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CODE4LIB  January 2013

CODE4LIB January 2013

Subject:

Re: Group Decision Making (was Zoia)

From:

Wilhelmina Randtke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 27 Jan 2013 17:41:54 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (227 lines)

"we wouldn't have to worry about coding up rules that work for every
conceivable situation"

I agree with Ian Wells here.

It's a bad idea to try and cover every possible situation.  Formal
structure locks in something before it's tried and almost always that mean
the wrong thing is locked in.  Detailed restrictions on behavior are a bad
idea because they aren't effective at preventing bad behavior and later,
when you understand problem behaviors better or when new problems arise,
it's difficult to change a complex detailed policy.  A loose policy ends up
being easier to apply and enforce.

What should be covered concretely is how to handle a complaint.  If
complaints are handled well, then bad situations are more likely to be
dealt with, and misunderstandings or not-so-bad situations are more likely
to get to a point where the person who was offended can have closure, feel
like they were listened to, and move on without leaving the group.

-Wilhelmina Randtke

On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM, Ian Walls <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> +1
>
> Perhaps, instead of a policy document (which is inherently rules-based), we
> have a statement of belief and a pledge to stand by it (which is more of a
> good-faith social contract).  Those of us who believe in it could sign it
> in
> some way, perhaps through GitHub  This way we'd still have a document to
> point people at, but we wouldn't have to worry about coding up rules that
> work for every conceivable situation.
>
> A basic statement of belief:
>
> We don't believe that people should harm each other.
>
> The basic situations we'd need to cover are:
>
> a) I am harmed by someone - a pledge to speak up, either to the person
> directly or to someone else in the community
> b) someone is harmed by me - a pledge to review my behavior and take
> appropriate action (apologize, or explain why I feel the behavior is
> justified)
> c) someone is harmed by someone else - a pledge to be willing to listen to
> both parties, and form our opinions of the situation in light of the
> statement of belief
>
> Do you all think something like this would work for the whole community?
>
>
> -Ian
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
> Jonathan Rochkind
> Sent: Friday, January 25, 2013 1:25 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Group Decision Making (was Zoia)
>
> >  The best way, in my mind,
> is to somehow create a culture where someone can say: "you know, I'm not ok
> with that kind of remark" and the person spoken to can respond "OK, I'll
> think about that."
>
> I think that's a really good to try to create, Karen says it just right.
> Note that "OK, I'll think about it" is neither "No, you must be mistaken"
> nor "Okay, I will immediately do whatever you ask of me."  But it does need
> to be a legitimate actual "I'll think about it", seriously.
>
> The flip side is that the culture is also one where when someone says "you
> know, I'm not ok with that kind of remark", it often means "And I'd like
> you
> to think about that, in a real serious way" rather than "And I expect you
> to
> immediately change your behavior to acede to my demands."
>
> Of course, what creates that, from both ends, is a culture of trust.  Which
> I think code4lib actually has pretty a pretty decent dose of already, let's
> try to keep it that way. (In my opinion, one way we keep it that way is by
> continuing to resist becoming a formal rules-based bueurocratic
> organization, rather than a community based on social ties and good faith).
>
> Now, at some times it might really be neccesary to say "And I expect you to
> immediately stop what you're doing and do it exactly like I say."  Other
> times it's not.  But in our society as a whole, we are so trained to think
> that everything must be rules-based rather than based on good faith trust
> between people who care about each other, that we're likely to asume that
> "you know, i'm not ok with that remark" ALWAYS implies "And therefore I
> think you are an awful person, and your only hope of no longer being an
> awful person is to immediately do exactly what I say."  Rather than "And I
> expect you to think about this seriously, and maybe get back to me on what
> you think."  So if you do mean the second one when saying "you know, i'm
> not
> ok with that remark", it can be helpful to say so, to elicit the
> self-reflection you want, rather than defensiveness.  And of course, on the
> flip-side, it is obviously helpful if you can always respond to "you know,
> i'm really not okay with that"!
>   with reflection, rather than defensiveness.
> ________________________________________
> From: Code for Libraries [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Karen
> Coyle
> [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Friday, January 25, 2013 12:22 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Group Decision Making (was Zoia)
>
