community June 1, 2023

Building a safer community: Announcing our new Code of Conduct

Since we last updated our Code of Conduct in 2019, the world has shifted dramatically. Hear from our VP of Community as we dive into our newest updates to the Code of Conduct. 
Avatar for Philippe Beaudette

Throughout Stack Overflow’s 15-year journey, we have always prioritized the well-being and safety of the community. This is actually one of the things that most attracted me to this community: for years when I worked in other places, I watched to see how Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange worked to protect users. I’ve learned that as culture shifts and new threat types emerge, our guidelines must mature and flex to meet new challenges. On May 31st, we rolled out an updated Code of Conduct to help reflect our commitment to the safety of everyone who visits our sites.

Before jumping into the details, I first want to thank everyone who worked to come up with our updated Code of Conduct. I appreciate the amazing efforts of our staff, led by our Trust and Safety Manager, Cesar, and Senior Community Manager, Bella_Blue, who steered this effort. I particularly want to recognize the collaboration from the Stack Exchange moderators and community members who provided their feedback over the last few months. 

While we are confident that the updates to the Code of Conduct are a step in the right direction, we also acknowledge that it is not a magical solution that will instantly enhance the quality of discourse across the network. We understand that conflicts and disputes may still arise, and trolls will continue to exist. However, the Code of Conduct will equip us with the necessary tools to remind each other to treat one another with respect and clearly outline our expectations, expressing our vision for a respectful and healthy community.

While we encourage everyone to review the entire Code of Conduct, below are some background and key highlights: 

Dedication to constant improvement

We last updated our Code of Conduct in 2019, and since then, the world has shifted dramatically. Our updated Code of Conduct provides specific guidelines on things like dangerous iconography and harmful political speech, as well as helps ensure conversations around things like public health remain evidence-based. We firmly believe that growth and progress go hand in hand. As we evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape, ensuring that our Code of Conduct remains relevant and applicable to the community is a top priority. 

In addition to this commitment to constantly improve the applicability of the Code, we are tracking upcoming regulatory pressures globally (notably from Brazil and the EU), and it is imperative that we reflect those potential requirements in our Code of Conduct.

What to expect from our updated Code of Conduct

Our updated Code of Conduct includes our mission statement, details our expectations for users, and provides details into what is unacceptable behavior as well as instructions on how to report such behavior. You can expect links to a comprehensive set of guidelines that reflect our core values and address the evolving needs of our community. We have thoroughly reviewed and refined the document to ensure it provides clear and actionable guidance for all users.

Enhancing user experience and safety

The Code of Conduct strives to enhance the user experience and ensure the safety of every individual who engages with our platform. Our Code of Conduct includes measures to combat harassment, hate speech, and other forms of inappropriate content, empowering us to create an environment that fosters respect and inclusivity. 

A collaborative effort

A Code of Conduct is a handshake agreement between users and the company and is a collaborative effort that involves the invaluable insights of the community. We have actively engaged with moderators and the community, seeking their perspectives and expertise. Their contributions have been instrumental in shaping this update, ensuring that it reflects the diverse needs and voices of the community.

Thank you for being an integral part of our journey as we continue to evolve, improve, and uphold our shared values. Stay tuned for more updates and announcements as we work together to create a world-class experience for everyone in the Stack Overflow community.

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