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Code of Conduct

Our goal with the NYC Pony Users' Group is to bring members of the NYC Pony community together. We value the participation of each member of the community and want all attendees to have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, all attendees are expected to show respect and courtesy to other attendees throughout any group events, whether officially sponsored by the NYC Pony User's Group or not.

All attendees, speakers, organizers and volunteers at any group event are required to observe the following Code of Conduct. Organizers will enforce this code throughout group events.

Why have a code of conduct? Not because we feel like we're expected to have one; not because someone told us to; not because we heard somewhere that it was important for some reason — but as part of an intentional effort to define the culture of the Pony community in New York City.

The Short Version

The Pony NYC Users' Group is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or anything else. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

All communication should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any group venue, including speaker presentations.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other attendees. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate for our events.

Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave group events at the sole discretion of the organizers.

Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly event for all.

The Longer Version

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of presentations or other events, inappropriate physical contact, derisive comments regarding technical background, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Be careful in the words that you choose. Remember that sexist, racist, and other exclusionary jokes can be offensive to those around you. Excessive swearing and offensive jokes are not appropriate for group events.

If a participant engages in behavior that violates the anti-harassment policy, the group organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the current group event and banning them from attending future events.

Social Rules

In addition to having a code of conduct as an anti-harassment policy, we have a small set of social rules we follow. We (the organizers) lifted these rules from the Recurse Center. We've seen these rules in effect in other environments. We'd like NYC Pony Users' Group to share a similar positive environment. These rules are intended to be lightweight, and to make more explicit certain social norms that are normally implicit. Most of our social rules really boil down to “don't be a jerk“ or “don't be annoying.” Of course, almost nobody sets out to be a jerk or annoying, so telling people not to be jerks isn't a very productive strategy.

Unlike the anti-harassment policy, violation of the social rules will not result in expulsion from the group or a strong warning from organizers. Rather, they are designed to provide some lightweight social structure for attendees to use when interacting with each other.

No feigning surprise

The first rule means you shouldn't act surprised when people say they don't know something. This applies to both technical things ("What?! I can't believe you don't know what the stack is!") and non-technical things ("You don't know who RMS is?!"). Feigning surprise has absolutely no social or educational benefit: When people feign surprise, it's usually to make them feel better about themselves and others feel worse. And even when that's not the intention, it's almost always the effect.

No well-actually's

 A well-actually happens when someone says something that's almost - but not entirely - correct, and you say, "well, actually…" and then give a minor correction. This is especially annoying when the correction has no bearing on the actual conversation. This doesn't mean we aren't about truth-seeking or that we don't care about being precise. Almost all well-actually's in our experience are about grandstanding, not truth-seeking.

No subtle -isms

Our last social rule bans subtle racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other kinds of bias. This one is different from the rest, because it covers a class of behaviors instead of one very specific pattern.

Subtle -isms are small things that make others feel uncomfortable, things that we all sometimes do by mistake. For example, saying "It's so easy my grandmother could do it" is a subtle -ism. Like the other three social rules, this one is often accidentally broken. Like the other three, it's not a big deal to mess up – you just apologize and move on.

If you see a subtle -ism at a NYC Pony Users' Group event, you can point it out to the relevant person, either publicly or privately, or you can ask one of the organizers to say something. After this, we ask that all further discussion move off of public channels. If you are a third party, and you don't see what could be biased about the comment that was made, feel free to talk to the organizers. Please don't say, "Comment X wasn't homophobic!" Similarly, please don't pile on to someone who made a mistake. The "subtle" in "subtle -isms" means that it's probably not obvious to everyone right away what was wrong with the comment.

If you have any questions about any part of the code of conduct or social rules, please feel free to reach out to any of the group organizers.

Contact Information

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact an organizer.

If the matter is especially urgent, please call/contact:
Sean T Allen - (347) 581 8596, @SeanTAllen

Organizers will be happy to help participants contact local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the group event. We value your attendance.


The NYC Pony Users' Group Code of Conduct is under a Creative Commons Zero license. It was forked from the NYC Tech "People" Bookclub Code of Conduct which is licensed under a Creative Commons Zero License. That license was forked from the 2015 !!Con Code of Conduct, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Zero License. That license was forked from the PyCon 2013 Code of Conduct and which itself was forked from an example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki, created by the Ada Initiative and other volunteers and available under a Creative Commons Zero license.