As this year’s e-AGM might include the first video conference for some of you, we have decided to collect some helpful information to create a successful digital assembly. Therefore, we have extended our Code of Conduct for meetings to include the virtual realm and created a list of things to keep in mind if you are in the position to moderate an online meeting.

Content of the Code of Conduct

GYA – An introduction to the Code of Conduct

The GYA is, by definition, an inclusive and diverse academy. Our meetings often raise important and provocative issues that are to be discussed respectfully. Our members come from many different backgrounds and regions, and there is therefore potential for different understandings of what forms appropriate communication or behaviour.

We have developed this code of conduct for our meeting to explicitly outline that our discussions are conducted in a diplomatic and respectful manner.

The GYA is committed to providing a safe and productive meeting environment that fosters open dialogue and the exchange of ideas, promotes equal opportunities and treatment for all participants, and is free of harassment and discrimination.

All participants are expected to treat others with respect and consideration.

Speakers are expected to uphold standards of scientific integrity and professional ethics. The GYA recognises that there are areas of discussion that will be controversial. The GYA Annual Meeting can serve as an effective forum to consider and debate viewpoints in an orderly, respectful, and fair manner.

The GYA does not allow any form of harassment, sexual or otherwise. Harassment includes speech or behaviour that is not welcome or is personally offensive, whether it is based on ethnicity, gender, religion, age, body size, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. It includes stalking, unnecessary touching, and unwelcome attention. Behaviour that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, so use discretion to be sure that respect is communicated. Harassment intended in a joking manner still constitutes unacceptable behaviour. If any member is feeling uncomfortable, please immediately talk to a GYA Co-Chair, member of the Executive Committee or a GYA office staff member.

In General

  • Be aware of the potential for large cultural and individual differences in what is seen as appropriate information to be shared. If in doubt, please ask before posting.
  • We expect all meeting participants to engage to behave with the highest of decorum in their communications online and in person. We do not allow improper behaviour at our meeting, including harassment, intimidation, discrimination or disrespect.
  • These guidelines are precautionary to ensure everyone has respect for each other at the top of their minds coming in to our amazingly diverse meeting. Let us use our differences to learn from each other in a safe and mutually beneficial environment!

Communication and Social Media Guidelines

To find a balance between the needs and expectations of speakers and attendees and to make the meeting a safe and comfortable space for everyone, we ask you to please read the following guidelines before you tweet (or blog, or Instagram, or Pinterest, or Google+, or LinkedIn, or share information through any other communication platform).

  • During the Keynote, Panel, and Member Lightning Talk sessions we encourage open, respectful discussion of content on social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) and blogging platforms. Please use the following hashtags: #gyagm2020 #HealTheEarth
  • While the default policy during the plenary sessions is to allow open discussion of presentations on social media and blogging platforms, please respect any request from speakers to not share the contents of their presentation online. Speakers who do not wish to have their research shared on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks should make an announcement before and during her/his presentation. We encourage speakers to also use an opt-out Twitter image on every slide of her/his presentation to ensure the preference is known. An example of an opt-out Twitter image can be found here:
  • For GYA elections, please note that this is a private GYA-member process and therefore it is not appropriate to share the details on social media – for example, we do not share the number of votes scored by each candidate or whether there are run-off ballots. The final selection (successful candidates) can be announced and celebrated!
  • During all other sessions we respectfully ask all participants to adhere to the Chatham House Rule: participants are welcome to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, should be revealed unless there is express permission to do so.

Etiquette for a Virtual Meeting


  • Be prepared. Even though having a virtual meeting seems to be more casual than an in-person meeting and the current situation might be overcoming you should prepare yourself the same way you would have for a personal meeting. So inform yourself about the topic and read what is on this year’s Reading list
  • Dress code for the e-AGM is relaxed business casual. Even if you do not take part in the meeting inperson, turning on the video feed will make it a personal experience. So you should consider this when picking your look for the session. It does not only look better but it will also help you to put yourself in the right headspace to be productive.
  • You should always have your computer fully charged and/or having a charger cable handy as searching for a charger or risking your PC to turn off because it runs out of power is distracting for all participants.
  • You might want to check before starting the virtual meeting to make sure that the background that can be seen in your screen is not too distracting.
  • When using Zoom, there is the option to set a virtual background (find a how-to for it). Furthermore, try to find a quiet space where you are less likely to be interrupted.
  • Test your equipment and your connection speed before the call so that you can be sure everything works during the session.
  • Use headphones and – if you have – an external microphone to have better sound.

All the things to be muted / turned off

  • Mute your microphone upon entering a video conference room. Then unmute when the chance arises and introduce yourself (if the session allows for it).
  • Furthermore, consider muting your microphone whenever you’re not talking as this reduces the risk of unnecessary noise pollution.
  • Mute your mobile phone when entering a live session as there might always be the possibility that someone calls you while you are in a meeting. Having your phone turned on and putting it somewhere close to you might also be a possible distraction. You might find yourself just quickly checking your E-Mails or something similar, which can throw you off the track.
  • Mute your message alerts on the computer to prevent being distracted.
  • And while you’re at it, it might just be the way to go to close your email and other programs so that you can focus completely on the meeting.

During a session

  • Introduce yourself. When you enter a small meeting (around two to five people) announce yourself when you join and participate during the sessions. In a larger meeting, you should wait for the moderator to call on you for introduction.
  • It’s best to speak loud and clearly. Even though you might be well equipped, it is always harder to understand people during a video chat. Therefor, speaking loud and clearly helps you and the other participants to have a productive virtual meeting
  • We suggest leaving the keyboard alone. Even if you just want to quickly write some important information down, use either another gadget or a piece of paper. Using the keyboard is louder than you expect and you cannot follow the conversation properly.
  • Try to avoid eating during the virtual meeting. It will be distracting for you and the other participants and does not suit an official meeting. (If you must eat, because you are starving, consider disabling your video feed for the time being and muting your microphone)
  • Please avoid interrupting other people. This is especially important during a video call as the sound transfer might be distorted. Zoom has a ‘raise hand’ feature (find a how-to for it).