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


Hi Bubli,

On 12/01/17 11:24, Katarina Behrens wrote:
> 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.

Glad you've got all the details here, no-one should be harassed in the
project. Lets take some action: can you bring the specific problem to
the board privately to start addressing that ?

> 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.

I believe the board should discuss and come up with a policy here - my
preference is for one that does not introduce a privileged diversity
police de-coupled from our meritocracy and focused on
micro-aggressions[1] - it sounds like you don't want that either =)
which is great - but that's always the fear. Clearly however, this is
for the board to decide.

Presumably some fairly general statement: that we don't expect
harassment from anyone in the community - with re-assurance that if you
-feel- you have been harassed - please contact XYZ individuals /
whatever alias in confidence to report it - and we will work with you
patiently to bring a resolution. With a description of who will be
included there, how the complaint will be handled etc.

> "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

I'm aware of some sensitive situations in the past that have been
handled adroitly by some community members. At some conference or other
we had had a: "If you have any concerns talk to Bubli or Michael"
announcement early at the beginning - I forget the language; that seems
entirely appropriate for the project as a whole.

> Case in point, the above incident is at least 5 months old and she only
> decided to come out of the closet *now*.

That is bad indeed.

> 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.

Sounds sensible; if we can define that in a way that is helpful. In
fact - I personally thing that defining harassment is a really bad way
to do this - I would -strongly- prefer a casuistic story-telliing
approach - that explains how bad things can happen - and how they get be
resolved to help people understand. I've been itching for the time to
write that for a while.

I'm not a fan of [2]

"Harassment includes, but is not limited to:
Verbal comments that reinforce social structures of domination
[related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual
orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race,
age, religion, [your specific concern here]."

eg.

> 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.

Yep, we should come up with a plan.

> 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.

Sounds good to me; so - I'd suggest we come up with something at FOSDEM
at our in-person board meeting. Personally I don't think the whole
membership list is a great forum if we want to avoid getting
side-tracked into gender-politics discussions that can run progress into
the ground =)

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

I like that; but I would strongly prefer that there be a diversity of
perspectives on the topic in those handling this. It also seems vitally
important to me that there be some suitable degree of transparency and
community input in proportion to whatever sanctions we dream up: which
after all could potentially have significant even career related impact
on people working around LibreOffice.

Anyhow - thanks for handling this case & getting the ball rolling !

ATB,

Michael.

[1] - http://contributor-covenant.org/
[2] - http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Conference_anti-harassment/Policy

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Follow-Ups:
Re: [board-discuss] Harassment and lack of code of conduct"Bjoern Michaelsen" <bjoern.michaelsen@canonical.com>
References:
[board-discuss] Harassment and lack of code of conductKatarina Behrens <bubli@bubli.org>
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