Back in December, we asked for your feedback on implementing a code of conduct in the MariaDB Server community. We have seen some great feedback and observations from this and today we are have published version 1.0 of our code of conduct.
The feedback we have received has been generally positive both when it comes to implementing a code of conduct in general, and to the content of the text.
That said, it was suggested by Brian Andrus that we better define “inflammatory language”; this is something we actually discussed internally prior to the draft content. This is actually a difficult one to define succinctly for several reasons. First of all this will be something that could change over time as general culture changes. In addition this definitely will be very different between different cultures.
The MariaDB community prides itself in being made up from many different cultures. In fact almost every member of staff for the MariaDB Foundation is from a different country. I personally believe that diversity of background is key to obtaining diverse feedback and creating a really good project. This also means we want to keep things quite simple; making it more complicated may not translate well to other languages. We are always open to suggestions on how to improve the wording for future versions of the code of conduct.
There were some negative comments too. I would put them in a general bucket of concerns around excessive policing of the code of conduct. This is not what anyone wants. We would rather not resort to having to take action which would mean removing people from a community. That being said, if it is deemed that someone is being harmful to others in a way that is not conducive to a technical conversation, and will not stop doing so, we may need to take action.
The hope when creating a code of conduct is that it will give a community a guideline for self-moderation. It shows that we want this to be a safe place for discussion by like-minded people. But also if any significant incident happens and a community member is negatively impacted, they have an avenue where there can report it to us and we can step in as needed. One really interesting observation by Martin Doc was as follows:
A code of conduct requires each and every member of the group (be it companies, doctors, football teams or mailing lists) to perform moderation themselves for themselves. A code of conduct is in effect distributed moderation. Responsibilities are thus not circumvented, they are distributed. In the case of this mailing list, it means every member of the mailing list is responsible for moderating the content that they supply in accordance with the guidelines from the blog post.
I think this is probably better than I could have put it myself. I am also happy to note that I have already seen examples of these dynamics happening on our mailing list.
In summary, we have now published MariaDB Foundation code of conduct version 1.0. If you have any questions or feedback on how we can improve in future, please let us know.