[Members] NEW: XEP-0458 (Community Code of Conduct)

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Fri Jun 11 11:16:17 UTC 2021

On Thu, 10 Jun 2021 at 19:31, Daniel Pocock <daniel at pocock.pro> wrote:

> On 10/06/2021 19:57, Jonas Schäfer (XSF Editor) wrote:
> > Version 0.1.0 of XEP-0458 (Community Code of Conduct) has been
> > released.
> >
> I notice that a lot of professional organizations have a Code of Ethics
> A Code of Ethics tries to establish a balance between the rights of the
> member and the rights of the organization
> In comparison, many Codes of Conduct simply end up creating Kangaroo
> courts.
I'm not sure that's a correct characterization - some organisations have
both a code of ethics and a code of conduct, but in researching these
things, the general advice seems to be to get a code of conduct in place as
the first step - and, unfortunately, a procedure for enforcing that code of
conduct. That procedure (along with others) can be improved with a code of
ethics, that's certainly true.

I'm rather hoping the Conduct Team mentioned in this document never has to
be anything; but if it has to, I'm hoping for a quick, quiet, word and a
nudge, rather than any court-like proceedings. It's really only if people
genuinely want to carry on with behaviour that's counter to the code of
conduct that we have to deal with sanctions and so on.

If there's text you can suggest to make that clearer, then I'm very much
open to suggestions - and of course if you think the code itself is either
overbearing or has weak spots, please do point these out.

I do note, in the Security Considerations, that any Code of Conduct can be
abused to exclude people - but that said, I've tried to ensure that this
would be very hard to do. Firstly, the Board has final say, and we have an
appeals process. An abusive Board can also be recalled by a simple
majority of members, whereas removing members' voting rights needs a
supermajority of the other members. Changing either requires changing the
bylaws - and I think those bylaws provide much of the balance between the
individual and the organisation that you suggest might be lacking.

Overall, then, I think it's quite hard for the system to be abused in such
a way to persistently exclude people via the Code of Conduct, and very much
easier to remove the Board that's trying to do so than exclude the members
in the same timeframe.

> As an Australian, I think I'm well qualified to warn about Kangaroo courts.
Oddly, it's an American term in origin. Who knew?

> I'm all in favor of efforts to improve community standards.  I believe
> that rules and codes are the worst ways to improve standards.  Two ideas
> that are better than a Code of Conduct:
> - leadership training, for example, encouraging members to participate
> in a Toastmasters group or anything else that will give practical
> experience of better communication
> - real-world events where we meet, like FOSDEM.  Obviously harder during
> the pandemic, nonetheless, it makes a bigger difference than a CoC

I think both of these are, indeed, positive ways to improve how people
interact with each other - but I don't see why you'd want to do those
instead of a code of conduct.

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