Code of Conduct

DiGRA is committed to fostering safer space by promoting diversity, inclusion and equity within the organisation.

Statement of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

DiGRA affirms its commitment to the principles of academic freedom, equity of opportunity, human dignity, and diversity and inclusivity. This means actively seeking and supporting different peoples, their voices, and their perspectives and fighting discrimination on the basis of race, age, sex, culture, disability, ethnicity or nationality, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, weight, marital status, religious affiliation, caste, socioeconomic status, or other aspects that have been the premise of historic or contemporary disenfranchisement. As an organisation committed to scholarly research, DiGRA acknowledges the extensive academic literature on discrimination and inequality, as well as the existence of such systemic oppressions in academia. The organisation is actively working towards addressing barriers to equal participation in DiGRA publications, colloquia and forums (whether online or in person). DiGRA’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity places expectations on all DiGRA members to create safer spaces and better practices in their interactions to move beyond academic traditions of exploitation and exclusion.

Scholarship benefits from the inclusion of a range of voices, perspectives, and forms of knowledge. A lack of such diversity is not a historical accident: it signifies abiding ignorance in the heart of institutions that pledge themselves to the creation of knowledge. Indeed DiGRA, particularly the feminist scholars and critics who are members of the organization, has been the target of reactionary forces in the wider culture. These experiences are often intensified by systemic precarity and institutional imbalances of power. Challenging systemic biases, reducing harms and making the spaces in which we work welcoming to as many groups as possible is difficult but necessary work.

Fostering Safer Spaces

Historically, many marginalized scholars have not considered DiGRA a safe and inclusive space for all participants. We are committed to actively fostering a welcoming environment whether online or offline, formal or informal. This is why we have created the following framework for expected behaviours, which encourages positive speech and behaviours and addresses unacceptable acts. Here we are guided by the following principles.

  1. A rigorous intellectual environment is premised on respect: Allow everyone to speak without speaking over others. Use the pronouns shared by the individual. Seek consent before capturing images or videos, and before sharing an individual’s content online. Actively listen and learn from the experiences of others and engage constructively with their ideas, particularly those most marginalized in society. Support indigenous peoples’ teachings, worldviews, and ways of knowing, especially in places with histories of settler colonialism.
  2. All members of the community are responsible for fostering inclusion: In addition to not using sexist, racist, heterosexist, cissexist, ableist, classist, casteist, or otherwise derogatory language, this means being open to accepting and processing criticism in a non-defensive manner. It also includes community accountability in recognizing where harms have been done and seeking to promote a collegial environment for all.
  3. Inclusivity excludes exclusionary behaviour. DiGRA does not condone actions or behaviours that intentionally or unintentionally exclude members of the community. This can take many forms such as making people feel unsafe or unwelcome in DiGRA; dismissing or minimizing the value of disciplines, knowledges, and creative or applied practices; and targeting members for harassment, among others. These behaviours are not tolerated in our community.
  4. Any form of sexual harassment within DiGRA’s community is strictly prohibited. Such forms include, but are not limited to: verbal harassment and inappropriate sexual comments; deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following; inappropriate and/or unsolicited physical contact; unwelcome sexual attention or sexual advances; harassing or intrusive photography or recording without permission; using a position of authority to coerce or groom people for manipulation or harassment; or advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
  5. In some cases it is preferable to deal with problems privately and/or anonymously. Depending on the situation, there are many methods and means for addressing a concern ranging from mediated discussions to escalated public complaints. It is important to choose the method that best addresses the issue while protecting the person(s) raising the issue. Whether you are unsure of the best language to use in a situation, or have experienced something that made you feel unsafe in a DiGRA space, you can bring your questions, concerns, and complaints in confidence to the independent Ombuds team and/or the Diversity Working Group. The Diversity Working Group is a group of DiGRA members who actively advocate for diversity and difference within the organization, whereas the Ombuds team is independent of DiGRA leadership and can offer a greater level of confidentiality. We are here to educate as well as enforce these policies.

    Current Diversity Officer/Diversity Working Group Contact: Cody Mejeur,

    Ombuds Team Contact:

Toward Better Practices

In working to create more diverse, inclusive, and safe spaces, it is crucial to seek the insight and advice of experienced diversity workers. In recognition of this, DiGRA provides the following Better Practices that promote diversity and inclusion and are updated to match current best practices in diversity work.

