1. 3

    Maybe “controversy”? It was unclear from reading the article on Ayo exactly what happened, the comments on it made it even more confusing other than CoC was violated. Labeling it as such doesn’t really pass judgment on the subject, which I think is important, other than it’s likely to create disagreement.

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      I don’t understand at all why so much arguing happens over code of conduct pages on projects. Don’t be a fuckin dick to each other, nerds. How is that hard, and how is that hard to enforce?

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        it happens because some folks know they are dicks and they stick up for other dicks. If you’re working on something alone you can be as much of a dick as you want, but if you’re working on a team it’s pretty fucking reasonable to have some ground rules that everyone agrees on.

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          If you read any deployed CoC, they’re vastly more overbearing than “don’t be a dick”. If a CoC was literally those four words, I would support it wholeheartedly, but it never stops there.

          I also disagree that every social interactions needs explicit rules. I don’t really feel the impulse to codify social interaction. If someone is being a dick, I will respond according to the situation rather than preemptively trying to bring playground-style rules into the mix.

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            People come from different backgrounds and cultures where one set of behaviours might be socially acceptable, so yes - sometimes, it needs to be spelt out.

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              How does this work when the power dynamic is working against the person who is harassed? What if the harasser is a star contributor or friend?

              Hasn’t “don’t be a dick” been historically insufficient?

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                Not sure how the code of conduct changes that. If the high council of conduct adjudication are the ones doing the harassing, what happens then?

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                  If the high council of conduct adjudication are the ones doing the harassing, what happens then?

                  That is part of the reason why this situation is so contentious; that’s what’s happened here.

                2. 4

                  Hasn’t “don’t be a dick” been historically insufficient?

                  Yes if there’s good management or moderation that actually care about the work above the politics. If they value politics more, then it’s not sufficient since they’ll protect or reward the dicks if they politic correctly. The leadership’s priorities and character are almost always the most important factor. The rest of the benefits kind of spread as a network effect from that where good leadership and good community members form a bond where bad things or members get ejected as a side effect of just doing positive, good work or having such interactions. I’ve seen so many such teams.

                  Interestingly enough for purposes of CoC’s and governance structures, I usually see that break down when they’re introduced. I’m talking governance structures mainly as I have more experience studying and dealing with them. The extra layers of people doing administrative tasks setting policies can create more trouble. Can, not necessarily do since they reduce trouble when done well. Just the indirection or extra interactions are a risk factor that causes problems in most big projects or companies. A good leader or cohesive team at top keeping things on track can often avoid the serious ones.

                3. 4

                  If it wasn’t broadly worded, it’d be harder to aim at the people we don’t like.

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                    If it wasn’t broadly worded, it would be easier to abuse loopholes in order to keep being a dick within the letter of the CoC.

                    The things are broadly worded for a reason, and it’s not “to enforce it arbitrarily”.

                    1. 4

                      Is that more of a real or hypothetical concern? Any examples of a project that adopted a code of don’t be a dick, then a pernicious dick couldn’t be stopped, and the project leadership threw up their hands “there’s nothing to be done; we’re powerless to stop his loopholing.”?

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                        Boom, you said it. I’ve usually seen the opposite effect: people make broad rules specifically to attack or censor opponents by stretching the rules across grey areas. Usually, the people surviving in projects of multiple people due to “loopholes” are actually there for another reason. As in, they could be ejected if they were so unwanted but whoever is in power wants them there. Those unstated politics are the actual problem. In other cases, the rules were created for political reasons, often through internal or external pressure, rather than majority of active insiders wanting them there with enforcement pretty toothless maybe in spite. The OP and comments look like that might be the case if they voted 60% against getting rid of this person.

