On Tue, 1 Mar 2016 at 09:36 R. David Murray <rdmurray@bitdance.com> wrote:
On Tue, 01 Mar 2016 04:10:08 +0000, Brett Cannon <brett@python.org> wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Feb 2016 at 18:01 Steven D'Aprano <steve@pearwood.info> wrote:
> > So let me make it clear: Brett, and the other list maintainers, you're
> > not listening. Even if I'm a minority of one out of the whole community,
> > your words say "of course we care what you think" but your actions say
> > "actually no, we couldn't care less". You might not have intended it
> > that way, but nevertheless that's the way it is.
> >
> I see where the issue came in: I simply considered the discussion on the
> CoC already settled. As you pointed out in your second paragraph, the

Just so Steven doesn't think he's a minority of one, let me say that I
too find CoCs problematic.  I have a code of conduct, and it applies to my
*life*.  For shorthand, you could call it "being a gentleman", but a more
modern term might be "being civil".  Do I fail to live up to my personal
code occasionally?  Yes, and I hope people call me on it when I do fail.
Do I care what code of conduct the organization has promulgated?  No.
It has no affect on my behavior, nor will it.  At most, it might drive
me from the community if it is ever used against me.

Referencing a CoC will only work at all with those who are self-governed
by a personal code of civility.  Yet all such people need is to have it
pointed out to them that they have been uncivil, with reference to the
universal code of civility and/or a civil discussion about civility in
the immediate context.

I don't want this discussion to drag on forever as CoC discussions tend to, but I do want to point out that the CoC serves two purposes: putting in writing that people are expected to behave appropriately instead of purely by unspoken social contract and thus have something to point to when dealing with bad actors, and to make people who feel like a minority to know that someone who is in the majority cannot bully or out-shout them without consequences.

It's that last point I really care about with this group (in the case of python-ideas it was the former). If you look at our makeup, we are all men and of the dominant ethnic group in our home country (if I'm wrong, please let me know). I suspect the vast majority of us have never experienced systemic discrimination for extended periods of time (I'm talking for months, not while on vacation for a week or two). And if you didn't know coming into python-dev, the issue tracker, or GitHub that bad behaviour won't be tolerated, it can be quite a barrier to entry as it's very easy to want to avoid participation if you don't have a spirit for fighting when you think you may have to fight to participate.

For instance, I actually did experience discrimination in high school in the US while on a sports team. I happened to be one of two white kids on the team and it was made abundantly clear by our teammates that we were the ethnic minority. It sucked and it very quickly makes you try and avoid confrontations because you know you may be outnumbered if you ask people to stop verbally abusing you and the majority choose not to comply. And this extends to going to greater powers when you don't know if they will take your side on verbal abuse since if they don't you will be outnumbered by the majority and thus have little in the way or protection against potential retaliation over trying to get help (luckily when we did go to our coach, while he didn't believe us in terms of severity, people basically got the point and things improved, but there was always an undercurrent of being different to the point the other kid quit the team, making me a minority of one). Being a minority really sucks when you don't know if the majority will support you when you have to fight to be treated fairly and with kindness.

And that's what I want for us. I want people to know that they can participate here and know we will do it in a civil manner and that even if you are technically a minority compared to the group in the real world, you will be treated as an equal. Whether the CoC really ever has to be used or how much teeth it may have is not entirely the point: it's about how outsiders feel and if they feel protected and comfortable. It's letting others know that if they come here and happen to be treated badly -- even if I doubt that will truly ever happen from a core dev -- that they won't have to fight to continue to participate or simply walk away because of how they were treated by someone. The simple act of writing it down can mean a lot to know that we at least strive for that. In this instance (written) words speak louder than actions when you don't know what the dynamic of a group is ahead of time. The participation of women at PyCon US thanks to a combination of a CoC and outreach is proof this stuff can make a difference in participation.

Now obviously I could be totally wrong and this isn't an actual barrier for getting women or ethnic minorities to participate in Python's development. But from my perspective, the chances that the lack of CoC is causing someone to not participate seems greater than the chances that the CoC will somehow be abused to silence someone who has a valid point that was delivered in a reasonable tone. And this is why I'm working to get everything we do as core devs under the PSF CoC (which I have said previously is python-dev, bugs.python.org, and GitHub at this point).