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Guidelines for Community Citizenship



To create and maintain the studio and the community that grows around it as a sustainable, positive, and healthy place for its participants and teaching staff, we have some aspirational standards for us all to constantly work towards. 


Rope bondage is a physically and emotionally high risk activity. It brings together diverse people with different backgrounds and perspectives, and challenges us with highly charged activities that carry significant risk of accidental physical and emotional harm. People need to feel safe and comfortable to engage in this vulnerable activity, and achieving that requires everyone to work to navigate the shared social space in the studio, at community events, and online in a way that is constructive, respectful, and builds a healthy social atmosphere.


The studio’s values are the lens through which we see the world and make decisions, the code of conduct helps guide our behavior, and these guidelines are intended to help us communicate, share space, and navigate conflict.


Note: this is a document to address how we navigate interpersonal and group conflict, which is common and inevitable in any community. We differentiate conflict from abuse, which we view as the knowing, intentional, or malicious harming of another person, usually (but not necessarily) with the aid of a power imbalance, paired with a refusal to take responsibility for the impacts of one’s behavior or to take action to stop and address the harm. Abuse is not tolerated in our space. 


These guidelines apply to everyone who wishes to be a student/member in good standing at Heartland Kinbaku Studio, and apply to your conduct at the studio and in the broader community.




  1. Always approach situations with good faith 

    1. Be willing to see yourself from the perspective of those you impact and able to adjust your behavior within reason to accommodate those around you.

    2. Do not troll or speak in an unnecessarily inflammatory way. 

  2. Assume good faith of others absent specific evidence to the contrary

    1. Give the people you are interacting with the benefit of the doubt and assume good intentions.

    2. If someone does something upsetting, assume it was unintentional, and approach them with empathy, patience, and curiosity if seeking resolution with them.

    3. When interpreting someone’s words or actions, try to imagine how that person meant well or was coming from a place of care, rather than looking for reasons why it was problematic. If something landed poorly and it’s weighing on you, consider having a constructive conversation to clear the air.

  3. Accept feedback and responsibility for your actions

    1. We all misstep and fall short of our values occasionally. Be willing to listen to feedback about how your words or actions landed for others without becoming defensive or reactive.

    2. Acknowledge the impacts that your behavior has and be willing to work towards moving through social space more compassionately and gracefully.

  4. Tolerate Disagreement

    1. People will share this space who view complex, nuanced issues differently. Dogmatism and black and white thinking make it much more difficult to build a diverse community than open mindedness and acceptance.

    2. Be willing to accept that some people may just view situations differently or have different values than you and that’s ok most of the time. If you disagree with someone, good faith, constructive debate is welcome if all participants have the desire and capacity for that. If you don’t, either accept the disagreement and let it go, or attempt to find another community member or leader with the spoons to help mediate and resolve the issue. 

    3. While malicious racist, transphobic, homophobic, body shaming, misogynist, or similar harmful types of speech are not tolerated, some people come from different cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds and mean well, but are still evolving in how they think and talk about certain issues, or haven’t had the opportunity to learn and grow yet. Shaming and piling on these people will generally not lead them to growth. Give people who are making an effort towards good faith engagement the benefit of the doubt, or step away from the conversation and ask someone else to intervene if it’s too upsetting / capacity draining to continue to engage constructively yourself. 

  5. Inclusivity also applies to people you may not necessarily like

    1. Our community aspires to be inclusive to anyone who shares our values and is willing to aspire to and live by the standards of community citizenship we’ve laid out here.

    2. As long as that baseline is met, that means that some people may need to co-exist with people who are not like them, who they may not necessarily like

    3. Be willing to navigate shared space with people you may not like or agree with on everything in a polite and respectful way, avoiding inflammatory/escalatory comments and unnecessary conflict. 

  6. Communicate feelings constructively 

    1. When a high stakes issue or discussion has you emotionally activated or brings up trauma, be mindful about how you process and vent. 

    2. Take a pause on a conversation when you feel you might not be showing up to it as your most graceful and patient self.

    3. Seek coping mechanisms that are soothing and restorative for you without escalating conflict unnecessarily.

    4. Consider venting your feelings to a consenting and trusted friend privately so that you can later approach the individuals you felt in conflict with from a grounded place to constructively communicate how you felt, what the impacts were, and what steps for repair and resolution would feel good for you.

    5. While your feelings are always valid, try to ensure that your response to situations is proportionate to what just happened.

  7. Seek de-escalation and repair

    1. Healthy conflict is a normal part of all human interaction

    2. In intimate shared community space like this studio, festering, unhealthy, and unresolved conflict can be harmful to everyone. 

    3. When conflict emerges, choose your words and actions with an intent to de-escalate the situation and take steps towards reconciliation and repair.

    4. If you lack capacity or bandwidth to resolve a conflict on your own, or think that the situation is likely to de-escalate more easefully with a mediator, bring your concerns to an instructor/community leader to help you seek resolution.


These guidelines are aspirational - no one is perfect or able to follow these practices 100% of the time. When community members inevitably slip up, we will call each other in compassionately and support each other in addressing the mistake. These guidelines apply to all participants in the community equally, but people who have a power dynamic relative to the community as a result of their positions as organizers, instructors, or teaching assistants are especially responsible for leading by example and holding themselves, and being held by the community, to these standards.


If a community member has an extended pattern of failing to embody these ideals, and repeated attempts to support them don’t result in improvement, they may be asked to step away from the community for a time to allow things to settle. They may be welcomed back at a later date if they are prepared to do repair work around past issues and committed to demonstrable behavior change. 

Please see our separate Discord and online communication policy here

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