Re: What do you think of the foundation?

On Sat, 2009-05-30 at 06:10 -0600, Stormy Peters wrote:
> I've gotten a lot of email offlist about this.
> Several people reminded me that we have a code of conduct,
> While I think the majority of GNOME interactions comply with it, I
> think it's not very actively enforced when someone doesn't comply. I
> believe it's the GNOME community's responsibility to enforce it. 

As long as each item, including "assume people mean well" is enforced
and as long as no imaginary ones are added. 

Without that specific item, I wouldn't have signed the code of conduct. 

I'll now use real names and a real case because this is a well known one
in our own community. 

Murray was the person who came up with the idea of the code of
conduct[0] (~ June 2006, I think).

He also once wrote a famous blog entry about Jeff Waugh's board
candidacy for 2007 [1].  It was so famous that it's mentioned in Jeff's
Wikipedia article under section "Criticism" [2].

Whether or not that one was compliant the code of conduct is something
I, among other people, question. Especially the "assuming people mean
well". The assumption was, clearly, that Jeff didn't mean well.

Quoting from Murray's blog here.
- Jeff Waugh is a psychotic failure, obstructive and destructive. He is
- poisonous people.

I think the Google-Video about poisonous-people was excessively
overrated and has gotten way, WAY, too much attention. 

You CAN'T take this presentation as a serious study, as it was not, not
at all, done using the scientific method nor by double blind experi-
ments. It didn't even have a single blind trial.

Yet it made massive amounts of people start calling massive other
amounts of people, poisonous. Almost acting scientifically.

We, FOSS people, think we can apply our expertise on software
development on human psychology, too.

We, FOSS people, have had more such crazy ideas in the past.

Yet however!

I do think voicing the opinion was a milestone in our community.

Whether it was for good or for bad is something we'll never know. And I
accuse neither Jeff nor Murray of anything. 

It was a human situation.


Even our code of conduct isn't interpretable as black and white. Not
even for the person who started the creation of it.

I believe that among the top problems our fragile community has, is that
a lot of its members don't assume people mean well.

It makes communicating harsher.

It's the source of a lot of passionate disagreements between members.

> The question in context of Dave's email (what would you like to see
> from the Foundation) is whether people would like to see the board
> play an active role in enforcing it.

As a exercise, why don't you try Dave's proposal against the blog item
of Murray?

I think instead those two guys should have calmed down, have a group
discussion together with an ombudsman (ombudswoman) on how they'll
behave towards each other in future. And then, slowly, the situation
would maybe have improved. Maybe.

I don't think there could have been a drastic solution, like Dave's ten
steps, that would have helped.

Besides, either side could have been accused of poisonous actions.

I don't think the discussion "who was right" is/was even worth doing.

This was the issue: Jeff did a lot for GNOME (but is only human), Murray
did a lot for GNOME, they didn't like each other. Period.

Yet, Dave's ten steps where actually indirectly done for Jeff.

It was NOT good. I do hate this current situation.

> (And we have lost members of our community because we haven't enforced
> that Code of Conduct.)

That's possible, yes.

It's a hard world out there, we can't safe everybody. This doesn't mean
we must harden our community's culture into a P.C.P.O.S. It doesn't mean
we must create a tool to "officially" kick people out of the project.

	No matter how good it felt for some people.

It means that we are human beings, having a humanly cultured group.

It means that we have to trust ourselves that we're a good group.
Nothing is going fundamentally wrong.  People who say that as a group
we're unethical, are being intellectually dishonest in my opinion.

Quote [4]:
- We sing about respect and unity in our scene
- But what I see is p.c. purism, you know what I mean

ps. Yes, I will repeat P.C.P.O.S: it's not aggressive. It's my opinion.



Philip Van Hoof, freelance software developer
home: me at pvanhoof dot be 
gnome: pvanhoof at gnome dot org

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