The Gauntlet Code of Conduct

This is a living document updated as of 12/6/19.

The Gauntlet exists to provide a safe, diverse, and engaging space for online gaming with community spaces to explore and discuss those games. Everyone participating in the Gauntlet Gaming Community—including, but not limited to the Gauntlet Forums, the Gauntlet Slack Group, the Gauntlet Discord, and the Gauntlet Gaming Calendar—is required to agree to the following Code of Conduct. This includes all attendees, speakers, performers, patrons (sponsors), volunteers, and staff.

The Gauntlet is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neurotype, physical appearance, body, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, or religion. The Gauntlet does not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.

Participating in the Gauntlet Gaming Community constitutes acknowledgement and acceptance to abide by this Code of Conduct both within and outside of the Gauntlet Gaming Community, including, but not limited to, digital and physical spaces.

Anyone who violates this Code of Conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from the Gauntlet Gaming Community at the discretion of the Gauntlet Community Care team.

GAUNTLET PRINCIPLES
In accordance with our Code of Conduct, all members of our community shall function within the following principles:

  1. Safety. All games run within our community must use, explain, and support safety tools. This isn’t to eliminate challenging content, but to make sure that everyone knows the bounds and has given consent. For more on that see our Play Guidelines and Tools of the Table presented below.
  2. Consideration. That safety doesn’t end at the gaming table, but extends into our community spaces. The Gauntlet asks that in those spaces you consider your words and their impact. It is vital that Gauntlet members can offer opinions and discuss issues, but that should be done in a spirit of support, kindness, and inclusivity. Think about your intent and act in those spaces with integrity and love. Be positive and supportive of others as you would hope they would be of you.
  3. Creativity. Community members should be supportive and kind. They should think about the impact of their words, the privilege they hold, and the relative position of those they interact with. Where possible, criticisms should offer solutions and alternatives. Personal attacks, even indirect subtweeting, should be avoided. Don’t hurt one another and don’t mock or erase someone’s life or experience. Do think about how you can model and support ideas which create rather than destroy.

GAUNTLET PLAY GUIDELINES
In the course of exemplifying the Gauntlet Principles, all members of our community shall function within the following guidelines:

  • Respect player pronouns and character pronouns; routinely reaffirm these throughout play and at the start of each session
  • Practice regular check-ins for enthusiastic consent of game content
  • Respect player autonomy and practice regular check-ins to affirm enthusiastic agreement of game development
  • Clearly declare the concept, aim, tone, & subject matter (including clear content warnings) of every game shared on the Gauntlet.
  • Explain and incorporate some form of tools for safe play (e.g. X-Card, Lines & Veils, etc) into every game shared on the Gauntlet
  • Plan regular breaks and outline the schedule for them at the start of each session
  • When wishing to record and/or publicly share a game session, post as such in the event description to notify potential participants before they RSVP
  • In the event a player requests that a gaming session not be shared after-the-fact, honor the request not to share the recorded session

TOOLS OF THE TABLE
Games organized through the Gauntlet are expected to use tools for safe, welcoming play. To read about the Tools of the Table, see here Link to Tools of the Table page.

DEFINITIONS
Harassment includes:

  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neurotype, physical appearance, body, age, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, or religion
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment
  • Deliberate use of incorrect name or pronouns, including misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names
  • Gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behaviour in spaces where they’re not appropriate
  • Physical contact and simulated physical contact (eg, textual descriptions like “hug” or “backrub”) without consent or after a request to stop
  • Derogatory comments that refer to a particular person without directly mentioning them, especially for, but not limited to, means of mockery or criticism (eg, “subtweeting” or “vaguebooking”)
  • Making intentionally false communications, either written, spoken, or posted on any social media, that harms a member’s or the Gauntlet’s reputation
  • Stealing or misappropriation of any property (including digital) belonging to another member or the Gauntlet, including all materials developed for or on behalf of the Gauntlet without the express permission of the member and/or the Gauntlet
  • Acting in a manner that endangers the health or safety of another person
  • Exhibiting disorderly conduct, including but not limited to, abuse of controlled substances or overt drunkenness
  • Bringing any weaponry (including realistic prop weaponry), firearms, dangerous chemicals, or any materials specifically banned by the Gauntlet and/or venue space to a Gauntlet-sponsored activity or event in either physical or digital spaces
  • Defacing property
  • Any social media posting reflecting any of the above behavior occurring at an Gauntlet-sponsored/affiliated event or activity
  • Threats of violence
  • Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm
  • Deliberate intimidation
  • Stalking or following, including both physical and digital spaces
  • Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes
  • Sustained disruption of discussion
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease
  • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect other Gauntlet community members or other vulnerable people from intentional abuse
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication via any platform within or without the Gauntlet network without consent by the involved parties

The Gauntlet prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort.

