Code of conduct / community guidelines

I think it is clear from how minimalist our Policies are, and the “etc.” included in them, that we reserve the right to ban people for reasons not explicitly stated in the Policies, and so we have. I do not think we really need a codified statement listing all the “isms” that are banned from here; we have stated that discourse shall be civil and “mostly” on topic, and we have and will continue to ban those who contravene that, even without listing such transgressions specifically.

Ultimately, it is as I stated in my first reply in this thread: a project cannot be defended from its own authorities; and conversely, the authorities are not really beholden to the Policies or a potential Code of Conduct in quite the same way, since they have the power to change or amend them.

If a Code would be the only thing standing in the way of total chaos and anarchy, then the project would have already rotted to the core and the authorities could not be trusted. I much prefer our current status quo in this way, where it is crystal clear that the people make the project, and defending the project and improving the project is as much about the people as it is about the project.

I think this is more of an argument for not having a code of conduct that specifically spells out transgressions than you have made it out to be. Under the current model, when someone is being impolite, rude, or downright abusive, we can make judgements and come to a conclusion about the person’s behavior without being bound by some specific rulebook, and then choose to act appropriately. As referenced previously in this thread, we have indeed done this; only 2-3 times for significant contributors or community members, but if you check the ban logs, there are people who were banned after only a few posts for these kinds of things, so it has happened more often than one may realize.


I guess I have not the skills to clearly convey what I mean.

Please accept my apologies for bringing confusion to this conversation.

I wish you good luck in finding the right balance in the regulations you may end up enacting, but I will have no part of it.


I think quite a few of us are wary of certain codes of conduct and how they can be abused. Though I do think our current group of “leaders” who would enforce a code of conduct are reasonable and at this point I don’t know if Haiku is big enough or popular enough to be a “target” in getting taken over or whatever by people with some agenda. So probably some of the fears about CoC in our community are unfounded.

It’s immensely frustrating how I have expressed concerns that counter the whole “Haiku needs to be taken over by a couple of war criminals in order to need a CoC” on at least three different occasions. Also, I remember making a post where I brought up an example but I can’t seem to find it now.

sighs, let me ask that again:

  • Say that someone made jokes based on a couple of characteristics of mine. I am uncomfortable with them. I state that I am uncomfortable, because I feel like certain boundaries are crossed. I eventually react intensely. Will you protect me, or will I be told to “keep it civil”, or that I brought the whole thing to a whole new level? Or will the people responsible be essentially split in their judgement as far as acting on the guidelines and de-escalating the conflict is concerned?

This has happened to me and other friends of mine that belong in underrepresented populations, I’ve also been on the opposite side and it’s really, really not fun.

  • Say that we were to hypothetically just rename the “Policies” document to “Code of Conduct” so that everyone’s hypothetically happy, what would that change considering that both documents serve literally the exact same purpose but with a different name? Is it the name that’s just bad for all of us?
  • How can this template, for example, be weaponized?. I’m not asking for any particular examples, as I can understand how that could reignite old flames and everything, but just a simple description in order to get what you mean. It’s nearly the exact same as the one we have now, with “we’ll do whatever we think is right” and everything, just with more clarity and “don’t make advances, dox and insult people”. Why would ANYONE think that telling people not to make advances, dox, and insult people is bad and “has the potential to be abused and weaponized”?

I’m not even talking about attacks based on sexual orientation, gender identity or something other than the simplistic description of the term “discrimination” that schools teach in order to avoid being “controversial”.

  • Regurgitating the question that I asked initially; We’re not in a Star Wars film and all maintainers can’t be either just war criminals OR exemplary altruists that redistribute half of their wealth to poorer people at the same time at once, do you trust that, in a setting where many people have an equal say as others, everyone in the leadership is going to be happy about a decision another person makes?

What if, say, I were to be banned from here for being “aggravating” and “political” and some other person doesn’t like that, because from their perspective applying that vague rule that I could be in breach of from a specific perspective is not fair. That’s an extreme example derived from the setting of this conversation, but there are cases that are blurrier.

Also, last but not least:

  • Is everyone just going to ignore what happened earlier in the thread?
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I still don’t get that theory that suddenly renaming a page from “policies” to “code of conduct” and adding a “don’t be racist, sexist, or harrass people” suddenly makes it a super dangerous thing that would be used to remove the current developer team from the project and replace it with some hypothetical group of persons that no one wants to name here.

It does not change anything to the organization of the project. It keeps the same people at the same place and with the same power of decision. How can such a thing be a problem? The only example I can think of, as I mentionned, is some people feel uncomfortable when we say racism or sexism are not welcome here. I really hope that’s not the case and I’m missing something here?

Why at hell we need a “code of conduct”? All the years, everythere a community guideline is ok. I think there no need of change. Just because it’s fashionable to do it doesn’t mean everyone has to do it.