                        Also, I noticed the number of people and their passion on these “community enforcement” actions goes way up with most of them not being serious contributors to whatever they’re talking about. Many vocal parties being big on actions to control or censor communities but not regularly submit content or important contributions to them. I’m noting a general trend I’ve seen on top of my other claim rather than saying it’s specific to Node which I obviously don’t follow closely. Saying it just in case anyone more knowledgeable wants to see if it’s similar in terms of people doing tons of important work in this project cross-referenced against people wanting one or more key contributors to change behavior or disappear. If my hypothesis applies, there would be little overlap. The 60% number might give indicate unexpected results, though.

                        EDIT: For broad vs narrow, just remembered that patent trolls do the same thing. They make the patents broad as possible talking up how someone might loophole around their patent to steal their I.P.. Then, they use the patent to attack others who are actual contributors to innovation asking them to pay up or leave the market. Interesting similarity with how I’ve seen some CoC’s used.

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                          Yeah that’s what I don’t get. If someone was being a jerk on a project I was on I wouldn’t think twice about banning them once they’ve proven they’re a repeat offender.

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                            node.js could serve as an example.

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                              Of the opposite? A code of don’t be a dick doesn’t work in theory because there’s no agreement. So node has this nice long list of banned behaviors and remedial procedures, but what good has that done them? Meanwhile it seems everyone agrees Rod was being a dick, so if the code were that simple it’d be a fine deal.

                              I mean, I don’t really know what’s going on since it’s all wrapped in privacy, but the more complicated the rules the more likely it is someone will play them against you. Better to keep it simple.

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                                Part of having a CoC is enforcing a CoC. Yeah, the CoC doesn’t mean much if it isn’t enforced, but that’s not an argument against codes of conduct. By anology: the fact that people break laws isn’t an argument against the rule of law.

                                1. 2

                                  Right, but if a law didn’t bring any clarity to the community - if it wasn’t clear who was and wasn’t breaking it, or it wasn’t able to be enforced consistently, or it was applied consistently but still seemed to be capricious in who it punished and who it didn’t - then it would be a bad law. The criticism isn’t that this “Rod” broke the CoC, it’s that the CoC didn’t seem to help the community deal with his behaviour any better than it would have without the CoC, indeed possibly worse.

                                  (my general view, particularly based on seeing them in the Scala world, is that CoCs as commonly applied are the worst of both worlds: they tend to be broad enough to have decent people second-guessing everything they say, but specific enough that less decent people can behave very unpleasantly without obviously violating the code)

                      2. 2

                        “don’t be a dick”. If a CoC was literally those four words, I would support it wholeheartedly, but it never stops there.

                        Sorry bro^Wsibling, it’s not diverse enough. It would have to say “Don’t be an asshole” to be gender-inclusive.

                        As for the CoCs working, I think it’s unreasonable to expect bad people to turn good because a file was committed into the git repository saying they should.

                        Maybe something like a Code of Misconduct is even more important than the CoC. The link is for IRL events, and quite obvious, but online the escape hatch is to gtfo.

                        1. 2

                          Interesting. Didn’t know he wrote on that topic. He made some interesting points but oversimplified things. I think Stephanie Zvan has some good counterpoints, too, that identified some of those oversimplifications with a lot of extra details to consider. Her focus on boundaries over democratic behavior or tolerance reminded me of a video someone showed me recently where Kevin Spacey’s character argued same thing with appeal to a more mainstream audience:

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFu5qXMuaJU

                          She’s certainly right that a focus on boundaries with strong enforcement can create followers of such efforts and stability (conformance) within areas they control. Hard to say if that’s idea versus the alternative where other folks than those setting the boundaries also matter.

                          Edit: Read the comments. Lost the initial respect for Stephanie as it’s the same political dominance crap I argue against in these kinds of threads. The contrast between her style/claims and Pieters’ is strong and clear.

                    2. 5

                      Don’t be a fuckin dick to each other, nerds.

                      Upvoted for this. Without actual decency, a CoC can only make the semblance of decency last for so long.

                      1. 4

                        People disagree vehemently about what it means to be a dick so that guideline is useless.