Code of Conduct#

We value the participation of every member of our community and want to ensure an that every contributor has an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Accordingly, everyone who participates in the sktime project is expected to show respect and courtesy to other community members at all times.

Dr Franz Király, as principal investigator of this project, and all project members, are dedicated to a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We do not tolerate harassment by and/or of members of our community in any form.

We are dedicated to a fair and equal opportunities environment for everyone, and therefore are particularly motivated to support new collaborators, people who are looking to learn and develop their skills, and anyone who has experienced discrimination in the past.

To make clear what is expected, we ask all members of the community to conform to the following Code of Conduct.

1 Introduction#

sktime is a community-oriented and -led project.

We value the involvement of everyone in the community, and strive to be an open community. We commit to provide fair and rewarding opportunities for everyone without restriction, to participate, learn, and become leaders of the community. We expect from leaders of our community to create such opportunities for others, and we stronly encourage all members of our community to create opportunities as have been created for them.

We are committed to scientific quality and strive to be an open forum on matters of technical content and open community governance. All community members are expected to adhere to the principle of free speech in academia and science, and, to the best of their abilities, contribute to jointly creating the best possible science and the best possible open community.

We are committed to creating a friendly and respectful place for learning, teaching and contributing. All participants in our in-person events and online communications are expected to show respect and courtesy to others at all times.

To make clear what is expected, everyone participating in activities associated with the sktime project is required to conform to this Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct applies to all spaces managed by the sktime project including, but not limited to, in-person focus groups and workshops, and communications online via GitHub.

The lead investigator of the sktime - Dr Franz Király - is responsible for enforcing the Code of Conduct. He can be contacted by emailing sktime.toolbox@gmail.com.

Incidents can be reported to the Code of Conduct Committee as outlined in Section 3, and are handled in accordance with Sections 3 and 4.

The community council of sktime (see current composition on “roles”) is responsible for ensuring that resolutions of the Code of Conduct committee are adhered to, and can be contacted under sktime.toolbox@gmail.com.

2 Code of Conduct#

The sktime team are dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all people, regardless of background or identity. As such, we do not tolerate:

  • behaviour that is disrespectful to our community members or that excludes, intimidates, or causes discomfort to others.

  • discrimination or harassment based on protected characteristics, including restriction of fair opportunities based on protected characteristics

  • stifling of free speech on topics within the project scope (science and open community operations)

In the rare cases where our ideals are in conflict, we strive to protect, in the context of power dynamics, the less powerful party or parties.

‘Protected characteristics’ as referred to above include, but are not limited to: gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, biological sex, genetic information, sexual orientation, disability status, physical appearance, body size, citizenship, nationality, national origin, ethnic or social origin, pregnancy, familial status, family background, veteran status, trade union membership, religion or belief (or lack thereof), membership of a national minority, property, age, socio-economic status, neurotypicality or -atypicality, education, and experience level.

Everyone who participates in the sktime project activities is required to conform to this Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct applies to all spaces managed by the sktime project including, but not limited to, in person focus groups and workshops, and communications online via GitHub. By participating, contributors indicate their acceptance of the procedures by which the sktime project core development team resolves any Code of Conduct incidents, which may include storage and processing of their personal information.

2.1 Expected Behaviour#

We are confident that our community members will together build a supportive and collaborative atmosphere at our events and during online communications. The following bullet points set out explicitly what we hope you will consider to be appropriate community guidelines:

  • Be respectful of different viewpoints and experiences. Do not engage in homophobic, racist, transphobic, ageist, ableist, sexist, or otherwise exclusionary behaviour. In disagreements, assume best intentions.

  • Use welcoming and inclusive language. Exclusionary comments or jokes, threats or violent language are not acceptable. Do not address others in an angry, intimidating, or demeaning manner. Be considerate of the ways the words you choose may impact others. Be patient and respectful of the fact that English is a second (or third or fourth!) language for some participants.

  • Do not harass people. Harassment includes unwanted physical contact, sexual attention, or repeated social contact. Know that consent is explicit, conscious and continuous—not implied. If you are unsure whether your behaviour towards another person is welcome, ask them. If someone tells you to stop, do so.

