[cabfpub] For informal review: Updated Code of Conduct Ballot

Virginia Fournier vfournier at apple.com
Fri May 5 18:13:18 UTC 2017

Hi Gerv,

Thanks for your message.  Please see my comments below, in green.

Best regards,

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

On May 5, 2017, at 4:19 AM, Gervase Markham <gerv at mozilla.org> wrote:

Hi Virginia,

On 05/05/17 01:03, Virginia Fournier via Public wrote:
> Here’s an updated draft of the Code of Conduct, in response to the most
> recent round of comments.

Again, thank you for your continued work.

> