HARMONY 2020 Code of Conduct

HARMONY Code of Conduct

HARMONY seeks to provide a welcoming, professionally engaging, fun, and safe workshop experience and ongoing community for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Discriminatory or offensive language and imagery (including sexual) are not appropriate for any event venue, including talks, posters, or other presentations, or any community channel such as the chatroom or mailing list.

Harassment is understood as any behavior that threatens or demeans another person or group, or produces an unsafe environment. It includes offensive verbal comments or non-verbal expressions related to gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religious or political beliefs; sexual or discriminatory images in public spaces (including online); deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Conflict Resolution

1. Initial Incident

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, and you feel comfortable speaking with the offender, please inform the offender that he/she/ze has affected you negatively. Often, the offending behavior is unintentional, and the accidental offender and offended will resolve the incident by having that initial discussion.

HARMONY recognizes that there are many reasons that speaking directly to the offender may not be workable for you (including but not limited to unfamiliarity with the conference or its participants and concerns for personal safety). If you don't feel comfortable speaking directly with the offender for any reason, skip straight to step 2.

2. Escalation

If the offender insists that he/she/ze did not offend, if the offender is actively harassing you, or if direct engagement is not a good option for you at this time, then you will need a third party to step in.

If you are at a workshop or other event, find the event organizer or staff person, who should be listed on the workshop's web page. If you can't find the event organizer, there will be other staff available to help if the situation calls for immediate action.

3. Broader community response to Incident:

If the incident doesn't pass the first step (discussion reveals offense was unintentional, apologies said, public note or community is informed of resolution), then there's not much the community can do at this point since the incident was resolved without outside intervention.

If the incident results in corrective action, the community should support the decision made by the Help in Step 2 if they choose corrective action, like ending a talk early, as well as support those harmed by the incident, either publicly or privately (whatever individuals are comfortable with).

If the Help in Step 2 run into issues implementing the Code of Conduct (CoC), then the Help should come to the community with these issues, and the community should revise the CoC as they see fit.

In real life, people will have opinions about how the CoC is enforced. People will argue that a particular decision was unfair, and others will say that it didn't go far enough. We can't stop people having opinions, but what we could do here is have constructive discussions that lead to something tangible (affirmation of decision, change in CoC, modify decision, etc.).


Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. If a participant engages in harassing behavior, organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender, expulsion from the HARMONY event, or banning the offender from a chatroom or mailing list.

Specific sanctions may include but are not limited to:

  • warning the harasser to cease their behavior and that any further reports will result in other sanctions
  • requiring that the harasser avoid any interaction with, and physical proximity to, their victim for the remainder of the event
  • early termination of a talk that violates the policy
  • not publishing the video or slides of a talk that violated the policy
  • not allowing a speaker who violated the policy to give (further) talks at the event
  • immediately ending any event volunteer responsibilities and privileges the harasser holds requiring that the harasser not volunteer for future HARMONY events (either indefinitely or for a certain period)
  • requiring that the harasser immediately leave the event and not return
  • banning the harasser from future events (either indefinitely or for a certain period)
  • publishing an account of the harassment


  • UK Emergency Services: 999

HARMONY 2019 event organizers can be identified by their name badges and will help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event.

  • Harmony organizers: Rahuman Sheriff (sheriff@ebi.ac.uk, + 44 (0) 1223 49 4418, Henning Hermjakob (hhe@ebi.ac.uk)
  • Caltech Security and Emergency: Dial Ext. 6815 (on campus) or call +44 (0)1223 496 815 Email: security@hinxton.wellcome.ac.uk
  • Cambridge Police (non-emergency): 101

We expect participants to follow these rules at all conference venues, conference-related social events, community gatherings, and online communication channels.

We value everyone's participation in the HARMONY community, and will all work to keep HARMONY a safe and friendly space for all participants!

(Text based on the HARMONY Code of Conduct.)