Labdoo Code of Conduct (CoC)


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Dear Labdoo Team

Recently I had a very unpleasant experience with a group of people who pushed me to give them laptops for one of their projects.

I had to say NO because they did not fulfill the initial requirements. Nevertheless especially one person got angry and was fighting back. This did go on including a nasty phone call. I was coming close to explode because of their stubbornness and some nasty words were flying back and forth.

Now that this story is definitely over and I slept a night over it, I was thinking about some type of formalization because I feel that I should have behaved more restrained and self-controlled. We had similar occasions in the past with companies I have worked for and the solution was to create a so called CoC (Code of Conduct) - a set of guidelines of how to behave in difficult, demanding and challenging situations.

What do you think, is this something worth considering, especially with the ever growing number of laptop recipients and supporters and the overall Labdoo network?

Ralf from Germany, Wendy and Jordi - we all had some e-mail traffic over this lately so I am attaching these for a complete overview of where we are in the process of finding a solution.

I am looking very much forward to receiving your feedback.

Cheers, Frank


Hi Frank,

I am very sorry to hear that, especially as you are the more quiet person of us. A few weeks I had a similar experience, Jordi received a mail of a woman from Germany, telling her I treated her rude and in Africa they would talk bad about my person (without cc-ing me). My fault: I sent her a laptop to Lübeck, but her name was not on the door bell, so DHL was not able to deliver the package. And I did not agree to her request the re-send the package again. So went mad, when I explained that it was her fault, and as she left soon time was too short to send again, beside of the costs.
I think Labdoo's opportunities to re-act are limited in those situations. I banned this woman as dootripper, she will not get any support. But there is not much we can do. We have the semaphore for projects and switch it to red and add comments to entries of dootrips etc, so other helpers get a warning or are aware of the reasons.
May-be we can add kind of a black-list for names/links of persons, projects etc., to handle with care. But German law is very careful with publishing personal data, so this would have to an information only visible for super-hubs(?).
People have no "right" to receive laptops. So we can stop contributing, but more? Beside that our core team is informed and aware of the reasons, why a decision was taken in a certain way, I cannot see many options.
Some people think Labdoo is a warehouse, where they can order laptops for free, next day delivery for free :)
mit freundlichen Grüßen

Ralf Hamm


Hi Ralf and Frank,

I agree we can have options to set a code of conduct or make rules to band certain people to participate Labdoo, but I also have concerns if these will be able to correct people's behaviors and eliminate unhappy incidences from happening or ... it may create a totally different effect and send a negative tone that Labdoo is like many organizations burdened by one rule after another and still keep on adding one rule after another, because we believe people abuse system without rules to follow?

To be honest, I have been discouraged by several zest heart Labdoo volunteers too. With my extremely high pride, I still feel embarrassed when I need to hear their names or to admit those people are in the same team with me. Luckily, I have choice to ignore them. I totally understand they are good people with good hearts, just I am not the type of person they like to deal with;)

Here's one of my little stories at a suppose to be quiet and lovely Sunday morning... which happened to be our last QA workshop in California.

There are always tons of things I need to load to my car and bring to the QA workshop (laptops, tools ...) I am not very efficient, so as I running back and forth, trying to get everything ready and not to be late for my church at the same time, my daughter woke up and popped her head out "Mommy, where is my breakfast?" ... I totally blew up at her and left the house. I felt so sorry for yelling at her madly because she is actually a very sweet girl. When I got home after the QA, all the dishes in the kitchen are cleaned, which made me feel even sorrier ...

Miscommunication often leads to mistreatment. We've all mistreated others or been mistreated, lots of time, intentionally or unintentionally... it's much easier for us to see we've been mistreated and trying to fight back... but I really believe love and trust are the essences of Labdoo, more than anything else.

I really love how jordi setup the email templates, which helped me a lot when I am under pressure on responding email requests. Maybe we can start from those templates and add more for different scenarios (eg. response to unreasonable/unpleasant requests:) and encourage Labdoo volunteers to take advantage of. It may be another way to stop people from complaining if they know they are just receiving standard Labdoo protocols?

I am not sure if this is helpful?




I love the Sunday morning story :)...

I think one key is empathy, Wendy's daughter Kristy had empathy for her mom, and so she not only cooked her breakfast but cleaned up all the dishes :).

I am hearing your comments and i agree with the solutions you propose.

We cannot control other people's reactions as the project continues to grow. The world is too big and with +7 billion people, there are plenty of different personalities out there :). But we can control our own reactions, and i think a cohesive/united/standard way to address an issue like that would help. For instance, templates as Wendy says can help. And the CoC proposed by Frank can also help, as well as blocking really bad deceiving users as suggested by Ralf.

I also think we need to differentiate if the error was bad intentional or just a human mistake. Everyone can make mistakes. But if someone is trying to intentionally hurt a project, then we should block that user. We had one instance of that about a year or two ago where a user was deceiving our hubs by sending out fake emails to get laptops. However if it was just a human error without bad intentions, we should not block the user.

