Code of Conduct for USENIX Events and Online Community Spaces

USENIX is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable event experience for all participants, and a welcoming environment for free discussion of ideas. We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form during events or in any USENIX online space or social media. Throughout this document, the term ‘event’ always includes both in-person events and virtual events.

How to Contact USENIX Staff

If you have any concerns about inappropriate behavior by any participant during an event or at any time in any USENIX online space or related social media, please contact the USENIX staff:

  • Via the Google form for reporting incidents.
  • At an in-person event, staff can be identified by their clearly marked USENIX Staff badge holders.
  • At virtual events where Slack is in use, you may direct message (DM) any member of the @usenix-coc user group.
  • You can also phone USENIX at +1 510­-528-­8649 or email staff members directly; contact information is available at

What Constitutes Harassment?

Harassment includes—but is not limited to—unwelcome conduct or offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, national origin, religion, belief system, or spiritual practice; deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, unwelcome or unauthorized photography or recording (including screenshotting or otherwise recording an individual’s participation in virtual events and online community spaces), sustained disruption of talks, other events, or online community spaces, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, and sexualized images in public spaces. Similarly, encouraging others to engage in such behavior is not permitted, nor are false accusations of harassment.

Who is Covered under this Code of Conduct?

All attendees, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, staff, and volunteers are required to refrain from harassment when participating in USENIX events and in related online communities and social media. USENIX staff will enforce this Code at all times, and expects cooperation from all participants.

USENIX expects sponsors and exhibitors to avoid sexualized images, activities, or other material. At events, booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing, uniforms, or costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment. This applies equally to participation in virtual events and online spaces.

USENIX also requests that event participants refrain from using potentially offensive language in social media posts using our event hashtags.

Guidelines for Speakers

Speakers are responsible for the content of their presentations, but USENIX requests that speakers be cognizant of potentially offensive actions, language, or imagery, and that they consider whether it is necessary to convey their message. If they do decide to include it, USENIX asks that they warn the audience, at the beginning of the talk, and provide them with the opportunity to leave the talk to avoid seeing or hearing the material.

What Should I Do If I Observe Unacceptable Behavior at a USENIX Event or in a USENIX Online Space?

Interpersonal Behavior: If it is safe to do so, we encourage you to request that the person stop the unwelcome or harassing behavior. Participants who are asked to stop any such behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any related concerns, please contact USENIX staff or event organizers immediately.

Sponsor/Exhibitor Complaints: Please contact USENIX staff.

Talks and Presentations: USENIX staff and event organizers welcome feedback of all kinds about talks and presentations. Attendee comments are taken seriously when planning future events and will be kept in confidence if requested.

Virtual Events and Online Community Spaces: USENIX moderators may participate in online community spaces and will take action as they deem appropriate if they observe harassment. Moderators will generally first respond to such remarks with a warning, although egregious harassment may be responded to without a warning.

If the warning is unheeded, the user will first be removed temporarily from the space. Users who persist in violating this Code of Conduct will be indefinitely excluded.

If a moderator bans someone and you think it was unjustified, please contact USENIX staff in private. Complaints about bans in-channel are not allowed.

If harassment is reported in USENIX online community spaces, USENIX reserves the right to review private messages between participants involved.

What Happens Once a Report is Made?

Interpersonal Behavior: If an incident of harassment is reported, USENIX staff will conduct an investigation. If they determine—to the best of their ability, and in their sole discretion—that a participant has violated this Code, they may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event (or the online space) with no refund. Under certain circumstances and at their discretion, USENIX staff may contact hotel security and/or appropriate law enforcement authorities. To protect all parties involved, USENIX will generally not make any detailed public statements about Code of Conduct incidents.

Sponsor/Exhibitor Complaints: USENIX staff will investigate the complaint. If they determine—to the best of their ability, and in their sole discretion—that action is warranted, they may resolve the matter as they deem appropriate, including removing the exhibit.

Talks and Presentations: Concerns will be relayed to current and future organizers, who will take the information into account when selecting speakers for future events. USENIX requests that attendees understand, however, that determining whether material is “offensive” is a subjective call.

What about Behavior on the Conference Network?

USENIX has a separate network policy. See­policy.

This is a Living Document

USENIX intends for these policies to meet the needs of our constituents to have positive experiences at our events and in our online community spaces, and we welcome comments and suggestions from the community. Please contact USENIX staff if you would like to provide feedback.

rev. 08.03.20