The NephJC and Nephrology Social Media Collective Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Prepared by Scherly Leon and Matt Sparks
Reviewed by the NSMC Faculty October 2018


Download the code of conduct


This code of conduct exists to ensure that this diverse group (NSMC and NephJC) collaborates to mutual advantage and enjoyment. This Code is not exhaustive or complete. It is not a rulebook. It should be honored by everyone who represents us officially or informally, claims affiliation, or participates directly with us. We expect the codes to be followed in spirit as much as in letter.

The overarching goal of NephJC and the NSMC is to be a productive, happy, and supportive community that welcomes new ideas, improves over time, and fosters collaboration between people with diverse needs, interests, and skills.

Graphic by Sinead Stoneman

Our Code

1. Be inclusive

We welcome and support people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to, members of any sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, social and economic class, educational level, color, immigration status, sex, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.

2. Be considerate

We depend on each other to produce our best work. Our decisions affect colleagues, and we should take those consequences into account when making decisions. Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn depend on the work of others.

3. Be respectful

Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior or manners. While frustration is normal, we cannot allow frustration to transform into personal attacks. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.

4. Choose words carefully

We are a community of professionals, and we conduct ourselves professionally. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down others. If someone asks you to stop, then stop. When we disagree, try to understand the source of the disagreement. Differences of opinion and disagreements are mostly unavoidable. What is important is that we accept disagreements and differing views constructively. Harassment and or exclusionary behaviors are not acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Violent threats or language

  • Publicly shaming (on Slack, Twitter,  in-person, or otherwise) anyone for any reason.

  • Discriminatory jokes and language.

  • Posting (on Slack, Twitter, or otherwise) sexually explicit or violent material.

  • Posting or threatening to post (on Slack, Twitter, or otherwise) personally identifying information.

  • Personal insults, especially those using racist or sexist terms.

  • Unwelcome sexual attention.

  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

5. Take responsibility for words and actions

We can all make mistakes; when we do, we take responsibility for them. If someone has been harmed or offended, we listen carefully and respectfully, and work to right the wrong.

6. Value decisiveness, clarity and consensus

Disagreements, social and technical, are normal, but we do not allow them to persist and fester. We expect participants in the project to resolve disagreements constructively. When they cannot, matters should be routed to designated leaders to arbitrate solutions.

7. Ask for help when unsure

Nobody is expected to be perfect in this community. Asking questions early, avoids larger problems later. Questions are encouraged and those who are asked should be responsive and helpful.

8. Make differences into strengths

We can find strength in diversity. Different people have different perspectives on issues, and that can be valuable for solving problems or generating new ideas. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint does not mean that they are wrong.  

9. Give credit where credit is due

Creation of original content is part of what makes this community unique. It is alright to link to others without asking permission, but if you are going to copy something, you should ask permission. Always credit to the original creators and inspiration for all of your work. 

10. Uphold confidentiality, privacy and professionalism

Participants are expected to uphold the same standards of professional behavior in the social media forum as they apply to their clinical practice. In particular, we take care to protect patient confidentiality and privacy in discussing clinical questions, and we avoid posting any sensitive material (for example: images of procedures, diagnostic reports) or information which could identify an individual.

11. Social media is forever

Read twice, think thrice, before hitting “Send” to be nice.


Professionalism in the Use of Social Media



This code of conduct is based on the template established by the TODO Group and used by numerous other large communities (e.g., Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, GitHub) and the Scope section from the Contributor Covenant version 1.4.

The Ubuntu Code of Conduct is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. You may re-use it for your own project, and modify it as you wish, just please allow others to use your modifications and give credit to the Ubuntu Project!