For members generally

  1. Recognize and acknowledge your positionality. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences, and some of those backgrounds and experiences are more privileged than others. Work to create space for people with different perspectives and experiences from your own, especially if they have been excluded or marginalized in the discussion.
  2. Diversity work is for everyone! While race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, and other intersecting identities and communities may not be the focus of your research, understand that there is no part of games that is not in some way affected by these areas of research. Read and support work on these topics, and show up for it when you can.
  3. Recognize, respect, and value diversity work. Diversity work is essential but often done without compensation or recognition by experts volunteering their labor. Consider how you can provide some form of compensation, recognition, or citation for diversity workers. Endeavor to support and promote the work of diversity workers, and be wary of tokenizing people and their work. Is your interest in a person and their work driven by wanting to support and center their voice in a space or discussion?
  4. Game Studies comes in many forms drawn from the humanities, social sciences, STEM, game design, creative practice, applied research, and work in industry and community organizing. Rather than dismissing disciplines and forms of knowledge related to games that are different from your own, consider what you can learn from them and what potential connections between your work might look like. If your critique of someone’s work is rooted in a dismissal of their entire field, epistemology, or experiences, then it might have more to do with your own assumptions than with their work.
  5. Be very careful when referencing or drawing on content created by hateful movements that you do not open new avenues for those movements to target and harass game studies scholars. For example, under no circumstances should you link a hashtag like #GamerGate to addresses or contact information of scholars who are potential targets for that harassment campaign.

For members posting on the listserv

  1. GamesNetwork is an email list used by DiGRA that is currently hosted by Tampere University. It has a small team of moderators and admins advised by the DiGRA board, and this Code of Conduct applies to it. The listserv is further monitored by the DiGRA Ombuds Team. DiGRA reserves the right to remove subscribers and/or refuse subscription at any time without warning or explanation.
  2. All communication on the listserv should be professional, respectful, and constructive. Inevitably there will be disagreements on different topics, but before responding to a message carefully consider how your response might make the listserv seem an unsafe or unwelcoming space for particular scholars, their voices, and their communities.
  3. Do not contact individuals on the listserv directly with critical or argumentative content unless their message to the listserv specifically welcomes that interaction. While such communication can have the best intentions, when unsolicited it can also feel like a targeted effort to silence or limit their voice in the discussion.
  4. When drafting a message for the listserv, consider how that message might affect and be received by diverse scholars on the listserv. Does your message draw on content that has been used to marginalize and exclude people from game studies or gaming cultures? If so, then reproducing it without critical framing can serve to reinforce the harmful effects of that content.

For conference organizers, participants, and attendees

  1. Consider the composition of your panel, group, or event: is it all men? All white people? All cisgendered or heterosexual people? Do not tokenize people and their work or limit participation to particular numbers and ratios, but seek out respectful, supportive, and reciprocal relationships with diverse scholars.
  2. Conferences are great places to connect with colleagues you already know, but think about how you can also welcome and encourage new and early career scholars. Connect with new scholars at the conference by asking questions, live-tweeting or sharing their work (with permission!), or inviting them to one of the conference meetups. When forming a panel, think about graduate students and early career scholars you could invite to be a part of the panel. Friendly faces can make all the difference!
  3. Provide resources such as those listed below in the Diversity Feature List for DiGRA Conferences.

Diversity Feature List for DiGRA Conferences

  • Pronoun stickers
  • Code of Conduct on website/conference site
  • Anonymous report form/emergency number, Ombuds Team information
  • All spaces wheelchair accessible
  • Gender neutral bathrooms
  • Flexible private spaces (Such as for breastfeeding and prayer. Breastfeeding spaces should be optional and not required–participants should be able to breastfeed where they want to)
  • A parenting policy that states children are welcome at DiGRA events (though some particular panels, talks, and topics may be age inappropriate), and as much as possible designing social events that accommodate children
  • A policy for supporting indigenous scholars, teachings, and communities that includes and goes beyond land acknowledgment statements
  • Low stimuli room(s) for getting away from noise, crowds, over-stimulation- at least one private space and one for relaxation/breaks
  • An opt-in policy for being recorded/Tweeted (not assuming it is OK to Tweet someone’s talk, take photos, etc)
  • Contact info for people to report issues to, as well as a form for reporting issues

This document can and should evolve with the expectations of the community and can be modified by the board with approval from the membership.

This document was drafted primarily by Cody Mejeur, Alison Harvey, and Darshana Jayemanne, with feedback and edits from the Diversity Working Group, Ombuds Team, and Executive Board.

Resources/Works Cited

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