[FOSDEM] It's time for a Code of Conduct

Daniel Pocock daniel at pocock.pro
Fri Oct 30 10:19:33 CET 2015

On 30/10/15 09:44, Sanel Zukan wrote:
> Tom Marble <tmarble at info9.net> writes:
>> FOSDEM Organizers:
>> FOSDEM is a fantastic conference and the only thing I can
>> think of that would make it better is publishing a Code of Conduct:
>> http://www.sarahmei.com/blog/2015/02/01/the-fosdem-conundrum/
>> https://twitter.com/fosdem/status/561885201383821312
>> Will the FOSDEM 2016 edition have a CoC?
> -1
> I think this should be done per room/project basis if admin prefers so I
> can choose whether to participate in that room or not. Your links are
> jokes (open statement and a joke) and if you have issues with them, I
> believe you are not familiar with cultural differences or not
> understainding writer intentions.
> Some cultures has really open joke format just as some cultures are
> using cursing words openly, so should I be offended if someone mention 'f*ck'
> because his/her projector is not working or because he tried to visually
> explain his problem?
> FOSDEM is open conference and if CoC (good name btw) is going to be
> enforced, what to expect in a years after that? Dress code or shaved
> faces, because someone finds that offending?

The "E" in FOSDEM is for Europe, so it is probably not reasonable to
suggest FOSDEM needs to find a way to make behavior from every region of
the world compatible, just attempting to suggest what it is for the
standards that residents of European countries expect is enough.

It is all very well to give examples of where a code of conduct "worked"
or was "used" for something.  It is not hard to find just as many
examples (both conferences and workplaces) where people have violated
such codes (and possibly even the law) and the people responsible have
covered it up or talked their way around it because it wasn't convenient
to enforce the code or the law.

So the real question is, if there is a code of conduct, who is going to
enforce it and how?

I'm not arguing for or against the code itself, I would just like to see
people talk about
 (a) what is the problem they are trying to fix,
 (b) what they will actually do about it (and what are alternatives) and
 (c) how FOSDEM will be better as a consequence.

However, even if nobody is able to enforce a code or there is not enough
consensus to have one, it would be useful to give a statement about the
principles that we value and agree on.  That is all it is, a statement
of a principles, not some new law that somebody is going to try to
enforce.  Such statements help to remind people and give them a point of
reference and simply repeating such things often enough (like
advertisements for fast food) can have an effect in the long term.

There are other ways to approach these issues too, such as recognizing
people who do positive things to make FOSDEM and our industry more
pleasant to participate in.



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