  • The Gauntlet reserves the right not to act on complaints of ‘reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’.
  • The Gauntlet reserves the right not to act on complaints against the reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you.”
  • The Gauntlet reserves the right not to act on complaints of someone communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial.
  • The Gauntlet reserves the right not to act on complaints against criticisms of racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions.​

REPORTING
If you experience disrespectful or harassing behavior by a member of the Gauntlet community, notice that someone else is being disrespected or harassed, or have any other concerns, please immediately contact Lowell Francis and the Gauntlet Community Care team via email at gauntletcommunity@gmail.com

Gauntlet Forums
Please contact an admin or moderator via direct message or flag potentially problematic content.
Gauntlet Slack Group
Please contact Lowell Francis and the Gauntlet Community Care Team via email at gauntletcommunity@gmail.com.
Gauntlet Gaming Calendar
Please contact Lowell Francis and the Gauntlet Community Care Team via email at gauntletcommunity@gmail.com.

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

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the Gauntlet may take any action deemed appropriate by the current Gauntlet Community Care team, up to and including expulsion from all Gauntlet spaces and identification of the participant as a harasser to other Gauntlet community members or the general public.

Any and all complaints received by the Gauntlet Community Care team are investigated to the fullest extent possible. Anonymous complaints are investigated to the extent that information provided allows. In the case of a formally-lodged complaint, the Gauntlet Community Care team will endeavor to protect the confidentiality of a complainant to the fullest extent possible.

If the person who is harassing you is a member of staff, either officially or in an ancillary capacity, they will recuse themselves from the handling of your incident.

The Gauntlet Community Care team must investigate allegations of prohibited behavior, and must document the issue in a formal written complaint, either as written by the complainant or as compiled by a representative of the Gauntlet Community Care team and approved by the complainant.

The process by which the Gauntlet Community Care team investigates allegations of prohibited behavior is as follows:

  • A representative of the Gauntlet Community Care team will establish contact with the complainant and communicate to understand the nature of the complaint.
  • The representative works with the complainant to draft a statement outlining the allegations of prohibited behavior, either as a written statement by the complainant or as a summary report written by the representative and approved by the complainant.
  • The representative submits the report to a Gauntlet Community Care team liaison to review and either request additional clarifying information or propose a recommendation for sanctions based on the report.
  • The representative and the liaison will come to consensus on the recommendation for appropriate sanctions commensurate to the allegation.
  • The representative and the liaison will submit the report and recommendation to the Gauntlet Community Care team review committee, and the review committee will either request additional clarifying information or vote to impose the sanctions.
  • Once approved, sanctions will be imposed and enforced by the Gauntlet Community Care team and the Gauntlet as a whole. If the sanction includes revocation of the accused’s membership in the Gauntlet, the Community Care Team will be asked to affect the revocation by a two-thirds vote.

​If you are uncomfortable putting your complaint in writing, the person to whom you brought the allegations will create a written complaint and ask you to review and correct it and to then approve the final version. Complaints will be maintained in a confidential file in the office of the Community Care Team.

You should be assured that there will be no retaliation against you for making good faith claims.

THANKS
This policy was based on the existing XOXO Community Code of Conduct, which is itself based on resources provided by Geek Feminism, and borrows heavily from similar open source policies authored by JSConf AU and Django.

This policy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. We encourage other events to adopt (and enforce) similar policies by using and remixing ours.

10 Likes

This is…troubling. If I read correctly, it says the Gauntlet has created this code of conduct but reserves the right to ignore complaints? So does that mean this entire effort and code are toothless?

I’m sure I’m reading it wrong. Could you please clarify for me and perhaps update the document to make it clear as well?

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We reserve the right to ignore complaints about people who take a stand against racism, sexism, cissexism or otherwise oppressive behavior.

