Re: On the Anti Harassment Team
On 13/08/17 17:11, Margarita Manterola wrote:
> During DebConf17 there was a BOF about the Anti-Harassment team. You can
> find linksto slides, text, videoand collaborative pad of the discussion
> in our wiki page: https://wiki.debian.org/AntiHarassment.
> We presented a status report of the issues that had been handled during
> the past year as well as invited participants to comment on some
> questions related to the team. These are the conclusions from that
> 1) Scope and Powers: the team is in charge of mediating between
> developers but doesn't have any actual powers, it can only recommend
> actions to other delegates (listmasters, DAM, etc), but it's on the
> delegates to take action. There are advantages and disadvantages to this
> model, but after discussing it, we ended up deciding to keep going as we
Even if the team doesn't have powers, is there an obligation for
delegates to refer less urgent matters to the team before taking action?
Would such an obligation be useful?
> 2) Activity reporting: we plan to do an annual or semi-annual report to
> the project, similar to the one presented in the BOF.
> 3) Members: thejobthat our team doesis quite taxing and in order to be
> responsive we would like to have new members, and work on a rotational
> basis (i.e. two or three years of term, not forever) to avoid burn-out.
> Additionally, we believe that we need extra trainingto be better
> prepared to handling issues, this is something that we want to work on.
> 4) Name: we find that "anti harassment" is not a great name both because
> it's negative and because it puts people on edge when we contact them.
> We asked people to suggest other names. The current best suggestion
> that we have is "Respect & Inclusion team" with firstname.lastname@example.org
> <mailto:email@example.com> as the alias(not created yet).This
> discussion is still open and we welcome other suggestionsand
> ideas(contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
> <mailto:email@example.com> ).
Maybe something along the lines of Conflict Management, Dispute
Management or mediation would be more neutral?
As you point out, (Anti)Harassment has a negative feeling and it also
limits people's perceptions of what this team could get involved in. In
some cases issues can be resolved by some kind of mediation before
I've seen some cases in other organizations over the last couple of
years where independent assistance was needed but it didn't appear to be
"harassment" when it was first noticed. In one case harassment was
discovered but only after other issues. In such situations, it is
useful to have the help of somebody neutral who can get to the bottom of
the issue, notice harassment if it does exist and be fair to people on
While some situations are one-sided, others involve personality
conflicts, stress, life changes, mental illness or other things where
there is no "winner" or "loser". Debian is already an outstanding
organization but being able to deal with such situations more
compassionately would make it more so and may be a compelling reason for
people to contribute to this team.