The MEU Code of Conduct
If you have ever used the 'Ubuntu' distribution of the 'Linux' Operating system, you will be very impressed by this document highlighting the philosophy of a 'free and open source' community.
The message is universal and could apply equally to any community as well as the MEU. The ‘Ubuntu’ document has been modified slightly and we could use it in our interactions in the MEU and as life-skills. Here’s hoping it appeals to you as much as it does to many others, globally.
The source document (The Ubuntu code of conduct is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence. You may re-use it for your own project, and modify it as you wish, just please allow others to use your modifications and give credit to the Ubuntu Project!) can be accessed at: http://www.ubuntu.com/community
The MEU welcomes and encourages participation by everyone. We are committed to being a community that everyone feels good about joining. Although we may not be able to satisfy everyone, we will always work to treat everyone well.
Standards for behaviour in the MEU community are detailed in the Code of Conduct and Leadership Code of Conduct. We expect participants in our community to meet these standards in all their interactions and to help others to do so as well.
Whenever any participant has made a mistake, we expect them to take responsibility for it. If someone has been harmed or offended, it is our responsibility to listen carefully and respectfully, and do our best to right the wrong.
Although this list cannot be exhaustive, we explicitly honour diversity in age, culture, ethnicity, genotype, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, neurotype, phenotype, political beliefs, profession, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, subculture and academic, intellectual, and technical ability.
Code of Conduct
The MEU endorses 'Ubuntu', an African concept of 'humanity towards others'. It is the 'belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity'. The same ideas are central to the way the MEU community collaborates.
Members of the MEU community need to work together effectively, and this code of conduct lays down the ground rules for our cooperation. The spirit of sharing and cooperation is at the heart of the MEU movement. We collaborate freely on a volunteer basis to promote Medical Education for everyone's benefit. We improve on the work of others, which we have been given freely, and then share our improvements on the same basis. That collaboration depends on good relationships between people.
The following code of conduct helps define the ways that we think collaboration and cooperation should work. This code of conduct covers our behaviour as members of the MEU Community, in any forum, mailing list, wiki, website, Internet relay chat (IRC) channel, workshop, public meeting or private correspondence. All persons contributing to the MEU are ultimately accountable to the MEU Community.
- Be considerate. Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision we take will affect users and colleagues, and we should take those consequences into account when making decisions. MEU has many users and contributors (may this tribe increase). Even if it's not obvious at the time, our contributions to MEU will impact the work of others. For example, our views and recommendations for changes in teaching and research may negatively impact others' work.
- Be respectful. The MEU community and its members treat one another with respect. Everyone can make a valuable contribution to the MEU. We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behaviour and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It is important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one. We expect members of the MEU community to be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the MEU project and with users of the MEU.
- Be collaborative. Collaboration is central to the MEU and to the larger institutional community. We encourage individuals and teams to work together whether inside or outside the MEU Project. This collaboration reduces redundancy, and improves the quality of our work. Internally and externally, we should always be open to collaboration. Wherever possible, we should work closely with others in the community to coordinate our efforts in all areas whether they be academic, technical, advocacy or documentation. Our work should be done transparently and we should involve as many interested parties as early as possible. If we decide to take a different approach than others, we will let them know early, document our work and inform others regularly of our progress.
- When we disagree, we consult others. Academic, social and intellectual disagreements happen all the time and the MEU community is no exception. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively and with the help of the community and community processes. We have to use our collective wisdom to decide the right course for the MEU. When our goals differ dramatically, we encourage the creation of alternative sets of packages, or derivatives, so that the community can test new ideas and contribute to the discussion.
- When we are unsure, we ask for help. Nobody knows everything, and nobody is expected to be perfect in the MEU community. Asking questions avoids many problems down the road, and so questions are encouraged. Those who are asked questions should be responsive and helpful. However, when asking a question, care must be taken to do so respectfully, and in an appropriate forum.
- Step down considerately. Members of every project come and go and the MEU is no different. When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, in whole or in part, we ask that they do so in a way that minimises disruption to the project. This means they should tell people they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where they left off.
