Guidelines and norms - Code of Conduct


InternetNZ facilitates and hosts collaborative spaces, both in person and on the Internet, for discussions related to our work and interests, and the work and interests of the wider Internet community.

We have a diverse community with a range of priorities and interests - this is an opportunity and a strength. We welcome and actively seek a diverse range of views in our collaborative spaces, and to ensure this is always respectful and constructive, these guidelines and norms apply to all our discussions and spaces. You can consider them our kaupapa for conversation, or as a code of conduct for those who participate in our events and forums.

The four pillars

There are four pillars to our approach in guiding conversation in InternetNZ spaces:

  • Respect people.
  • Enable participation.
  • Stay on topic.
  • Keep it safe.

Principles for all spaces

A respectful, open attitude towards others is celebrated in our work, and is expected from all participants, speakers, exhibitors and volunteers. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated and may result in your removal from the event or forum.

Here are some specific points to consider:

1. Diversity is a strength:

  • The skills, experiences and priorities of our community are rich and varied. Together we respect this, and when we disagree, we disagree with people’s ideas not them as people.

  • People’s gender (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, work experience, body size, race, religion (or lack thereof) and socioeconomic status aren’t up for criticism, jokes or comments. As a group we maintain this as basic human decency, and refrain from discussing people's personal attributes, affiliations, or beliefs.

  • Don’t assume what people know or don’t know, and if you feel the urge to offer advice or help, ask the person first.

2. Time and feedback is valuable:

  • We don’t take for granted people giving their time to share and engage, so we keep discussions on topic and constructive.

  • This means we don’t ask questions that aren’t really questions (no gotchas), we don’t derail discussions into other topics (we can start a new conversation for a new topic) and we value genuine on-topic dialogue even if we don’t share the views expressed.

  • As a group, we take responsibility for ensuring that discussions aren’t dominated by a few voices, and that a wide range of views are welcome and sought out.

  • If we find ourselves having a discussion mostly with one person, we take it off-list and message them directly (and we ask them if off-forum conversation is OK).

  • We keep things tidy and easy to understand by explaining acronyms people might not know, not cross-posting the same thing in multiple categories and starting new threads for new topics.

3. We're all accountable:

  • We ask for permission before we repost personal messages.

  • We assume that individuals speak for themselves, and what they say does not represent their organisation (unless stated explicitly).

  • If someone starts a thread for discussion on an online forum, that person takes some responsibility for managing that discussion. This includes facilitating discussion, encouraging participation and appropriate summing up whenever the thread branches. Staff will assist where they can.

  • Information shared through our online forums is never used externally without the author’s approval.

  • We all take responsibility for maintaining the principles of these guidelines in our discussions and events and we report any breaches of this to the forum moderator, event organiser or staff member.

4. We collaborate in good faith:

  • We are considered, not quick-fire reactive, in our interactions. This includes in robust discussion and disagreements.

  • We don’t impersonate people, spread rumours, repurpose information to use against people or spam the online spaces.

  • We don’t post or discuss violent or sexually explicit things.

  • We don’t hit on people at InternetNZ events or spaces.

  • If someone reports something that makes them feel uncomfortable or they feel is a breach of these guidelines and norms, a list moderator, event organiser or staff member will reach out to them to discuss what’s happened. It’s only if breaches continue that we may suspend their ability to participate.

  • If someone is removed from an online forum by a moderator, they can ask the Council to reconsider that decision.


Making sure these norms and guidelines are upheld

We are dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for everyone.

In this guidance, a “participant” is someone who is present at an event, physically or online, or is the sender or recipient of communications through an InternetNZ sponsored or provided platform.

If a participant engages in harassing behaviour, organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender, moderating or suspending their ability to send or receive communications online, or asking the offender to leave the event.

Event organisers or InternetNZ staff are responsible for upholding this approach. If you experience or witness any form of harassment or behaviour you think is inappropriate you can report this to an InternetNZ staff member who will be able to take appropriate action.

At any event or on any forum there will be identified people with whom to raise concerns, and no single person will make decisions on these matters.

Decision-makers will exercise fair judgement and will communicate the reasons for any decisions to the person affected, and if applicable to the person who raised the issue and/or the forum/event in which the conduct occurred.

If you disagree with a decision or the lack of a decision in regard to this code, you should contact the President ( or Vice President ( and seek their intervention. This is available whether you are someone who has had action taken against you, or someone who thinks different action should have been taken. We welcome and encourage your feedback.

People who develop a pattern of behaviour inconsistent with this guidance or create significant problems may be restricted from participation in events, or suspended from discussion forums, for an extended period.

You can find a Google docs version of these guidelines and norms here. Posted in October 2017 following discussion among members in 2016.