Community Guidelines

Open Collective supports initiatives that make a positive impact on the world. To accomplish this, the Open Collective community must be a welcoming and safe environment for many different kinds of people and activities, while living our values.

In addition to following the Terms of Service (which all platform users agree to, and which reference these guidelines), community participants are expected to act in accordance with these Community Guidelines, including all Collectives, Hosts, Organizations, Supporters, Contributors, Sponsors, and other users and community participants, as well as Open Collective staff. These guidelines apply not only within the confines of the platform, but throughout all the Open Collective community’s online and offline spaces.

When enforcing these guidelines, actions taken by users outside Open Collective spaces may also inform our decisions.

To report violations of these guidelines, see the full process below and contact us.


We recommend reading this whole document, but here is a brief overview.

The Open Collective community strives to live our values:

Open Collective does not tolerate hate and discrimination, bullying and harassment, misinformation and disinformation, or disrupting the experience of others.

While we engage in proactive maintenance and provide moderation tools, we encourage you to report violations, and we may take action in response to violations. There is an appeal process.

We work closely with Fiscal Hosts in relation to these guidelines, and encourage feedback from all community participants as these guidelines evolve.

Our values


Open Collective exists to support people to raise money, build communities, and operate initiatives in service of positive impact on the world. We are not a neutral platform. We believe that technology, money, companies, and communication are interconnected and do not exist in an ethical vacuum. We expressly support those building a progressive, fair, just, sustainable, and healthy future.

Participants in the Open Collective community acknowledge their impact on individuals, communities, and the planet.


We are building this platform together, and its purpose is to support collective power. The platform is by and for its community, and we welcome all participants who share our values. In our decision making, we focus on what is best not just for individuals, but for the whole Open Collective community, and the world.

We believe that all humans are of equal worth and value, and that the tools needed to build a truly egalitarian society must be collective in nature. Thus, Open Collective is oriented toward collectivity and the commons, rather than individualism, competition, and hierarchies of human worth.

The Open Collective community sees a world of abundance, rather than scarcity. We share with one another and support one another whenever we are able, and we have a shared responsibility for the health and safety of the commons.


We are a community of, and in solidarity with, people of every ability, age, body size, caste, class, color, education, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, language, level of experience, mental and physical health, national origin, nationality, neurotype, occupation, personal appearance, race, religion, socio-economic status, sex, and sexual identity and orientation. We do not tolerate hate and discrimination in the Open Collective community.


Open Collective community participants act with integrity. We are honest about who we are, what we are doing, what we plan to be doing, and why.

We do not engage in misinformation or disinformation, and if we do so unknowingly, we correct it. Dishonesty and hidden intentions are damaging not only to the individual but to all community participants.


Transparency is a huge part of the Open Collective community and a deeply held value. It sets us apart.

We define transparency as authentic and accessible openness, clarity, and visibility, free from deceit. Those who seek to scam or defraud will take advantage of the lack of transparency where they can, especially when money is involved. By managing money transparently on the Open Collective platform, we enable accountability, equity, and participation in our communities and ensure trust.

Open Collective community participants are ready, willing, and able to share their work and intentions. The Open Collective team strives to be reachable and welcoming, including via our public Slack, GitHub issues, and email. Open Collective developers work transparently on the platform’s open source code. The company’s budget is public, we are open about its future plans, and we transparently share regular investor updates on the blog.


Alongside Open Collective’s commitment to transparency, we also believe in privacy. The right to own your own identity and data is a core value that's been with the Open Collective community from the beginning. Individuals’ private personal information should never be made public or exploited without their consent. Open Collective will never sell community participants’ data.

The Open Collective team acknowledges the effort required to navigate the tension between privacy and transparency. We believe both are essential to making the world a better place. Often, people doing brave and important work have increased privacy-related risks. We strive to provide ways for community participants to protect their identity while still maintaining transparency and accountability. Working together, we can ensure that transparency and privacy are both used appropriately in alignment with our values.


