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Re: GR proposal: code of conduct

On Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 11:40:17AM +0000, Neil McGovern wrote:
> Hi Wouter,
> Thanks for all your work on helping bring this together so far, but I
> think this ballot is troubling on a number of reasons.
> On Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 11:59:42AM +0100, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> > 1. The Debian project decides to accept a code of conduct for
> >    participants to its mailinglists, IRC channels, and other modes of
> >    communication within the project.
> How do you see this being effective? Are you envisioning it being agreed
> to as part of the NM process perhaps?

I'm not sure that would send out the right message; we don't want "just"
DDs to abide by a code of conduct; we want every contributor on our
communication channels to do so.

> Additionally, how core is this to the project - could it be viewed as
> a Foundation Document?

I don't think we should see it that strict.

The reason I want to put this before the developer body as a whole is
that we should have the developers agree on the principle of an
enforceable code of conduct. However, it is certainly possible that some
future situation would abide by the letter, but not the spirit, of this
code; in that case, I think having a difficult-to-modify document would
be positively harmful.

> IRC channels are particularly interesting, as they also hold additional
> standards to be upheld. The actual text seems to be somewhat geared
> towards mailing lists,

True. I don't think this is entirely unreasonable, because -- let's face
it -- Debian communications *are* mostly mailing lists. We do have other
channels, but everything of importance is done by mail.

> and then has "other communication mechanisms" bolted in to it.

I didn't want to come up with an enumeration of all possible and
impossible communication methods used by Debian; that would necessarily
be somewhat limiting. I do think having a clause in that regard is
necessary for that reason, but am welcome to other formulations that
would clarify the meaning -- keeping in mind that I'm not a native
English speaker ;-)

> As an obvious omission, IRC ops aren't on
> https://www.debian.org/intro/organization.

Yes, and that's something which should be fixed IMO, but not necessarily
as part of this GR.

> > 2. The initial text of this code of conduct replaces the "mailinglist
> >    code of conduct" at http://www.debian.org/MailingLists/#codeofconduct
> Is this overriding the listmasters then?

Fair question.

I was under the impression that the code of conduct had not changed in
the past decade; given that, I thought that, certainly, the current
listmasters wouldn't have been involved in its authoring very much if
that were true. Given that background, I would not have considered it
overriding the listmasters.

A quick perusal of the CVS logs shows me wrong, however, and given that,
the question isn't undeserved.

Regardless, I think the proposed code of conduct doesn't contradict
current behaviour of listmasters; it only ratifies it (and where it
doesn't, that's a bug in my proposed text). Indeed, some parts of the
current code of conduct are not present in the proposed one; but these
are merely the bits that are unenforceable (the "do not spam" and "use
common sense" bits), should be enforced through technical means rather
than social ones (the "don't send HTML" and "don't send large
attachments" ones), etc.

I'll leave it up to the secretary to decide whether this is, indeed,
overriding listmasters, but I don't think it is, or should be.

> > 3. Updates to this code of conduct should be made by the DPL or the
> >    DPL's delegates after consultation with the project, or by the Debian
> >    Developers as a whole through the general resolution procedure.
> So, we have a Foundation Document, or a Position Statement that's agreed
> by GR, and then can be changed by the DPL to a delegate. I don't think
> this is entirely constitutional...

The position statement really only is the "we accept a code of conduct"
part. Everything else isn't.

Maybe that means I should not put the text of the code of conduct inline
with the rest of the GR? If so, I'll happily do so.

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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