Implementing a code of conduct?

André Ockers ao at
Thu Nov 3 17:15:15 UTC 2016

Dear Erik and list,

Op 03-11-16 om 15:19 schreef Erik Albers:
> we (the local coordinators, country coordinators, team coordinators, the GA
> and the extended team including individual contributors) have been working on
> a Code of Conduct for FSFE events and communication. The wish came up by
> individual requests of people who felt attacked and by the fact that nowadays
> some sponsors (e.g. Mozilla) do not sponsor anymore events that do not have a
> clear Code of Conduct.
> We now feel that we have a final version at hand and would like to establish
> it soon:
> On the German general discussion list however, there have been some voices
> raised against having a Code of Conduct at all. Without repeating arguments
> and without trying to influence you, I would like to ask about your opinion:
> 	Are you in favor or against having a general Code of Conduct?
> 	Are you in favor or against having this Code of Conduct?
> We are happy about simple yes/no answers but feel free to also elaborate your
> opinion.
I'm against having a general Code of Conduct.

1.    Because it will create new problems, e.g.
        a)    abuse of this possibility to report things that didn't
happen or make them appear as worse than they actually happened. A lot
of people think "where there's smoke, there's fire", and this bad
reasoning makes the verbally weaker members of the community even weaker
and open to abuse and could give them a bad name.
        b)    who's electing the people who are going to handle
complaints? Is this in a democratic way? Who's guarding the guardians?
        c)    would open the gate to political correctness including the
culture where you should have 'the right opinion' on things.
        d)    this is going to cost time and money and it will flow in a
direction that has nothing to do with why FSFE is there. I don't want to
end up in paying for a "chief behaviour officer"
        e)    what is socially acceptable differs in time and location.
In daytime Berlin things are different than in nighttime Berlin. In a
small town there are more social restrictions than in a big city. You
can not judge all these factors, afterwards, in some office far away.

2.    The alternatives are way more effective, as they keep everybody in
a free mindset and nobody has to police over their Fellows:
        a)    encourage people to strengthen themselves to be assertive,
so they feel strong enough to say what they don't like.
        b)    encourage as FSFE that if an incident happens to people to
contact the local police,
        c)    organise it so that there is a safe somebody to talk to on
FSFE organised events (could also be there to report positive things to!).

Best regards,

André Ockers
Fellow, Free Software Foundation Europe

ao at
GnuPG Key: F5FE3668

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