Code of Conduct

The MDAnalysis Code of Conduct sets the rules for the behavior of every member in the MDAnalysis community so that everyone can experience a welcoming, supportive, and productive environment that is free from harassment.

Table of Contents

MDAnalysis Code of Conduct and Community Guidelines

MDAnalysis is an engaged and respectful community made up of people from all over the world. Your involvement helps us to further our mission and to create an open platform that serves a broad range of communities, from research and education to industry and beyond. This diversity is one of our biggest strengths, but it can also lead to communication issues and conflicts. Therefore, we have a few ground rules we ask that our community members adhere to.

Fundamentally, we are committed to providing a productive, harassment-free environment for everyone. Rather than considering this code an exhaustive list of things that you can’t do, take it in the spirit it is intended - a guide to make it easier to enrich all of us and the communities in which we participate.

Importantly: as a member of our community, you are also a steward of these values. Not all problems need to be resolved via formal processes, and often a quick, friendly but clear word on an online forum or in person can help resolve a misunderstanding and de-escalate things.

However, sometimes these informal processes may be inadequate: they fail to work, there is urgency or risk to someone, nobody is intervening publicly and you don’t feel comfortable speaking in public, etc. For these or other reasons, structured follow-up may be necessary and here we provide the means for that: we welcome reports by filling out this form.

This code applies equally to founders, developers, mentors and new community members, in all spaces managed by MDAnalysis. This includes GitHub Discussions, our GitHub organizations, our chat rooms, in-person events, and any other forums created by the project team. In addition, violations of this code outside these spaces may affect a person’s ability to participate within them.

By embracing the following principles, guidelines and actions to follow or avoid, you will help us make MDAnalysis a welcoming and productive community. If that doesn’t answer your questions, feel free to contact us via GitHub Discussions.

  1. Be friendly and patient.

  2. Be welcoming. We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to, members of any race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, color, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, physical appearance, family status, political belief, technological or professional choices, academic discipline, religion, mental ability, and physical ability.

  3. Be considerate. Your work will be used by other people, and you in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision you take will affect users and colleagues, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions. Remember that we’re a world-wide community. You may be communicating with someone with a different primary language or cultural background.

  4. Be respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior or poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.

  5. Be careful in the words that you choose. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other community members. Harassment and other exclusionary behavior are not acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • threats or violent language directed against another person
    • discriminatory jokes and language
    • posting sexually explicit or violent material
    • posting (or threatening to post) other people’s personally identifying information (“doxing”)
    • personal insults, especially those using racist or sexist terms
    • unwelcome sexual attention
    • advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior
    • repeated harassment of others. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop
  6. Moderate your expectations. Many in our community volunteer their time. They are probably not purposefully ignoring issues, refusing to engage in discussion, avoiding features, etc. but often just unavailable.

  7. When we disagree, try to understand why. Disagreements, both social and technical, happen all the time and MDAnalysis is no exception. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. Remember that we’re different. The strength of MDAnalysis comes from its varied community that includes people from a wide range of backgrounds. Different people have different perspectives on issues. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Don’t forget that it is human to err and blaming each other doesn’t get us anywhere. Instead, focus on helping to resolve issues and learning from mistakes.

  8. A simple apology can go a long way. It can often de-escalate a situation, and telling someone that you are sorry is act of empathy that doesn’t automatically imply an admission of guilt.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

MDAnalysis strives to ensure a welcoming, inclusive space for all. As a NumFOCUS sponsored project, we fully support their Diversity & Inclusion in Scientific Computing (DISC) mission and abide by their Diversity Statement:

“NumFOCUS welcomes and encourages participation in our community by people of all backgrounds and identities. We are committed to promoting and sustaining a culture that values mutual respect, tolerance, and learning, and we work together as a community to help each other live out these values.”


If someone makes you or any other contributor feel unsafe or unwelcome, please report this in a timely manner. Code of conduct (CoC) violations reduce the value of the community for everyone and we take them seriously. All complaints will be reviewed and investigated and will result in a response that is deemed necessary and appropriate to the circumstances.

You can file a report by filling out this form. The CoC Committee is obligated to maintain confidentiality with regard to the reporter of an incident.

The online form gives you the option to keep your report anonymous or request that we follow up with you directly. While we cannot follow up on an anonymous report, we will take appropriate action.

You may also follow NumFOCUS’s Code of Conduct violation reporting guidelines if you would like to contact a third-party outside of the MDAnalysis community.

Reporting at MDAnalysis Events and Meetups

If you are attending an MDAnalysis event or meetup and wish to make a report, you may contact the ombudspersons (who will identify themselves at the event) or other event staff/meetup organizers so that they can take any appropriate immediate response. If you would prefer not to do that, please submit a report to MDAnalysis.

Ombudspeople and event staff/meetup organizers will be happy to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the event/meetup.


All reports of breaches of the code of conduct will be investigated and handled by the MDAnalysis Code of Conduct Committee. The current MDAnalysis Code of Conduct Committee consists of:

In the event of any conflict of interest, the affected committee member will immediately notify the rest of the committee and recuse themselves.

When a report is filed, the CoC Committee will reply as soon as possible to confirm receipt; we strive to answer in less than 24 hours. The CoC Committee will review the incident and determine, to the best of its ability

This information will be collected in writing. We strive to reach a resolution within a week of confirmation. Once a resolution has been agreed upon, but before it is enacted, the CoC Committee will contact the original reporter and any other affected parties and explain the proposed resolution. We will ask if this resolution is acceptable and note feedback for the record. We are, however, not required to act on this feedback.


Original text courtesy of NumFOCUS and the Speak Up!, Django, Contributor Covenant, and Jupyter projects, modified by MDAnalysis. We are grateful to those projects for contributing these materials under open licensing terms for us to easily reuse.

All content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license.