> On 1/24/13 3:09 PM, Shaun Ellis wrote:
> >
> >
> > To be clear, I am only uncomfortable with "uncomfortable" being used
> > in the policy because I wouldn't support it being there. Differing
> > opinions can make people uncomfortable.  Since I am not going to stop
> > sharing what may be a dissenting opinion, should I be banned?
>
> I can't come up with a word for it that is unambiguous, but I can propose a
> scenario. Imagine a room at a conference full of people -- and that there
> are only a few people of color. A speaker gets up and shows or says
> something racist. It may be light-hearted in nature, but the people of
> color
> in that almost-all-white audience feel....
> uncomfortable/insulted/discriminated against.
>
> I had a great example that I can no longer find -- I think it came through
> on Twitter. It showed a fake ad with an image of border patrol agents
> rounding up "illegal aliens" in the desert, and used the ad copy:
> "We can take care of all of your papers" as the ad line for a business
> computing company. It's a "joke" that you can almost imagine someone
> actually doing. Any latinos in the audience would be within their rights of
> jumping up and shouting at the speaker, but in fact sexism and racism work
> precisely because people struggling for equal status are least likely to
> gain that status if they speak up against the status quo. What I think we
> want to change is the social acceptance of speaking up.
>
> There's a difference between an intellectual disagreement (I think the
> earth
> is round/I think the earth is flat) and insulting who a person is as a
> person. The various "*isms* (sexism, racism, homophobia) have a demeaning
> nature, and there is an inherent lowering of status of the targeted group.
> Booth babes at professional conferences are demeaning to women because they
> present women as non-professional sex objects, and that view generally
> lowers the social and intellectual status of women in the eyes of
> attendees,
> including the professional women who are attending. Because of this, many
> conferences now ban booth babes. No conference has banned discussion of
> alternate views of the universe.
>
> It's hard to find a balance between being conscious of other peoples'
> sensibilities and creating a chilling effect. The best way, in my mind, is
> to somehow create a culture where someone can say: "you know, I'm not ok
> with that kind of remark" and the person spoken to can respond "OK, I'll
> think about that." If, however, every "I'm not ok" becomes a battle, then
> we
> aren't doing it right. The reason why it shouldn't be a battle is that
> there
> is no absolute right or wrong. If someone tells you "You're standing too
> close" then you know you've violated a personal space limit that is
> specific
> to that person. You don't know why. But there's nothing to argue about --
> it's how that person feels. All you have to do is listen, and be
> considerate. Eventually we all learn about each other. It's an interaction,
> not an interdiction.
>
> kc
>
>
> >
> > It's an anti-harassment policy, not a comfort policy.  If you want to
> > see something different, it seems that now is the time to step up and
> > change it. :)
> >
> >
> >>
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> >> Of Shaun Ellis
> >> Sent: Friday, 25 January 2013 10:38 AM
> >> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Group Decision Making (was Zoia)
> >>
> >>> I am uneasy about coming up with a policy for banning people (from
> >>> what?) and voting on it, before it's demonstrated that it's even
> >>> needed. Can't we just tackle these issues as they come up, in
> >>> context, rather than in the abstract?
> >>>
> >>
> >> I share your unease.  But deciding to situations in context without a
> >> set of guidelines is simply another kind of policy. I'm actually more
> >> uneasy about ambiguity over what is acceptable, and no agreed upon
> >> way to handle it.
> >>
> >> I don't think the current policy is ready to "go to vote" as it seems
> >> there is still some debate over what it should cover and exactly what
> >> type of behavior it is meant to prevent.
> >>
> >> I suggest there is a set time period to submit objections as GitHub
> >> issues and resolve them before we vote.  Whatever issues can't get
> >> resolved end up in a branch/fork.  In the end, we vote on each of the
> >> forks, or "no policy at all".
> >>
> >> Does that sound reasonable?
> >>
> >> --
> >> Shaun Ellis
> >> User Interace Developer, Digital Initiatives Princeton University
> >> Library
> >>
> >>
> >> ________________________________
> >> P Please consider the environment before you print this email.
> >> "The contents of this e-mail (including any attachments) may be
> >> confidential and/or subject to copyright. Any unauthorised use,
> >> distribution, or copying of the contents is expressly prohibited.  If
> >> you have received this e-mail in error, please advise the sender by
> >> return e-mail or telephone and then delete this e-mail together with
> >> all attachments from your system."
> >>
> >
> >
>
> --
> Karen Coyle
> [log in to unmask] http://kcoyle.net
> ph: 1-510-540-7596
> m: 1-510-435-8234
> skype: kcoylenet
>

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