to people in those groups that they are welcome, and a message to others that they should take extra care to consider these people.


thank you for the clear reflection, @nonverbalpoetry. this was my intention for including it originally.

it sounds like including the full inclusivity statement would only positively impact folks in our community, serving as a protection or welcome mat. this justifies keeping it, though i understand @Rodrigo’s ontological point.

i like @Angela’s suggestion that there could be an “etc” or “including but not limited to” openness. any further suggestions on how to handle this?


I think that my suggestion, which might help with the eyes-glazing-over bit, would be to move the first paragraph—which incidentally to my mind feels boiler-plate-y corporate and, like, empty words in the long phrasing, although I understand the intent—so that it comes either after the next two paragraphs, or at the end.

I think “lines is a space that embraces civil dialogue…” is a great opener, especially because it describes the space and our desires for it rather than our desires for what moderation will look like.


for transparency (and if it helps), that part was absolutely an amalgam of a few inclusivity statements from higher ed mission statements.

i really like your suggestion, @alanza. that feels like a good way to include it but not frontload a community statement with objectively corporate language.


I must correct myself: @dan_derks isn’t made of iron, he is made of sunlight. But I think the dust baths are real, must confirm.


@dan_derks I agree about being specifically inclusive and that list is a good one, but perhaps to incorporate unnamed/unlisted aspects, something akin to “regardless of their identity, inclusive of…” (“identity” being the marker for those kinds of politics")?


Iron Derks