Ubuntu Code of Conduct: omissions and suggestions

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at canonical.com
Fri Apr 8 11:02:17 UTC 2016

Hash: SHA1

Elizabeth K. Joseph wrote on 07/04/16 18:49:
> ...
> This has been on my mind a lot since Sarah Sharp's keynote at 
> SCALE14x (where we had the UbuCon Summit). It's a great talk,
> video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCvK_7FagGE&t=31m5s

Thanks. I had come across a similar post from her earlier.

> During part of it she suggests that you shouldn't write your own 
> CoC and enforcement policy and that the following orgs and people 
> can help with this:
> Safety First PDX: http://safetyfirstpdx.org/ Ashe Dryden: 
> http://www.ashedryden.com/ Frame Shift Consulting: 
> http://frameshiftconsulting.com/
> I know we've "been fine" always writing our own (indeed, ours was 
> the first in an open source project AFAIK), but I think it's worth 
> considering if we want some help from experts :)

True. On the other hand, Ubuntu is unusual in that it’s a vast
project. It’s broad in organization: there are several Team Councils
as well as the Community Council. And it’s broad in scope: discussions
like “Does the Browser app’s Private Mode satisfy its use cases” or
“What kind of maturity/age ratings should the Ubuntu Store have” would
necessarily involve uncomfortable topics that a smaller project’s code
of conduct can easily exclude altogether.

>> 1.  No descriptions of common but unacceptable behavior. This 
>> means, for example, that the Ubuntu IRC Council has had to 
>> provide their own descriptions, even of things that don’t apply 
>> just to IRC. <https://wiki.ubuntu.com/IRC/Guidelines>
> This may be an interesting one to dig into, but I'm not sure how I 
> feel about it. I worry that giving examples can provide a framework
> that people feel they can wiggle out of. But again, I'm not one of
> the experts, so there may be a great deal of value here.

The extremely popular Contributor Covenant starts with five “Examples
of behavior that contributes to creating a positive environment” and
five “Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants”. It’s clear
that they’re just examples, not an exhaustive list.

>> 2.  No reporting instructions with contact information. This is 
>> perhaps the most glaring omission (and what motivated me to write
>> today).
> This is a good point. I was very vocal[0] back when we had in 
> person UDS that various types of contact information was made 
> available on the anti-harassment page for the event, but I never 
> followed through in our written document online. I think adding a 
> section about contacting the CC would be great.

I’ve found a “Reporting a Community Problem” page on the wiki, but it
was last updated in December 2009. Is it still accurate?

>> 3.  No information about enforcement. Version 1.0 said “the 
>> Ubuntu Community Council will arbitrate in any dispute”, with
>> 1.1 adding “Ubuntu governance bodies”, but 2.0 removed both of
>> these. <https://launchpad.net/codeofconduct> Matthew Garrett made
>> a start on defining the enforcement process in 2007, but it
>> didn’t go anywhere. 
>> <https://wiki.ubuntu.com/CodeOfConductDisputeResolution> The 
>> current process may be precise and well-known to the Community 
>> team, but defining it in the Code itself would be much more 
>> reassuring to potential reporters.
> Good point, this should be addressed.

So … What is the current process? The above page says “a discussion
will occur in the bug report to work towards a solution”, but it gives
no clue of who will be involved, how quickly, how publicly/privately,
or what the possible outcomes may be.

> ...
>> 5.  Needless bureaucracy of “signing” the Code
> This has been something we've been concerned about for years. I 
> believe the main holdup was that it's all done in Launchpad and 
> Launchpad has been feature frozen for years, essentially bounding 
> us to use what we had with GPG signatures, and having few other 
> options.
> My hope is that we can finally find a solution so we can move past 
> this, perhaps even moving the process off of Launchpad if that 
> continues to be a blocker.
> ...

Would anything bad happen if we removed the requirement to sign the
Code for any reason, and expected everyone to follow it regardless?

- -- 
Version: GnuPG v2.0.22 (GNU/Linux)


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