Community Guidelines

These Community Guidelines are an aspiration, or collective vision, for how we want to be in relationship with one another on AAPS Connect and during AAPS events. AAPS Connect is a unique space where you can engage in cross-cutting conversations about ideas and practices, attend exclusive field building events, and grow your professional network. This is a multi-dimensional field with practitioners from a variety of disciplines, roles, experiences, and places. This Association connects people across this dispersed but vibrant community of practice, with the understanding that this breadth of perspectives enriches this field.  

AAPS is committed to providing an equitable and inclusive online community and celebrating the many voices in AAPS Connect.  AAPS strives to offer diverse engagement opportunities by ensuring all our members and participants feel welcome and comfortable sharing their insights and contributions with the larger community in this space, and that all members in AAPS Connect can fully engage in our offerings. These Community Guidelines serve as a point of reference for how to effectively communicate and engage in support of these goals. These guidelines complement the official AAPS Code of Conduct (opens in a new tab) which outlines unacceptable behavior and consequences for violation.

Community Guidelines

  • Use “I” statements. Your story is Your story. Acknowledge that we are different with diverse experiences. Speak for yourself using “I” statements, without generalizing.
  • Approach the discussion with a sense of curiosity and a desire for constructive dialogue. Stay engaged. Ask questions if you are confused.
  • Share the space. If you usually talk, step back; if you are usually quiet, try to talk. 
  • Be willing to share your perspective while providing space for others to do the same.
  • Try to use accessible language. Sometimes technical jargon is necessary, but whenever possible, try to use language most people will understand, especially with people you don’t know or people who seem to be getting started. 
  • Be courageous and authentic. Listen actively and attentively. Avoid interrupting one another. Stay engaged.
  • Present your true identity, (First Name Last Name (optional) (Preferred Gender Pronoun ex She/Her, Ze/Zir) on AAPS Connect, Zoom, and other platforms utilized for AAPS events. 
  • Critique ideas, not people. Share with others what is going on in your mind. Express your feelings genuinely. 
  • It’s OK to be uncomfortable. Recognize your discomfort.
  • Assume that people mean well and know that words have different meaning in different cultures and contexts. Ask for clarification before jumping to conclusions.
  • Recognize unintended consequences of your words and the impact they may have on others.
  • Don’t expect that things will be or can be solved. We are all learning. Be willing to change your perspective, and make space for others to do the same. Challenge one another, but do so respectfully.
  • Respect individuals’ ownership of their identity and their work. Ask permission before taking any images, and before posting parts of  someone else’s  work on social media or any public sites. This applies to online screenshots, chat comments, and recordings of live events.
  • Respect requests to be left alone. If someone asks you to stop mentioning or direct messaging them, please respect their wishes.
  • Avoid sarcasm with people you don’t know. Don’t assume everyone shares your sense of humor, or even knows whether or not you’re joking.
  • You don’t have to have the last word. Sometimes differences cannot be resolved. Learn to recognize when this has happened and resist the urge to reply if you have nothing constructive to add to a conversation.

We are each accountable for our actions, and these Guidelines can help remind us how to bring our best selves to every engagement in this space. Be gentle with yourself and with each other with any reminders to hold to these aspirations.

On rare occasions, you may witness or experience behaviors that merit more serious attention. The AAPS Code of Conduct details behaviors that will not be tolerated, and reporting procedures will be made available at time of event. Please make your safety, and that of others, the first thing you attend to in response to any conduct violation.


Community guidelines benefit from the perspectives of many, and input into this draft of Community Guidelines for AAPS Connect and AAPS Events is encouraged, to better reflect the realities and insights from across AAPS. 

AAPS Members are encouraged to contribute to this list in the comment section on AAPS Connect.

Early drafts of these community guidelines were reviewed by the 2021 CitSciVirtual Equity Sub-Committee, with significant contributions from Anna M Woodroof of Earthwatch. We drew inspiration from the codes of conduct of other organizations, most especially the iNaturalist Community Guidelines.