Weblog entry #55 for dkg

Revoking the Ubuntu Community Code of Conduct
Posted by dkg on Tue 20 Oct 2009 at 18:24
I've just revoked my signature over the Ubuntu Code of Conduct 1.0.1. I did this because Ubuntu's CoC (perhaps jokingly?) singles out Mark Shuttleworth as someone who should be held to a super-human standard (as pointed out recently by Rhonda, as well as earlier in ubuntu bug 53848).

I think that the CoC is a good document, and good guidelines in general for reasonable participation in online communities. When i originally signed the document, i thought the Shuttleworth-exceptionalism was odd, but decided i'd be willing to hold him to a higher standard than the rest of the community, if he wanted me to. That is, i figured his position as project leader meant that he could have made the CoC different than it is, thus he was (perhaps indirectly) asking me to hold him to a higher standard.

Why does this matter to me now? Shuttleworth has apparently signed the Ubuntu Code of Conduct, but as i wrote about earlier, his recent sexist comments at LinuxCon were a Bad Thing for the community, and his apparent lack of an apology or open discussion with the community concerned about it was even worse.

So i'm asking Mark Shuttleworth to abide by the following points in the Code of Conduct that he has signed:

  • Be considerate
  • Be respectful [...] It's important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.
  • The important goal is not to avoid disagreements or differing views but to resolve them constructively. You should turn to the community and to the community process to seek advice and to resolve disagreements.
  • When you are unsure, ask for help. Nobody knows everything, and nobody is expected to be perfect in the Ubuntu community
I've signed a revised version of the Ubuntu Code of Conduct 1.01 (with the Shuttleworth-exceptionalism clause removed), to reaffirm my commitment to these principles, and to acknowledge that, yes, the SABDFL can make a mistake, and to encourage him to address his mistakes in a fashion befitting a mature participant in this community we both care about.

UPDATE: It seems that Mako and Daniel Holbach have recently revised the CoC resulting in a new version (1.1) which has just been approved by the the Ubuntu Community Council. The new version 1.1 looks good to me (i like its broadening of scope beyond developers, and its lack of superhuman claims for Shuttleworth) and when it is available on Launchpad, i'll most likely sign it there. Thanks to the two of them for their work! I hope Shuttleworth will consider abiding by this new version.

 

Comments on this Entry

Posted by Anonymous (87.184.xx.xx) on Tue 20 Oct 2009 at 23:00
You could always strip out the phrase and sign the remainder. Just saying.

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Posted by dkg (216.254.xx.xx) on Tue 20 Oct 2009 at 23:03
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As i said above, that's exactly what i did. Was that not clear from the original post?

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Posted by Anonymous (84.215.xx.xx) on Wed 21 Oct 2009 at 05:30
what are the odds he'd follow this new version when he didn't bother following the old one?

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Posted by dkg (216.254.xx.xx) on Wed 21 Oct 2009 at 16:16
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That's a good question. Perhaps someone who knows Mark personally (i don't) could ask him to respond to it?

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Posted by Anonymous (216.220.xx.xx) on Wed 21 Oct 2009 at 20:32
You know it was a joke, right? But jokes don't belong in the code.

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Posted by dkg (216.254.xx.xx) on Wed 21 Oct 2009 at 20:50
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of course, that's why i wrote "(perhaps jokingly?)" in the original post.

I put the "perhaps" in there, because i take the things i sign seriously, or else i wouldn't sign them. But given the SABDFL's behavior, and apparent unwillingness to take his own signatures seriously, it doesn't seem like a good idea to sign onto anything (joke or not) that claims i expect him to be superhuman. I don't. I expect him to be human (which means mistakes do happen), but i also hope that he'll have the integrity to adhere to his own proclaimed code of conduct.

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Posted by Anonymous (76.17.xx.xx) on Sat 24 Oct 2009 at 19:06
this site is Debian Administration, not Ubuntu Administration and craps!

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Posted by Anonymous (97.115.xx.xx) on Mon 9 Nov 2009 at 18:13
It seems silly for this to even come up on Debian Administration...as long as Debian Desktop exists, Ubuntu needs to justify it's continued existance.

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Posted by dkg (216.254.xx.xx) on Mon 9 Nov 2009 at 18:53
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If you say so. But like it or not, Ubuntu has become a significant part of the Debian community. They contribute changes back to Debian, and their technical decisions have a significant impact on the decisions we make too.

We should treat Ubuntu as we would treat any contributor: with respect and consideration. This means if they do things we disagree with, we need to hold them accountable for it as well, which is what i was trying to do here.

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