Please follow these guidelines in addition to the general code of conduct:
1. Please use a valid email address to which direct responses can be made.
2. Please avoid flame wars, trolling, personal attacks, and repetitive arguments.
MEU Leadership Code of Conduct
The MEU Code of Conduct describes the standard for all conduct in the MEU community. Leaders however, are expected to be held to a higher standard. This document provides a set of guidelines and explains to all members the high standards of conduct that leaders in the MEU community should be held.
There are many people who hold leadership positions in MEU - from the leaders of Special Interest Groups for specific domains, to the folks who design, propose, and execute workshops and other tasks, to those who actually work at the end of the chain. Our community depends on the drive and inspiration of many people who start project teams focused on a particular end goal. We expect anybody who takes on a leadership role to meet this higher standard of conduct.
Leadership by Example
We expect leadership by example. In the MEU, leadership is not an award, right, or title; it is a privilege. A leader will only retain his or her position as long as he or she acts as a leader. This means that they act with civility, respect, and trust in the ways described in the Code of Conduct. It also means that their contributions are sustained, significant, and reliable for the period that they lead. Leaders in MEU are not autocrats. Leaders in the MEU cannot and will not stay leaders only because they got there first. Their role stems from shared recognition and respect from their team.
Respecting MEU Processes and Principles
The Code of Conduct does not only apply to leaders. It applies to leaders more. Leaders show more patience, more respect, and more civility than other members of the MEU community. As leaders, they represent their team and, ultimately, the whole MEU project. Leaders do their best to reflect the values that the MEU stands for and the behaviours that the MEU holds as paramount. Additionally, they take care to act in accordance with MEU governance principles and structures and work within the MEU system to change them.
“Virtuosos are judged by their actions. Leaders are judged by the actions of their team.” A leader in the MEU knows when to ask for help and when to step back. Good leaders know when not to make a decision but to delegate it to their team. The best leaders balance hard work in the community. Of course, leadership does not mean that leaders delegate unpleasant work to others. Instead, leaders balance hard work on their own -- leadership by example -- with delegation to others and hard work on their own. A leader's foremost goal is ensuring that the team members and team succeed. (For a list of folks who have successfully played leadership roles in the MEU, open the ‘status review’ link at the bottom of the home page; see under 'lead strategist' at http:/www.MedicalEducationUnit.yolasite.com).
A good leader does not seek the limelight but aims to congratulate their team for the work they do. While leaders are frequently more visible than their team, leaders in the MEU use their visibility to highlight the great work of their team members and others.
Conflicts of Interest
A leader notices when they are conflicted and delegates decisions to others on their team or to other teams. When in doubt, leaders publicly ask for a second opinion. They realize that perceived conflicts of interest are as important as real conflicts of interest and are cognizant of perceptions; they understand that their actions are as tainted by perceived conflicts as by real ones.
Keeping the Personal Personal
No team is an extension of its leader's personality and leaders' personal feelings and desires will diverge from the interest of their teams. When acting in their capacity of leaders, leaders should not ignore their own beliefs, feelings, and principles but must hold the interests of their team and the MEU community above their own convictions. Leaders make difficult choices but are careful to act in the best interests of their communities. They work with established processes in the community and delegate decisions to others who can.
The MEU Code of Conduct discusses the importance of gracefully stepping down from a position. This is particularly important for leaders who are responsible for decisions or specific processes - for example, if your participation is needed to reach quorum in a team meeting. If someone in a leadership role does not have time to fulfil their role temporarily, they should warn their team in advance. If an absence becomes extended, they should step down from their leadership position until they have more time to follow through. Similarly, leaders should step down gracefully -- as described in the Code of Conduct. When someone takes on a leadership position in the MEU, they are making a commitment to step down gracefully and to ensure that others on the team can easily continue where they leave off.
Note that this is less important in cases where the leadership role does not "block" decisions while the person is absent. For example, if you are one of a team of 50 list moderators, then an extended absence does not mean you should necessarily step down, because decisions will not be blocked by you not being there. Conversely, if your leadership seat is essential for decisions, then extended absences should be very carefully managed, and you should consider stepping down or at least nominating a stand-in while you will be away.