Anyone else that wants to completely ignore the rest of the thread?

It should be common sense that you shouldn’t be racist or harass people in areas that are for discussions about the project and it’s development. You don’t need to add a clause like that to the current guidelines, it’s been working fine to govern the project as it is right now. Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

In this thread, looking for how we could ameliorate documentation, @jt15s discovered that Haiku was paying for services (Netlify, Docker) that we could have for free if we were applying to their open-source program. This requires, among other things, that we have a document that they are calling Code of Conduct. The questions being “Do we have already something that we would fit in so it would be just a name change?” “Do we want to improve that document while at it?” and if yes “What do we need/want to add/remove?”.
As most are happy with what is existing, I would myself try to apply with the existing doc and see if they have something to say about it. Maybe we are all wrong about our concerns and they just want us to add "Don’t drink alcohol and write code. :smiley:

Aaarrrggg no good idea :smile::rofl::wink:

No, my point was precisely the opposite: if Haiku was taken over by “war criminals,” a CoC would not stop them from wreaking havoc. On the other hand, if Haiku is run by fair and courteous people (and I hope it is), then we can enforce standards with the Policies document we have already.

Again, we have already stated multiple times on this thread: people have done things like this before and we have banned them, so yes, we have been and already police discourse in this manner.

If renaming the document (without changing its contents) would not change anything, is there any reason to rename it?

I’ve been trying to express myself in a particular way in order to get my points across and try to explain my perspective, my motivation and my experiences somehow, albeit unsuccessfully. It’s really hard to speak for myself and present a perspective that most are unfamiliar with, so please bear with me on this one and excuse the long read (approx. 10 minutes).

No, my point was precisely the opposite: if Haiku was taken over by “war criminals,” a CoC would not stop them from wreaking havoc.

Oops, syntax error. What I wanted to say was that CoCs aren’t just meant to prevent bad people from taking over the project.

If renaming the document (without changing its contents) would not change anything, is there any reason to rename it?

You know, there’s much more to it than that, but when people are even afraid of the goddanged word in the first place, how can I even get across to the second argument? Their only more common characteristic, that I’d get to later, is that they are not vague. Nobody’s answering on how people suddenly will gain the ability to go full Mad Max and take over the project, but just really keep on pressing on that.

If we are all okay with the current policy document, and this change would bring a name change to the document (which we could completely ignore altogether, “why follow everyone else” down to the letters?) that nobody has a problem with (which is what I assumed because of immediate negative response that completely ignores the current existence of a document that I’m just saying should be updated), then I think that it’s safe for me to assume that everyone’s writing around the sentence “I have a problem with specific infractions being named”. Your argumentation is valid and I’d love to talk about it further, but when you have people just raising from their graves and dropping by just to avoid contributing anything meaningful. I honestly regret even opening a thread here, because this could have been much more productive if it took place in a mailing list or an IRC.

Again, we have already stated multiple times on this thread: people have done things like this before and we have banned them, so yes, we have been and already police discourse in this manner.

Yeah, I noticed, got a bit up to speed, and am, in all seriousness, very glad to know that there’s a track record that allows me and others to show trust (which was my original concern, see: “Will I be protected?”).

However, my lack of depth as far as the history is concerned could also show to highlight my point. I don’t automatically assume that every person who does something bad necessarily had bad intentions and that nothing can be resolved through speech, or that we should act in a punitive, authoritative manner. A person could innocuously make those jokes, they could cross the boundaries and they could raise hell out of something that they see as nothing. That could seriously happen, we all had different upbringings and come from vastly different cultural, economic and sociopolitical backgrounds! The things that you’d say to your partner, to your mother, your extended family and your colleagues don’t align!

It is stated that Haiku is a welcoming community, a fact that goes on to be proven by the simple fact that the mailing list assists each person who screams “I want to help!” and gives them direction on an individual level. But what is our level of relationship here? Are we all just serious-looking professionals, or would we all go out on a beer together?

… This is not a matter of “Are you racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic” etc., because there’s also other, significantly less extreme behavior that can turn out to cross boundaries when somebody has the wrong picture about what’s going on here. I’d think that those things come together with the phrase “Be friendly” and that should be clearly established for the reasons that I’ll get into later on.

Now, I’m not trying to initiate existential crises or say that we should all take a deep breath and do some introspection. It was a bit hard for me to understand variables like the ones I just mentioned. Why do we have to let people in on policies (e.g. “How does someone become a core developer?” and the level we communicate on.), rather than documenting them and just not treat them as open secrets?

Now, the reason that I brought up a “Code of Conduct” and its necessity is that this is how projects tend to (additionally) deal with the stuff that I just brought up. I don’t advocate for censorship. On the contrary, I’m very passionate about what I’ve seen being described as “the Haiku way” (or philosophy), in the sense of this being a fully meritocratic environment that’s governed by communication, where people are judged based on their skills and abilities. This project has taught me important skills and given me opportunities, and, having thought this through a bit more, I think that we are all on the same side in the sense that we are looking to specifically preserve it (see: “Don’t fix what’s not broken”).

