DjangoCon Europe 2021 – Code of Conduct transparency report

With the conference behind us, the DjangoCon Europe 2021 Code of Conduct Active Response Team (CARE) is now able to share our Code of Conduct transparency report.

Publishing this report is a part of our Code of Conduct process, which informs our work before, during, and after the conference. The report itself provides information about general team tasks, as well as incidents we handled.

The code of conduct and our team

The DjangoCon Europe Code of Conduct (CoC) and the workings of the CARE team are directly taken from past events. For this year, the team was set up by the event organisers and staffed with four volunteers:

  • Andrew Kinyua
  • Jesse Hunt (he/him)
  • Rin (they/them)
  • Thibaud Colas (he/him)

Our group of four handled everything CoC-related for the conference, with support from the organisers where needed. All CoC reports are handled solely by the team, with an important policy that all decisions are made as a group whenever possible.

It’s worth mentioning the team is fully separate from the Django Software Foundation’s Code of Conduct Committee, which handles violations with Django’s Code of Conduct. This separate code of conduct also applies to all DSF events, including DjangoCon Europe.

Before the conference

Our team had two major tasks before the conference.

Preparing for the event

This generally meant doing anything we could ahead of the actual conference so our team could work as well as possible during the event.

  • Getting up to speed with general Code of Conduct team practices.
  • And learning and refining those of the CARE team in particular.
  • Making sure we are familiar with moderation features across the different online platforms.
  • Confirming availability so we know we will have some presence throughout the whole conference.

Reviewing talks from speakers

With 40 scheduled presentations, this was a major task for us ahead of the event! All speakers were required to submit a draft version of their slides, ideally in the week before the conference, as far complete as possible.

A minimum of two members of the CARE team reviewed each slide deck for Code of Conduct and inclusivity issues. This can not guarantee there will be no CoC issues when a talk is actually delivered, but it helps nonetheless. With the conference happening online, we also reviewed recordings on occasions where they felt more useful to review than slides, or if we had any doubts after looking at the slides only.

We didn’t review lightning talks, as they were submitted as recordings on the day they were aired, often on very short notice, without the CARE team being involved in the process.

Out of the 40 presentations we reviewed,

  • We reviewed 32 presentations without making any comments.
  • There wasn’t any materials for us to review for 5 presentations (primarily workshops).
  • There were 2 cases where we thought minor parts of the presentations wouldn’t comply with our code of conduct, and we asked for changes.
  • There was 1 case where we didn’t hear from the speaker with enough notice for us to review their material ahead of the talk.

To sum it up, the talks reviews went pretty well 😊. Thank you to the speakers for going through the review process with us!

During the conference

Everyone plays a part in fostering a positive event atmosphere, attendees, speakers, volunteers, organisers. Our team is there to set expectations, ensure everyone feels safe and included, and handle incident reports.

We felt the atmosphere during the event was overall excellent – with good Q&As after talks, and attendees supporting one-another on Slack. The conference code of conduct was featured prominently on Slack, Gather.town, and LoudSwarm, which helped set clear expectations for everyone.


In total the CARE team handled two incidents at the conference, from two reports sent to us. We share anonymised summaries here to provide examples of what kind of incidents happen, and how we handle them.

Incident 1

One attendee repeatedly made comments during the talks either criticising the talks’ materials or the opinions expressed. This was reported to us by another attendee. We messaged the person to ask them to use questions rather than comments, ideally at the end of the talks, leaving more room for the speakers’ viewpoint.

This incident is a good opportunity to remind all of the “questions not comments” conference etiquette.

Incident 2

One lightning talk speaker presented controversial political opinions. We saw people expressing concern about this over Slack, and one attendee reported this talk to the CARE team, additionally reporting multiple issues in the way the talk was delivered they thought didn’t fit with the code of conduct.

From those points, we only chose to retain one as a violation of the code of conduct – for which the speaker had already apologised to those expressing concern over Slack. They had also provided a version of their talk with the problematic statements edited out.

We contacted the speaker nonetheless to let them know this constituted a violation of the code of conduct, but there would be no further action considering they had already reacted to the issue without our involvement.

From this incident, we also chose to review the submission process for lightning talks, and made the following recommendations to organisers – primarily for consideration by future DjangoCon organisers:

  • The contents of pre-recorded lightning talks should be reviewed by both the content and CARE teams, like other talks. The review can be done on the day of submission by both teams, or if that’s not practical the talk can be delayed or left un-aired.
  • We’ve received reports the talk’s content wasn’t in line with people’s expectations for a DjangoCon. This isn’t for the CARE team to decide, but we would recommend the content team considers whether they would have accepted this talk or not had they reviewed it – and consider updating their criteria if needed.


Our team also had a small representation during the sprints on Saturday and Sunday. This all went very well!

After the conference

With the conference over, there were still a fair few things within our team’s remit:

  • Further responding to any incidents that we hadn’t fully reviewed by the end of the conference.
  • Continuing to periodically check interactions on Slack while the workspace stays open.
  • Drafting a report of the CoC reports we had received, for Django’s own Code of Conduct Committee records.
  • Writing this transparency report :)

About this report

This list is not meant to spread shame or blame. We’re publishing it to show why our CoC is important, and how it is enforced in practice, in line with the transparency guidelines from Django’s CoC committee. We hope that by publishing our reports, we will encourage people to report incidents in the future, and that other conferences can learn from our mistakes and our successes. We welcome any feedback, and we would like to thank the DjangoCon Europe community – attendees, speakers, and organisers alike – for working with us. We thank the organisers of DjangoCon Europe 2016, 2017, 2018 for their transparency report, on which this report is inspired.

The DjangoCon Europe 2021 Code of Conduct Active Response Ensurers team,

  • Andrew Kinyua
  • Jesse Hunt (he/him)
  • Rin (they/them)
  • Thibaud Colas (he/him)