Open Collective community participants strive to treat others with dignity, civility, consideration, and respect. We always try to:

  • Demonstrate empathy and kindness

  • Be mindful of others’ time and capacity

  • Give and accept constructive feedback

  • Speak and act from our own experience

  • Be aware of cultural and linguistic differences

We do not engage in hate and discrimination, bullying and harassment, or disruption of other community participants. As a community, we will do our best to proactively counteract inequality and abuses of power wherever we encounter them.

Sustainability and resilience

The Open Collective community is here for the long haul. We are committed to community sustainability, including financial, collective, and individual sustainability. To achieve that mission, Open Collective itself must also be sustainable.

The Open Collective community is also resilient. Strong communities survive their founders. We build, share, and document such that other members of the community may carry on and lead in the future.

What is not allowed

In addition to the acts disallowed in the Terms of Service, Open Collective does not tolerate the following.

Hate and discrimination

Open Collective does not tolerate hate and discrimination.

We strongly encourage the use of the platform to change society for the better in relation to topics such as ability, age, body size, caste, class, color, education, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, language, level of experience, mental and physical health, national origin, nationality, neurotype, occupation, personal appearance, race, religion, socio-economic status, sex, or sexual identity and orientation.

Open Collective does not tolerate acts (including speech) that attack, degrade, exclude, subjugate, marginalize, express hatred, or unfairly discriminate against a person or group of people on the basis of these characteristics.

Hate may involve actions, choices, funding, group identification, political action, words, phrases, or images expressing contempt; calling for violence, exclusion, or segregation; racial slurs or negative depictions based on a characteristic like those listed above; or the glorification of groups that are known to engage in these activities.

Bullying and harassment

Open Collective does not tolerate bullying or harassment.

This includes any habitual badgering or intimidation targeted at a specific person or group of people, whether it takes place directly or by influencing others, not only within the confines of our platform, but throughout the community’s online and offline spaces and beyond. In general, if your actions are unwanted and you continue to engage in them, there's a good chance you are headed into bullying or harassment territory.

Bullying and harassment, whether public or private, may involve offensive acts related to a person or community’s identity or lifestyle, deliberate intimidation, doxing or threatening to dox, impersonation, deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names, violence, threats of violence, encouragement of self-harm, inappropriate depictions of violence, inappropriate use of nudity or sexual images, unwanted sexual attention, physical or simulated physical contact without consent, continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease, stalking or following, inappropriate photography or recording, inappropriate logging of online activity, cyberbullying, or behavior that encourages any of the above.

Misinformation and disinformation

Open Collective does not tolerate the support or promotion of information that is inaccurate or false (misinformation), or intentionally deceptive (disinformation), where such content is likely to result in harm to the public or to interfere with equitable opportunities for all. For example, we do not allow content that may put the well-being of groups of people at risk or limit their ability to take part in a free and open society. This includes medical and scientific misinformation, such as unfounded or debunked theories that argue against broadly supported public health measures related to pandemics or climate change.

We consider context to be important in how information is received and understood. Accordingly, we allow parody and satire that is in line with the Terms of Service. It may be appropriate to clarify your intentions via disclaimers or other means.

Disrupting the experience of others

Being part of a community includes recognizing how your actions affect others and engaging in meaningful and productive interactions. Behaviors such as spamming, scamming, fraud, impersonation, dishonesty, unsolicited or unauthorized self-promotion, repeatedly posting off-topic materials, or using any platform feature in a way that continually disrupts the experience of other users is not allowed.

Explicit Content

We do not host, support, or otherwise engage with providers and purveyors of explicit content.

What happens if someone breaks the rules

Reporting violations

Please submit all reports of acts that violate Open Collective’s Terms of Service or Community Guidelines here.

Reports may be submitted by the target of the violation, as well as third parties. As much as possible, the source of any report will be kept confidential from all parties except those involved in enforcement decisions.

To submit a report, contact us.

Proactive maintenance

We proactively review questionable activity using the tools available to us. Not all enforcement actions will be the result of a report from a community participant.

