Standard for Public Code


  1. Problems, suggestions and questions in issues
  2. Documentation and code in pull requests
    1. 1. Make your changes
      1. Applicable policy
      2. Style
      3. Standards to follow
    2. 2. Pull request
    3. 3. Improve
    4. 4. Celebrate
  3. Languages and translations
  4. Releases

Contributing to this standard

🙇‍♀️ Thank you for contributing!

We understand that a standard like this can only be set in collaboration with as many public technologists, policy makers and interested folk as possible. Thus we appreciate your input, enjoy feedback and welcome improvements to this project and are very open to collaboration.

We love issues and pull requests from everyone. If you’re not comfortable with GitHub, you can email use your feedback at

Problems, suggestions and questions in issues

A high-level overview of the development that we already have sketched out can be seen in the roadmap. Please help development by reporting problems, suggesting changes and asking questions. To do this, you can create a GitHub issue for this project in the GitHub Issues for the Standard for Public Code.

Or, sign up to the mailing list and send an email to

You don’t need to change any of our code or documentation to be a contributor!

Documentation and code in pull requests

If you want to add to the documentation or code of one of our projects you should make a pull request.

If you never used GitHub, get up to speed with Understanding the GitHub flow or follow one of the great free interactive courses in GitHub Skills on working with GitHub and working with MarkDown, the syntax this project’s documentation is in.

This project is licensed Creative Commons Zero v1.0 Universal, which essentially means that the project, along with your contributions is in the public domain in whatever jurisdiction possible, and everyone can do whatever they want with it.

1. Make your changes

Contributions should follow the requirements set out in the criteria of the Standard for Public code itself. Reviewers will also be ensuring that contributions are aligned with the values of public code. Furthermore, they will review that the contribution conforms to the standards and remains coherent with the overall work.

This project uses the GitFlow branching model and workflow. When you’ve forked this repository, please make sure to create a feature branch following the GitFlow model.

Add your changes in commits with a message that explains them. If more than one type of change is needed, group logically related changes into separate commits. For example, white-space fixes could be a separate commit from text content changes. When adding new files, select file formats that are easily viewed in a diff, for instance, .svg is preferable to a binary image. Document choices or decisions you make in the commit message, this will enable everyone to be informed of your choices in the future.

If you are adding code, make sure you’ve added and updated the relevant documentation and tests before you submit your pull request. Make sure to write tests that show the behavior of the newly added or changed code.

Applicable policy

Currently, the Standard for Public Code is not implementing any specific public policy.


The Standard for Public Code aims to use plain English and we have chosen American English for spelling. Text content should typically follow one line per sentence, with no line-wrap, in order to make diff output easier to view. However, we want to emphasize that it is more important that you make your contribution than worry about spelling and typography. We will help you get it right in our review process and we also have a separate quality check before making a new release.

Standards to follow

These are the standards that the Standard for Public Code uses. Please make sure that your contributions are aligned with them so that they can be merged more easily.

2. Pull request

When submitting the pull request, please accompany it with a description of the problem you are trying to solve and the issue number that this pull request fixes. It is preferred for each pull request to address a single issue where possible. In some cases a single set of changes may address multiple issues, in which case be sure to list all issue numbers fixed.

3. Improve

All contributions have to be reviewed by someone. The Foundation for Public Code has committed to make sure that maintainers are available to review contributions with an aim to provide feedback within two business days.

It could be that your contribution can be merged immediately by a maintainer. However, usually, a new pull request needs some improvements before it can be merged. Other contributors (or helper robots) might have feedback. If this is the case the reviewing maintainer will help you improve your documentation and code.

If your documentation and code have passed human review, it is merged.

4. Celebrate

Your ideas, documentation and code have become an integral part of this project. You are the open source hero we need!

In fact, feel free to open a pull request to add your name to the AUTHORS file and get eternal attribution.

Languages and translations

The authoritative language of the Standard for Public Code is English.

Versions in other languages are provided by the community as best-effort. These courtesy translations may not be up to date with the English version, as missing translations do not block releases. We invite you to help maintain existing and add new community translations of the Standard.


We have dedicated documentation for creating new releases and ordering printed standards.

For more information on how to use and contribute to this project, please read the README.