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.

In this article

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 user account. For more information, see "Creating a default community health file."

Adding a code of conduct using a template

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

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

  2. Above the list of files, using the Add file drop-down, click Create new file.

    "Create new file" in the "Add file" dropdown

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

  4. Click Choose a code of conduct template.

    Button to choose a code of conduct template

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

    Selection of a code of conduct template

  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.

    Review and submit code of conduct to project

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

  9. At the bottom of the page, 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 co-authors."

    Commit message for your change

  10. 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 new pull request."

    Commit branch options

  11. Click Propose new file.

    Propose new file button

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, navigate to the main page of the repository.

  2. Above the list of files, using the Add file drop-down, click Create new file.

    "Create new file" in the "Add file" dropdown

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

    New code of conduct file name

    • 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 respository's .github directory, type .github/CODE_OF_CONDUCT.
  4. In the new file, add your custom code of conduct.

  5. At the bottom of the page, 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 co-authors."

    Commit message for your change

  6. 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 new pull request."

    Commit branch options

  7. Click Propose new file.

    Propose new file button

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