[erlang-questions] Announcing Erlang.org Code of Conduct

Gordon Guthrie <>
Mon Mar 16 13:00:19 CET 2015


On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 9:56 AM, Thomas Lindgren <>
wrote:

> Hi Gordon, do recall, however, that this is a mailing list, not a booze up
> in Edinburgh.
>
>
You're correct the only thing I said about the CoC is that I support its
introduction.


> I'm concerned because most of this seems to be driven not by real needs
> due to eternal flame wars and off topic malformed posting on this mailing
> list, but by holier-than-thou posturing in Silicon Valley. The mere fact
> that you are mentioning "doxxing" and "swatting" gives things a very, shall
> we say, contemporary american feel.
>

Given that I have organised an Erlang event or 2 every year for the last 10
years in Edinburgh and many people on this list have attended or spoken at
them - I think talking about what we are doing in Edinburgh for Erlang (and
other) events is appropriate and on topic.

I apologise if it wasn't clear that the 3 sexual assaults I mentioned (2 in
the UK and 1 in the US) were introduced in that context - and not the
mailing list CoC


> What's worse is this sort of policing has already deprived or attempted to
> deprive several technical projects of key contributors (example 1: Ben
> Noordhuis in node.js). I find such a development frankly deplorable and a
> sign that the field is turning from technology into petty (but vicious)
> politics.
>
I would for these reasons strongly prefer not to introduce this sort of
> policy. I am, of course, ready and willing to be banned for my potentially
> insensitive, hateful, oppressive (etc) statements -- fire away, moderators.
>

This sort of policy for the mailing list or for events?

Gordon



> Best,
> Thomas
>
>
>
>
>   On Monday, March 16, 2015 8:53 AM, Gordon Guthrie <>
> wrote:
>
>
>
> I'm glad the Erlang Community is thinking about a CoC - and I thought I
> would explain why.
>
> We started thinking about it in Edinburgh a couple of years ago.
>
> A lot of my friends and colleagues are Rubyists and the Ruby community
> always thought of itself as 'nice' and 'welcoming' but, like many other
> communities, built the social side of the community around drink.
>
> Then at one event a female engineer was sexually assaulted in public by
> her manager, after drink taken. This had a spiral of consequences that
> ended up with her leaving the industry - and (much less importantly) left
> the community in shock.
>
> At this point we started reviewing how we did things. Did we organise
> events with 'compulsory drinking'? Yes we did. Turns out a fair number of
> people (not just women) find find packs of drunk engineers unwelcoming.
>
> I have organised 3 Fringe conferences at the Turing Festival, a couple of
> Erlang Factory Lights, blah-blah-blah over the years - and at all of them I
> assumed 'be nice' was enough.
>
> Some things came out of the woodwork. There's a prominent
> drinks/networking meetup in London that I have attended a couple of times.
> A female engineering acquaintance said she wouldn't go to it be she'd been
> groped in public there and told the organisers and they did nothing.
>
> Other stuff emerges (not about Erlang events, but who knows):
> * top tips for elevator pitches, never go in an elevator with a VC
> * female speakers being jumped on by other speakers after he said "come up
> to the room and I'll give you a copy of my book"
>
> And in all of them, the point is that the assaulters were continuing on
> the scene, going to events, invited as speakers.
>
> At that point you start thinking "all my events were fine, weren't they?"
> and the answer is "I don't know".
>
> That's what a code of conduct for events is for. You want all your
> attendees to come forward and report problems and know that you will take
> them seriously and deal with it.
>
> You don't write a supervision tree for the sake of the processes that
> don't crash - something will go wrong and you need to have a protocol in
> place.
>
> But its not just codes of conduct.
>
> Started looking at other things like T-shirts. We all knock out swag
> t-shirts. Turns out women won't wear boxy 'unisex' t-shirts except as
> pyjamas - and they won't were t-shirts with slogans across the breast.
>
> As part of the Mostly Functional conference I was working on an
> Erlang-to-Javascript called LuvvieScript - I thought it would be cheery to
> have a t-shirt that had across the chest:
> ./rebar make_luvv
>
> Needless to say when I asked female friends about it they pointed out it
> was an unwearable perv magnet - walking invitation to creeps. Erk! Scrapped
> that plan and that t-shirt.
>
> We produce conference swag that is unwearable by female members of our
> community - not really welcoming.
>
> So Edinburgh is moving towards:
> * codes of conducts at TechMeetup and Turing
> * moving away from 'compulsory drinking' and making soft drinks available
> * fixing swag
> * reaching out to women speakers, other ignored groups and first time
> speakers
>
> We will be doing that this year at the Beam Me Up Scott.ie conference at
> Turing
>
> And that's a good thing.
>
> We've all seen the horrors that have been unfolding towards prominent
> women in tech, particularly on Twitter, the last 6 months, with death and
> rape threats, doxxing and swatting.
>
> I don't think people on this list were taking part in that, or that
> harassment happens - but I would be happier if we made a collective
> statement that we have processes in place and the commitment to follow them
> through.
>
> My elderly parents clip newspaper articles about technology and give them
> to me. So last week, that was the clipping I got - about how my industry
> was a gynocidal shit pit. That doesn't make me feel good.
>
> And if my parents know about it, there can't be a sinner on earth who
> doesn't share that opinion.
>
> Just my 2c
>
> Gordon
>
>
> On Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 3:49 PM, Benoit Chesneau <>
> wrote:
>
>
> On Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 4:25 PM Fred Hebert <> wrote:
>
> On 03/13, Loïc Hoguin wrote:
> > I see little need for a code of conduct that basically says "be nice".
> It's
> > common sense after all.
> >
>
> Then the code of conduct shall not be a problem for you.
>
> What the code does, however, is put a context around when and how
> someone can be reprimanded on the list, and for what reasons. It also
> gives a path of escalation in case of disagreement. Without one, this is
> basically left implicit to whoever is swinging the banhammer, and who
> you know or can talk to.
>
> It sets expectations and context over what is expected from members
> *and* from moderators.
>
> > > It is pointless to send a message that only warns about posting style.
> > > If you are trying to point someone to correct posting style
> > > guidelines, please do so while at least honestly attempting to answer
> > > their questions or comments. It is generally unhelpful to give only a
> > > warning related to posting style, as newcomers may feel unwelcome,
> > > only to leave. And that is exactly what we do not want.
> >
> > That's what you'll inevitably get now that you made a number of official
> > "rules" for posting style. And you'll also get the associated frame wars
> > about top and bottom posting.
>
> Then it goes against the code of conduct, please don't do that.
> Moderation can do its job, as subtle as it may be to the onlooker, or
> you can brin your problems to the moderators. Their contact info is
> listed in the code of conduct.
>
> --
>
> Regarding top or bottom posting, I don't have strong feelings either
> way, though I do get annoyed by gmail users never filtering down the
> quoted part of posts yielding exponentially larger threads when you use
> a client that doesn't fold quotes.
>
> Regards,
> Fred.
>
>
>
> Why do we need a code of conduct now when we lived without it for so long?
> Also since we are speaking of a community who/when was discussed that
> document? Where can I find a list of the moderators?
>
> Also i agree discouraging people to not do top posting when most modern
> client use it as a default sounds weird  and not very welcoming for the new
> generation...
>
> - benoit
>
>
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