Code of Conduct and Foundation membership (Summary)

Hi all,

It's quite obvious that the original thread ended up branching into
several separate topics. I thought it would be useful to summarize
some of the key points on each topic in an attempt to bring a more
practical perspective to the whole discussion.

This is not an official message from the Board. It's just me trying to
make some sense out of the tons of messages in the thread and, maybe,
bring a more useful (or at least more clear) "closure" to the
discussed topics.

-- The original topic: Code of Conduct and Foundation membership

The message I sent to start discussion was quite specific: we, the
board, wanted to know the opinion of the community on having the Code
of Conduct[1] as an official document that current/new Foundation
members would have to agree with in order to gain membership. It was
strange to see that several people framed the discussion in the
context of Planet GNOME only. Actually, the intention was to have a
broader discussion on how useful it would be to have CoC as an
official guideline for members, independently on where/how they are
communicating (planet, mailing lists, irc, etc) with the community.
Here's what I could summarize in terms of most interesting points:

- Effectiveness: some questioned the actual effectiveness of having an
official CoC in dealing with conflict situations. A point was made
that more rules doesn't necessarily result in a healthier community.
- Enforcement mechanism: some people think it wouldn't make sense
require all Foundation members to "sign" the CoC if there's no clear
enforcement mechanism.
- Who enforces the CoC: opinions are a bit mixed regarding who would
be responsible for enforcing CoC. Some people think the Board should
do it. Others are absolutely against this idea.

My impression is that the topic has not been discussed properly. The
discussion deviated to parallel (indirectly related) topics. Maybe
it's because it's a very tricky topic (quite hard to reach consensus).
Or perhaps we haven't come up with a good enough solution yet. Maybe
that's something the Board should discuss a bit further and come up
with a more concrete proposal for discussion. Another possibility is
to have a focused group of Foundation members and Board members
interested in the topic to work on a proposal. Opinions?

-- Code of Conduct suggestions

At some point the thread shifted more specifically towards Code of
Conduct itself. Behdad made a suggestion to add two more points to

- Learn to agree to disagree.
- Criticize ideas, not people presenting them.

Pierre suggested that both items are added to the list of example
behaviours under "Be respectful and considerate". This is something
that should be officially proposed for general consideration. Behdad,
maybe you could do that? :-)

-- Planet GNOME suggestions

And then the discussion moved to Planet GNOME. I could find some
concrete suggestions to improve Planet GNOME in different ways:

- Rating system on posts Planet. It would be some sort of Digg-like
Planet. Readers would be able to rate posts down or up. Posts with
general positive rating would be appear up on the page. Some people
raised concerns that readers using feed reads would not be able to
quickly rate posts.
- Annual reminder asking people if they still want to be aggregated on
Planet. This would allow editors to remove blogs from people not
willing to be on Planet anymore.

Those are topics that editors (me, Vincent and Jeff) will definitely
be discussing soon. I'm personally in favor of the annual reminder
idea. Not sure about the rating system. Hope to have news about those
ideas soon.

-- GNOME as part of GNU

In response to Stallman's statement that Planet GNOME should not
aggregate content about non-free software (because GNOME is part of
GNU), Philip informally proposed a vote to decide on GNOME's
membership to the GNU project. The idea of the vote have some support.
Concerns were raised about the negative impact that such vote could
cause in the community.

It seems to me that this topic deserves a more careful discussion
before moving forward in any new direction. This is not the kind of
topic that should be decided on in the middle of a long thread that
was supposed to be discussing something totally different. Especially
considering that there is no official call from FSF or GNU maintainers
to remove GNOME as part of GNU project. So, there's no hurry really.
Also, someone would have to officially propose the vote to members,
which hasn't actually happened. It would be useful to know how
generally interested the Foundation members are in this topic.

That's all I guess. Feel free to add stuff I missed in this quick summary.




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