  • Respect the privacy and safety of others. Do not take photographs of others without their permission. Do not share other participant’s personal experiences without their express permission. Note that posting (or threatening to post) personally identifying information of others without their consent (“doxing”) is a form of harassment.

  • Be considerate of others’ participation. Everyone should have an opportunity to be heard. In update sessions, please keep comments succinct so as to allow maximum engagement by all participants. Do not interrupt others on the basis of disagreement; hold such comments until they have finished speaking.

  • Do not hesitate to voice critical opinions, and accept constructive criticism gracefully. A diverse space of opinions and observations is crucial for fairness and diversity of our community, as well as its scientific quality. Free speech and constant scrutiny directed at those in power is also essential to ensure accountability and fair operations of our community, and to prevent groupthink or in-group dynamics.

  • Don’t be a bystander. If you see something inappropriate happening, speak up. If you don’t feel comfortable intervening but feel someone should, please feel free to ask a member of the Code of Conduct response team for support.

  • As an overriding general rule, please be intentional in your actions and humble in your mistakes.

All interactions should be professional regardless of platform: either online or in-person. See this explanation of the four social rules - no feigning surprise, no well-actually’s, no back-seat driving, no subtle -isms - for further recommendations for inclusive behaviours.

2.2 Unacceptable Behaviour#

Examples of unacceptable behaviour by sktime community members at any project event or platform include:

  • written or verbal comments which have the effect of excluding people on the basis of protected characteristics

  • causing someone to fear for their safety, such as through stalking, following, or intimidation

  • violent threats or language directed against another person

  • the display of sexual or violent images

  • unwelcome sexual attention

  • nonconsensual or unwelcome physical contact

  • sustained disruption of talks, events or communications

  • insults or put downs

  • sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or exclusionary jokes

  • excessive swearing

  • incitement to violence, suicide, or self-harm

  • continuing to initiate interaction (including photography or recording) with someone after being asked to stop

  • publication of private communication without consent

  • discrimination in resource allocation, decision making that excludes people on the basis of protected characteristics

  • favouritism in resource allocation, decision making that confers advantages to personal networks, and/or excludes others, such as preventing advertising of opportunities, not applying best practice in recruitment

  • reducing transparency of operations of sktime, e.g., by obfuscation of the paper trail

  • invoking the code of conduct dishonestly, or as a form of bullying, especially from a position of power

Some more principled guidance is given in the appendix “Guidance in applying the CoC”.

2.3 Consequences of Unacceptable Behaviour#

Participants who are asked to stop any inappropriate behaviour are expected to comply immediately. This applies to all sktime community events and platforms, either online or in-person. If a participant engages in behaviour that violates this Code of Conduct, any member of the core development team may warn the offender, ask them to leave the event or platform (without refund), or impose any other appropriate sanctions (see the enforcement manual for details).

2.4 Feedback#

This Code of Conduct is not intended as a static set of rules by which everyone must abide. Rather, you are invited to make suggestions for updates or clarifications by contacting Dr Franz Király at sktime.toolbox@gmail.com, or by making a pull request to this document on GitHub.

3 Incident Reporting Guidelines#

3.1 Contact points#

Please contact the current chair of the Code of Conduct Committee directly by email, see 4.1.

3.2 Alternate contact points#

In case of conflict of interest of sktime CoC Committee members, you can report through the NumFOCUS CoC process, or, in case of events, to the organisation at which the event is taking place (e.g., a university).

3.3 What to do if someone is in physical danger#

If you believe someone is in physical danger, please contact the appropriate emergency responders.

3.4 Code of Conduct Enforcement#

We believe it is important to have an actionable plan before something happens. We therefore have a detailed enforcement policy which is available in the Enforcement Manual below.

4 Enforcement Manual#

This is the enforcement manual followed by the sktime project research team. It’s used when we respond to an issue to make sure we’re consistent and fair. Enforcement of the Code of Conduct should be respectful and not include any harassing behaviours.

4.1 The Code of Conduct Committee#

The sktime Code of Conduct committee currently consists of:

Dr Franz Király (f.kiraly@ucl.ac.uk)

We encourage community members to step up to become a member of the committee.