I would suggest the following:

- Frank, could you initiate an open conversation in our coffee team to create a Code of Conduct? i agree with Wendy we don't want to make this a military exercise, it has to be some very basic CoC that makes sense. I also think making it open in the coffee shop will allow others to see it and participate, so it will be more friendly. Let me know if you disagree.

- Ralf i take your input about blocking users that are hurting our project. I agree adding open information about them is sensitive and may be illegal in some countries, so i think the best thing to do is to simply block these users.

- Wendy could you write up some standard templates about potential polite answers to "unpolite customers"? :) i think we can learn a lot from you there :)

Team feel free to add more suggestions.

Thank you,


janicew's picture
Submitted by janicew on Sun, 09/24/2017 - 21:44

Hi everyone. It's a shame to read of some of the responses our incredible team members and volunteers have been subject to as it casts a shadow on all of our experiences.

My thoughts are that perhaps we can create an infographic for recipients (and maybe dootrippers) that spells out the process and in so doing, sets up expectations. I am confident that the Labdoo team members behave with utmost integrity and wonder if this is a question of the people we interact with having unrealistic expectations of Labdoo and its team members.

I would be happy to work with Wendy on finding a way to communicate process and parameters so that from the onset, those outside of Labdoo have a clear understanding of what we can do for them and what is beyond out capacity, capability and resources. That way, we minimize the potential for misunderstandings in future interactions. When we have schools fill out the initial request form, perhaps there is also a checkbox where they indicate they have read our "terms and conditions" and the process document (whatever form that will exist in).

I'd also happily contribute to setting up some email response templates for different scenarios as a starting point. Just let me know in what way I can be most helpful to the team.


wendy's picture
Submitted by wendy on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 06:30

That will be wonderfu, Janice. Thank you for stepping up to help create friendly but clear response templates so we can avoid some unnecessary disputes:)

Eisvogel's picture
Submitted by Eisvogel on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 11:11

Oh dear, there seem to be lots of misunderstanding in people's minds about what we can do and what this far beyond our capacity.

I think the Internet made people kind of lazy… They want to have the main information in one or 2 clicks.

To avoid such misunderstanding (and to respect people's laziness), it seems sensible to me if or landing page would also carry a text box indicating in brief words what labdoo is doing, that we only use donated items,and therefore it may take a while to fulfil the applicationI that who can be supported (maybe with link to the form) like any other pages do with the link like "about us" or "what we do"
I would be glad to help deploying such text

Looking forward to see some of you in Barcelona

Ron's picture
Submitted by Ron on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 14:08

Dear Labdoo Team
I understand very well the discomfort when communication starts to get difficult and your counterpart starts to raise his/her voice, even if there is no basis to demand anything. In the many years I have worked for an Airline, I went through challenging situations, which sometimes did become nasty and extremely difficult. We were always quite happy to have a set of rules, which we could hold on to, as it is very important, especially in demanding situations to stay in the line of what an organization expects. One thing is clear, working with people and for people will always contain a potential for misunderstanding and possible anger (on both sides). I believe, it is a good moment for Labdoo to implement a “Code of Conduct” as it provides guidelines and therefore helps us all. I know some of you do not really welcome new rules, but I believe it helps all of us especially in difficult situation. When things go well no one needs more rules, but as the organization increases to grow there are also a wider spectrum of potential conflict areas which not always have to be a customer. It is not impossible that one day we face challenging situations with team members or volunteers. How to solve sensitive situations can be simplified as one can refer to the “code of conduct”.

See also “Wikipedia – Code of Conduct;

I have worked today on a “code of conduct” proposal as an example (see attachment). Of course, all are invited to express your constructive feedbacks. On the basis of my long-term experience in conflict handling in international environments, I wanted to contribute to this topic and hope this serves you all. With kind regards – and keep up with the positive Labdoo spirit.


jordi's picture
Submitted by jordi on Tue, 09/26/2017 - 06:03

Dear all,

Really great work for jumping into this important subject and making such good contributions! All your comments and actions are so appreciated.

@Ronald, great doc. Would you mind moving your document into this Google Doc? this will allow others to make comments and make contributions as well:

@Janice, nice templates! One thing we already have is templates for standard responses, but the existing templates do not take care of how to reply on a code of conduct situation, so your templates are much needed and will complement very well the existing ones. Here is the list of existing templates in case it helps:

Also Janice, your idea about creating an infographic for recipients is very welcomed too. Labdoo Team in Colombia created some months ago some Labdoo infographics, they are for different purposes but maybe they can be leveraged for this as well. Let's reach out to them to see if you can reuse them.