I just strongly suggest that the way we operate and communicate should be documented and advertised. This place is like no other. “Open source” tends to be monocultural, male, and StackOverflow’s (which is one of the largest developer communities out there) own survey proved that the biggest problem on there was and the current circumstances don’t give you the opportunity to stay on the sidelines and not advocate for yourself all the time. It’s a hostile environment, generally speaking, and people really just don’t tend to get it.

But as I tried to (rather poorly) explain earlier, how can I just point to friends that fall under the categories of ‘queer’, ‘immigrant’, ‘Black’, etc. (some of which have been put off from open-source development completely) that “Hey! There’s this place that’s just right for you right here, and it isn’t a mirage!”. How can I tell them that they’re going to be safe? Seeing it in writing matters. I’m not talking about isolated incidents. I have tried to get people involved before. I can’t just appeal to 2 cases that are essentially taboos without anything else.

I don’t really care about names, wording stuff the right way so that people don’t immediately react negatively in a baseless manner (which is what I was afraid of in the beginning) and other stuff like that. I just wanted to talk about this in a vocabulary that’s familiar to everyone and that worked in a counterproductive manner-- after all, this idea of mine originally arose from the conversations regarding the documentation. I think that if we changed literally nothing apart from the fact that we aren’t actively capitalizing on our relatively positive, productive and healthy climate, the project would definitely benefit from it.

If people believe that doing what others did would not necessarily make things better in this case (rightfully or not), then we really need to figure this out as part of our community outreach, marketing and documentation efforts.

And this is actually a critical reason that I think we should not adopt the “Contributor Covenant” Code of Conduct, which was previously discussed (and you linked up-thread), because its primary authors believe that “meritocracy” does not and should not (or will never) exist:

The “Post-Meritocracy Manifesto” and the “Contributor Covenant” are two separate documents, to be sure, but as they have largely the same authors, the ideas that went into the Contributor Covenant, and more importantly, the way it is interpreted by most projects (or even authoritatively by its creators) go together with the “Post-Meritocracy Manifesto.”

“Why not both?”

We never did go out for beers at Kernel Debugging Camp (the only Haiku event I have actually managed to get to in person), but I think there was beer at the GSoC Mentor Summit…

Because putting things in writing, formally and in some official location, makes it out to be a kind of law or contract, which it isn’t at present, and we have not decided what, precisely, we do want to put down with that kind of force. This has been discussed elsewhere, and is a better topic for another thread.

The base fact of the matter is that we cannot really “guarantee” their safety. We do not read every post that is made before it is posted, we can only tell you what we will do after boundaries have been crossed. But that does not stop people from going outside the boundaries of the project, or actively circumventing measures if they wanted to. That is, unfortunately, the nature of life on the internet.


I would like to mention that we do infact have a code of conduct, every community does. The only question is how explicitly one wants to write it out, and if it has to have the header named code of conduct (which is a really loaded term, especially in the OSS landscape)

Personally, I am heavily leaning to the not writing too much section, I certainly don’t agree with harasment, racism, sexism. etc. but i also disagree with a whole lot of other stuff, i don’t think it makes sense to try to draw a line here for “discrimination of atribute X is explicitly prohibited and has to be named”, otherwise we need to name all of it.

I think a code of conduct that does explicitly say “don’t be racist or sexist or harrass other people, such behaviors are not welcome here” would be better. If you don’t agree, I have to assume that you support racist or sexist views or you think it’s fine to harrass people in some cases? Is that an opinion you can defend?

I would like to single out this argument, because i heavily dislike the anakin if you are not with me you are my enemy argument :)

This to me seems to follow the logical line of:
I disagree with X
I would like to use Tool Y (the explicit mention in a CoC) to fight X
You don’t like tool Y

and then following up with “if you don’t like tool Y you must support X (not wish to fight it)”
I disagree with this line of reasoning, since the tools to support or not support something are variable, not supporting explicit mentioning of something or not has little to do with supporting the thing itself.

In general i feel that the culture in haiku is open enough that a more explicit policy is not really necceary, I certainly had disagreements here before, but that was explicitly adressed by other members of the haiku contributers, without any coc forcing them to do so. (I.e in some cases I insulted someone by accident duo to not knowing a second meaning of an english phrase, which then was explained to me)


Nicely put, thank you for being so succinct and focused. Do to others as you would have them do to you, and people are sure to get along with each other nicely. How could it need to be more complicated than that? I have just joined with the Haiku community tonight in no small part because the people here seem to be so much nicer and more respectful of others than so many (not all!) that I have known in the Linux community.
Your servant,

But I hack better when I’m…nevermind…