You can use the NumFOCUS CoC process as an alternative entry point for reporting, see 3.2.

4.2 Urgent Situations: Acting Unilaterally#

If the incident involves physical danger, or involves a threat to anyone’s safety (e.g. threats of violence), any member of the community may – and should – act unilaterally to protect the safety of any community member. This can include contacting law enforcement (or other local personnel) and speaking on behalf of the sktime team.

If the act is ongoing, any community member may act immediately, before reaching consensus, to diffuse the situation. In ongoing situations, any member may at their discretion employ any of the tools available in this enforcement manual, including bans and blocks online, or removal from a physical space.

In situations where an individual community member acts unilaterally, they must inform Dr Franz Király as soon as possible, and report their actions for review within 24 hours. and report their actions for review within 24 hours.

4.3 Code of Conduct Investigation Process#

Upon receiving a report of an incident, the Code of Conduct committee will review the incident and determine, to the best of her ability:

  • whether this is an ongoing situation

  • whether there is a threat to anyone’s physical safety

  • what happened

  • whether this event constitutes a Code of Conduct violation

  • who, if anyone, was the bad actor

This information will be collected either in person or in writing. The Code of Conduct committee will provide a written summary of the information surrounding the incident. All participants will be anonymised in the summary report, referred to as “Community Member 1”, “Community Member 2”, or “Research Team Member 1”. The “de-anonymising key” will be kept in a separate file and only accessed to link repeated reports against the same person over time.

The Code of Conduct committee will aim to have a resolution agreed upon within one week. In the event that a resolution can’t be determined in that time, a member of the Code of Conduct committee will respond to the reporter(s) with an update and projected timeline for resolution.

Reports of code of conduct committee case proceedings will be kept confidential.

4.4 Resolutions#

The Code of Conduct committee will seek to agree on a resolution by consensus of all members investigating the report in question. If the committee cannot reach consensus and deadlocks for over a week, Dr Franz Király, as currently longest serving committee member, will break the tie.

Possible responses may include:

  • A mediated conversation or agreement between the impacted community members.

  • A request for a verbal or written apology, public or private, from a community member.

  • A public announcement clarifying community responsibilities under the Code of Conduct.

  • Nothing, if the issue reported is not a violation or outside of the scope of this Code of Conduct.

  • A private in-person conversation between a member of the research team and the individual(s) involved. In this case, the person who has the conversation will provide a written summary for record keeping.

  • A private written reprimand from a member of the research team to the individual(s) involved. In this case, the research team member will deliver that reprimand to the individual(s) over email, cc’ing Dr Franz Király for record keeping.

  • A public announcement of an incident, ideally in the same venue that the violation occurred (i.e. on the listserv for a listserv violation; GitHub for a GitHub violation, etc.). The committee may choose to publish this message elsewhere for posterity.

  • An imposed “time out” from online spaces. Dr Franz Király will communicate this “time out” to the individual(s) involved.

  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all sktime project spaces (GitHub, in-person events etc). The research team will maintain records of all such bans so that they may be reviewed in the future, extended to a Code of Conduct safety team as it is built, or otherwise maintained. If a member of the community is removed from an event they will not be reimbursed for any part of the event that they miss.

Once a resolution is agreed upon, but before it is enacted, a member of the Code of Conduct committee will contact the original reporter and any other affected parties and explain the proposed resolution. The Code of Conduct committee member will ask if this resolution is acceptable, and must note feedback for the record. However, the Code of Conduct committee is not required to act on this feedback.

4.5 Conflicts of Interest#

In case of conflict of interest of sktime CoC committee members, you can report through the NumFOCUS CoC process, or, in case of events, to the organisation at which the event is taking place (e.g., a university).

4.6 Audit of Investigation Process#

At any point in time, core developers may request the number of ongoing and concluded investigations over the last year before the date of the query. Any group of three core developers may also request access to all investigation reports in a time period, or reports to cases with specified properties. If there is no conflict of interest (as determined by the Code of Conduct Committee), access to anonymized reports will be shared for a period of 2 weeks. Shared reports must not be copied or otherwise proliferated.

