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Re: Result of the Code of Conduct BOF at Debconf

On 2013-08-13 16:31, Enrico Zini wrote:
On Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 08:20:28PM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:

  slap others with the code of conduct. Enrico also raised a number of
  other points, but I'm afraid I'll have to say that I forgot much of
  it; I'll have to ask him to raise them again on the list.

Sure. I thought discussing this CoC was difficult because I feel that
its design goal hasn't been defined very clearly, and so everyone tries
to stretch it in different directions depending on their personal
feelings and priorities.

I think that a work like this needs to start with an analysis of who the
"users" of such a document are, what are their goals, how the document
could help them. Once it is clear what problem we're trying to solve,
whom we're talking to and what is in it for them, then it gets
remarkably easier to write good stuff.

I had a bad experience with a Debian Developer last year who was
consistently rude, manipulative, and unapologetic, spanning a period
of months -- long enough that I have no reasonable doubt left (for me)
concerning "good faith" (i.e. we are _not_ talking about a "bad day" here).
I went through quite a long process to get the package fixed that the
maintainer broke that led to this (and through the Debian Technical
Committee by necessity, during which the Developer continued to be rude,
manipulative, and critical and attacking of another contributor) but
during that long process there was little to no addressing of the poor
social behavior on the developer's part, at least as far as I know.
(Debian's "process" [which AFAICT is solely private discussion] hides
all actions taken.)  the poor behavior then continued immediately after
the attempt at addressing it was made, leaving me with the impression
that this "process" is inadequate at present.

Right now without a Code of Conduct, Debian doesn't have a document to
point to for what Debian expects concerning Social Behavior.  The main
consequence of this is that there seems to be no authority concerning
"Maintainer Misbehavior".  Supposedly the DAM (Debian Account Managers)
are the only group that can act on "Maintainer Misbehavior", but from
what I've read the DAM usually doesn't act on these incidents either,
which I believe is partly due to the lack of a CoC.  Furthermore, last
I looked there seemed to be a distinct lack of documentation for the
general public on what to do concerning "Maintainer Misbehavior"

So -- as far as I'm concerned, the "users" of the Code of Conduct
document would be everyone -- both inside and outside of Debian -- to
have a document to refer to for the behavior Debian expects ... of
everyone.  [Because it will no do to hold only one side to a set of
standards while another is free to ignore them.]

If I were to try and reverse-engineer the users and goals of the CoC
that was proposed, I'd get the feeling of something written by
old-timers to express their frustration about what it is that makes
discussion difficult. I think that's also a worthwhile document to
write, but it shouldn't be called a CoC. It would rather be the
description of a problem that we're trying to solve.

Above I've explained one type of situation I think a CoC is meant to
address.  However I think a CoC is meant to be general and broad, and
address several different kinds of issues, but which generally fall
into similar categories when broken down to their base (e.g.
respectfulness or lack thereof).

  -- Chris


Chris Knadle

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