Adding WordPress to adopters of the Contributor Covenant

The WordPress open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. project adopted its Community Code of Conduct in mid-2022. The Code of Conduct was forked from the Contributor Covenant, a template commonly used in many open source communities. 

Recently, WordPress contributors noticed that WordPress was not listed on the list of Adopters of the Contributor Covenant! To remedy this, a pull request to add WordPress to this list has been submitted. As of this post, it has not yet been merged. 

In an effort to better communicate our project’s Code of Conduct as widely and consistently as possible, an abbreviated version of the full Code of Conduct has been committed to the .github repository under the WordPress organization. Repositories with this name are treated differently by GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/, with all supported files being used as the defaults across the entire organization.

If a repository has its own CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md file, that file will be used instead of the new, default one. Pull requests have been submitted to remove all repo-specific CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md files from unarchived WordPress organization repositories. Once merged, the default CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md file will be displayed. A full list of all related pull requests can be found on WordPress/.github#1.  

If any maintainer feels the abbreviated or full length Code of Conduct does not adequately address their concerns, please reach out to the Community Team before merging a repository specific CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md file.

As a reminder, the Code of Conduct is a living document. Edits can be suggested by emailing support@wordcamp.org

Props to @desrosj for all the help with this, from everything GitHub to writing large parts of this post.

Incident Response Team: Call for Nominations

The WordPress Project Community Code of Conduct helps WordPress community members and contributors understand how we aspire to work together in “official” WordPress spaces. When people see behavior that doesn’t match the Code of Conduct, the Incident Response Team can assist in determining if the Code of Conduct has been breached and addressing situations that are in question of doing so. The Incident Response Team does not actively search for or monitor behavior. Instead, this team is a resource to the community for when things don’t go as expected. The Incident Response Team handbook captures the team’s current practices.

The first Incident Response Team cohort was onboarded to the team in December 2022, and it’s now time to train and onboard a second cohort of Incident Response Team members!

The work of taking and responding to incident reports requires a high degree of professionalism and emotional intelligence, and it is often invisible and difficult work. Because of this, individuals are vetted and need to successfully complete a 6-session, cohort-based training prior to joining the WordPress Incident Response Team. Read on for all the details! 

How to Join the WordPress Incident Response Team

To best serve the community, Incident Response Team members need to be able to remain calm when faced with difficult situations and possess exceptional listening and communication skills. When responding to incidents, they need to be able to maintain confidentiality* wherever possible and think objectively.

Because of this, new members join the team through a nomination, vetting, and cohort-based training process. Please complete the form below to submit your nomination of who you think would be a good candidate for this team. Nominations are due by February 14.

Note: The Community Team also offers online training for incident response, covering topics like expectations when doing this work, how to take incident reports, and how to respond to reports. This training is available on Learn WordPress for everyone who is interested.

Nominations will go through a vetting process similar to how the Community team vets organizers. For Incident Response Team members, vetting will include:

  • Making sure they are in good standing with WordPress
  • Familiarity with WordPress and open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. practices is a plus
  • Perfunctory review of social media
  • Checking for compliance with the GPLGPL GPL is an acronym for GNU Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing https://wordpress.org/about/license/. The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ license https://www.gnu.org/licenses/copyleft.en.html. This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples.
  • Reviewing any examples of excellent communication
  • Further, it is important that the Incident Response Team be diverse to reflect our global community, and this will be a consideration for the final make up of the team. 

The vetting will be done by myself (@juliarosia), @adityakane, @angelasjin, and @samsuresh, and @chanthaboune will give final approval.

It is our hope that Incident Response Team members can commit to being on the team for one full year. Depending on the volume of incident reports, they can expect to contribute anywhere between 2 to 15 hours a month. In addition, to help Incident Response Team members be well prepared, they are expected to successfully complete the required training prior to joining the team.

Training for the Incident Response Team

While anyone can complete the incident response training on Learn WordPress, potential Incident Response Team members will complete additional training alongside peers in a cohort. The cohort will meet synchronously six times (one hour-ish each), across the span of seven weeks, to discuss Incident Response Team training modules and practice through role play. There will be optional, highly recommended office hours and additional opportunities to practice learned skills. 

In addition, Incident Response Team members will be required to complete DEI training that is applicable to WordPress’ global contexts. 

The time commitment for this training will be approximately 2-3 hours per week at minimum, across seven weeks. Each session will be offered twice, to accommodate APAC, EMEA and AMER timezones.

