You know, when I was a young man, hypocrisy was deemed the worst of vices," Finkle-McGraw said. "It was all because of moral relativism. You see, in that sort of climate, you are not allowed to criticise others — after all, if there is no absolute right and wrong, then what grounds is there for criticism?"
"Now, this led to a good deal of general frustration, for people are naturally censorious and love nothing better than to criticise others' shortcomings. And so it was that they seized on hypocrisy and elevated it from a ubiquitous peccadillo into the monarch of all vices. For, you see, even if there is no right and wrong, you can find grounds to criticise another person by contrasting what he has espoused with what he has actually done. In this case, you are not making any judgment whatsoever as to the correctness of his views or the morality of his behaviour — you are merely pointing out that he has said one thing and done another. Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy."
"We take a somewhat different view of hypocrisy," Finkle-McGraw continued. "In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception — he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it's a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing."

"That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code," Major Napier said, working it through, "does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code." "Of course not," Finkle-McGraw said. "It's perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct. Really, the difficulties involved — the missteps we make along the way — are what make it interesting. The internal, and external, struggle between our base impulses and the rigorous demands of our own moral system is quintessentially human. It is how we conduct ourselves in that struggle that determines how we may in time be judged by a higher power." All three men were quiet for a few moments, chewing mouthfuls of beer or smoke, pondering the matter.

Code of Conduct (also our culture keys)

We care about intelligent and nuanced discourse and moral reflection as a public endeavour.

We want to encourage (and empower) people to be competent, playful, honest, integrous, curious, empathetic, thriving, silly, engaged, and excited. Let's build an environment and community that fosters that.

Living and Working in Relation to Other People

We want to hire and reward fully formed adults.

We really like Netflix's expression of their culture keys (will you just look at this beauty and the footnotes!), so we take inspiration on that and clarify what "being a fully formed adult" means to us:


  • making wise decisions in the circumstances (despite ambiguity) -- we cannot stress the Cynefin framework enough
  • identifying root causes, and getting beyond treating symptoms;
    of course, if something's urgent, fix the Code Blue and mark the root cause (or investigation of it) as a TO-DO
  • thinking strategically and then articulating what you are trying to do as well as what you are not trying to do
  • just generally relying on your logic and common sense (we respect using data judiciously to inform intuition)
  • knowing when & how to ask for help; also related to being able to effectively and objectively evaluate your own abilities and your ability to do your job (whether self-assigned or otherwise)



  • everyone sweeps the floor
  • searching for duplicates before posting
  • RTFM
  • relatedly, encountered a problem and then fixed it like a champ? Thank you very much, but also please UpdateTFM
  • being respectful of others' time, resources, and opportunity costs

Emotional & Intellectual Maturity

  • taking smart risks & being open to possible failure
  • intervening if someone is being marginalised or treated unfairly
  • minimising complexity & finding time to simplify
  • recognising & accepting your own feelings & needs (but also that your feelings don't run the show)
  • treating people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with you
  • don't take it personally; don't make it personal
  • recognising that we all have biases, and work to grow past them
  • challenge prevailing assumptions and suggest better approaches
  • seeking alternate perspectives; but also disagree and commit

In building our company and community, we learn from...

Committed To Intelligent & Nuanced Discourse

We think about:

Zero Tolerance of Harrassment

We are committed to being a harrassment-free organisation and community based on treating everyone — cofounders, contributors, staff, customers, volunteers, sponsors, partners, members of the public — with radical candour (as opposed to ruinous empathywhen you care but don't challenge; praise that isn't specific enough to help the person understand what was good or criticism that is sugarcoated and unclear.

See Kim Scott's book for more details!
, manipulative insinceritywhen you neither care nor challenge; praise that is non-specific and insincere or criticism that is neither clear nor kind or obnoxious aggression when you challenge but don't care; praise that doesn't feel sincere or criticism that isn't delivered kindly). Please be excellent to but honest with each other.

Harrassment is not tolerated. Harrassment includes (but is not limited to):

  • verbal language that reinforces social structures of domination related to gender identity and expression, marital status, body size, sexual orientation, age, physical ability or appearance, ethnicity, race, or religious beliefs (or lack thereof);
  • deliberate intimidation;
  • unwelcome and irrelevant comments regarding a person's lifestyle, choices, or practices;
  • stalking;
  • harrassing photography or recording;
  • sustained disruption or hijacking of discussions and/or events;
  • non-adherance to the boundaries established or communicated by other members and/or moderators;
  • threats of violence;
  • incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to self-harm;
  • continued one-on-one communication after a request to cease;
  • physical contact (including simulated physical contact, for example, textual descriptions like *backrub*) or sexual attention, without consent or after a request to stop; and
  • inappropriate and/or unwelcome personal attention.

Our zero-tolerance policy on harrassment means that we will look into, investigate, and review every allegation of violation of our Code of Conduct and respond appropriately. We are committed to due process, justice, integrity, constructive engagement of differences, accountability, and transparency.

To this end, we take guidance from:  Margaret Atwood's op-ed; Rethinking Political Correctness; After #MeToo, we can't ditch due process and We're misunderstanding due process; Against Overgendering Harrassment;If we can't talk about sex, we can't stop sexual abuse; Harvey Weinstein and the Economics of Consent.

Reporting harrassment

We take harrassment very seriously. Please report any kind of harrassment or suspicions of harrassment to us at or to Alexis personally at


Anyone who is found to be in violation may be handled in one or more of these methods:

  • warning (public or otherwise);
  • expulsion;
  • contacting of the police; and
  • actions stronger than a warning that may also be taken at the discretion of two or more board members.

Malicious or reckless false reporting will also be treated harshly. Personal disputes should be handled privately, unless actual harrassment occurs.

We reserve the right to prohibit or limiti the participation of anyone found in violation of our Code of Conduct. We believe in second chances and learning from mistakes / missteps, but we also know that some battles are better fought elsewhere, and some wounds deserving of strong intervention.

Drugs & Alcohol

Remember that bit about fully formed adults? Sure you do. So please, do use your good judgment and never use drugs and/or alcohol in a way that leads to impaired performance or inappropriate behaviour, endangers the safety of yourself or others, or violates the law.

Conflicts of Interest

When you are in a situation in which competing loyalties could cause you to pursue a personal benefit for you, your friends, your partner(s), or your family at the expense of Legalese or our users, you may be faced with a conflict of interest. This is mostly for people compensated by Legalese, but we also think it would be a rather good standard operating procedure for life: avoid conflicts of interest if you can, but if you can't, identify it, address it, and mitigate it with a clear head and good faith.

Confidential Information

Don't disclose confidential (i.e. non public) information without first asking for permission. This works both ways. It's utterly ingratiating and sycophantic to share others' secrets and confidential info with us without their permission -- don't be that person. Fight fair. People don't just wake up one day and decide to be the villain, it happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest.


This Code of Conduct is written by Alexis and last updated on 30 April 2019.