Re: code of conduct question for Board candidates

On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 6:42 PM, Josh Triplett <josh joshtriplett org> wrote:
On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 07:11:42PM +0200, Olav Vitters wrote:
> On Sat, May 23, 2015 at 10:06:49AM -0700, Josh Triplett wrote:
> > I'm entirely in favor of an improved code of conduct, both for events
> > and in general.  And thank you for raising this issue.
> >
> > Some searching turned up
> > , but that's definitely insufficient.  (It's a nice set of sentiments,
> > but not a functional code of conduct.)  By contrast, the GUADEC 2014
> > code of conduct you linked to sets the higher standard I would expect,
> > and that I've come to expect from other conferences as well.  I'm in
> > favor of improving the general code of conduct to the same standard.
> Why and how is it "definitely insufficient"?

Marina linked to several resources about codes of conduct and their
effectiveness; specifically, see .

For instance, a more effective Code of Conduct should include
information like "For issues arising on mailing lists, IRC, or Bugzilla,
contact example gnome org, who can help address issues, and if
necessary, can limit or ban access to those resources."  Which I would
hope is simply a statement of what we'd *already* do; I'd be shocked,
for instance, if the IRC channel operators or server admins have never
had to ban anyone.

For the record: I'm not personally looking to put forth a proposal to
update the current community code of conduct; I'm simply stating that I
would be quite receptive to a well-considered proposal to do so.

> I quite like the Code of Conduct and I've signed it. By contrast, the
> 2014 GUADEC one is a very long statement specifically about a
> conference, not about a community. I don't see how the board has _any_
> influence on the GNOME community. This while the conference one assumes
> you're attending a conference and that someone can "expel" you, can
> possibility contact law enforcement, etc.

And that's the upper limit of what a Code of Conduct for a mailing list,
IRC channel, Bugzilla, or other community resource should do as well:
expel someone from a list, channel, Bugzilla server, etc.  Nobody's
talking about a document that has legal effect. 

While I disagree with the portion of the current CoC that says "There is
no official enforcement of these principles" (not least of which for
almost certainly being inaccurate), I agree with the "this should not be
interpreted like a legal document".  For instance, nobody should be
saying "well, they're acting terribly and being disruptive, we all know
it, but they're not violating the exact letter of the CoC, so my hands
are tied".

OK in light of these responses, I feel I should maybe better clarify that whilst I agree this sort of stance may be a fair way to moderated communications with non-members, I do not agree with expelling card carrying members from lists, channels or servers under any circumstances.

If someone has committed a *serious* breach of conduct, then the board do technically already have the power to revoke foundation membership which is the upper limit of what the board can enforce - (what’s currently lacking is a clear, transparent and fair process for that). In such *exceptional* circumstances, such privileges as access to the mailing list, IRC or git subscriptions could (in theory) justifiably be revoked under GNOME’s bylaws and California State law. However, partial exclusion of any card carrying member via an informal process could too easily become an affront to our democracy, lead to censorship, discriminatory treatment or victimisation, so therefore this is not a policy I could ever advocate, in principle. Ultimately, people have a right to be objectionable a-holes. as long as they are not infringing on anyone else’s rights in the process, in my view.

I hope that better clarifies my stance on this issue.


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