CppCon 2023 Ombudsperson, and Code of Conduct handling team

CppCon has always been committed to be a welcoming conference for the entire C++ community, and having a Code of Conduct (CoC) and the best possible CoC report handling team is an essential part of making the conference feel welcoming and inclusive for everyone. The leadership of CppCon and of the Standard C++ Foundation want to thank all of the community volunteers who have stepped up to be on the CppCon CoC team over the years: Thank you! We appreciate your hard work that has made our conference better.

As times change, we want to make sure we adapt to keep our events welcoming and safe. Tech conferences (including ours) have tended to use community volunteers to handle CoC reports, but in recent years we have seen this increasingly create stress on those valuable community members when new and difficult situations come up. The stress comes in two main ways: First, community volunteers are tech experts, not professional investigators and mediators, so they often end up unfairly stressed from doing work they’re not trained for. Second, community volunteers often know many attendees personally, so they have to work harder to avoid bias, and any decision they participate in is more likely to dissatisfy someone they know which could create personal tensions. For the past year, we have been exploring ways to reduce the stress on our community volunteers and let them retire from CoC duties so they can fully enjoy the conference with all the rest of us technical attendees.

We are pleased to announce two new changes, effective today and for CppCon 2023:

  • We have hired and appointed a new CoC team composed of qualified outside independent professionals. They bring many years of experience, and are trained and certified in investigation, conflict resolution, and mediation. Because they are from outside the C++ community, they are not distracted by the technical program and are free of bias about people in our community. As always, the CoC team continues to be empowered to apply the CoC policy and the safety policy that help all of us enjoy a safe and productive time at the conference.
  • To provide support beyond direct CoC issues, CppCon 2023 will have an Ombudsperson with a physical office on-site at the conference. The Ombudsperson, who is also the CoC team chair, will be available to provide additional personal and emotional support for attendees in addition to taking actual CoC issue reports. Having an Ombudsperson in addition to a CoC team will directly support our safety policy’s first priority, that our attendees not only be safe, but also feel safe and have support for their mental and emotional well-being.

The new 2023 CppCon Ombudsperson and CoC team are:

CppCon role Other activities
Colleen Passard Ombudsperson, CoC chair colleenpassard.com

Ombudsperson and Mediator for Linux Foundation events

Jacqueline McCauley CoC team boulderchamber.com/about-us/boulder-chamber-staff/

VP Finance & HR at Boulder CO Chamber of Commerce

Gillian Faith CoC team nextlevelhrcc.com/about/

Founder, Next Level Coaching & Consulting


We expect to add additional independent professionals to the CoC team in the coming months.

Additionally, looking beyond just this year, we are supporting an industry initiative now in the formative stages toward creating a neutral independent body to help with CoC matters across the tech industry. Its aims would include setting high-quality industry standards for Codes of Conduct, providing formal compliance certification that an organization’s CoC meets the standards, and providing independent professionals like the ones we are now using above as CoC handling resources to many tech conferences and other organizations — not just to C++ or even programming language conferences, but to many events and organizations, from meetups and conferences to online associations and open source projects. We hope these efforts will succeed in creating such a new independent industry body, and we applaud and support the people who are working hard on the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting needed to make it become a reality. As those efforts bear fruit and such a new body becomes operational, at CppCon we intend to: update our CppCon CoC (which is currently a fork of the PyCon CoC) as needed to be certified for compliance with the new body’s CoC standards; continue using independent professionals for CppCon CoC handling along with embracing other best practices the new body may recommend; and encourage other tech conferences to do the same.

Once again, we thank all our past CoC team volunteer members for their service to this point! We appreciate their good work very much. Now we look forward to letting those volunteers focus on enjoying our conference’s technical content along with all of us during October 1-6 at CppCon 2023! We look forward to seeing many of you there again in person this year.