5 Acknowledgements#

This Code of Conduct is a living document, maintanined and developed by the sktime project and its contributors.

Its original form is adapted from the The Turing Way project with Dr Kirstie Whitaker as lead investigator and based on the Carpentries Code of Conduct with sections from the Alan Turing Institute Data Study Group Code of Conduct. All are used under the creative commons attribution license.

The Carpentries Code of Conduct was adapted from guidelines written by the Django Project, which was itself based on the Ada Initiative template and the PyCon 2013 Procedure for Handling Harassment Incidents. Contributors to the Carpentries Code of Conduct were: Adam Obeng, Aleksandra Pawlik, Bill Mills, Carol Willing, Erin Becker, Hilmar Lapp, Kara Woo, Karin Lagesen, Pauline Barmby, Sheila Miguez, Simon Waldman, Tracy Teal.

The Turing Institute Data Study Group Code of Conduct was heavily adapted from the Citizen Lab Summer Institute 2017 Code of Conduct and used under a CC BY 2.5 CA license. Citizen Lab based their Code of Conduct on the xvzf Code of Conduct, the Contributor Covenant, the Django Code of Conduct and Reporting Guide and we are also grateful for this guidance from Ada Initiative.

We highly appreciate the work that all of the communities linked above have put into creating code of conduct documents and processes.

This Code of Conduct is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0 CA) license which means you are free to share and adapt the work so long as attribution is maintained to substantial sources of contribution:

Appendix A: Guidance in applying the CoC#

This appendix provides some additional guidance in applying the CoC. It contains sections on:

  • how to apply the CoC in some common situations where principles might conflict

  • investigating CoC violations in resource allocation

A.1 Resolving conflicting CoC principles#

Sometimes, CoC requirements end up in a trade-off, or in conflict with each other. We outline a few guiding examples in how these should be traded off.

Examples:

  • contributor criticizing leadership for handing resources to personal network, leadership invoking “discomfort”

  • passionate disagreement on technical content between contributors

  • accidental violations of CoC causally due to protected characteristics of the person violating the CoC

  • systemic discrimination issues whose resolution would cause discomfort in the community

Guidance rules:

  • the less powerful party should be protected, i.e., CoC cannot be invoked by lead community member to silence critique of how funds are spent. But, CoC should protect new contributors or early career members from more powerful community members, e.g., in operational or technical disputes.

  • technical content is not invalidated by tone, but tone must remain civil at all times. I.e., valid arguments are not discarded because of tone, but participants in a technical dispute may be punished for tone that is unwelcoming, e.g., name calling etc.

  • conditions that make compliance with certain aspects of CoC more difficult should be taken into account, especially in parties that are the less powerful in a dynamic. Common examples are certain forms of neuroatypicality. A more illustrative but very rare example would be Tourette’s with the rare swearing tic that cannot be “turned off”.

  • issues of systemic exclusion or discrimination should be addressed when apparent, even at the cost of some community discomfort. E.g., meetings should be moved to less convenient times, or processes made more “formal”, if not doing so would exclude others in a discriminatory fashion.

Behaviour that is clearly racist, sexist, etc, is always a CoC violation, and never part of trade-offs.

A.2 Guidance on applying the CoC for resource allocation decisions#

This section deals with resource allocation decisions by sktime community members, and criteria for decision making on resource allocation violating the code of conduct.

Out-Of-Scope#

Out of scope are spaces outside sktime jurisdiction as per Section 1.

In-Scope#

In scope for this section are all resource allocation decisions that are made within sktime jurisdiction as per Section 1, including decisions that are:

  • made by elected members of the sktime community, i.e., core developers, Community Council members, Code of Conduct committee members, or

  • made as part of an sktime activity or event.

A resource allocation is in scope if it satisfies at least one of the following criteria:

  • any decisions that allocate resources primarily obtained due to the sktime project and the volunteer contributions of the community. This includes research grants awarded directly for the benefit of the sktime project, commercial opportunities arising from or directly directed to the sktime project, and any activities that use the sktime brand as a primary branding. This condition applies even if relevant decisions are made in personal roles, or roles other than sktime official roles, as long as it falls within the general jurisdiction scope outlined above.

