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CODE4LIB  January 2013

CODE4LIB January 2013

Subject:

Re: Group Decision Making (was Zoia)

From:

Cary Gordon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 27 Jan 2013 15:46:58 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (228 lines)

I think that whatever the powers that be or not be decide or come to
consensus upon should be incorporated in the How to Hack Code4Lib wiki
page and that the page should serve as the canonical touchstone for
the community.

That page is concise and to the point, both laudable qualities in my opinion.

Cary

On Sun, Jan 27, 2013 at 2:50 PM, Shaun Ellis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> If you didn't intend offense, then I think the fear is in being publicly
> labeled a *ist in front of your peers when you would be more than willing to
> comply when made aware or approached in private. Public humiliation like
> that would be a form of punishment that may be undue. I get what you're
> saying, and I think everyone on all sides of the issue has made excellent
> points.
>
> It seems to me that any party hosting a "meat-space" event, has the right to
> implement, interpret, and enforce their own anti-harassment policy since
> they are the authority in that context. Perhaps the one on GitHub can be
> used as boilerplate.
>
> I think Ian's idea of the "statement of belief" or "etiquette guidelines" is
> possibly more appropriate for online spaces, since in some cases there is no
> clear or actual authority. Even when a fora has an admin (or perhaps
> @helpers in the IRC), it adds much more responsibility and visibility to
> their role than they may have signed up for. Unlike a conference, it's year
> round responsibility to deal with any issues that may arise.
>
> I also like Jason's idea of highlighting/promoting the guidelines in online
> fora to make sure they are widely read. For example, the wiki does have
> some basic guidelines in this area that might be worthy of their own
> "sticky" page:
> http://wiki.code4lib.org/index.php/How_to_hack_code4lib#Don.27t_be_sexist.2Fracist.2F.2Aist
>
> -Shaun
>
>
>
> On 1/27/13 4:27 PM, Fitchett, Deborah wrote:
>>
>> There's a reason the code isn't oriented around intent: which is that it's
>> perfectly possibly to think one's an upstanding equitable-minded person but
>> still make offensive comments that do in fact constitute harassment. This is
>> another thing I can say "been there done that" about, in various contexts. I
>> *thought* I was being respectful - but I wasn't. On at least one occasion I
>> was saying something racist; on at least another I was demeaning a friend.
>> Completely unintentionally, but if you accidentally step on someone's foot
>> it's still your responsibility to back off and say sorry the instant you
>> become aware of the fact.
>>
>> (There may not be a universal objective consensus as to what is or isn't
>> offensive, but nor is there a universal objective consensus as to what
>> someone's intent is. People say "I didn't mean to be offensive therefore I
>> didn't harass you" all the time, sometimes ingenuously, sometimes (as I did)
>> absolutely sincerely, and how are we to tell the two apart? Meantime someone
>> still got hurt.)
>>
>> So a code of conduct needs to allow for unintentional harassment in a way
>> that protects the person who got hurt without being unduly censorious to the
>> person who hurt. Which this code does: it says ~"If you're asked to stop
>> harassing behaviour you're expected to comply". Because if you didn't intend
>> offense then you'll want to stop as soon as you're aware you've offended. So
>> stop, and everyone moves on. You're not going to be banned for accidentally
>> stepping on someone's foot.
>>
>> If you persist or if your actions were really egregious then that's
>> another matter and that's why we need to mention other possible sanctions.
>> But these aren't things you're likely to do accidentally, so there's no need
>> to be stressed.
>>
>> Deborah
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>> Ian Walls
>> Sent: Saturday, 26 January 2013 3:24 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Group Decision Making (was Zoia)
>>
>> My concern over the anti-harassment policy is part of the definition of
>> "harassment", particularly:
>>
>> "It includes offensive verbal comments or non-verbal expressions related
>> to gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation,
>> disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religious beliefs,
>> sexual or discriminatory images in public spaces (including online)".
>>
>> I'm sure that no one in the community would intentionally "threaten
>> another person or group, or produce an unsafe environment", but the policy
>> does not seem to be oriented around intent, but rather the reaction of the
>> person or group who feels offended. People can be offended by all variety
>> of material, and there is no universal, objective consensus as to what is
>> and is not offensive. This translates roughly to:
>>
>> "I am offended by something you said, therefore you harassed me".
>>
>> This makes me uncomfortable, because even though I can control my own
>> behavior and treat others with respect, I cannot anticipate the reactions of
