How to: Torch and Zen

This is the first time this event is taking place, so we will be discovering how it works along with you!


Why are we doing this? In essence: we think it would be cool if there was a space where people can do programming for fun.

Many spaces that exist only accept the best, the most brilliant, the ones that will change the world. We are, too, fans of excellence, yet we also believe in space for experimentation. It is in such a playground that opportunities to create something worthwhile will arise.

How to be nice

The most important thing is to be nice. In other words, let’s all be kind, highly empathetic, and understanding — everything else will follow from there.

It can be hard to be nice. To make communicating niceness easier we have codified it as much as we could! The first step is the Code of Conduct. There, we outline what behaviour is ok and what behaviour is not ok. Not ok behaviour is strictly not allowed in the space we create.

The second step is a list of social rules. We get inspired from Recurse Center’s list (see here). A great example is “no feigning surprise”. Feigning surprise is when one acts surprised when people don’t know about something that they do. Eg. “what?! you've never seen any movie of Miyazaki?!”, or for something technical, eg. “what?! you’ve never fine-tuned an llm?!”. It’s hard to make a comprehensive list of all equally annoying things, but the above example should serve as an indicative one. Basically: if it's behaviour an average person would fine annoying, don’t do it.

Incident response

We have a Code of Conduct to create an space where everybody feels welcome. However, it might be hard to identify and respond to a situation where someone isn’t adhering to the Code. In whatever case, if you feel uncomfortable with something, please contact a member of the organising team.

We hope you will feel comfortable speaking to a member of the organising team. There is an alternative option of emailing

In all cases, consider taking some space. Creating some distance between you and the person who’s engaging at potentially unacceptable behaviour can potentially help one see the issue at hand more clearly.

Friends & Inspirations

We are inspired and thankful to Founders and Coders, a free coding bootcamp in London that nurtures inclusive peer-to-peer learning environments, which allows us to use their space.

We are inspired by Recurse Center, a 3-month retreat in NYC for programmers who want to dedicate time into exploring new knowledge.

We are inspired by all those who organise hackathons and all those who attend them.

We want to thank the authors of the Berlin Code of Conduct, the Portland Ruby Brigade, and the Recurse Center Code of Conduct, who indirectly helped us define and refine our Code of Conduct.