Community Guidelines
and Code of Conduct

Slack Community Guidelines
Slack Community Guidelines

Code Institute Student & Alumni Community

By taking part in Code Institute’s Community, including activity on Code Institute’s Slack workspace, you are agreeing to abide by this Code of Conduct. All members of the Community are expected to abide by this Code of Conduct at all times in all Code Institute online fora (such as Slack), and in person, and in one-on-one communications pertaining to Code Institute. 

This Code of Conduct is in addition to and does not in any way nullify or invalidate, any other terms or conditions related to your participation in the Code Institute Community, the use of Slack or any other online or offline fora utilised by the Code Institute Community.

The definitions of various subjective terms such as “discriminatory” or “inappropriate” will be decided at the sole discretion of the Code Institute Community administrators. The purpose of the Code Institute Slack Community is to allow students to talk about all aspects of Code Institute’s courses and coding in general. 

This is the place to ask (and answer) questions, post ideas and discoveries, and encourage one another as you learn full-stack development and become coders. To achieve this, we strive to keep the Community a positive space that can be enjoyed by all, and we ask every member of the Community to be respectful of this space and one another at all times.

Use Appropriate Language

Be kind to one another! Please avoid posting personal attacks, threats, profanity, or sexually explicit language in your activities within the Community. If you feel that there is inappropriate activity happening on Slack, and don’t feel comfortable addressing it directly, please let us know as soon as possible.

Friendly, Harassment-Free Space

Harassment, offensive language, or any form of inappropriate behavior is never tolerated, whether through the Slack workspace or via other public or private media.

Code Institute is, at all times, committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of ability, gender identity, race, ethnicity, physical appearance, religion, age, body size or any other characteristics. 

All Community Members are expected to respect differences of opinion. Rudeness is not accepted in the Code Institute Community and members should be professional and civil at all times. 

Harassment includes, but is not limited to: harmful or prejudicial verbal or written comments related to gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, age, physical appearance, body size, race, or similar personal characteristics; inappropriate use of nudity, sexual images, and/or sexually explicit language in public spaces; threats of physical or non-physical harm; deliberate intimidation, stalking or following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention.

Code Institute reserves the right to make judgment calls about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior and/or published content. 

Content name, description, and other visible metadata must not include abusive, inappropriate, or harassing content.

Avoid Repeated Messages, Unrequested Direct Messages, Repeated Direct Messages, and Repeated Tagging

To help keep the Community a welcoming place for all, please refrain from sending direct messages to other Community members unless you have permission to do so from that member. Similarly, please do not send direct messages to members who have requested not to be contacted. In particular, you should not send unrequested direct messages that are not related to coding or the Code Institute course in general, and you should refrain from sending repeated direct messages and repeated tagging.

Please keep in mind the purpose of the Code Institute Community and ensure that all messages are coding-related or related to the Code Institute course. Please also avoid tagging and repeated tagging of members in channels. If you direct message or tag an individual member, they are not obligated to respond. Likewise, if you are tagged in a post or if you receive a direct message, you are not obligated to respond. If the issue persists, or if you feel that it violates these guidelines, or if the message is inappropriate in nature, please refrain from engaging in the conversation and let us know.

Refrain from tagging anyone on a new question; instead, we ask that you just address your question to the channel as a whole, and leave it for anyone there to respond. Channels are intended to be a public forum, rather than an individual’s office hours. For the same reason, please also refrain from asking technical questions in a direct message that would be more suited to a public channel unless the other person has explicitly offered to provide such support. The main valid reason to tag someone is to continue a pre-existing conversation with them, and particularly when responding to a question that they have asked.

Do not abuse tagging. Repeated tagging of someone who has assisted you may reduce their willingness to continue to do so. Please note that this rule includes mentors as well. Our industry mentors are all invited to become Community members but are not expected to provide any technical support in this capacity. Asking for support and advice from mentors should be done as part of scheduled mentor sessions. When on Slack, please treat the mentors as you would any other Community member.

Code Institute reserves the right to make judgment calls about what is and isn’t appropriate with regards to messaging, direct messages, tagging, and all other communications in the Code Institute Community and to take any action it deems appropriate, including temporary or permanent removal from the Slack Community and/or account deactivation.

Avoid illegal activity

Do not post anything that can be construed as advising others to break the law. In particular, do not post links to pirated content, and do not provide advice on illegal bypassing of software security protection. On the other hand, general discussions of software security are welcome.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property

Do not post or link to any private information (your own or others’). This includes credit card numbers, passwords, product/API keys or any sensitive personally identifiable information, such as social security numbers, addresses, etc. Do not post anything that may be considered the intellectual property of someone else or of a company. Take particular care when posting screenshots of your desktop.

Avoid Marketing

You are welcome to post endorsements of tools, products, or services that you personally found useful, but please refrain from blatant advertising, marketing, or any kind of spam. In particular, posting affiliate links to third-party services such that clicking on the link or buying the services within would directly or indirectly financially benefit the poster is prohibited, due to the potential conflict of interest. On the other hand, posting a link to your own site is fine, even if you have ads or any other monetization method set up, as long as this is not obscured in any way.

