In response to issues of social exclusion, harassment, hate speech, stalking or threats, F/LOSS groups, hackerspaces, and feminist hacker communities have broadly adopted Codes of Conduct. Such documents are useful for setting up rules and accountability, while they help communities to formulate common values around their projects. Several networks embrace a language of openness, suggesting to "be excellent to each other", while others maintain explicit boundaries for their safe spaces, making clear which behaviours are not allowed.
This project is a collection of vocal exercises that explore the frustrations, emotions and tensions behind Codes of Conduct. Each group uses different tones to set expectations for users — ranging from neutral to aggressive, diplomatic or kind. How can we interact with written rules, what do these rules express, what happens when we read and perform them with our voices, turning them into dialogues and scripts? We invite you to initiate conversations around these questions by writing your comments and thoughts.
Codes of Conduct respond differently to issues of exclusions, harassment, hate speech, stalking, threats, bad jokes, insults, rude expressions.
In this exercise, we will read and perform unwanted behaviours that have been reported in tech conferences, the tech industry, hacker groups, tech forums, gaming platforms and mailing lists. We will also respond to these different situations with sentences from various Codes of Conduct. Our intention is to show the different approaches from communities to the same issues. What if the Codes of Conduct have a voice? How would they react to different behaviours?
In this part, the participants will experiment with different tones of voice and rhythm. The goal of this exercise is to embody the script with different modes of address — strict, welcoming, enthusiastic, neutral, aggressive, lethargic, slow, fast.
Writing and managing Codes of Conduct are labour intensive routines. For this reason, it’s common to use templates, borrow content, beware of others concerns, draw inspiration from different communities. In this exercise, we asked the participants to amplify lists of similar sentences by repeating, echoing, interrupting or reading on top of texts.