eparpal's picture
Submitted by eparpal on Wed, 09/27/2017 - 18:07

Great job! i feel lucky i've never suffered this kid of problems while volunteering for Labdoo, but of course, we need to face them and i agree the different solutions (red light, CoC and templates) are great ideas.
I have had other kind of problems we could say ‘operational problems’. Those are not so annoying but still can cause inefficiencies and image loss, and I would say they are lot lot more common than the ‘conduct problems’.
- When finding out about a possible dootrip with very short notice and not being able to contact the school because it is on vacation. Should we cancel the dootrip, send it without confirmation of school contact or else?
- When coordinating a dootrip the school info is obsoletet and we cannot contact the right person or they do not need any more laptops while the platform shows they do? Should (a donor hub or a dootrip) contact the school manager or the local contact?
- What happens if a school does not answer the mails, should we turn the red light on?
May be the solution here is just to explain better the functions of each figure (edoovillage/school manager, dootriper,…) and how should we double check on each other and just tell each other what is wrong or missing, because most of the time it is due to a misunderstanding.

May be all this info is not in the platform main menus but it is included in the templates of the mails we send when a new school / hub /dootrip is created so it may be enough just adding this important info to the website. May be we could write a new version of ‘managing your edoovillage’ and then other subjects.
And may be I should start another conversation since this is not strictly CoC stuff, what do you think?

wendy's picture
Submitted by wendy on Thu, 09/28/2017 - 04:52

Great question, Elena. We had "edoovillage's semaphore" implemented on the edoovillage page. A possible way to address the problem is not to send any laptops to the edoovillages you are not familiar with unless the semaphore is "Green"? For those not easy to be contacted edoovillages, I tend to leave the signal at the "Yellow" stage.

@Ron, I love " Always treat your counterpart in a way, as you would want to be treated yourself" Thank you for putting CoC together:)

@Janice, thanks for the great additions to the templates! Can you add them to, and re-partition the article, so we can all easily find and re-use them next time?

@Jordi, Do you think we should either modify the translation scheme on these templates or separate the responses into different wiki pages? Otherwise, it will be a little difficult to find what we need with many language translations.

janicew's picture
Submitted by janicew on Thu, 09/28/2017 - 19:59

@Jordi, Templates have been added. I have made you an editor as I was not able to add the logo graphic at the end of the signature. Let me know if there is anything further you need.

janicew's picture
Submitted by janicew on Sat, 09/30/2017 - 23:35

Hi All. I researched some frameworks for decision-making and created one for Labdoo that may help you in deciding how to respond in certain situations. I welcome your feedback and input so as to make this process relevant, clear, and easily understood by any of our volunteers (current and future) around the world. Thank you.

jordi's picture
Submitted by jordi on Sun, 10/15/2017 - 07:21

WOW, i really like the decision-making chart Janice. Thank you for putting this together, very nice layout.

Same thing @Ron! i just went through your Code of Conduct document draft and i have to say it also looks great. Thank you very much to both of you, as well as Frank, Wendy, Elena, Dirk and the rest of the team for stepping up and taking the leadership on this important subject.

Janice made a pass on Ron's CoC document, and i also made another pass (mainly formatting), please see the latest version and review it one more time. (Notice that you can see all the historical changes in the doc by going to "File" => "Version history".) Feel free to add comments and make modifications as needed etc.:

@Janice, i added your chart under the section "5.2. Decision-Making Chart", this way the doc contains all the material too. Although i think the chart is so useful that it needs to be a self-living document of its own and can be shared with participants separately too.

I was looking at our wiki to see where we could post both documents (the CoC and the decision-making chart) and i think the right place would be to add it under our wiki book "Values, Philosophy and Principles of the Labdoo Project". Do you guys agree?


frankgeisler's picture
Submitted by frankgeisler on Sun, 10/15/2017 - 08:26

This is excellent stuff which we have been able to create altogether!

To answer Jordi's question: Yes, this seems to be the perfect place to go.

Cheers, Frabk

janicew's picture
Submitted by janicew on Sun, 10/15/2017 - 18:46

Another example of collaboration producing great results. I feel honoured to be a part of this team.

I agree with Frank and Jordi 're where to house the documents.

jordi's picture
Submitted by jordi on Sat, 10/28/2017 - 06:18

I just uploaded the Labdoo CoC document and the Decission-Making Guidelines to our wiki, please review and fix (directly in the wiki) any issues you may find. After we all agree that this is good to go, then we will post a message in our Global team (which reaches out to all Labdooers around the globe) so everyone can have access to it. Thanks for all the great team work to create the CoC.

Ron's picture
Submitted by Ron on Sun, 10/29/2017 - 12:32

Dear Jordi and team, I found the final Labdoo CoC a very good and useful document. The way it came together is a perfect example of a very well working collaboration of all. I also find the storing place well chosen. Thanks to all and kind regards.

frankgeisler's picture
Submitted by frankgeisler on Wed, 11/01/2017 - 14:51

Hello together

This makes totally sense to me - great work of the team for putting this together so nicely!

Cheers, Frank