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Re: Revising the Code of Conduct

Hi Enrico,

On 21-05-13 14:19, Enrico Zini wrote:
> On Tue, May 21, 2013 at 10:32:09AM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
>> So, without further ado, here's my draft:
> [...]
> As a general principle, I object to any attempt to codify good
> behaviour. The DCG, which I thank Lars for mentioning, was attempting to
> give clues and reasonable expectations to people looking for them, not
> to give rules for people to enforce.
> It is hard to define what is "good" behaviour in our environment. I'd
> even think that being unable to define and enforce "good" behaviour is a
> prerequisite where creativity is sought.

I understand (and agree with) that goal. In fact, I have actively
advocated against a formal code of conduct in the past[1]. However, if
we have a code of conduct, it should be both useful and enforced; in my
opinion, it currently isn't very useful, and is enforced only to a
limited extent (the listmasters take steps when things go really out of
hand, and there is some peer pressure, but that's often ignored).

I still think that too much policing of our mailinglists is a bad idea.
However, I have also come to believe that there is some behaviour that
should not be tolerated from anyone, yet sometimes it is. This is
precisely what a (good) code of conduct is for.

So, logically, if the outcome of this discussion that we decide to
abolish our code of conduct altogether, then I would not be unhappy.
However, I think a better move is to have a code of conduct that is
actually sensible.

> Please note that a society where every single citizen is well behaved,
> and every single deviant is promptly corrected, is a police state.


> Bruce Schneier's "Liars and outliers" has some very interesting thoughts
> on this.
> I tend to work well in communities that are generally made of adults
> endowed with reasonable judgement and common sense, rather than
> communities of misbehaved kids in need of supervision. Adding rules
> tends to nudge things towards the latter.

Agreed, which is why I'm not attempting to make any part of my proposal
a hard-and-fast rule, and why I explicitly note that people "(...) may
have a bad day".

> People who don't act like adults should just be treated as such and be
> politely asked to grow up, keeping in mind that all of us may
> occasionally slip into a childish behaviour on the occasional bad day,
> and often all that is required to recover is a friend who kindly gives
> the right feedback.

Exactly; I have tried to word that, but may have failed. Is there any
part of my proposal that you have a problem with, in particular, or were
you just speaking in general?

[1] See, for example,

This end should point toward the ground if you want to go to space.

If it starts pointing toward space you are having a bad problem and you
will not go to space today.

  -- http://xkcd.com/1133/

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