Actions we may take

When asked to stop inappropriate behavior, community participants are expected to comply immediately. Per the Terms of Service, Open Collective reserves the right to take any action we deem appropriate, up to and including removal from the platform and other spaces hosted by Open Collective.

We review each report on a case-by-case basis and tailor our response to the situation, using these guidelines and accounting as much as we can for our biases. We do not take these actions lightly and welcome feedback.

In the case of a community participant not living up to our values, but not doing anything that is explicitly not allowed, we may offer guidance so that they may improve into the future, before taking any further action.

In the event that a community participant does something that is not allowed, initial actions may include (but are not limited to):

  • Removing content

  • Removing and refunding contributions

  • Canceling transactions

  • Freezing account features or removing permissions

After investigation and review, further actions may include:

  • Suspending or limiting accounts

  • Closing or un-hosting Collectives

  • Archiving accounts or removing users

As we build out our enforcement processes, we will try to be as open as possible. The Open Collective team plans to make our review and enforcement processes more transparent in the future. Aspects of reports and enforcement decisions may need to remain private.

Moderation by admins

Admins have the ability to moderate their communities using certain tools:

Fiscal Hosts can reject applications from Collectives that don’t align with their mission or principles, apply their policies when paying out expenses, and freeze Collectives while investigating potential issues.

Moderators should communicate reasons for moderation decisions when appropriate.

Community participants are not allowed to create a new account to get around the category filter or other moderation actions. If this happens, please report it to us.

Fiscal Hosts

These guidelines apply equally to Fiscal Hosts as members of the Open Collective community. While we encourage and respect the diversity and autonomy of Fiscal Hosts, we will not allow the platform to be used in a way that conflicts with our values.

Fiscal Hosts are encouraged to make provisions in their legal agreements with Collectives so that in the event of significant enforcement actions by Open Collective, the Host may also end their relationship with the Collective. We wish to support Fiscal Hosts to develop their own approaches to community building and moderation, in alignment with these guidelines.

The consequences of these guidelines necessitate cooperation with Fiscal Hosts in many cases, and information and decision-making will be shared with them where appropriate. The Open Collective team will work with Fiscal Hosts to ensure that enforcement actions occur as smoothly as possible for all parties.

Appeal and reinstatement

Open Collective understands that everyone is more than the worst thing they’ve ever done. Community participants who have violated the Terms and/or Community Guidelines may have the opportunity to continue to be part of the Open Collective community if they're able to address the harm they've done and restore trust. We also recognize that such an approach could be taken advantage of by “bad actors.”

On a case-by-case basis, where additional information is provided, or where a community participant has accepted responsibility, apologized to those affected by their mistakes, committed to learning from the experience, and agreed to abide by the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines moving forward, there may be a basis to reverse an enforcement action. We will only consider reinstatement when we are reasonably certain that inappropriate actions will not happen again.

Reinstatement to the Open Collective community and platform will be done in consultation with a Collective’s Fiscal Host where applicable. Reinstatement of a formerly hosted Collective does not guarantee the reinstatement with that Fiscal Host.

If you wish to appeal an enforcement decision, please contact us.

Evolution of these guidelines

These guidelines are influenced by the guidelines and policies of many organizations, including GitHub, Patreon, Fractured Atlas, p5.js, and Drupal Diversity and Inclusion, as well as projects such as the Contributor Covenant and the Citizen Code of Conduct, along with guidance and feedback from diverse members of the Open Collective community.

As part of Open Collective’s commitment to evolve stakeholder governance of the platform, we will, as a community, continue to explore improvements to these principles and processes into the future. These may include mechanisms for transparency of enforcement actions, a community council to review complaints and appeals, tools to help identify and counter bad actors, and, of course, an ever-evolving understanding of the underlying core values from which these guidelines derive.

The Open Collective team, as a steward of this commons for the broader community, welcomes feedback about these guidelines and engagement from those who seek to help us improve them. Reach out anytime.

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Ⓒ Open Collective 2024