[python-committers] Making the PSF CoC apply to core developers

Ezio Melotti ezio.melotti at gmail.com
Sun Mar 6 11:52:34 EST 2016

On Sat, Feb 27, 2016 at 7:17 PM, Brett Cannon <brett at python.org> wrote:
> Python-ideas has been under the same CoC for a while now and it has been
> nothing but positive. When people know they are expected to behave in a
> civil manner and others know they are allowed to call someone out for being
> uncivil it typically is enough to make people behave.
> So there is no issue of people "being overburdened by regulations". The CoC
> only comes up when someone is being so rude that they need to be talked to
> about their attitude  problem, so as long as we try and keep people from
> being rude  it won't come up. Quite frankly, the CoC is really just meant as
> a way for people to feel comfortable in knowing they don't have to tolerate
> jerks. And I would hope none of us are jerks to people in the community, so
> saying as much shouldn't change anything for any of us. This also lets the
> community know that we don't view ourselves as some elite group of people
> whose attitudes must be tolerated no matter what; we hold ourselves to the
> same standards as the rest of the community does and it should be pointed
> out as such to make people feel comfortable.

It seems to me that the "controversies" raised in this thread stem
from a few underlying problems and points of confusions.

The first problem is that it is not entirely clear (at least to me)
why we need a CoC and what problem is the CoC trying to solve.  The
CoC itself simply mentions: "[...] these guidelines [...] help steer
our interactions and strive to keep Python a positive, successful, and
growing community.".  Clearly stating the goal of the CoC will help
people understand why it is useful.

The second problem is that Code of Conducts usually outline rules[0],
and this can be perceived as limiting one's freedom and potentially be
abused for censoring users.  Our CoC however is quite "mild", so I
believe people that expressed concern were mostly against the idea of
having a CoC, rather than being against our CoC in particular.
However is also not clear what measures -- if any -- will be taken to
enforce the CoC[1].

Which bring us to the the third problem: if, how, and by whom these
"guidelines" are enforced.  Enforcement requires judgment, and
judgment requires judges.  Who is to judge if e.g. one or more mails
in broken English, or with a perceived rude tone, or with unrealistic
proposals are detrimental to the conversation and should be "rejected"
or if they should be accepted/tolerated/embraced in the spirit of
inclusiveness?  If they are "rejected", what specific actions are
going to be taken?

ISTM that our CoC simply puts black on white the general principles
that we have already being following, without outlining any hard
rules. It should therefore have little to no effects -- both positive
and negative -- on existing members.  It might however serve as a
remainder to people that disregard (intentionally or not) these
principles, and help shaping the image of our community for external
people -- including potential new members of our community.

Best Regards,
Ezio Melotti

[0]: "A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the social norms
and rules and responsibilities of, or proper practices for, an
individual, party or organization." --

[1]: "Studies of codes of conduct in the private sector show that
their effective implementation must be part of a learning process that
requires training, consistent enforcement, and continuous
measurement/improvement." --

More information about the python-committers mailing list