  • Session 1 – Week of April 1
  • Session 2 – Week of April 15
  • Session 3 – Week of April 29
  • Session 4 – Week of May 6
  • Session 5 – Week of May 13
  • Session 6 – Week of May 20

As with any team, we will continue to bring on new team members over time. We aim to train and onboard a new cohort every 12 to 18 months.

Questions? Comments? Feedback?

What questions or feedback do you have? Share them in the comments below.

*A note on confidentiality: While the WordPress project tries to work transparently and in public spaces as much as possible, for the safety of community members, incident response needs to be treated confidentially wherever possible. However, anonymized, annual reports are published.

Updates from the Incident Response Team

In recent months, the Incident Response Team (IRT) has received excellent questions about its role and responsibilities and its approach to confidentiality. To that end, this post aims to share some current thinking with an invitation to ask further questions and provide your feedback. 

About the team

In WordPress spaces, including Make Team blogs, the Making WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/., and official social media accounts, all participants are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct. This is upheld by all WordPressers in their interactions and efforts to de-escalate situations. 

The Incident Response Team can assist in determining if the Code of Conduct has been breached and addressing situations that are in question of doing so. Our approach favors mediation, de-escalation, and correction over punishment, promoting positive conduct.

The Incident Response Team is not for policing tone or intervening in every disagreement. Disagreements, when productive, can be beneficial, reflecting our shared commitment to developing great software and a strong community. This page captures the team’s current practices. 

Recent challenges

The Incident Response Team was formed in late 2022 and handled a wide range of reports in 2023. In doing so, there were a number of challenges: 

  • Reports received were increasingly more nuanced and difficult to take clear action on. 
  • There was a higher volume of reports, especially toward the latter half of the year.
  • Scheduling meetings for reporters, reported people, witnesses, and IRT members was challenging and often slowed down the process. 

In light of this, the IRT members came together in January to explore how to improve our current practices. Identified areas for improvement include: 

  • A handbook to publicly document existing processes
  • Improved training for new members and ongoing training opportunities for current team members
  • Improved communication, such as sharing how long inquiries might take with all parties. 
  • Onboarding more members to the Incident Response Team

How you can help the IRT and WordPress Community

The Incident Response Team strives to keep identifying details of incident reports confidential to support those hesitant about reporting and desiring a swift resolution process. However, we have seen more reports and their outcomes being made public beyond the IRT’s annual reporting. The IRT asks that before you do this, please consider the possible unintended consequences.

Publicly shared reports attract a wide range of feedback, from well-informed to uninformed perspectives. This can cloud the original issue, complicating the IRT’s understanding and response. Moreover, the influx of opinions can hinder maintaining an objective approach.

Sharing outcomes without appropriate context can also be problematic. It can lead to misuse of information, exacerbating division and mistrust within the community. 

In all cases, the IRT encourages careful consideration before making such details public to avoid these issues. While some conflicts should be public, not all conflicts need such visibility. 

The Incident Response Team will update its processes and create a more thorough handbook (V1 published here). Further work on this handbook will be done in the #incident-response channel and posts published on https://make.wordpress.org/project/ to invite your feedback and questions. 

Lastly, a gentle thought. Our Code of Conduct outlines the behaviors we aim for and explains the steps to be taken if these are not met. Remember, we’re all human and should treat each other with kindness and respect. If a situation becomes challenging, taking a brief pause is helpful. This allows us to approach these moments with a clear and respectful mindset, seeking solutions together.

Thank you to the Incident Response Team members for helping to write and edit this post!

Incident Reports 2023 Recap

The Incident Response Team (IRT) receives and handles incident reports following the Community Code of Conduct. This handbook page includes information about the Incident Response Team, its members, and insight into their processes. 

If you witness behavior that doesn’t align with the project-wide or events code of conduct, please contact any IRT members, email reports@wordpress.org, or submit a report via this form. The IRT is also available for general inquiries, clarifying how incident response functions within WordPress.

Per Incident Response Team practices, this is an annual recap of reports received in the prior year, the method of reporting, and the action taken after investigation into each report. 

The Incident Response Team received 17 reports in 2023, 5 of which were resolved through mediation*. The remaining 12 reports are summarized as follows:

Report #1

Reports were received between December 2022 and January 2023 alleging that local community members influenced WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more.’s organizing decisions to benefit particular companies and individuals.

