Policies and Community Guidelines
As we continue to grow into a great author-focused community, we want to maintain a collaborative and helpful environment where we can all learn and excel in our writing endeavors. To do that, we need to establish some guidelines and policies to protect this community and help culture intelligent discourse.
Slack Community Guidelines
Malicious Behavior Will Not be Tolerated.
We will not tolerate any hate talk, bullying, shaming or any other malicious activity in this group. Period. And when we mean zero tolerance, we mean once it’s brought to light, you are immediately BANNED. We also have a duty to share any infraction to the promotional services that choose to partner with us. Professionals have no tolerance for this, us included.
Community Support - #SharingIsCaring
Authors are more likely to offer support to you when you help support them & others. If everyone just focused on their own success, then a sense of community fails to exist and the entire system breaks down.
We're here to help build each other up, not hold each other back. Everyone had to start someplace, so please be respectful to other members and offer critical, but constructive advice. Just know that there’s a lot to learn about writing and publishing and everyone is trying to succeed. Seek to understand, not seek to judge.
In addition, if you know of anything that could benefit other authors (webinars, promo, anthology sign up), please share in the group!
We Believe in Diversity & Inclusion
This is a community where romance authors (especially those of marginalized identities) to be themselves and bring their whole self to the space. This is what being authentic and inclusive means. If you identify as Black, then we want you to bring your "Blackity Black" self into this group. If you identify as Queer, you rock that to your own level of comfort--not to the comfort of cishet folks. If you have a disability, come over, this space is for you. And... (wait for it) if you happen to identify with one or ALL of those (because intersectionality matters here), we want you here, too. You don't have to sacrifice one identity for another. Just be you. This community can only survive by being real.
That also means that to exist in this space means to challenge your beliefs around gender, race, class, ability, ethnicity that may (even unintentionally) exclude or harm the safety and well-being of our members of historically ignored identities. You need to unlearn also as you learn, and to be frank, minding your own business to prevent othering of folks is free.
We all agree that topics such as basic human and civil rights (BLM, Stop Asian Hate, LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights, etc.) simply aren’t up for debate here. Full stop.
Normalize the use of pronouns by adding them to your profile name. It's always okay to ask for someone how would they like to be addressed.
If posting images, please take a moment to briefly describe the image on your post for those who use screen readers
Please utilize content warnings in your post if it contains topics of discussion that some members may not have the spoons to deal with such as: Ableism, Racism, Sexual Trauma, Islamophobia, Transphobia, and/or Homophobia.
Have a New book coming out? Members can let us know!
New Releases should be submitted through the New Release Announcement Form, so it can be promoted via social media channels.
IRP's Code of Conduct
The Inclusive Romance Project (IRP) is committed to providing an inclusive and safe environment for people of all races, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, physical abilities, physical appearances, neuro(a)typicality, socioeconomic backgrounds, life experiences, political affiliation, nationalities, ages, religions, and beliefs. We celebrate our unique differences and expect this in our writing.
We put forth this code of conduct not because we anticipate bad behavior, but because we believe in the already exceptional level of respect among this organization. We believe that articulating our values and accountabilities to one another reinforces that respect and provides us with clear avenues to correct our culture should it ever go astray. We commit to enforce and evolve this code as IRP grows.
Be supportive of your colleagues, both proactively and responsively. Offer to help if you see someone struggling or otherwise in need of assistance (taking care not to be patronizing or disrespectful). If someone approaches you looking for help, be generous with your time.
Be inclusive: Go out of your way and across cultures to include people in jokes or memes; we want to build an environment free of cliques. Avoid slang or idioms that might not translate across cultures, or be deliberate in explaining them to share our diverse cultures and languages. Speak plainly and avoid acronyms and jargon that not everyone may understand. Be an ally to community members when you see a need.
Be collaborative. Involve community members in brainstorms, sprints, events, and the like. It’s part of our values to share early and ask for feedback often. Don’t succumb to either impostor syndrome (believing that you don’t deserve to be here) or the Dunning-Kruger Effect (believing you can do no wrong). Recognize that in addition to asking for feedback, you are similarly obligated to give it.
Be generous in both giving and accepting feedback. Feedback is a natural and important part of good team culture. Good feedback is kind, respectful, clear, and constructive, and focused on goals and values rather than personal preferences. You are expected to give and receive feedback with gratitude and a growth mindset.
Be respectful toward all time zones. Embrace habits that are inclusive and productive for members wherever they are: make liberal use of asynchronous communication tools, document syncs and decisions thoroughly, and pay attention to timezones when scheduling events.
Be kind. Be polite and friendly in all forms of communication – especially remote communication, where opportunities for misunderstanding are greater. Avoid sarcasm. Tone is hard to decipher online; make liberal use of emoji, GIFs and Bitmoji to aid in communication. Use video hangouts when it makes sense; face-to-face discussion benefits from all kinds of social cues that may go missing in other forms of communication.
Discrimination and harassment are expressly prohibited. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, intimidation; stalking; unwanted recording or photography; inappropriate physical contact; use of sexual or discriminatory imagery, comments, or jokes; intentional or repeated misgendering; sexist, racist, ableist, ageist or otherwise discriminatory or derogatory language; and unwelcome sexual attention.
In order to provide such an environment, we commit to being considerate in our language use. Any behavior or language which is unwelcoming—whether or not it rises to the level of harassment—is also strongly discouraged.
Much exclusionary behavior takes the form of microaggressions—subtle put-downs which may be unconsciously delivered. Regardless of intent, microaggressions can have a significant negative impact on victims and have no place in our organization.
The same goes for tone policing, or responding negatively to the emotion behind a person’s message while ignoring its content (telling someone who is discussing an issue that makes them upset to “calm down” instead of responding to their concerns is an example of tone policing). Tone policing deflects from the validity of the communication by personally attacking the individual for expressing emotion. We don’t do that here.
Committing to improvement as an Inclusive Romance Project Member
We understand that none of us are perfect: It’s expected that all of us, regardless of our backgrounds, will from time to time fail to live up to our very high standards. What matters isn’t having a perfect track record, but owning up to your mistakes and making a clear and persistent effort to improve. We as a community of writers understand the importance of authentic conversation and “assuming good intentions” only protects those who may offend, not the individuals who may be offended.
If you are approached as having (consciously or otherwise) acted in a way that might make your colleagues and fellow members feel unwelcome, refrain from being defensive; remember that if someone calls you out, it likely took a great deal of courage for them to do so. The best way to respect that courage is to acknowledge your mistake, apologize, and move on—with a renewed commitment to do better. That said, repeated and/or severe violations of this code can and will be addressed by Kharma Kelley, and can lead to disciplinary actions.
We believe that everyone deserves a HEA and our organization is meant to help all our writers thrive.
Don’t be a Bystander; If you see something, say something.
Sometimes, you’ll be a witness to something that seems like it isn’t aligned with our values. Err on the side of caring for your colleagues in situations like these. Even if an incident seems minor, reach out to the person impacted by it to check in. We’d also appreciate it if you would speak to a member of the directly to voice your concerns. Depending on the circumstances, you may also want to speak directly to the person who has violated the code of conduct.
If you want to speak to a person impacted by an incident or to the person who has violated the code of conduct, but you’re unsure of how to navigate these interactions, try reaching out to the Community Coordinator, Mentorship Coordinator—these conversations are tricky, and I’d like to help you figure out how best to approach them.