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

Jesper Louis Andersen jesper.louis.andersen@REDACTED
Sat Mar 14 00:51:57 CET 2015

On Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 3:23 PM, Bruce Yinhe <community-manager@REDACTED>

> This code of conduct lays out a guideline of how to communicate within the
> erlang.org community in a way we hope is easy to read, help mutual
> understanding and avoid flames.

If I were to critique something here, it would be that the current CoC
mixes text on social interaction[-1] (that is, how to behave with respect
to other people) from mailing list etiquette (how to quote, how to make
older mail readers happy[0]). By mixing these two, it is somewhat harder to
read the CoC and I am pretty sure there are different sanctions if I decide
to call someone a quebecois trying to speak proper french (in earnest), or
if I write a single line at 75 characters (where the last one is ASCII
decimal 32 naturally). Say we add a bug tracker to erlang.org in the
future. It would be logical to extend the CoC to the bug tracker as well.
I've seen my share of inappropriate behaviour in bug trackers, sadly. This
is why I'd like to make a point that proactively, it would be nice to think
about how different sections of the documents fit into categories, so the
generic parts are really generic, and the etiquette-parts specific to a
communication medium have their own sections.

On the question of the necessity of a CoC itself, I'll politely pass. While
I don't personally see the benefit of CoCs in most projects, I do respect
that this is not the view of many others. I much prefer the FreeBSD
developers handbook approach than anything else. I do note that a large
project, like Erlang, which isn't driven by a single monarch overseeing its
construction, is better served by a well-defined code. If escalation is
necessary in a certain situation, it is nice to know in advance which
Tribunal you will be judged by, however. If governed by a despot, you
already know who it is, but for a grouped project, the definitions are
better laid down.

The CoC might get flak in the future for not being inclusive enough, too
terse, or damaging to some greater cause. A great recent example was the
Linux Kernel's Code of Conflict. Who handles suggestions for changes, what
is the process of changes, and do we track changes somewhere, so one can
see the additions and removals of wording? Like in other societies, codes
are not static/immutable/constant once laid down, but
dynamic/mutable/volatile and thus subject to change as we learn. I've been
calling for the CoC equivalent of the software license, with versioning, so
it would be easier to discriminate them from each other. But we are not far
enough for this to happen yet.

Other than that, I think it looks nice. The content-guidelines on social
interaction is always nice to lay down formally as they were once informal.
I'm +1'ing Mr. Dahlberg here. The guidelines on etiquette reads like 1998
to me, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it may feel unnecessary
technical to some. What mail clients behave nicely out-of-the-box by
default with the current etiquette guidelines?

[-1] Björn-Egil calls this 'content'.
[0] If you use Pine, I'll shoot you, sorry :) Mutt is okay though.

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