Code of Conduct

All are welcome to participate in this community provided they read and agree to adhere to the following Code of Conduct. We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a friendly, safe environment for everyone.

This code of conduct applies to all conduct and communications involving 5th Square members & volunteers both online and off, including, but not limited to, in-person meetings, virtual meetings, the slack workspace, emails, phone calls, and personal social media.

5th Square members & volunteers must be aware that their involvement in our organization means that their personal conduct and speech will be reflective of 5th Square, even while engaging in activities unrelated to the organization.

Anyone who violates this code of conduct may incur penalties of verbal warnings, written reprimand, sanction, suspension, or expulsion from all 5th Square activities at the discretion of the 5th Square Steering Committee through a majority vote.

This Code of Conduct is to be read and agreed upon by all 5th Square members & volunteers prior to any volunteer activity with 5th Square. It is subject to revision through a majority vote among Steering Committee members with revisions posted on

If you witness any violations of this Code of Conduct, are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a 5th Square Steering Committee Member immediately or use this anonymous feedback form:


  1. Ground Rules
  2. Zero Tolerance for Harassment
  3. Slack Workspace Guidelines
    • Confidentiality
    • Threading Comments
    • Admission Criteria
  4. Pronoun Etiquette
  5. Anti-Racism
  6. In-Person Events
  7. Conflict Resolution & Remedial Guidelines
  8. Resource Links
  1. Ground Rules

    Be respectful, patient and welcoming. We welcome people of all identities, locations, and backgrounds to this community. If someone has helped you out, take the time to pay it forward and react and comment on the posts of others when you can. This includes being open to criticism, and willing to adjust your behavior to be inclusive to the entire group. Just because you don’t find something offensive, doesn’t mean someone else won’t.

  2. Zero Tolerance for Harassment

    Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

    • Offensive comments, discrimination, or exclusion related to the following protected categories: gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, neurodiversity, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), social and economic class, immigration status, country of origin, skill level, or education level. 
    • Statements or actions that diminish a protected category’s perspective or lived experience.
    • Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names.
    • Sexual content of any kind including but not limited to images, behavior, messages, links
    • Unwelcome sexual attention toward others.
    • Threats of violence or incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to die by suicide or to engage in self-harm.
    • Intimidation or stalking (online or in person)
    • Sustained disruption of discussion.
    • Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others.
    • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
    • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent.
    • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
  3. Slack Workspace Guidelines


    This slack workspace is where Philadelphia’s urbanist movement lives and we encourage free discussion and welcome diverse participation.

    • Opinions expressed by members & volunteers in this Slack Workspace will be diverse and are not necessarily representative of 5th Square.
    • Absolutely NO SCREENSHOTS of the Slack chat.
    • Note to reporters: messages in this Slack are off the record unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    Threading Comments

    In high-volume channels (50 or more participants)

    • Use the thread feature as much as possible.
    • If you have an original topic, bring it up briefly in the channel & chat within a thread.
    • Reply within threads, don’t share with the channel unless it’s 100% pertinent.
    • Sharing links in the main channel is okay.

    Admission Criteria

    5th Square members & volunteers are not guaranteed admission in the “5th Square Action” Slack workspace. The Steering Committee has discretion on which members & volunteers shall be permitted entry and permitted to stay within the Slack Workspace.

    To guide the Steering Committee, it will look at the following elements:

    • Professional and personal conflicts of interest: elected officials, members of the press
    • Past public behavior in-person and online
    • Adherence to this code of conduct.
  4. Pronoun Etiquette

    Refrain from judging someone’s gender by photos or names. 

    • If you aren’t sure what someone’s pronouns are, just ask! “Hey there, what are your pronouns?”
    • You can add your pronouns by clicking the dropdown at the top right of Slack, and clicking “Edit Profile”. Clicking on a profile image will show their listed pronouns.
    • This applies when addressing an entire group or collective. Don’t use gendered terms like “guys” or “ladies” – appropriate alternatives include: y’all, youse, yinz, everyone, folks, friends.
    • It never hurts to default to “they/them” pronouns, especially on Slack.
  5. Anti-Racism

    5th Square covers a variety of policies and areas of interest that touch the lives of everyone in Philadelphia. We are committed to constantly reviewing the our policy platform and ensuring that we are actively anti-racist. We don’t support racist policies. 

    5th Square prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. The Steering Committee reserve the right not to act on complaints regarding:

    • ‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’
    • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you.”
    • Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial.
    • Criticism of racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions.
  6. In-Person Events

    Respect the space of attendees. Ask for consent to touch, photograph, or film someone. Consent once does not mean consent every time.

  7. Conflict Resolution

    If you witness any violations of this Code of Conduct, are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a 5th Square Steering Committee Member immediately or use this anonymous feedback form:

    The Steering Committee will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse. At their discretion, the Steering Committee may publicly name a person about whom we’ve received harassment complaints, or privately warn third parties about them, if the Steering Committee believes that doing so will increase the safety of 5th Square members, volunteers, or the general public. We will not name harassment victims without their affirmative consent.

    Anyone who violates this code of conduct may incur penalties of verbal warnings, written reprimand, sanction, suspension, or expulsion from all 5th Square activities at the discretion of the Steering Committee through a majority vote. The Steering Committee will take the following remedial guidelines into account, but reserves the right to immediately suspend/expel from all 5th Square activities in cases of harassment or inappropriate behavior.

    Step by Step Remedial Guidelines for Steering Committee Members

    1. Document all instances where problems have arisen. Try to get multiple sources and corroboration from other people within the organization.
    2. Inform the entire Steering Committee that an issue has come up with a volunteer.
    3. Have a one on one informal talk with the difficult volunteer to try and resolve the problem. Use this as an opportunity to discuss both the volunteer’s and the organization’s perspective and ways to rectify the problems the volunteer is causing/experiencing.
    4. If the problem persists after the one on one informal talk, schedule a formal meeting, with a third person in attendance to act as a witness. In this meeting provide the volunteer with a letter outlining all instances of difficult behavior that have been documented. The letter should also clearly explain the consequences that will follow if there are any further transgressions. Allow the volunteer to give their view on the matter. Try to resolve the issue.
    5. If the issue cannot be resolved, look into resignation/dismissal of the volunteer.
    6. When dismissing a volunteer, acknowledge the service they have given to your Club. Some volunteers have given many years of good volunteer service before a problem arises. Offer the volunteer a dignified exit (ie let them step down themselves from their position). If the volunteer must be dismissed, do so in a private setting, if possible, with a witness present. Make sure you keep a record of the reasons for dismissing the volunteer.
  8. Resource Links

    Bruce Trail Conservancy - Dealing with Difficult Volunteers, A Resource

    First Round Review / Power Up Your Team with Nonviolent Communication Principles

    Voice and tone | 18F Content Guide