No soliciting

Our Slack Community is intended as a place for peer learning and collaboration opportunities. If you know of a tech opportunity near you, you’re welcome to post it in the careers channel via a link to the job offer (i.e. LinkedIn, Indeed, company website). Soliciting paid work from fellow students, however, can lead to conflicts of interest, and Slack is not the place for this. 

Take care when following any advice

Community posts might include advice on commands to run on your computer or any other actions for you to perform. This sort of advice is provided by Community members as-is, without any liability. Consider any such advice carefully, and ask for clarification as needed; any potential damage or loss of data resulting from following advice is your own responsibility.

Remember, each post only reflects the views and opinions of its author, and you as a Community member are solely responsible for anything you post.

Access to the Slack Community

In order to create a positive and productive learning environment for students, we restrict Slack usage to active students and alumni. If you are not completing the course, your access to Slack will be removed. 

Access to the Code Institute Slack Community is only made available to the following: 

  1. Active students of Code Institute within their period of study, including those on medical leave or granted any other extension.
  2. Former students who have found a tech job while on the course, and due to work commitments, were unable to complete the course.
  3. Students who have completed all of the course material and are working on their projects with a deadline to submit at the discretion of the Code Institute Student Care team.
  4. Students waiting on the results of their certification.
  5. Code Institute alumni who have completed all of the course requirements and have received a diploma and are actively contributing to learning in the Community. What constitutes ‘actively contributing’ is at the discretion of Code Institute. 

Violation of this Code of Conduct

If you violate any portion of the Slack Code of Conduct, regardless of whether or not you violated the same section repeatedly or a combination of sections on different occasions, your access to Slack may be removed. This may be in the form of a ban or ‘strike’, as outlined below, or your access may be removed indefinitely. It is at the sole discretion of Code Institute to decide on the removal period, and this may include immediate and indefinite deactivation of your account. 


Please note that below are indications of probable course of action only, and Code Institute may amend these as it sees fit. 

You will be notified of each strike against the Code of Conduct. We will explain what section of the Code of Conduct has been violated, citing the particular behavior that resulted in a strike.

1st Strike: Your access to Slack will be removed for a period of 2 days.

2nd Strike: Your access to Slack will be removed for a period of 10 days.

3rd and subsequent Strikes: Your access to Slack will be removed for a period of 30 days, with the possibility of longer or indefinite removal.

If we find that your behavior on Slack is inappropriate, but it does not fall under a section stated in the Slack Code of Conduct, your behavior will be reviewed by Code Institute, and action may be taken as Code Institute deems appropriate. This may include a strike, or a “pre-strike warning”, notifying you of the inappropriate behavior. This is not a strike. A new section may then be added to the Code of Conduct to cover this behavior. Any violation of this new section by you or others in the future will be considered a strike.

Please note that Code Institute may increase the period of removal as it sees fit and that violations may at any time result in your indefinite removal from Slack.

Slack Account Deactivation

Code Institute reserves the right to deactivate a Slack account at any time, and for any reason that it deems necessary and to be in the best interests of the Code Institute Community. 

Reasons for deactivation of a Slack account may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Violation of any of the terms in our Community Guidelines
  • Repeated messaging and/or activity that is not related to coding, coding careers, or coding-related activities. This includes messaging that Code Institute deems to be in violation of any of the terms of the Community Guidelines, or which Code Institute has deemed to be unsuitable or inappropriate in nature, or which does not contribute in a positive manner to the learning of the Community. 
  • Repeated direct messaging of other members without request
  • Upon the issuing of repeated ‘strikes’, and at the discretion of Code Institute
  • For alumni and non-students: inactivity in public Slack channels and/or lack of participation and contribution to learning activities. 
  • For any other reason, that Code Institute deems to be sufficient grounds for account deactivation, and at the complete discretion of Code Institute

General posting guidelines

Please consult the dedicated Channel Directory, a channel that lists all of the main Slack channels and a brief description of each.

We encourage everyone to post questions and support each other. Try to post as intelligently as possible, with research and context – providing at least a paragraph of an explanation for each question, explaining the “why”, rather than just giving a workaround.

Write a one-line title that summarizes the issue you want help with or your discussion topic. A one-line title is the first thing other Slack members will see, and if your title isn’t interesting, they won’t read the rest. You want to grab their attention so it’s important to treat your title like an elevator pitch. Strive to sum up your entire question in one sentence. Then, after the title, include any additional detail that will help someone identify and solve your problem. Make sure to include the code that you’re using (as a Slack snippet, or as a link to GitHub), and paste any error messages or unusual outputs that might help someone pinpoint the cause of your issue. Help others to understand the problem so they can help you find the solution.

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are important! Remember, this is the first part of your question others will see – you want to make a good impression.

