Interim CNCF Code of Conduct Incident Resolution Procedures

Notice: These procedures are a draft version being published for review and comment by CNCF community members.  The public comment period will end on July 15, 2022, after which the Interim CNCF Code of Conduct Committee will consider the feedback received prior to adopting a final version of these procedures.

Temporary

These Interim CNCF Code of Conduct Incident Resolution Procedures will apply on an interim basis until they are replaced with more permanent procedures resulting from the collaborative process described as Step 2 in the CNCF blog post Upcoming Code of Conduct Updates at CNCF

Purpose and scope

These Procedures address the following topics related to resolution of potential violations of the CNCF Code of Conduct:

How to submit a report

If you believe someone is in immediate physical danger, please call your local emergency number.

You may report a potential violation of the CNCF Code of Conduct in writing or in a spoken conversation as indicated below.

Submit in writing

To report a violation in writing, please email conduct@cncf.io, which goes to all primary (not alternate) members of the CNCF Code of Conduct Committee (CoC Committee).  If you do not want your report to be received by all members of the CoC Committee, either because you want to submit a report anonymously or because one of the CoC Committee members has a conflict of interest, you may send your report directly to any individual member of the CoC Committee.

Submit in spoken conversation

If you prefer to report the violation in a spoken conversation, you may request a telephone conversation or virtual meeting with a CoC Committee member.  If the incident occurs at an event, you may report the incident in person either to a member of the Linux Foundation Events Team or a member of the CNCF CoC Committee.

How to report anonymously 

If you desire to submit a report anonymously, please send a message directly to any individual member of our CoC Committee through the CNCF Slack and let them know you would like to submit a Code of Conduct report anonymously. If you submit your report anonymously, that member of the CC Committee will share the contents of your report with the rest of the CoC Committee, but they will not disclose your identity as the reporter to the other members of the CoC Committee (unless such disclosure is necessary to comply with applicable laws or a court order, or to protect you or someone else from imminent danger).

What information to include in your report 

When reporting a potential Code of Conduct violation, please include the following information in your report:

What happens after a report is submitted 

Confirmation of Jurisdiction

After a report is submitted, the CNCF CoC Committee will confirm who has jurisdiction over the incident under the Jurisdiction and Escalation Policy.  If the CoC Committee does not have jurisdiction, it will transfer the incident to the applicable project or escalate the incident to the Linux Foundation.  Reporters will be notified if this occurs unless they reported anonymously and did not provide their contact information. If the CNCF CoC Committee does have jurisdiction and is not required to escalate it, the committee will proceed to investigate and resolve the incident.

Who will have access to reports

Reports will only be shared with non-conflicted members of the CoC Committee, with very limited exceptions.  See the Confidentiality Policy, Information Sharing, Communicating the Results, and Conflicts of Interest sections below for more information.

Investigation

The CoC Committee will investigate the report by reviewing available evidence and, if appropriate, interviewing witnesses, the alleged wrongdoer, and persons who were targeted or may have been harmed.  In some cases, the CoC Committee may engage an external professional investigator or mediator to assist.

If a potential incident comes to the CoC Committee’s attention that may present a serious continuing risk to community safety, the CoC Committee may investigate or ask Project-level incident responders to investigate, even if no official report has been received.

If the CoC Committee determines that the Code of Conduct was violated, the CoC Committee will decide on what remediation steps should be taken.  See “Resolution” below for more information.

Notification to the Accused Person

During the investigation, the CoC Committee shall notify the accused person that an incident report has been received concerning their alleged behavior.  While the investigation is ongoing, the CoC Committee shall determine in its discretion how and when to notify the accused person, and how much information to share about the nature of the allegations, taking into consideration risks of retaliation, evidence tampering or destruction, or witness tampering that might result from the notification.

Resolution

Interim Protective Measures

Although the CoC Committee will not take any permanent actions until the CoC Committee has gathered and reviewed all available evidence, the CoC Committee reserves the right to take immediate temporary action (e.g., temporarily suspending someone’s participation in a community space while the investigation is pending) at any time after learning of the incident if the CoC Committee determines this is necessary to protect the community or community members from the risk of harm.

Mediation and Resolution by Agreement

If the accused person and the parties potentially harmed in an incident communicate to the CoC Committee that they would like to resolve the incident through restorative conversation (see Restorative Justice below), mediation, or mutual agreement, the CoC Committee will wait until the parties have attempted to do so before making any final decisions regarding resolution of the incident.  If all involved parties consent, the CoC Committee, other community members, or an external professional mediator may help mediate the discussion.  If the involved parties agree on an outcome for resolving the incident, and the CoC Committee will review the outcome to (a) determine if it is adequate or if any further actions need to be taken to protect the health and safety of the community and (b) support the involved parties with implementation and accountability.

Potential Remedies

The goal of Code of Conduct incident resolution is to support and safeguard the health, safety, and wellbeing of the community and individuals who participate in the community, and to reinforce community standards for acceptable behavior; the purpose is not to punish wrongdoers.  Whenever appropriate, the CoC Committee shall seek to resolve incidents using restorative justice and transformative justice approaches, as summarized below.

Restorative Justice 

Restorative justice is a framework that seeks to repair the harm that was caused by an incident, and focuses primarily on the parties directly involved in an incident.  The goals of restorative justice are to:

Restorative justice typically involves a mediated conversation between the accused person and the person harmed for the purposes of creating shared understanding, healing, relationship repair, and closure.  However, the CoC Committee will never require individuals involved in an incident to interact or communicate with each other; mediated conversations will only take place if all parties consent.  

