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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

On July 10, 2019 1:36:16 AM UTC, Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> wrote:
>Hi Sam,
>Thank you for sending this analysis and the clear effort and thought
>that's gone into it.  I'm very glad that you gathered some partial
>which is a useful addition to the normal mailing list discussions.
>I do have some significant concerns about the conclusions you've drawn,
>and around the feasibility of what you have identified as the project's
>goals for the anti-harassment team.  Maybe they're off-base, but I'll
>frank about them and see where the discussion goes.
>First, although I've snipped all those parts of your message, I
>agree with the concern about responsiveness and with finding some way
>prioritize that.  There is often a time limit on being able to
>respond to harassment or related problems in a project, beyond which a
>of the value is lost.
>That also makes the job very difficult, which leads into my concerns.
>Sam Hartman <leader@debian.org> writes:
>> The second is that we need to do better at actually engaging in
>> mediation.  By that I mean helping people understand what changes in
>> behavior we're looking for and how to accomplish their goals within
>> standards.  I do not mean the AH team should routinely engage in
>> about whether particular conduct is consistent with our standards. 
>> hope is that by addressing these concerns we can build stronger trust
>> the team.
>Maybe I'm reading too much into what you're saying, but I'm troubled by
>these statements.
>First, to me this feels like Geek Social Fallacy 1: Ostracizers are
>What it feels like you're saying is that, as a project, we should
>even *more* time and energy in those people who are making Debian a
>hostile and negative experience for others.  I believe this sends a
>if entirely unintentional message about who we value.
>Second, I don't understand how organized mediation can possibly be on
>table at this point given our available resources, particularly since
>you've identified lack of responsiveness as your other serious concern.
> I
>know there are multiple factors that go into the question of
>responsiveness, but I can see no way in which adding a requirement of
>mediation could possibly improve response times.
>Third, I believe that requiring mediation expertise on top of the other
>(quite challenging) requirements for the AH team will mean that the
>requirements are defined into impossibility.  At that point, we're
>about a set of skills that people go through intensive multi-year
>to acquire, and yet somehow we expect to staff that role with
>This feels entirely unrealistic to me.  I think instead we need to
>with what sort of action is realistic for the type of project we are
>our available volunteer pool, and then reset project expectations
>On that front, I will advocate strongly for prioritizing stopping the
>behavior that is in violation of our Code of Conduct (on a timely
>over making people who are violating the Code of Conduct feel heard and
>I'm very sympathetic to the folks who are trying to navigate different
>cultures and different cultural expectations.  We can approach this
>with a
>base standard of empathy, and we can start from an assumption of good
>intent, and hopefully that will soften the occasional difficult moment.
>But if we let empathy turn into paralysis, we're not doing the
>any favors.
>Put another way, providing mediation is graduate-level work in AH.  I
>don't think we have the 101-level AH work in a predictable and
>state.  Let's start there.
>> However, what I find more significant is the comments made by people
>> expressed support for the AH team.  At least from a number of
>> participants, this support clearly envisioned an AH team that was
>> responsive and that effectively helped members of our community be
>> effective in their communication while following our standards.
>The conclusion that I personally would draw from this is that a number
>people in the project have unrealistic expectations for what is
>for a voluntary anti-harassment team in a project like ours.  I believe
>any attempt to add mentoring, coaching, or mediation to the duties of
>anti-harassment team would have the effect of dooming the team, and
>significantly undermining our ability to maintain a reasonable project
>response to harassment.

I suspect it may not be what you meant, but what I'm reading from your response is that you think AH should be limited to telling people to be quiet or asking DAM to show them the door?

If that's their scope, why would anyone ever do anything other than ignore them?  What's the upside for someone who someone claims has violated the CoC to engage with AH?  It seems to me that one might as well ignore them and see if DAM gets called in.

Wouldn't it be better to try and engage members of the project that engage in relatively minor things and try to guide their behavior in a positive direction?  Sure, there are some things that are serious enough that no second chances are appropriate, but not every crime deserves the death penalty.

Ostracizers are evil may not be true, but that doesn't mean the reverse is true.  That would also be a fallacy.

Scott K

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