If you’re having trouble summarizing the problem, write the title last – sometimes writing the rest of the question first can make it easier to describe the problem.

In the words of Slackbot, “be cool!” Slack is a Community forum where students enjoy chatting, learning together and helping each other solve coding challenges. The students who are friendly and helpful tend to enjoy and get the most out of Slack interactions. When it comes to asking for help, those students often receive genuine offers for help, quick responses and better answers. If, on the other hand, you treat the channel as your personal troubleshooting task force then you may find that the number, speed, and quality of responses to your posts will soon dwindle.

At certain points, you may find that you are responding to questions rather than posting them. This is something we strongly encourage in Slack as the benefits are twofold:

You are contributing to the Community by helping out fellow students (kudos to you!)

In doing so, you are developing your own problem-solving techniques and coding skills. Real-world student questions can even at times be more effective learning tools than the challenges in the LMS.

To help you understand what a good (and not-so-good) post looks like, check out our example posts below: 

Bad: Git error

Good: Hi folks, can you please remind me how to remove git tracking from a folder?

Bad: Help – data not loading

Good: Good morning, everyone! What CSS property can I use to create an unordered list without bullet points?

Bad: If else issue

Good: Hi channel, I’m going through the SQL lesson, and can’t seem to really understand the difference between an INNER JOIN and OUTER JOIN, is anyone willing to try and explain it to me in another way?

Introduce the problem before you post any code

Now that you’ve written your title (or not, if you left it until the end), hit CTRL+ENTER to add a new line, without publishing the message yet (particularly useful if it’s a long question that you’d like to appear as a single piece). Add any additional question details to expand upon the summary you put in the title. As a rule of thumb, don’t assume that the reader has prior background knowledge (apart from familiarity with the language or framework) on the problem you’re having.

If the issue is directly related to the course content, start off by naming the lesson and unit you are currently working on. Explain how you encountered the problem you’re trying to solve and any difficulties that have prevented you from solving it yourself. If the problem you are trying to solve involves debugging an issue or error, and you have an idea or theory of what may be the cause of the issue, then make a note of this in your question. Strive to keep your question succinct, engaging, and informative.

Help others reproduce the problem

Keep in mind that in order for a reader to help you reach a solution, it’s imperative that they understand the problem. The most effective way of doing this is to use a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach; in the coding world, this approach involves helping your readers reproduce the problem. Imagine someone was asking you the same question you’re about to ask them, what information would you need to help them solve the problem?

One simple but effective way of ‘showing’ the problem is to make the most of your ability to share code snippets, links to your code, file attachments, images, and videos. Consider if a screenshot of your code output or a screencast of you debugging your code may help your reader. Not all problems benefit from including code, but if your problem is with the code you’ve written, you should include a code snippet. We strongly recommend including code that directly relates to your problem in a code snippet and then adding a link to your entire file or project in a GitHub repo.

To include snippets of code directly on Slack, you should use either the “Code or text snippet” option available from the + menu to the left of the input box, or to use backtick symbols (`) directly inside the message, with a single backtick for inline code (e.g. `console.log(name)`) or triple backticks for longer snippets (e.g. “`if (age > 18) { doThings …}“`). Alternatively, if the code is part of a larger project, it’s best to push your code to GitHub and paste a link to the repository. If you’re unsure of how to post a link to your code, you can call the SlackBot using the command !code for a further explanation.

Proofread before posting!

Before you hit send, take a moment and read through your message from start to finish. Pretend you’re seeing it for the first time: does it make sense? Try reproducing the problem yourself and make sure you can do so using only the information included in your post – if you’ve missed a step, add it in. Do a final check on your title – does it still make sense? If so, hit send!

Post the question and respond to feedback

After you post, leave the question open in your browser for a bit, and see if anyone starts a thread and leaves a comment. If someone asks for clarification, be ready to respond with the relevant information. If someone posts an answer, be ready to try it out and provide feedback. If the solution works, be cool and let that person know – a little thanks and kudos go a long way in the Slack Community!

Make the most of Slack’s search functionality

Keep in mind that you can use Slack to search for previously posted questions and answers on a topic of your choice by using the Slack search bar. For help on how to make the most of Slack’s search functionality, check out this Search in Slack post.

Please note that the Slack Community is intended for day-to-day discussion rather than a long term repository of knowledge, so if there’s any particular answer/link/advice that you’d like to use as a reference, we recommend copying it out of Slack and saving it in your own notes for future reference.

Slack Channel Leads Programme 

If you’ve tried asking for help from others in the channel, and you’re still unsure, ask the channel lead! A channel lead is a student leader chosen by Code Institute to help lead the student Community. There is a channel lead for all project channels, and new leads are announced in the channels every 2 months. Channel leads lead regular channel discussions and webinars on a variety of topics related to each specific project. Check out the channels for the time and topic for the next discussion. Webinar events are also posted in the #events channel. It’s a great way to be involved in the student Community!

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