As of July 2021, all attendants and organisers of FOCAL events are subject to the below Code of Conduct, which has been designed as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of everyone who attends FOCAL events.
The below Code of Conduct was authored by FOCAL chair Callum Todd, with editorial guidance from other FOCAL team members past and present, and is effective from 24/07/21.
FOCAL Code of Conduct
For all attendees
1 – Abusive behaviour
Any physical abuse or violence towards another person at a FOCAL event is not permitted or accepted. Similarly, any extreme or highly personal verbal abuse towards another person is not acceptable.
2 – Harassment
Harassment of any kind towards other people will not be accepted or tolerated. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Unwelcome physical contact that is persistent, domineering, sexually inappropriate, or otherwise unnerving.
- Stalking, unwelcome following around, prolonged and unnerving eye contact/staring, or invasion of personal space that is persistent or egregious.
- Persistent unwanted engagement with a person who has rejected interaction or otherwise attempted to avoid (including electronic engagement e.g. messaging).
- Unwanted sharing of illicit or unnerving images, videos, audio, or stories (including electronically e.g. messaging).
3 – Damage to venues or equipment
All event attendees should be aware that the venues used for FOCAL events, and any equipment used to deliver them, should be respected and treated carefully. Vandalism or sabotage to any property will not be tolerated. Should any accidental damage occur, please take responsibility, notify the event host immediately, and seek to make amends/reparations.
4 – Foul play
Entrants to FOCAL events are expected to observe the rules and to play in the spirit of the game.
Cheating is a player’s use of artificial aid during the game to improve their performance. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of dictionaries, word lists or numbers solvers during a round.
Reports of cheating will be handled by the event organiser and/or the FOCAL team. A player found to be cheating may face sanctions including the loss of any title or finishing position achieved at the relevant event(s) and exclusion from some or all future events.
For event organisers
5 – Not for profit
FOCAL is a not-for-profit organisation. As such, events under the FOCAL banner whose attendance numbers benefit from the FOCAL name and its advertising should not be run for profit. Event entry fees should be used to cover costs for the event only (not personal costs e.g. travel, hotels, etc.)
We appreciate it can be difficult to forecast exactly how finances will end up when setting an entry fee. However, if once all income and expenditure is counted there is a significant surplus, that surplus should be used for one or more of the following:
- Refund the entry fee-paying attendees.
- Add additional value to the event (e.g.. by buying additional prizes). This should be done in a non-frivolous way that generally gives good value per attendee for the entry fee paid.
- Reinvest into a future event, or into FOCAL.
Ideally, we would recommend that any organisers in this situation first consult their attendees before deciding which of the above options to take.
6 – Secure confirmation of venue and date before announcement
FOCAL event organisers should have a secure confirmation of both their event venue and the date of their booking, preferably in writing from the venue, before announcing their event as confirmed. This is so that eventgoers do not spend money on booking travel and accommodation for an event only for the event to be cancelled or rescheduled.
In the event of a Code Violation
Reporting a violation
If you have been subject to – or witness of – a violation of the above Code of Conduct, please report it to FOCAL by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the (we hope unlikely) event that a member of the FOCAL team is involved with the violation, and you feel uncomfortable submitting your report to an inbox to which they have access, you may contact members of the FOCAL team separately through the below e-mails:
Callum Todd (chair and event host) – email@example.com
George Armstrong (event host and social media) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Should any individual be found guilty of a code violation, they will receive an official warning for their conduct and be informed that further violations will result in a sanction.
In the event of an individual committing a very serious violation, or repeatedly violating a code after warning(s), that individual may be temporarily or indefinitely suspended from attending future FOCAL events.
Please note that all event hosts have always had, and continue to have, the right to refuse entry to their event to any individual they believe necessary, for any legal non-prejudicial reason. This is not necessarily related to the FOCAL Code of Conduct.