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FreeBSD Code of Conduct

FreeBSD Code of Conduct

The FreeBSD Project is inclusive. We want the FreeBSD Project to be a venue where people of all backgrounds can work together to make the best operating system, built by a strong community. These values extend beyond just development to all aspects of the Project. All those given recognition as members of the Project in whatever form are seen as ambassadors of the Project.

Diversity is a huge strength and is critical to the long term success of the Project. To that end we have a few ground rules that we ask people to adhere to. This code applies equally to everyone representing the FreeBSD Project in any way, from new members, to committers, to the core team itself. These rules are intended to ensure a safe, harassment-free environment for all and to ensure that everyone feels welcome both working within, and interacting with, the Project.

This document is not an exhaustive list of things that you should not do. Rather, consider it a guide to make it easier to enrich all of us and the technical communities in which we participate.

This code of conduct applies to all spaces used by the FreeBSD Project, including our mailing lists, IRC channels, and social media, both online and off. Anyone who is found to violate this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from FreeBSD Project controlled spaces at the discretion of the FreeBSD Code of Conduct Committee.

Some FreeBSD Project spaces may have additional rules in place, which will be made clearly available to participants. Participants are responsible for knowing and abiding by these rules. Harassment includes but is not limited to:

  • Comments that reinforce systemic oppression related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neurodiversity, physical appearance, body size, age, race, or religion.
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person's lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Deliberate misgendering.
  • Deliberate 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 (e.g., textual descriptions like "*hug*" or "*backrub*") without consent or after a request to stop.
  • 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.
  • 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 private aspect of a person's identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse.
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication without consent.
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication with consent but in a way that intentionally misrepresents the communication (e.g., removes context that changes the meaning).
  • Knowingly making harmful false claims about a person.

Reporting Instructions

If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct we ask that you report it to the FreeBSD Code of Conduct Committee by emailing

All reports will be kept confidential whenever possible. We strive to protect the identity and safety of reporters. In some cases we may need to make a public statement of some form, in which case we will use the minimum of details and identifying information necessary to protect our community. In rare cases, we may need to identify some of the people involved to comply with the law or protect other potential victims. In these cases, we will consult with the reporter to find out what their wishes are and take them into account in our final decision. In all cases, we will not directly or indirectly identify reporters without their consent unless we see no other option.

If you believe anyone is in physical danger, please notify appropriate law enforcement first.

In your report please include:

  • Your name and contact info (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up)
  • Names (real, nicknames, and/or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there were other witnesses besides you, 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, tweet, or a public IRC logger) please include a link and/or screen shots.
  • Any extra context you believe relevant for the incident.
  • If you believe this incident is ongoing.
  • Any other information you believe we should have.

What happens after you file a report?

You will receive an email from the FreeBSD Code of Conduct Committee acknowledging receipt of your report within 48 hours.

The committee will meet as quickly as possible to review the incident and determine:

  • Whether an investigation is needed, including interviewing additional parties or witnesses;
  • What appears to have happened and;
  • Whether the behavior constitutes a Code of Conduct violation.

If a member of the FreeBSD Code of Conduct Committee is one of the individuals included in the report they will recuse themselves from handling the report.

Once the working group has a complete account of the events they will make a decision as to how to respond. Actions taken may include:

  • Nothing (for example, if we determine that no violation occurred).
  • If determined to be solely technical in nature or if it falls outside the scope of the Code of Conduct, forwarding the incident to the FreeBSD Core Team
  • A private reprimand from the working group to the individual(s) involved.
  • A public reprimand.
  • An imposed vacation from FreeBSD Project controlled spaces (e.g. asking someone to "take a week off" from a mailing list or IRC).
  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all FreeBSD Project controlled spaces (events, meetings, mailing lists, IRC, etc.)
  • A request for a public or private apology.
  • A request to engage in mediation and/or an accountability plan.

We will do our best to respond within one week to the person who filed the report with either a resolution or an explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved.

Once we have determined our final action, we will contact the original reporter to let them know what action (if any) we will be taking. We will take into account feedback from the reporter on the appropriateness of our response, but we do not guarantee we will act on it.

Finally, the committee will make a report on the situation to the FreeBSD Core Team. The Core Team may choose to issue a public report of the incident.


Only permanent resolutions (such as bans) may be appealed. To appeal a decision of the CoC Committee, contact the FreeBSD Core Team at with your appeal and the Core Team will review the case.


Systemic oppression:

The ways in which history, culture, ideology, public policies, institutional practices, and personal behaviors and beliefs interact to maintain a hierarchy — based on race, class, gender, sexuality, and/or other group identities — that allows the privileges associated with the dominant group and the disadvantages associated with the oppressed, targeted, or marginalized group to endure and adapt over time. (Derived from Aspen Institute, via Open Source Leadership)

Dead names:

A name assigned to a person at birth which they no longer identify with. Most often used to refer to the assigned name of a trans person who has publicly identified themselves under a new name. Deliberately using a dead name is an act of hostility.


This Code of Conduct is based on the example policy from the Geek Feminism wiki.