Transformative Justice

Transformative justice is a framework that seeks to address systemic issues that may have contributed to or encouraged the harmful behavior (e.g., systems or policies that reward bad behavior, or failure to educate newcomers about standards of conduct).  If the Interim CoC Committee determines there are any such systemic issues, the Interim CoC Committee will recommend to the appropriate CNCF governing body or committee that such issues be addressed and, if appropriate, the Interim CoC Committee may offer advice or other support.

Factors that the CoC Committee will consider

If the CoC Committee determines that a violation has occurred, the CoC Committee will consider the following factors when determining what remediation steps to take:

Examples of Remedies

The following are examples of remedies the CoC Committee may consider.  The following list is non-exhaustive:

Accountability

If any party does not fulfill their obligations related to resolution of the incident (e.g., if the remediation requires the accused person to complete a non-violent communication course and they fail to do so), the CoC Committee may take further action to resolve the incident.

Communicating the Results

An incident is considered “resolved” when the CoC Committee has completed its investigation and either (a) determined what remediation actions are needed to resolve an incident (including determining that the involved parties’ agreed-upon resolution is adequate) (b) or determined that the CoC was not violated and no remediation is needed.When the incident is resolved, a member of the CoC Committee will inform the person who submitted the report. The CoC Committee will determine how much information to share with the reporter regarding the committee’s findings and what remediation steps were taken, if any, taking into consideration the privacy, confidentiality, and potential impact to the individuals involved in the incident. The CoC Committee will also determine what information, if any, is necessary to share publicly or with community and project leaders.  Also see Information Sharing below.

Information Sharing

Project-level Code of Conduct responders, the CNCF CoC Committee, and The Linux Foundation or CNCF staff may share information with each other on an as-needed basis about reported incidents and their resolution for the limited purposes of:

Confidentiality Policy

When the CNCF CoC Committee handles incident response, only members of the CNCF CoC Committee without hard conflicts of interest (see our Conflict of Interest policy below) will have access to confidential information pertaining to the incident, including the identities of the reporters.  The CNCF CoC Committee will not disclose the identities or confidential information provided by reporters or persons who were targeted or potentially harmed without their permission, except to a limited number of people on an as-needed basis for investigating and resolving the incident and protecting community members from harm.  For example, the CNCF CoC Committee might need to disclose certain information about the incident to LF Events Staff in order to arrange for onsite support for a target of harassment, or to an external professional mediator who is engaged to assist with resolution of the incident.  Confidential information about incidents will only be shared with individuals who are obligated to similarly maintain the confidentiality of such information.

In some cases, in order to perform a fair and thorough investigation of a reported incident, it may be necessary to question the accused person about the incident.  Although the CNCF CoC Committee will not disclose to the accused person who reported the incident or what witnesses have provided information, if only one person or a very small number of people were involved in or witnessed the incident, the accused person may be able to guess their identities.  

In rare situations, the CNCF CoC Committee may be required to disclose confidential information pertaining to an investigation in order to comply with applicable laws, a subpoena, or court order, or to defend against litigation. 

No Retaliation 

The CNCF community will not tolerate retaliation against community members who report concerns under the CoC in good faith, or who assist in an investigation as witnesses or by providing relevant information.  Acts of retaliation are themselves violations of the CNCF Code of Conduct. If you believe you have been retaliated against, please report it using the reporting process described above.

Conflicts of Interest 

Hard Conflicts:  A CoC Committee member has a hard conflict of interest if any of the following are true:

Soft Conflicts: A CoC Committee member has a soft conflict of interest if any of the following are true:

Merely witnessing a potential Code of Conduct violation does not constitute a conflict of interest.

Obligation to disclose potential conflicts of interest

When a CoC Committee member has a potential soft or hard conflict of interest with respect to a reported incident, they have an obligation to promptly disclose the nature of their potential conflict of interest to the rest of the CoC Committee (unless such potential conflict of interest is already known to the other members of the CoC Committee). 

Procedures to disclose and confirm conflicts

Statements of conflict and confirmation of stated conflicts must be done prior to the initiation of an investigation and recorded in the notes of the first meeting convened to discuss the incident. 

A committee member may verbally disclose a conflict statement to the committee first, and then follow up in writing with the statement of conflict. They may also directly provide the statement of conflict in writing. 

Statements of conflict must include the kind of conflict (hard or soft) and the specific area of conflict. The committee is then required to confirm the conflict by majority, for the existence of a soft conflict, the confirmation must also outline what that member can and can not do as part of the investigation.

Procedures when a hard conflict of interest exists

A CoC Committee member with a hard conflict of interest will not be allowed to attend meetings or otherwise participate in discussions or decision-making of the CoC Committee related to the incident; their participation shall be limited to allowing the remaining CoC Committee members to interview them as a witness and providing information requested by the CoC Committee.  Additionally, a CoC Committee Member with a hard conflict of interest will not be provided with any confidential information pertaining to the incident (e.g., identities of reporters or contents of confidential reports).

Procedures when a soft conflict of interest exists

A CoC Committee member with a soft conflict of interest will not have the right to vote, but may be allowed to participate in discussion regarding the incident.  The remaining CoC Committee members will decide what information to provide such conflicted member and the extent to which such conflicted member may be present at meetings, participate in discussions, and otherwise assist in resolution of the incident. Any such decisions regarding participation or recusal of a CoC Committee member with a soft conflict of interest will be recorded in the committee’s meeting minutes or other records.

Attribution and Licensing

This document includes content based on the Mozilla “How to Report Violations of the Community Participation Guidelines” document , which is based in part on the PyCon Code of Conduct Revision 2f4d980 . Both of these resources are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License .This document is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.