Outcome: The inquiry process revealed insulting and personal attacks, public and private harassment, influencing and inciting harassment, retaliation, and discrimination. As a result, the Incident Response Team took several actions. The WordCamp was cancelled, a Community deputy and mentor role was removed, and involved companies were banned from sponsoring WordPress events for one year. As the issue also extended to the local meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area., all organizers were removed from their roles and asked to complete Meetup organizer training before becoming an organizer again. 

Due to the unique nature of this situation, an announcement was shared with the community.

Report #2

In May 2023, reports alleged gatekeeping behaviors by a longtime Meetup organizer. 

Outcome: Following the inquiry, the Incident Response Team issued a warning and provided guidance to the meetup organizer.

Report #3

A WordCamp in late 2022 did not provide a thorough financial transparency report despite Community Program Supporters reaching out to request information. After giving significant time for the lead organizer to provide the requested information, the issue was escalated to the Incident Response Team due to the missing funds. 

Outcome: The Incident Response Team deduced that ample time had been offered to the individual to provide the information. As such, and due to the financial severity of the situation, the Incident Response Team took steps to remove the reported person from organizing roles. The individual eventually provided the requested information and was able to regain roles. 

Due to the unique nature of this situation, a reminder and clarification around the process were shared with the community

Report #4

In July 2023, reports alleged financial fraud by a WordCamp. 

Outcome: This report is still under investigation.

Report #5

In September 2023, reports shared that a member and speaker of the local community was directly insulting other community members and expressing derogatory comments.

Outcome: The Incident Response Team’s inquiry learned that the individual’s behavior did violate the Code of Conduct. They were removed as a speaker from an upcoming event and issued a warning. 

Report #6

In August 2023, a WordCamp attendee found an unwrapped condom hidden in the roll of toilet paper at the venue. 

Outcome: Incident Response Team members reported this to the venue, requesting increased security. 

Report #7

In September 2023, reports alleged hostile and aggressive behavior from one community member to another. 

Outcome: After an inquiry, the Incident Response Team issued a warning to the parties involved with a reminder of the Code of Conduct in place for all events. 

Report #8

In September 2023, reports alleged insulting and derogatory comments from one community member to another.

Outcome: This report is still under investigation.

Report #9

In August 2023, reports alleged harassing and inappropriate behavior from one community organizer to another. 

Outcome: This report is still under investigation

Report #10

In September 2023, community members reported an unfair banning from wp.org and requested additional review. 

Outcome: This report has gone through an investigation and is now working toward a resolution.

Report #11

A WordCamp attendee reported frustration with the organizing team. 

Outcome: In investigating this further, the Incident Response Team determined that there were misunderstandings on the attendee’s part and that their behavior (continuous contacting and harassing of event organizers) was inappropriate. The attendee was asked to refrain from attending the event. 

Report #12

In December 2023, a WordPress event organizer reportedly used threatening and rude language towards a Community Event Supporter. 

Outcome: This report is still under investigation.

Thank you

The Incident Response Team is essential to supporting our community, providing a straightforward method for members to report and address incidents that go against the WordPress Community Code of Conduct. A huge thank you to the Incident Response Team Members this year for their tireless, often invisible work to ensure a safe and respectful environment for all participants. 

Incident Team Members this year include Aaron Campbell (@aaroncampbell), Aditya Kane (@adityakane), Angela Jin (@angelasjin), Cate DeRosia (@mysweetcate), Devin Maeztri (@devinmaeztri), Destiny Kanno (@piyopiyofox), Evangelia Pappa (@evelina87), Harmony Romo (@harmonyromo), Hari Shanker (@harishanker), Isotta Peira (@peiraisotta), Julia Golomb (@juliarosia), Katie Richards (@katiejrichards), Kevin Cristiano (@kcristiano), Megan Rose (@megabyterose), Naoko Takano (@nao), Rocío Valdivia (@_dorsvenabili), Sam Suresh (@samsuresh), Timi Wahalahti (@sippis).

And thank you to the reporters and the individuals who assisted along the way. Reporting can be scary, especially if you’ve experienced an uncomfortable situation. At the same time, reporting allows for the opportunity to address and prevent unwelcoming challenges in the future. 

Looking forward to 2024

The Incident Response Team will continue to do this critical work in 2024. Additional activities will include refining and adding to existing training for Incident Response Team members and inviting and onboarding new members to the team. If you have questions about the Incident Response Team’s work, join us in the #incident-response SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. channel or email us at reports@wordpress.org.

*Mediation is when the involved community members, with or without support from the Incident Response Team, work through issues by discussing them. This is a common and effective step to take before any enforcement guidelines. The Incident Response team appreciates being notified of these situations in case they escalate.