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Re: [Debconf-discuss] Code of Conduct violations handling process

Steve Langasek writes ("Re: [Debconf-discuss] Code of Conduct violations handling process"):
> In the particular incident prompting this thread, [...]

I started writing a response to this.  But I found that my response,
no matter how carefully phrased, read like an attack on the people who
dealt with my complaint (and the other similar complaints which I
understand have been made).

That was not my intent.  And I very much regret creating a situation
where people have felt the need to apologise.  The job of the key
decisionmakers in this kind of situation is very stressful and

I would like to thank the decisionmakers for considering my complaint.
While obviously I am disappointed that it was not considered
justified, now that I'm aware that that was the decision taken, I do
not intend to take the specific matter further.

I would like to make some general points, not necessarily prompted by
any aspects of any particular incident:

If a CoC complaint is made, and the decisionmakers consider the
complaint unjustified, the complaint should not be referred elsewhere
or escalated.  Instead, the decision (complaint considered not
justified, no action will be taken) should be communicated to the

This is true even if the complaint requests a remedy which is never
appropriate in response to a CoC complaint.

If the complaint requests a remedy which is sometimes appropriate, but
is outside of the powers of the antiharassment team, there should be
a well-defined process for escalating the matter to an appropriate
authority.  That escalation should occur only if the antiharassment
team consider the complaint justified and consider that the requested
remedy is (or might be) proportionate.

Decision flow should be documented so that decisionmakers can have its
support in what is often a stressful and difficult situation.

When a complaint is made by email, the formal response should be made
by email too.  When a complaint is made by irc, the response should be
made by email or perhaps by irc.  We should consider whether a written
response should be provided (or offered) even in the case of verbal

There should be a record of complaints, decisions and remedies.  (If
things are done by email this happens automatically; if things are
done verbally or by unlogged irc, a record will have to be
deliberately made.)

Complainants who receive an adverse decision, or violators who are
subjected to a sanction, should be told whether, and if so how, an
appeal/escalation/reconsideration can be mounted.  My view on this
question is that decisions should be final as far as possible and that
therefore the only appeal route should be a GR.  So responses by email
should say something like "this decison is final, and if you are
dissatisfied the only way to overturn it would be a successful General
Resolution of the Debian Project; we do not recommend trying to
overturn our decision that way" or some such.

> >  * Outline our approach to violations by guest speakers, or other
> >    parties who attend the conference (or associated events) only
> >    briefly, where it is not possible to eject the violator (nor to
> >    threaten to, in order to extract an apology and promise of better
> >    behaviour).
> To what end?
> The stated purpose of the CoC is to ensure that our conference is a safe
> space for all members of the Debian community.  In what way would a change
> in approach to dealing with a violation after the fact, where the offender
> is no longer at the conference, further that goal?

Various people (not necessary ones in authority) commented that some
of the ways one might enforce a CoC would be difficult if the violator
had already left the conference.  I'm just saying that this should be
considered when writing down what remedies are appropriate/available.


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