If somebody posts something racist and gets called out, we might ignore complaints from this person about being called out for racism.

I hope that makes our intention clear.

9 Likes

It clears it up. I think that the language could still be clarified. Just off the cuff something like:

…reserves the right to not act on retaliatory complaints or other attempts to weaponize the Code of Conduct and community process.

But yes, I hear you now.

6 Likes

I’ll pass that on-- that phrasings gone through several iterations based on feedback.

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@Jason_Kottler I was as confused as you were by that phrasing. The double-floored nature of the complaints which are meant to be tackled through this paragraph makes it hard to express what shall be ignored.

Your text suggestion sounds good to me.

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@Jason_Kottler, I support your more direct language as well.

I am pretty sure I understand the types of circumstances this rewrite is trying to protect against BUT the current language sounds like cis white guys with a complaint can simply be ignored if they are harassed simply because they are not part of a marginalized group. To be clear, I am certain that this reading of the code of conduct is not the intent but I do think the wording could be more clear.

I’d simply say “No recrimination”. This imposes that one complaint is treated first, then the other, in chronological order.
Making incriminating a non-valid defense strategy prevents more than oppressive behaviours, it prevents all kinds of childish defense lines.

4 Likes

@DeReel - this feels right to me

Still, it’s good for the community that there is an emphasis on anti-discrimation.

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@Jason_Kottler; @DeReel; @Deckard; @Gerrit; @edige23; @SabineV5

Hello!

I want to joint the conversation about the new(ish) provision: “The Gauntlet reserves the right not to act on complaints against criticisms of racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions.​”

I welcome the addition of this provision and fully support the idea behind it. The idea, as I understand it, is simple: People should be free to point out when someone is acting in a racist, sexist, cissexist or otherwise oppressive manner. The person who has acted in an oppressive manner should not be able to shut down criticism of their behavior by calling it “harassment.”

This provision is necessary because people in privileged positions often respond defensively when they are called out for their oppressive behavior. For example, white people will often lash out when they are called out for doing something racist. Indeed, this response is so common that a sociologist made up a special term for it: white fragility.

It is easy to imagine a white person making a “harassment” complaint when they are called out for doing something racist. In fact, it was suggested that I had violated the prior code of conduct when I pointed out the racist implications of a white forum member’s post, even though I had taken great care to use a gentle tone, acknowledged my own past racist behavior, etc.

As a community, we should want people to point out oppressive behavior so that the Gauntlet can live up to the promise of being a truly inclusive space for marginalized people.

As individuals, we should want others to point out when we have acted oppressively so that we can reflect on what we did and avoid causing future harm.

I want to know when I have acted oppressively. I may not even realize that I have hurt someone because my privilege has blinded me to their reality. It is actually a gift to be called out for acting oppressively: The other person is helping me to be less racist, less sexist, less homophobic, less transphobic, less oppressive.

It boils downs to this: Do you want to know when you have hurt someone? Do you want to stop causing harm? If yes, then protect people from harassment claims when they call out that harm.

One last note: This provision does not leave white cishet men unprotected against harassment. It just doesn’t protect us from being confronted with the harm that we have caused when we behave in a racist or otherwise oppressive way.

Thanks for considering my input!

PS. I am an able-bodied white cishet man. I am also a recovering racist, sexist, homophobe, transphobe, and ableist. I may be a product of my environment and privilege, but I don’t have to stay that way if I work at it!

5 Likes

Yeah we’re working on the rewording of that section and we’ll put it out for community feedback when we have a good revision.

4 Likes

As mentioned above, several people found this sentence “The Gauntlet reserves the right not to act on complaints against criticisms of racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions.” unclear. We had several suggestions for rephrasing, but we ultimately decided it was worth it to unpack the concept and give specific examples. Here is what we’re changing it to:

The Gauntlet prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. To that effect, The Gauntlet reserves the right to not act on retaliatory complaints or other attempts to weaponize this Code of Conduct or other community processes. Such bad faith actions include, but are not limited to:

  • complaints of ‘reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’.
  • complaints against the reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you.”
  • complaints of someone communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial.
  • complaints against criticisms of racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions.
12 Likes

This is very clear language. It not only shows exactly the intent but also shows that Gauntlet leadership is listening and responding to the community questions on a tricky subject. Thank you to everyone that worked on this!

2 Likes