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[board-discuss] Harassment and lack of code of conduct

Hello world & BoD,

it has been brought to my attention that one of our (female) contributors, who 
is also a TDF member (this is why membership committee is in Cc:) has been 
harassed in a private mail by someone who reads development and general user 
mailing list. I have the details, mail addresses etc. and can provide them via 
private channel, for obvious reasons I'm not doing that here.

This is quite a strong incentive for me to bring up the topic that is 
perceived as controversial by many, namely (the lack of) code of conduct in 
the community around TDF and (the absence of) action plan, as for what to do, 
when bad things happen.

The most frequent (and in fact the only) argument I hear when mentioning code 
of conduct, or the fact that TDF has no code of conduct to be precise, is "but 
but but, we're such a bunch of nice guys, nothing bad has ever happened here, 
nobody has ever been harassed, so why bother, why restrict freedom of speech 
preemptively etc."

Let me state very clearly that I don't buy that argument. Just because nothing 
bad has ever happened to you/people around you/people around people around 
you/..., just because nobody ever went public with what has happened to them, 
we simply can't assume that nothing bad has ever happened at all. Case in 
point, the above incident is at least 5 months old and she only decided to 
come out of the closet *now*.

At the very least, in the absence of "real" code of conduct, a clear and 
concise public statement (in what particular form, I don't quite care) should 
be made by TDF that such behaviour ( = harassment, stalking, etc.) is not 
going to be tolerated and the offenders are not going to get away with it.

Related to that, there is no plan of action (or not one that I'd know of) how 
to deal with incidents and what steps to take (on mailing lists, IRC, social 
networks etc.) when things go wrong. Sure, it's perfectly clear to me that 
those plans don't work most of the time and every case has to be dealt with 
individually (sometimes e.g. hangout featuring both affected parties and a 
mediator is a good solution, sometimes it's the worst thing you can possibly 
think of), ...

But again, some public statement by TDF that incidents are going to be dealt 
with, we're prepared to act and people are going to be helped when needed 
should be made. It'd make people feel more safe. 

I volunteer to be a contact person for those cases (in fact, as you can see, I 
already am)

Comments, opinions?


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