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Re: The Code of Conduct needs specifics

In general, I understand where Wouter is coming from, and the points that
Steve made about inspiring people to behave better in public.  However,
this one paragraph really lept out at me.

Wouter Verhelst <wouter@debian.org> writes:

> This Code of Conduct is afraid to scare away potential contributors; so
> a lot of effort has been put into making this a positive, welcoming Code
> of Conduct rather than a negative, scary one.

I think this is a mistake.

The experiences of other groups have mostly convinced me that the point of
a Code of Conduct should be to scare away potential contributors who
cannot or are unwilling to behave according to the standards that we
expect of our community, and to reassure the people who would be injured
by violations of those standards that we're serious about declaring those
people unwelcome in our project.  Not welcoming them and attempting to
quietly encourage them to become better people (which doesn't work).

I feel like, from these responses, people are focusing on writing a Code
of Conduct with an aspirational goal of welcoming everyone and then
encouraging them to all be nice to each other.  It would be lovely if this
worked, but the experiences, time and again, of many different on-line
communities, is that it doesn't.

If you want a diverse and welcoming atmosphere, particularly for people
who aren't interested in aggressive communication patterns or who are
historically excluded, you have to not welcome the people who make the
environment hostile and uncomfortable for the people you want to attract.
It's not exactly a zero-sum game, but it is a choice.  You can choose to
attract one type of project participant or the other, but not both at the
same time.

I think the Code of Conduct presents an opportunity for us to be clear
about what type of project participant we're interested in, and what type
of project participant we're not interested in, and that we shouldn't be
afraid to be a bit confrontational here.

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

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