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Adding a code of conduct to your project

Adopt a code of conduct to define community standards, signal a welcoming and inclusive project, and outline procedures for handling abuse.

A code of conduct defines standards for how to engage in a community. It signals an inclusive environment that respects all contributions. It also outlines procedures for addressing problems between members of your project's community. For more information on why a code of conduct defines standards and expectations for how to engage in a community, see the Open Source Guide.

Before adopting a code of conduct for your project:

  • Research different codes of conduct designed for open source projects. Choose one that reflects your community's standards.
  • Consider carefully whether you are willing and able to enforce it.

You can add a code of conduct to your project by using a template or manually creating a custom code of conduct. Your code of conduct will be available either way, but "Code of conduct" will only be marked as complete in your repository's community profile if you use a template. If you use a code of conduct written by another person or organization, be sure to follow any attribution guidelines from the source. For more information about community profiles, see "About community profiles for public repositories."

You can create a default code of conduct for your organization or personal account. For more information, see "Creating a default community health file."

Adding a code of conduct using a template

GitHub Enterprise Cloud provides templates for common codes of conduct to help you quickly add a code of conduct to your project.

  1. On GitHub.com, navigate to the main page of the repository.

  2. Above the list of files, select the Add file dropdown menu, then click Create new file.

    Alternatively, you can click in the file tree view on the left.

    Screenshot of the main page of the repository. Above the list of a files, a button, labeled "Add file," is outlined in dark orange. In the file tree view of the repository, a button, with the plus sign icon, is also outlined in dark orange.

  3. In the file name field, type CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md.

  4. Select Choose a code of conduct template. Screenshot of a GitHub repository showing a new markdown file being created. A button at right, labeled "Choose a code of conduct template," is outlined in dark orange.

  5. On the left side of the page, select a code of conduct to preview and add to your project.

  6. On the right side of the page, complete the fields to populate the selected code of conduct with the appropriate information.

  7. Click Review and submit.

  8. Review the contents of the code of conduct that's in the text area.

  9. Click Commit changes...

  10. In the "Commit message" field, type a short, meaningful commit message that describes the change you made to the file. You can attribute the commit to more than one author in the commit message. For more information, see "Creating a commit with multiple authors."

  11. Below the commit message fields, decide whether to add your commit to the current branch or to a new branch. If your current branch is the default branch, you should choose to create a new branch for your commit and then create a pull request. For more information, see "Creating a pull request."

    Screenshot of a GitHub pull request showing a radio button to commit directly to the main branch or to create a new branch. New branch is selected.

  12. Click Commit changes or Propose changes.

Adding a code of conduct manually

If the code of conduct you want to use isn't available in the provided templates, you can manually add a code of conduct.

  1. On GitHub.com, navigate to the main page of the repository.

  2. Above the list of files, select the Add file dropdown menu, then click Create new file.

    Alternatively, you can click in the file tree view on the left.

    Screenshot of the main page of the repository. Above the list of a files, a button, labeled "Add file," is outlined in dark orange. In the file tree view of the repository, a button, with the plus sign icon, is also outlined in dark orange.

  3. In the file name field, type the name and extension for the file.

    • To make your code of conduct visible in the repository's root directory, type CODE_OF_CONDUCT in the file name field.
    • To make your code of conduct visible in the repository's docs directory, type docs/CODE_OF_CONDUCT.
    • To make your code of conduct visible in the repository's .github directory, type .github/CODE_OF_CONDUCT.
  4. In the new file, add your custom code of conduct.

  5. Click Commit changes...

  6. In the "Commit message" field, type a short, meaningful commit message that describes the change you made to the file. You can attribute the commit to more than one author in the commit message. For more information, see "Creating a commit with multiple authors."

  7. Below the commit message fields, decide whether to add your commit to the current branch or to a new branch. If your current branch is the default branch, you should choose to create a new branch for your commit and then create a pull request. For more information, see "Creating a pull request."

    Screenshot of a GitHub pull request showing a radio button to commit directly to the main branch or to create a new branch. New branch is selected.

  8. Click Commit changes or Propose changes.