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Re: The Code of Conduct needs specifics

Mark Brown <broonie@debian.org> writes:

> The usual reasoning for explicitly enumerating things is the thing
> Solveig mentioned about people being (or professing to be) too inept to
> realise what appropriate behaviour is.  Personally I do tend to share
> some of the concerns about rules lawyering and evasion with that but
> it's a reasonable view and I suspect you don't win either way.

The other advantage of explicitly listing as unacceptable behavior some
common behaviors, like sexual jokes, is that it sends an up-front message
to people who are not yet part of the community that certain behaviors
aren't acceptable, thus discouraging those who enjoy those behaviors from
joining in the first place.  Other organizations appear to have found this
more successful than a "positive" CoC, which the same people seem to be
more likely to ignore until they violate it.

Most of this experience is with conferences, which have a much different
dynamic than mailing lists, so it may or may not carry over.  But what
people are seeing with conferences is that the people who get very upset
about their "freedom of speech" will get all upset and angry at a CoC that
explicitly lists unacceptable behavior and then "boycott" the conference,
which is the ideal outcome all around.

I don't have any strong personal opinions about this, but that's partly
because I'm also not one of the people who is likely to be the target of
any serious harassment.  My inclination is to weigh more heavily the CoC
experiences of people who *are* frequent targets of harassment than those
of us who are already happily participating in the project and have rarely
been on the receiving end of problems.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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