[cabfpub] CAB Forum Draft Code of Conduct

Virginia Fournier vfournier at apple.com
Wed Apr 26 18:21:56 UTC 2017

Hi Gerv,

Please see my additional comments below.  

Please keep in mind that Mozilla Foundation is the member in organizations such as CAB Forum, W3C, and WhatWG, and not any one person individually.  ;-)

Best regards,

Virginia Fournier
Senior Standards Counsel
 Apple Inc.
☏ 669-227-9595
✉︎ vmf at apple.com

On Apr 26, 2017, at 9:45 AM, Gervase Markham <gerv at mozilla.org> wrote:

On 25/04/17 22:39, Virginia Fournier wrote:
> Please keep in mind that Mozilla is already operating under
> substantially similar Codes of Conduct through its participation in W3C
> and WhatWG.  It would be hard to imagine that something would be
> acceptable under those SDOs, but not for CAB Forum.

While this may be true, I'm not Mozilla's representative to those
organizations :-) And anyway, if "someone else does it" were a
concluding argument, we would not be having any discussion at all about
what's best for us.

**VMF 4/26:  As mentioned above, Mozilla Foundation is the member of CAB Forum, W3C, and WhatWG, and not any individual person.  So, hopefully Mozilla would be able to agree to the same code of conduct terms it has already agreed to in the other groups.   

>> letter and spirit of this Code.  This Code applies to all Forum
>> activities, such as meetings, teleconferences, mailing lists,
>> conferences, and other functions.
> Do you propose that it apply to non-business parts of face-to-face
> meetings, such as dinners (official and/or unofficial)?
> VMF:  It would apply to all CAB Forum activities.  I would assume that
> would include official dinners, but not unofficial dinners.  Is there a
> reason to be rude, insulting, and unprofessional to other Forum members
> at unofficial dinners?   ;-)

:-) No. But one might discuss a wider range of topics in a wider range
of styles. Just as one might have different discussions at the local pub
after work than one might discuss around the water cooler.

**VMF 4/26:  We could change it to “official” CAB Forum activities.  Would this help?

> What does this mean in practice? Are you proposing that our mailing
> lists move to being moderated in some way?
> VMF:  They _may_ be.  Or they could be self-moderating.

I'm not sure what you mean by self-moderating.

It seems to me that our mailing lists are operating fine. If people need
admonishing about their words, than can be done tactfully by private
communication rather than by using a banhammer. Any sort of moderation
requirement would mean someone had to take on the burden of being the

**VMF 4/26:  Self-moderating would mean there was no official moderator, and the Forum members moderate each other.  For example, if a Forum member feels that another member has broken the Code of Conduct, they would notify the Chair, Vice-Chair, and/or Working Group Chair.  However, if a Working Group wanted to have an official moderator for its activities, they could ask the Working Group Chair to take on that task.  The WG Chair could accept or not.  If the WG Chair doesn’t accept, then the WG would probably have to self-moderate.

> VMF:  ...  Members can raise the
> issue with the moderator - but they can’t go on the public mailing list,
> for example, and bad mouth the moderator, and complain about how they
> didn’t really violate the Code of Conduct, etc. to stir up some bile.  

Doing it in that style might be a Code of Conduct violation anyway. But
this clause bans any raising of questions about moderator behaviour, no
matter how respectfully put. I think that's wrong, and leads to the
suppression of the sort of debate which can improve the rules after
dealing with a difficult situation.

**VMF 4/26:  What would you propose instead?

> VMF:  ... I think again the key
> is in the plain English meaning of the words.  It’s ok to argue with
> someone on the _ideological_ level, but not attack or insult the person
> on an _individual_ level. 

I agree, but that's not what the text says. It says "avoid engaging in
offensive or sensitive issues”.

**VMF 4/26:  Ok, we’ll try to modify this.

> clear that the proposed Code of Conduct intends to kick the discussions
> and activities up to a more reasonable, professional, respectful, and
> conciliatory level.  I’m not sure how anyone could object to that. 

I'm not objecting to the goal; I'm saying the words don't meet the goal.

> I prefer only to apologise when the apology is genuine. I hope I'm not
> alone in that; anything else is a recipe for insincerity, which does not
> breed good relationships. As a matter of courtesy, if someone objects to
> something you are doing, one would generally stop while investigating
> what the problem is, but requiring an apology in all circumstances is,
> to my mind, going too far.
> VMF:  ... However, if others
> also feel strongly about not apologizing, we can consider modifying this
> language.  The axioms I’ve heard are “when in doubt, apologize,”
> and “apologize early and often.”  But I get that other people have
> different views.

Thank you for being willing to entertain change on this point.

> How is the applicability of such sanctions to be determined, and by whom?
> VMF:  To be determined collectively by the Chair, Vice-Chair, and
> appropriate violating Member executive.  We’ll add this to the
> provision.  It would NOT go to a Forum vote.

This certainly needs defining very carefully, particularly
"collectively". Also, if someone is in "robust" debate with, say, the
Vice-Chair, it may be that they would find it difficult to be objective
if a CoC violation were alleged. Are you hoping to have a recusal process?

**VMF 4/26:  Would you like to propose a process?


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