• Sarah Tan
  • August 16, 2019

The open exchange of ideas, the freedom of thought and expression, and respectful scientific debate are central to the goals of Women in Machine Learning, Inc. (“WiML”) activities; this requires a community and an environment that recognizes and respects the inherent worth of every person. The purpose of this Code of Conduct (CoC) is to outline expected standards of behaviour during WiML activities.


This CoC applies to all WiML activities, including but not limited to:

  • Events organized, hosted, co-branded, or in cooperation with WiML
  • Submissions and reviewing processes run by WiML.
  • Communications sent through communication channels associated with WiML, including but not limited to social media.
  • Meetings and discussions associated with WiML activities.

If an activity is in cooperation with another organization, if the other organization has its own CoC, the union of both CoCs apply.


All attendees, speakers, mentors, panelists, area chairs, reviewers, sponsors, contractors, organizers, volunteers, members of the WiML Board of Directors and Senior Advisory Council (referred to as “Participants” collectively throughout this document) involved in WiML activities as described above are required to comply with this CoC.

Reviews should actively avoid subtle discrimination, however inadvertent. In particular, reviewers should avoid comments in reviews about English style or grammar that may be interpreted as implying that the author is “foreign” or “non-native”. 

Sponsors are equally subject to this CoC. In particular, sponsors should not use images, activities, or other materials that reinforce gender stereotypes or are of a sexual, racial, or otherwise offensive nature at WiML events. Booth staff, including but not limited to volunteers, should not create a sexualized environment.

Unacceptable Behavior

WiML is dedicated to providing an experience for all participants that is free from harassment, bullying, discrimination, and retaliation. This includes offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), politics, technology choices, or any other personal characteristics or considerations made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws, ordinances, or regulations.

Inappropriate or unprofessional behavior that interferes with another participant’s full participation will not be tolerated. This includes bullying, intimidation, personal attacks, harassment, sustained disruption of talks or other events, sexual harassment, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, public vulgar exchanges, derogatory name-calling, or diminutive characterizations, all of which are unwelcome in this community. Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviour, is also considered harassment. 

No use of images, activities, or other materials that are of a sexual, racial, or otherwise offensive nature that may create an inappropriate or toxic environment is permitted. Disorderly, boisterous, or disruptive conduct including but not limited to fighting, coercion, theft, damage to property, or any mistreatment or non-businesslike behavior towards other participants is not tolerated. Scientific misconduct—including but not limited to fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism of paper submissions or research presentations—is prohibited.


If you have concerns related to your participation or interaction at a WiML activity, observe someone else’s difficulties, or have any other concerns you wish to share, you can make a report: 

  • Anytime:
  • During an event:
    • In-person to organizers, volunteers, or any member of the WiML Board of Directors. They will then direct you to the designated responder(s) for that event. Organizers and volunteers can be identified by special badges marked as “ORGANIZER” or “VOLUNTEER”. Members of the WiML Board of Directors can be identified by special badges marked as “WiML Board”. 

There is no deadline by which to make a report. 

If the person receiving your report is not the designated responder for that event, they will direct you to a designated responder and/or provide you immediate medical or security help and assist you to feel safe for the duration of the activity. Designated responders will follow WiML procedures to respond to and investigate your report.


Any participant asked by any member of the community to stop any unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. A response of “just joking” will not be accepted; behavior can be harassing without an intent to offend. 

If a participant engages in behaviour that violates this CoC, WiML retains the right to take any action deemed appropriate, including but not limited to: 

  • Formal or informal warnings
  • Barring or limiting continued attendance and participation, including but not limited to expulsion from the event
  • Barring from participating in or deriving benefits from future WiML activities
  • Exclusion from WiML opportunities, e.g. leadership, organizing, volunteering, speaking, reviewing, sponsoring, etc.
  • Reporting the incident to the offender’s local institution or funding agencies
  • Reporting the incident to local law enforcement 

The same actions may be taken toward any individual who engages in retaliation or who knowingly makes a false allegation of harassment.

If action is taken, an appeals process will be made available.


Reports of violations will be handled at the discretion of the WiML Board of Directors, who will investigate reports and bring the issue to resolution. Reports made during the activity will be responded to within 24 hours; reports made at other times will be responded to in less than five weeks. All reports will be handled as confidentially as possible and information will be disclosed only as it is necessary to complete the investigation and bring to resolution. There may be situations (such as those involving Title IX issues in the United States and venue- or employer-specific policies) where the member of the WiML Board of Directors informed of the violation will be under an obligation to file a report with another individual or organization outside of WiML. 

Ongoing Review

The WiML Board of Directors welcomes feedback from the community on this CoC policy and procedures; please contact us by email at info@wimlworkshop.org.


This CoC policy was written by adapting the wording and structure from other CoC policies and procedures by Geek Feminism Wiki (created by the Ada Initiative), NeurIPS, ACM, Montreal AI Symposium, and Deep Learning Indaba.

Copyright © Women in Machine Learning

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