NarraScope Guidelines for Volunteers

Purpose of this policy

This policy has the following goals:

  • outline communication guidelines, including what should be shared with the rest of the organizing team for more efficiency/fairness;
  • outline incident response procedures, both online and offline;
  • outline people responsible for upholding these procedures;
  • delineate the volunteers’ responsibilities, and clearly state what is not their responsibilities.

We encourage all volunteers to familiarize themselves with the policy. A training session will be provided. Any questions about moderation should be directed to the on-duty Incident Response Committee.

Handling public unacceptable behavior (i.e. moderation guidelines)

As a moderator, your role is to enforce the anti-harassment policy in NarraScope’s virtual locations, such as the Discord server and the NarraScope spaces. As such, please review the anti-harassment policy for a list of unacceptable behavior; the list includes abuse, discriminatory harassment, and sexual harassment. Note that, although you cannot moderate comments made by NarraScope participants on platforms not controlled by NarraScope (e.g. Twitter), we encourage you to report these comments if aware of them, so the NarraScope can discuss them and enforcement actions can be taken if necessary.

The anti-harassment policy at NarraScope is not intended to limit open discussion of the merits of particular work or issues presented at NarraScope. It applies only to behavior at NarraScope. Criticizing a conference talk, a work of art, or a point of view, even in public channels, is allowed, even if an individual is not particularly polite or gracious. However, a line is crossed if an individual resorts to insults, demeaning comments, intimidation, professional threats or sustained disruption or derailing of the conversation or the event.

Moderators are able to take the following measures at their discretion and in the following order:

  • Reminder of the Code of Conduct as a public warning to everyone in the channel.
  • Send a private message and ask the individual to stop.
  • As a final measure, ban the person from the Twitch/Discord chat for 4 hours.

Any of these measures should lead to a notification by the moderator, as early as possible, in the #mods channel in NarraScope’s Discord. Please include documentation about the incident (i.e. copy-pasted comments, screenshots, etc.), or a brief but comprehensive description.

After a temporary ban has been issued online, a thread will be created in the #mods channel about the incident; this thread will be the place for the Incident Response Committee to discuss, investigate further and review the available evidence before deciding to turn the temporary ban into a permanent ban. This will trigger a ban on Twitch and on the NarraScope Discord.

If an individual’s violations of the anti-harassment policy trigger the interruption of a presentation or panel, the Incident Response Committee will review the available evidence and may investigate further before deciding of the consequences.

If you are not sure about what to do, or if you are worried that a situation is getting out of control, post in #mods as early as possible to get help. There will be at least two people (the ones currently acting as the Incident Response Committee) there to help. Actions should be taken according to the escalation procedures above.

Handling non-public unacceptable behavior

As a volunteer / duty officer, you might be approached by somebody wishing to report a violation of the anti-harassment policy. Your primary role as a person in authority is to

Lend a sympathetic ear

Listen to the reporter without criticizing or questioning their truthfulness. Assure the reporter that NarraScope takes their report very seriously. Gather the facts without drawing the process out.

On the other hand, if no violation of the anti-harassment policy is detected, there is no expectation of conference personnel being able or willing to provide amateur counseling on interpersonal disputes, loneliness, non-crisis mental illness and similar things. Any such inquiries should be met with an offer of help with contacting professionals, only.

Do not attempt to resolve the issue

In general, you should not attempt to mediate or resolve complaints informally. Any potential violation of the anti-harassment policy will be investigated by the Incident Response Committee, and only by them. Any steps towards resolution, and any decisions with regards to consequences and sanctions, is exclusively discussed and decided by the Incident Response Committee. Volunteers are encouraged to mention this policy to answer any questions.


Say something like “I am now going to escalate the report to our Incident Response Committee, if that is okay with you. They will take this report seriously, investigate, and determine what NarraScope’s response should be.” Do not ask if the reporter wishes to escalate their complaint (presume they want to do so), or mention they can withdraw their complaint (this can be seen as coercive).

Post in the #mods channel, creating a thread for the Incident Response Committee to hold a discussion, and make a report of the complaint, mentioning all relevant information. All moderators should refrain from discussing the report, or the Incident Response Committee’s discussion, with other attendees.

Incident Response Committee

The Incident Response Committee consists of two volunteers that have turned on their Discord notifications for the #mods channel. The Committee will probably assume an organization in shifts, and it will be made clear at any point who is currently on shift for this Committee.

Their responsibilities are as follows:

  • be aware, and review, last warnings or temporary bans issued by moderators regarding public violations of the anti-harassment policy;
  • provide help to the moderators who reach out to discuss a situation or ask for guidance;
  • after a temporary ban, review facts and potentially investigate further in order to reach a decision on whether to turn a temporary ban into a permanent ban;
  • take seriously and investigate any reports of non-public violations of the anti-harassment policy, and reach a decision within half a day of the report;
  • decide to investigate a set of facts, even if the moderators or volunteers have not reported them, if they appear to show a breach of the anti-harassment policy

Communication guidelines

Volunteers are asked to be objective and fair. No special treatment should be given. That being said, the volunteers are expected to provide empathy and warmth whenever appropriate.

We recommend that any communication a volunteer has with an attendee on general subjects that are relevant to the organization of the conference (e.g. suggestions, comments, positive or negative comments on the way the conference is organized) be shared widely with NarraScope’s organizing team, in order to improve efficiency and avoid redundant, independent communications.

We require that any communication a volunteer has with an attendee on subjects pertaining to harassment and safety (e.g. a report of a violation) be reported on NarraScope’s Discord server, in the #mods channel. On these matters in particular, volunteers are expected to remain neutral and not offer their personal thoughts on a report or on a decision of the organizers, to a reporter, to the subject of a complaint, or to anyone else. It is crucial that NarraScope speaks in one voice on matters of safety and harassment, so as not to muddle the message, create confusion, or undermine the decisions of other members of the organizing team.

The conference organizers and/or the Incident Response Committee will be responsible for publicly addressing all conference attendees, be it in the form of an oral address or a public written statement; it is not the responsibility of volunteers. As a general rule, conference staff should not make any public statements about the behavior of individual people during or after the conference.

Removing volunteers

NarraScope volunteers are required to abide by the event’s anti-harassment policy. Any incidents pertaining to them that have been reported to NarraScope organizers will be investigated with the same seriousness and thoroughness as any other incident. NarraScope organizers reserve the right to take any action they feel appropriate; this includes removal and all other consequences outlined in the harassment policy.

NarraScope volunteers are required to abide by the policy outlined in the current document. The decision to have a volunteer removed from NarraScope’s organizing team will be a disciplinary one, i.e. only taken if a serious breach of either the anti-harassment policy or of the policy outlined in the current document has occurred.

NarraScope stands by its volunteers and will guarantee their safety, including by not disclosing their identity. However, NarraScope’s organizer has the latitude to modify a volunteer’s schedule or responsibilities in response to a concern or incident. This can be done for a variety of reasons, including to protect the volunteer, and should not be interpreted as a disciplinary