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Code of Conduct


The mission of Pharos is to advance science, policy, and business efforts to identify hazardous substances through chemical hazard assessment and find safer substitutes through alternatives assessment. We aim to do this by developing community-accessible tools and information resources.

Your engagement in this project should be grounded in your support of these goals.


We aspire to build a productive, agile, and amicable community that can welcome new ideas in a complex field, continually improve community resources, and foster collaboration between groups with very different needs, interests and skills. We gain strength from diversity, and actively seek participation from those who enhance it. This Code of Conduct exists to ensure that diverse groups collaborate and exchange ideas to mutual advantage and benefit. We will challenge prejudice that could jeopardize the participation of any person in the project.

This Code of Conduct governs how we behave in public or in private whenever the project will be affected by our actions. We expect it to be honored by everyone who participates in, represents, or claims affiliation with the project—officially or informally.

We strive to:

  • Be collaborative. Collaboration reduces redundancy and improves the quality of our work. Wherever possible, we work closely with related projects in the chemical substitution community to coordinate our efforts. We prefer to work transparently and involve interested parties as early as possible.
  • Be considerate. Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision we take will affect users and colleagues, and we should consider them when making decisions.
  • Be constructive. Disagreements, social and technical, are normal, but we do not allow them to undermine our shared goals. We expect participants in the project to seek to resolve disagreements constructively. When they cannot, we will escalate the matter to an appropriate level of leadership for conflict resolution.
  • Be respectful. We work together to resolve conflict, assume good intentions, take responsibility for our words and actions, and do our best to act in an empathic fashion. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.
  • Ask for help when unsure. Questions are encouraged, though they should be directed to the appropriate forum. Those who are asked should be responsive and helpful.

This Code is not exhaustive or complete. It is not a rulebook; it serves to distil our common understanding of a collaborative, shared environment and goals.


We encourage all forms of participation in Pharos, including: engaging in forum discussions by posting comments, questions or answers; peer reviewing work done by others; contributing to or editing shared information resources; or working on collaborative projects.

We expect that everyone who participates in Pharos does so with the goal of advancing the project’s mission.

Content guidelines

Pharos is designed to support the development, improvement, and communication of data and tools for hazard assessment and safer substitution. We recognize the need for critical debate about broader issues, but we do not consider Pharos to be the appropriate place for those debates. In particular, contributions that seek to undermine or invalidate the goals and practices of safer substitution are considered to be outside of the project’s mission and are subject to removal or other sanctions (see below).

We ask all participants to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Identify yourself and your affiliations. Do this in your user profile. This is critical for building trust and also for identifying potential conflicts of interest (see below).
  • Focus on the science and closely related issues. Contributions on other topics should be firmly based in a discussion of scientific evidence, methods, etc.
  • Do not advertise, lobby, or promote special interests. Pharos is not a venue for advertising products or services, nor for promoting political action of any kind. These activities are outside of our mission.
  • Ensure that you have appropriate rights to post material created by others. Contributions without proper attribution or permission are subject to removal.

Our community will not tolerate disruptive behavior. We consider the following behavior to be disruptive: intimidating, threatening, or disrespectful language; contributions made without disclosing conflicts of interest; and contributions that are outside of the Pharos mission.

Transparency and conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest (COI) may arise when contributing to Pharos on topics that have bearing on one’s financial interests or those of one’s affiliates. A COI is a type of situation affecting a person, not a judgment of that person’s character.

The engagement of community members with potential COI is not discouraged in Phaors. For example, we fully support the participation of users who work with companies seeking to commercialize safer substances and products.

  • Full disclosure of COI, however, is critical. Engagement without transparency undermines public confidence and risks causing public embarrassment to the individuals involved.
  • Participants with a COI are expected to disclose it in their user profile whenever they contribute, comment upon or otherwise seek to influence any content in the Commons. Participants discussing a topic for which they may have a COI are expected to disclose that COI in their first post to the discussion.
  • Anyone receiving compensation for their contributions or participation must disclose the source of the compensation, the client, and any other relevant affiliation.
  • We expect contributors, including administrators, to be aware when they are conflicted due to employment or other projects they are involved in, and to abstain or delegate decisions that may be seen to be affected by COI. Even perceived conflicts of interest are important to address. When in doubt, ask for a second opinion.

If participants fail to disclose a potential COI, or if particular contributions threaten the integrity of Pharos, administrators may take any of the actions listed below to mitigate the problem.


As a community, we must act to ensure that decisions are credible even if they must occasionally be unpopular, difficult or favourable to the interests of one group over another.

As the owner of the site and convener of the Pharos community, Habitable reserves the right to take any actions it deems necessary to mitigate contributions or users deemed by the community to be disruptive or damaging to the Pharos. Habitable will seek to take the minimum actions possible and only escalate as deemed necessary. Actions roughly in order of escalation may include:

  • Warnings to the user, publicly or privately
  • Request to take debates off line or to another venue
  • Removal of contributions
  • Oversight of a user’s future contributions
  • Moderation of a forum or other data submission portal, requiring approval before contributions from any users are published
  • Banning of a user from contributing, for a limited or unlimited time
  • Banning of a user from Pharos, for a limited or unlimited time
  • Banning of a user’s organization from Pharos, for a limited or unlimited time

Appeal of Sanctions

Users who feel they have been subject to sanctions unfairly may appeal. User rights and posts will be restored at the discretion of Habitable.

To appeal, send an email to justifying the value of the content/perspective previously offered to the Forum community. Please reference any source materials that support claims that were determined by Habitable to be problematic.

Appeals will be reviewed by Habitable no less frequently than quarterly. In the event that an appeal is denied, the original sanction issued will stand.

This Code of Conduct is complementary to the requirements of the Terms of Service. No provision stated here negates any of the responsibilities outlined in this website’s Terms of Service.

The Pharos Code of Conduct is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. You may re-use it for your own project, and modify it as you wish, just please allow others to use your modifications. It is based on the Ubuntu Code of Conduct and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s “CHEtiquette”.