[UbuntuWomen] Mark Shuttleworth's comments

Elizabeth Krumbach lyz at ubuntu.com
Sun Oct 4 23:29:12 UTC 2009

On Sun, Oct 4, 2009 at 5:24 PM, Mackenzie Morgan <macoafi at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sunday 04 October 2009 5:12:08 pm Caroline Ford wrote:
>> Well he's the founder/funder but it's nice to know it goes all the way
>> to the top. When people have had problems some people have thought 'if
>> only Mark knew!' as though he'd stop it.
>> Ubuntu has a code of conduct but nobody has ever been done for
>> breaches of it. It's a meaningless piece of paper, a PR document.

If this is the impression within the community, I think this is very
unfortunate. Breaches of the Code of Conduct at the highest level are
brought before and arbitrated by the Community Council and frequently
this is done privately to not cause further disruption. I don't know
how often this has been done, but I know it has been done in the past
and action has been taken against individuals for breaching it.

More about the structure of authority, including the Community Council
and dispute escalation can be found starting here:

However, more frequently breaches are handled on a much lower level
and get resolved there. I've seen individuals in several Ubuntu
projects taken aside and spoken to regarding the CoC and their
behavior and the behavior tends to improve or they leave. Honestly
having this infrastructure in place has been vital to my involvement
here in Ubuntu and I believe the project as a whole is better for it.
There is at least one project within Ubuntu that I've seen grow almost
over-night when the CoC started becoming more strictly enforced -
including having the participation of women go from zero to three in a
matter of months.

There certainly have been cases where breaking the Code of Conduct has
not resulted in action and I don't mean to discount or downplay these,
but when people are made aware of the steps involved in bringing up
issues within the community I think this is more the exception rather
than the rule.

>> I'm interested that the leaders of the group didn't tell the list
>> about the issue. Trying to protect him?
> I was rather surprised nobody brought it up on their own til now.  It was well
> over a week ago.  The blogosphere was going on about it. I just assumed the
> reason people weren't talking here was because they were busy commenting on
> one of the *many* blog posts about it.

Me too, the same thing happened when there was a disruption over in
Debian last year. After a firestorm in the media and in blogs about an
incident someone finally ended up bringing it up on the -women list to
see what folks thought.

This team doesn't really have official leaders[0], as such there isn't
really a framework for what leadership within this team should be
doing so I think it's a bit unfair to jump to the conclusion that no
one said anything because they were "protecting Mark" or something.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to bring discussion and issues up
on this list. I was very happy when Ilavenil brought it up because I
certainly haven't had time to start the discussion and I know many
others were participating more directly in other outlets.


[0] There are administrators on the project who handle things like the
IRC channel and mailing list, but these are different people and
decisions within the project are handled by consensus of those who are

Elizabeth Krumbach // Lyz // pleia2

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