Re: code of conduct question for Board candidates

Hi Marina!

Marina Zhurakhinskaya <marinaz redhat com> wrote:
Thanks to all the candidates for stepping up to run for the board and for all the work you already do for 
the Foundation!

Many free software organizations have adopted codes of conduct for their events [1] and some for their 
communities [2]. Detailed codes of conduct with specific enforcement guidelines signal to newcomers that 
the community has high standards of behavior. They give participants who observe or are subject to 
inappropriate behavior something to point to that shows that such behavior is outside of what is expected 
and guidelines on how to proceed in getting it addressed.

What do you think about adopting a detailed code of conduct, similar to the one used for GUADEC 2014 [3], 
for all GNOME events and creating a similarly detailed code of conduct for the GNOME community?

Most of the time, GNOME is a great place to work and have fun, but
sometimes conversations can get heated and/or personal, and the GNOME
project has a collective responsibility to manage with these
situations. It's important to have effective codes of conduct in
place, not just to ensure that GNOME is a friendly and welcoming
place, but also so that contributors feel safe from attack, and have
support when things go wrong.

My view is that a code of conduct needs to strike a balance between
length and specificity on the one hand, and readability on the other.
In the past, I have found the existing general code of conduct [1] to
be too general and vague, and I think that we need something that is
longer and clearer. At the same time, a code of conduct is a kind of
constitutional document, and sends an important signal about the
identity and character of the project, so we need to be careful about
having something that seems too prescriptive and bureaucratic.

It's not just the rules about conduct that are important here. One
thing that we really lack are guidelines about how infringements of
the code of conduct should be handled. This creates the danger that
people feel unfairly treated if they are accused of breaking the code
of conduct, and it opens the door to self-appointed judges taking the
law into their own hands. We need to be clear about what should happen
if someone breaks the code of conduct. (Who will arbitrate? What are
the potential outcomes? What can you do if you disagree with the
decision?) My view is that these procedures shouldn't be overly
bureaucratic, and should have reconciliation and mediation as their
goal, rather than punishment or excommunication. Above all, they
should be independent, neutral and fair.


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