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Re: Code of conduct, question to all candidates

On Fri, Mar 03, 2006 at 10:20:59PM +0200, Lars Wirzenius wrote:
> What do you think of a code of conduct? What in your opinion would be a
> lower limit on acceptable behavior? Do you think that strict rules would
> be better than general guidelines? Who should be the judge if a
> particular case follows the code of conduct or not? Would the code be a
> good thing, or would it necessarily be a threat to freedom of speech,
> and stifle innovation? Should any kind of behavior be allowed on Debian
> mailing lists?

Debian already has a "code of conduct", it is the Social Contract and the
Developers Reference. It regulates how people deal with packages, bug
reports and other Debian resources.

For the mailing-lists,  a code of conduct already exist, see

So actually, the question is what we think of a code of conduct 
regulating behaviour on mailing-lists.

At this point, I am not in favour of such code. I am in favour of giving
general guidelines and but not to enforce them.  People should follow
them because they agree with them but not because they are forced to.
Not the least, that provides a reality check to the guidelines.

The main issue is that there is no consensus in Debian about what a code
of conduct should say.  We have all very different cultural background
and while we should be collectively biaised toward favoring "free
speech", it appears we have very different opinion about what is
appropriate on mailing-lists. However the diversity of the Debian
developers is an asset and should not be sacrificed to the code of

Among the developers apparently in favor of a code of conduct, they are
some whose behaviour IMHO cannot stand as a model. I doubt a code of
conduct would lead them to amend their way but rather to abuse the
code of conduct because they are convinced they are in the right.

So I expect that in the current situation a strict code of conduct would 
actually make the matter worse by being abused to harass people and
would create tension in the project.

This does not mean we should not try to improve our collective
behaviour however, and I proposed some guideline to that effect.

Bill. <ballombe@debian.org>

Imagine a large red swirl here. 

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