(EFF’s Public Projects Code of Conduct is designed for a specific purpose: to ensure that EFF’s technical community can facilitate productive collaboration on EFF’s technical projects. This entails keeping communication within our community on-topic and ensuring that discussion within our community occurs without acrimony. Our projects are available for use by anyone, anywhere in the world, so we want the community to be welcoming to a wide variety of people with different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and perspectives. That provides us with the widest possible feedback and best possible technical contributions.

EFF is committed to free expression, and we recognize the important role of diversity in online discourse and debate, including discourse that may be upsetting or that challenges its listeners. By adopting this particular Code, EFF is not claiming our choice of guidelines will work for all communities; every online space should be free to determine its own rules, if any, and learn from the experiences of others.

EFF events have a separate set of event expectations, overseen by the same Code of Conduct team.)

EFF Public Projects Code of Conduct

Contact: codeofconduct@eff.org

  • We are committed to providing a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment for all.
  • We will exclude you from interaction if you insult, demean, or harass anyone. That is not welcome behavior. We interpret the term “harassment” as including but not limited to disparaging comments about levels of experience, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, nationality, or other similar characteristics; deliberate intimidation; stalking; sustained disruption of conversations, and unwelcome sexual attention. In particular, we won’t tolerate behavior that excludes participants on the basis of the above characteristics. Private harassment is also unacceptable.
  • Please be kind and courteous. Please take care not to be, or appear to be, mean or rude. Keeping this project a welcoming place is a shared responsibility involving each of us.
  • Respect that people have differences of opinion and that every software design or implementation choice will have different trade-offs, benefits, and costs. When it comes to software design, there is seldom a right answer.
  • Please keep unstructured critique to a minimum. If you have ideas you want to experiment with, make a fork and see how it works.
  • When using pseudonyms, avoid using overtly sexual nicknames or other nicknames that might detract from a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment for all.
  • No matter who you are, if you feel you have been or are being harassed or made uncomfortable by a community member, please contact any of the EFF Code of Conduct team immediately. Whether you’re a regular contributor or a newcomer, we care about making this community a safe place for you and we’ve got your back.
  • Likewise any spamming, trolling, flaming, baiting, or other attention-stealing behavior is not welcome.
  • Please also note that EFF is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As a 501(c)3 organization, EFF does not participate or intervene in elections, nor support or oppose candidates or political parties, and, under United States law, cannot allow its resources, such as mailing lists and other communication forums, to be used to do so. Posts that are partisan or otherwise engage in impermissible political advocacy are not allowed. For more information about the restrictions on 501(c)(3) public charities, see Bolder Advocacy’s checklist.

Moderation Policy

These are the policies for upholding our community’s standards of conduct, as managed by moderators and administrators on our websites and other communication channels. If you feel that a discussion needs moderation, please contact the EFF Code of Conduct team at codeofconduct@eff.org.

  1. Remarks that violate standards of good conduct, including hateful, hurtful, or exclusionary remarks are not allowed. (Cursing is allowed, but never targeting another user, and never in a hateful manner.)
  2. Remarks that moderators find inappropriate, whether listed in the code of conduct or not, are also not allowed.
  3. Moderators will generally first respond to such remarks with a warning. (Egregious harassment may be responded to without a warning.)
  4. If the warning is unheeded, the user will be “kicked,” i.e., kicked out of the communication channel to cool off.
  5. If the user comes back and continues to make trouble, they will be banned, i.e., indefinitely excluded.
  6. Moderators may choose at their discretion to un-ban the user if it was a first offense.
  7. If a moderator bans someone and you think it was unjustified, please take it up with that moderator, or with the EFF Code of Conduct team, in private. Complaints about bans in-channel are not allowed. Any significant changes to decisions about bans will be reported to the channel by the moderator.
  8. Moderators are held to a higher standard than other community members. If a moderator creates an inappropriate situation, they should expect less leeway than others.

In our community, we strive to go the extra step to look out for each other. Don’t just aim to be technically unimpeachable, try to be your best self. In particular, avoid flirting with offensive or sensitive issues, particularly if they’re off-topic; this all too often leads to unnecessary fights, hurt feelings, and damaged trust; worse, it can drive people away from the community entirely.

If someone takes issue with something you said or did, resist the urge to be defensive. Try to look at the interaction from their point of view, and consider whether continuing to do what concerned them will really help you, them, and everyone else participate in the project in a positive way. Even if you feel you were misinterpreted or unfairly accused, chances are good there was something you could have communicated better – nobody is a perfect communicator. Everyone wants to get along and we are all here first and foremost because we want to participate in the project. You will find that people will be eager to assume good intent and forgive as long as you earn their trust.

EFF Code of Conduct Team

EFF’s Code of Conduct team receives reports of violations of this code, and manages enforcement for EFF public projects. They can be contacted at codeofconduct@eff.org. See our reporting guidelines for how to contact the team. The current members of the team are Aaron Jue, Jen Lynch, Lee Walker, Melissa Srago, and Rebecca Jeschke.

The enforcement policies listed above apply to all official EFF public projects and their official communication channels, including mailing lists hosted on eff.org, and public GitHub repositories under https://github.com/efforg. For other projects adopting this Code of Conduct, please contact the maintainers of those projects for enforcement.

This document is based on the Rust Code of Conduct, Copyright (c) 2014 The Rust Project Developers. The Rust Code of Conduct was adapted from the Node.js Policy on Trolling as well as the Contributor Covenant v1.3.0.

If you wish to use this code of conduct for your own project, consider explicitly mentioning your moderation policy or making a copy with your own moderation policy so as to avoid confusion.

Reporting Guidelines

When a report is sent to the team they will confirm receipt within 24 business hours to the original reporter.

Reports should include:

  • Contact info (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up)
  • Names (real, nicknames, or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there were other witnesses besides you, or someone else who has information that may be relevant to the incident, please try to include them as well.
  • When and where the incident occurred. Please be as specific as possible.
  • Your account of what occurred. If there is a publicly available record (e.g. a mailing list archive or a public IRC logger) please include a link.
  • Any extra context you believe existed for the incident.
  • If you believe this incident is ongoing.
  • Any other information you believe we should have.

Once the team has determined our final action, we’ll contact the original reporter to let them know what action (if any) we’ll be taking. We’ll take into account feedback from the reporter on the appropriateness of our response, but we don’t guarantee we’ll act on it.

The team will respond within one week to the original reporter with either a resolution or an explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved.

The team will make a report on the situation to EFF’s executive team.

In accordance with our privacy policy, we will not share any information outside of EFF without prior consent except as compelled by law.


Any of the parties directly involved or affected can request reconsideration of the committee’s decision by EFF’s Executive Director or a senior EFF official designated by EFF’s Executive Director for this task.