SASS Code Of Conduct
SASS is a community of humanists, secularists and non-believers that aim to make the world a better place by supporting non-believers and challenging religious privilege.
A code of conduct is meant for members of a community to look to as a north star with regard to how we interact with each other. Communities are fragile things, because people can easily become hurt, feel wronged, angry or frustrated. These are all normal aspects of a group of people interacting. A community cannot succeed if members cannot work past their own personal feelings and collaborate for the good of the community. Communities don’t exist solely for the pleasure and purposes of a single person. They exist for everyone. In that vein a code of conduct is meant to encourage an environment where everyone can interact in a safe and fun environment to make a real difference in the world out there and in the minds of us, the members of the community.
The document is not meant to be a judicial document that is used to judge and vilify community members. It exists to give members the confidence to voice their views and concerns and that the organization will respond with appropriate action. If a member consistently acts against the code of conduct they can be removed from the community.
There are some basic rules that all members and volunteers must adhere to
- We don’t promote illegal activities or condone them at our events.
- We don’t condone discrimination based on sex, gender, race, religion or social class.
- We don’t harass others.
Give people respect freely. There is a common belief that respect is earned, not given, but this is false. The greatest way to get respect is to give it freely, without apportioning it to what you perceive someone’s deserved level of respect is.
It’s not acceptable to put people down, call others names or use discriminatory or divisive language.
Everyone has something meaningful to contribute. By being inclusive and allowing everyone’s input we can build a better and more effective community that will serve everyone’s goals better.
Honesty is truly the best policy. When given a choice, the ethical path is always better in the long term. A general rule of thumb is that if something doesn’t feel quite right, it usually isn’t. If you feel truly conflicted, you can always talk to someone in the leadership team. We aim to keep the highest ethical standards. The rewards for our ethical behavior can be reaped in this life and, importantly, in our community.
The principle of charity is an important philosophical principle. The principle involves giving the other person the benefit of the doubt and always interpreting what they say in the best possible light. Charity minimizes misunderstanding because people feel like they are being understood or at least feel that others are trying to understand them.
Understanding is important. This means making a sincere effort to understand what people are trying to express. That means asking questions to understand what someone else means.
Be Kind & Courteous
No matter how strongly you feel about something, calling someone else an idiot never makes an argument stronger. Being rude makes a community unpleasant for everyone.
No community is perfect and sometimes there will be strong disagreements. Splitting a community never makes it stronger, only weaker. Sometimes for a community to function we need to set our personal feelings and goals aside, because those we still share with the community can be better achieved together.
Be Comfortable with Disagreement
Welcome disagreement as an opportunity to learn or teach, not an attack. Always look critically at what others are saying. Maybe there is a learning experience waiting. If someone has a flawed idea, bring it to their attention with tact and kindness, instead of just passing it over. The way a community deals with disagreement is a critical factor in its success. If you feel too frustrated or angry in a disagreement, take a break from the discussion.
Encourage Open Debate
Stifling debate through overzealous political correctness is the new form of discrimination. Encourage open and robust debate rather than opposing anything that you find a little offensive.
Take part in exercises, post content, ask for opinions. The best way to get an advantage from a community is to take part. You don’t have to take part in everything, but involvement is where the value lies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that might seem simple.
Nobody’s perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Following this document can help members and volunteers to learn and grow. The better we treat each other and our community the more we will grow and the more we can achieve together.