[Osmf-talk] May 2017 use of Code Of Conduct (CoC) for Membership control in HOT US Inc internal governance

Kai Krueger kakrueger at gmail.com
Sat Dec 2 20:56:21 UTC 2017

Hi everyone,

this discussion has nicely highlighted why creating a code of conduct is
so difficult and needs to be done with extreme care. Any mechanism that
creates the power to enforce behavioral norms can also be exploited to
enforce the viewpoints of those who wield that power. And any freedom
can be exploited by those who want to disrupt a community. So even after
very careful deliberation I don't think one can ever get it fully
correct and one can only hope there are enough checks and balances in
the process to try and prevent the worst missuses in either direction.
Everything else needs to come voluntarily from within the community
because the majority are decent humans.

That said, I want to throw in as food for thought a way to make a CoC
more specific and fairly enforceable. A potential definition of what it
means to be "respectful" and "kind", yet allowing an open and honest
debate is that any judgment of a person as a whole is not allowed.
Judgements of their arguments however are. I.e. saying "You are evil"
would be a violation of the CoC. However saying "your decision/argument
is evil" is allowed. Also any behavior that effects others outside of
the OSM community, i.e. things that one can't  protect oneself against
by ultimately leaving the OSM community should imho strictly be enforced
as unacceptable.

Now I am well aware that if you get accused that "your decision is
evil", that can be rather hurtful and it likely requires a huge amount
of "mental strength"/"thick skin" to be able to distinguish between an
attack on your argument and an attack on you as an individual, but it
might unfortunately be a strength that is necessary to have open and
honest debates in a diverse community. Does that mean we should not all
try and hold our selves to higher standards and try and work to minimize
even microaggressions? Absolutely! I want the community to be as
inviting and friendly as possible. But I also think that we have to
realize and accept that in a diverse community microaggressions are
somewhat inevitable and learn to not be offended by them as much.

The upside of such a boundary is, that it is a distinction for which
there is a relatively well defined boundary, which means it is more
likely to be fairly enforced and where both sides can see why something
is on one side or the other of that boundary of acceptability. It is
also something that can be relatively easily checked while writing a
response and without creating the impression it would stymie ones
argument. And so it is a level of effort that imho one can expect every
one to put in for the benefit of the community, even if their first
language is not English.


On 12/2/17 12:34 PM, Blake Girardot wrote:
> [...]
> In HOT and OSM we communicate all the time with folks who do not speak
> english as a first language and the vast majority of the time
> everything is fine. It is kind of odd that the worse someone speaks
> english, the less offensive their communications are and more
> understanding everyone else is with their communications.
> If the CoC is specific enough too I think that gets around the issue
> of "does this violate the CoC?" the ambiguous CoC's I think would lead
> to more of the issue you raise. I think if we work on it as a
> community in good faith we can come up with something that would
> address your concern about not being sure if anything you wrote
> violated the coc.
> Respectfully,
> Blake
> On Sat, Dec 2, 2017 at 8:14 PM, Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de> wrote:
>> On Saturday 02 December 2017, Blake Girardot wrote:
>>> I thought I sort of explained that:
>>> In HOT's CoC Nico would make a complaint and the folks who are part
>>> of the community committee that have agreed to review CoC complaints,
>>> 7 people who are hot voting members who volunteered to review coc
>>> complaints, would read his complaint and decide if what he was
>>> complaining about violated the HOT CoC or not.
>>> [...]
>> I am sorry for the misunderstanding - the formal procedure was already
>> clear to me, after all this is publicly documented quite well.  And
>> this has no bearing on the OSMF anyway so this is somewhat off-topic
>> here.  What i am really interested in is what constitutes a violation
>> of the various terms of the CoC and how i - as a community member,
>> possibly with a very different cultural background than those who have
>> written the CoC, speaking a different language, can assess if my
>> communication or the communication of someone else is in line with or
>> in violation of certain terms of the CoC.
>> Since discussing this in a purely abstract way is difficult i tried to
>> use a specific example.
>> --
>> Christoph Hormann
>> http://www.imagico.de/
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