  • any decisions by members of the sktime developer community, in their execution of an official sktime role. This especially includes core developer, Community Council, and Code of Conduct Committee roles.

Examples for in-scope:

  • an academic allocating grant monies from a grant, or a data science consultant providing consultancy services, with a primary sktime branding

  • hiring decisions for roles that are advertised with a primary sktime branding

  • spending decisions from sktime community administered accounts

  • decisions arising from academic collaboration or commercial requests directed to the sktime community, e.g., via official email, or via digital sktime discussion tools (slack, GitHub discussion etc)

“resources” in the above context are to be interpreted in the usual sense of the word, i.e., valuable possessions, opportunities, qualities, that can be accessed and allocated.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • budget, money, financial credit

  • job opportunities, business opportunities

  • decision making power, soft or hard influence

  • dedicated work time of subordinates or dependents

  • material possessions of value

  • information of value

  • access to any of the above

Best practice#

To ensure decision making in line with the code of conduct, decision making must be:

  • by the sktime community, through sktime community decision making mechanisms. E.g., following decision making outlined in the sktime governance document.

  • in communication transparent to the sktime community, following communication requirements outlined in the sktime governance document.

  • pursuant of and in line with the charitable mission of sktime and NumFOCUS.

Adherence to widely accepted guidelines of anti-corruption and anti-bribery practice (e.g., United Nations Anti-Corruption Guidelines) is strictly expected, especially for resource allocation decisions of major magnitude, e.g., in hiring processes, or decisions in the 5-digit dollar range and upwards.

This strict requirement for best practice remains unchanged even if a local context may require less, e.g., university administrations, company policies, national anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws (or their absence), etc.

For instance, it is in-principle possible to misappropriate sktime resource, while being in formal compliance with specific national laws, institutional laws, and local policies. Irrespective of this, such an action would still count as a severe CoC violation.

Examples of not acceptable behaviour#

  • obtaining a resource opportunity through sktime, then retreating or resigning sktime roles to declare that the opportunity is now in a personal role and not on behalf of sktime.

  • pretending to communicate on behalf of sktime, or unauthorized use of the sktime brand, including but not limited to violations of the BSD 3-clause license

  • soft refusal to implement best anti-corruption and anti-bribery practice, e.g., soft refusal to make budgets, invoives, or spending records transparent to the sktime community

  • attempts to suppress criticism of bad practice through invoking the code of conduct, e.g., tone policing or DARVO

Investigating CoC violations in resource allocation decisions#

CoC violations when making resource allocation decisions are rarely accompanied by violation of communicative norms.

Such CoC violations can be committed by an individual, or by a networked group of individuals.

CoC investigations must focus on the facts. For this, it is helpful to be aware of common obfuscation and misinformation tactics such as: DARVO, intimidation, noise generation, and plausible deniability.

Important pieces of circumstantial evidence for a CoC violation are:

  • cui bono - the individual or group influencing the decision being a direct or indirect beneficiary of the changed/influenced resource allocation decision

  • substantial “value” of the resource allocation decision in question, e.g., in the order of a month’s living wages or above

  • premeditation, i.e., indication of substantial, careful consideration and planning to change the outcome of decision making to one’s benefit, or prevent/hinder decision making by the sktime community

  • removing the decision making capacity from the sktime community, e.g., by creating accomplished facts or not complying with sktime community decisions.

  • obfuscation of the paper trail, e.g., soft refusal or inability to provide paper documentation such as budgets, invoices or reports.

  • hindering of the investigation itself, e.g., by not engaging with it to the fullest extent possible, creating community dissent around it, etc

  • promoting decision making on sktime governance that would weaken accountability, transparency, decision making capacity, investigation practices, or adherence to best practice in resource allocation

  • despite better knowledge - evidence that the decision maker is aware of best practice and nonetheless acts against it. E.g., if best practice has been pointed out clearly and explicitly to the decision maker prior to the decision. Note: this does not affect the general point that ignorance of the CoC is no excuse.