>> others with sufficient accuracy to compensate for the risk of the sanction.
>> Therefore for any interaction in Code4Lib under this policy, I have the
>> wonder if something I've said may be misinterpreted or read into in such a
>> way as to produce offense. Very stressful, and a deterrent to participating
>> in the community.
>>
>> Having a section of the policy to deal with misunderstandings and
>> inadvertent offense would go a long way towards alleviating my fear of
>> banned for what would appear to me as no reason.
>>
>>
>> -Ian
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>> Fitchett, Deborah
>> Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:32 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Group Decision Making (was Zoia)
>>
>> When I quote ~"you're spoiling our fun" it's at the level of a paraphrase
>> of one aspect of a synthesis of actual responses. It wasn't by any means the
>> whole conversation; I don't recall if it was even the whole of any one
>> person's response; but it was one prominent theme that came out of the
>> response to people speaking up about problems with Zoia, and that prominence
>> can be offputting. Mitigating this was that an even more prominent theme was
>> "Okay, let's fix things". But this isn't maths and they don't cancel out:
>> they're both there.
>>
>> This all said, I actually don't want to talk about Zoia. I don't want to
>> sound like I'm stomping on people when all I want to say is that this
>> dynamic exists (here, everywhere). And talking about Zoia also feels like a
>> distraction from the question I asked and I think Karen was getting at,
>> which is again: going forward, how do we react when we're having fun and
>> we're made aware that someone else is being hurt by the thing we find fun?
>>
>> I doubt we need a standard operating procedure but it's something really
>> worth thinking about in advance of when it happens. Because it's hard, when
>> that happens (having been there) : one wants to be a good person, but one
>> also wants to have fun. And then there's the ego's self-defense mechanism: a
>> good person wouldn't have fun doing something that hurts someone, and I'm a
>> good person, so since I was having fun it can't really have hurt anyone.
>> Yeah, bad logic, but like I said I've been there and it can take logic a
>> long time to beat the ego over that one if you haven't prepared.
>>
>> Having a code of conduct is fantastic. But if we don't have *at least*
>> vague brainstormy ideas of how we'll react to it when a) Your Best Friend
>> says Complete Stranger is harassing zir; b) YBF says YotherBF is harassing
>> zir;
>> c) CS says YBF is harassing zir; d) CS says you're harassing zir; etc --
>> then it's just false security, has the same potential for denial or coverups
>> as if there were no such code, and in that case means all the additional
>> pain of broken trust.
>>
>> And for those that think that this is a fantastic group so it's just a
>> waste of time planning for a non-existent situation -- well, I still think
>> it was a little bit there with Zoia (the outline of the pattern if nothing
>> else); but even if you don't agree with that, this is a transferable skill:
>> if we come up with ideas of how we can react here, we can then also use
>> those if similar situations come up in other aspects of our lives.
>>
>> Deborah
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>> Ross Singer
>> Sent: Friday, 25 January 2013 3:33 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Group Decision Making (was Zoia)
>>
>> On Jan 24, 2013, at 6:50 PM, "Fitchett, Deborah"
>> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>> People did raise specific issues with Zoia which can reasonably be fit
>>
>> into the code of conduct's definition of harassment (many of which have
>> therefore been addressed) so saying "no one has spoken up" seems strange.
>> People did speak up. Some people listened and did something about it; some
>> people objected ~"You're spoiling our fun" and this kind of reaction is what
>> has the potential to make some people nervous about speaking up, because
>> no-one wants to spoil people's fun.
>>
>> When we're talking about "you're spoiling our fun", are we talking about
>> zoia's offensive plugins?
>>
>> I don't think I've seen anybody leap to the defense of @mf or @forecast
>> (or any of the others mentioned). Some people have poured some of their
>> craft beers on the ground for their fallen plugins, but I don't think
>> anybody's actually come out and actively objected to cleaning up the bot's
>> language.
>> In fact, on the contrary, I think people have been pretty proactive about
>> looking for the things that need to be cleaned up and trying to archive
>> what's there before cleansing.
>>
>> I am not sure a defense of zoia is the same thing as a defense of @habla
>> or @icp (as two examples).
>>
>> If we're not talking about zoia anymore, then apologies, -Ross.
>>
>>
>> ________________________________
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>>
>
>
> --
> Shaun Ellis
> User Interace Developer, Digital Initiatives
> Princeton University Library



--
Cary Gordon
The Cherry Hill Company
http://chillco.com

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