Code of Conduct

This code of conduct outlines expectations for participation in the open source development of VPLanet, as well as steps for reporting unacceptable behavior. We are committed to providing a welcoming and inspiring community for all. People violating this code of conduct may be permanently banned from contributing code and participating in workshops, outreach, or other activities. As Mark Claire famously quipped, “Planets are hard.” Let’s not make understanding planetary evolution any harder by failing to hold ourselves to these standards.

Our Standards

Examples of behavior that contributes to a positive environment for our community include:

  • Demonstrating empathy and kindness toward other people

  • Being respectful of differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences

  • Giving and gracefully accepting constructive feedback

  • Accepting responsibility, apologizing to those affected by our mistakes, and learning from the experience

  • Focusing on what is best not just for us as individuals, but for the overall community

The VPLanet community strives to:

Be friendly and patient: Remember you might not be communicating in someone else’s primary spoken or programming language, and others may not have your level of understanding.

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

Be respectful: Science is a world-wide community of professionals, and we conduct ourselves professionally. Disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. Disrespectful and unacceptable behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Violent threats or language.

  • Discriminatory or derogatory jokes and language.

  • Posting sexually explicit or violent material.

  • Posting, or threatening to post, people’s personally identifying information (“doxing”).

  • Insults, especially those using discriminatory terms or slurs.

  • Behavior that could be perceived as sexual attention.

  • Advocating for or encouraging any of the above behaviors.

Understand disagreements: Disagreements, both social and technical, are useful learning opportunities, especially in an interdisciplinary community. Seek to understand the other viewpoints and resolve differences constructively.

This code of conduct is not exhaustive or complete. It serves to capture our common understanding of a productive, collaborative environment. We expect the code to be followed in spirit as much as in the letter.


This Code of Conduct applies to all contributors/participants within all community spaces.

Collaboration and Development Guidelines

We will respect the scientific work of others, both within the collaboration and without, through written acknowledgement and/or appropriate citations within papers. We will accept requests by original authors for such appropriate acknowledgment. When utilizing code written by active group members, they will be consulted with prior to publication and offered appropriate authorship on the paper. In the case of non-active group members, each member will be consulted as to what role they would like in future publications, and we will adhere to their wishes.

Code development by collaboration members that is performed on separate git branches/forks will be treated as proprietary. Such code shall not be made public in any way nor used by any group member without the explicit consent of the code author, or any proxy which they have explicitly assigned to act on their behalf. Code that is merged with the main branches of the VPLanet GitHub repositories (vplanet, vplot, vspace, multi-planet, and bigplanet) will be assumed to be open for public use. All code development should be done with the goal of eventually merging with the public branch of the repository in question.

Reporting Code of Conduct Issues

We encourage all communities to resolve issues on their own whenever possible. This builds a broader and deeper understanding, and ultimately a healthier interaction. In the event that an issue cannot be resolved locally, please report your concerns by contacting one or more members of the VPLanet Council, which provides leadership and guidance for the project. Currently this group consists of Rory Barnes (, Peter Driscoll ( and Rodrigo Luger (, who have all committed to abiding by this code of conduct . All complaints will be reviewed and investigated promptly and fairly. All community members, including those on the VPLanet Council, are obligated to respect the privacy and security of the reporter of any incident.

If you decide to send in a report, please include:

  • Your contact information.

  • Names (real, usernames or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there are additional witnesses, please include them as well.

  • Your account of what occurred, and if you believe the incident is ongoing. If there is a publicly available record (e.g. a mailing list archive or a public chat log), please include a link or attachment.

  • Any additional information that may be helpful.

All reports will be reviewed by the multi-person VPLanet Council and will result in a response that is deemed necessary and appropriate to the circumstances. Where additional perspectives are needed, the Council may seek insight from others with relevant expertise or experience. Involved parties, including Council members, are never part of the review team.

Enforcement Guidelines

The VPLanet Council will determine the consequences of any action they deem in violation of this Code of Conduct by the following guidelines:


Community Impact: Use of inappropriate language or other behavior deemed unprofessional or unwelcome in the community.

Consequence: A private, written warning from community leaders, providing clarity around the nature of the violation and an explanation of why the behavior was inappropriate. A public apology may be requested.


Community Impact: A violation through a single incident or series of actions.

Consequence: A warning with consequences for continued behavior. No interaction with the people involved, including unsolicited interaction with those enforcing the Code of Conduct, for a specified period of time. This includes avoiding interactions in community spaces as well as external channels like social media. Violating these terms may lead to a temporary or permanent ban.

Temporary Ban

Community Impact: A serious violation of community standards, including sustained inappropriate behavior.

Consequence: A temporary ban from any sort of interaction or public communication with the community for a specified period of time. No public or private interaction with the people involved, including unsolicited interaction with those enforcing the Code of Conduct, is allowed during this period. Violating these terms may lead to a permanent ban.

Permanent Ban

Community Impact: Demonstrating a pattern of violation of community standards, including sustained inappropriate behavior, harassment of an individual, or aggression toward or disparagement of classes of individuals.

Consequence: A permanent ban from any sort of public interaction within the community.

Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. If an individual engages in unacceptable behavior, the VPLanet Council may take any action they deem appropriate, including a permanent ban from the community.


This Code of Conduct is adapted from the Contributor’s Covenant v2.0, Microsoft’s Open Source Code of Conduct, and the N-Body Shop’s Code of Conduct.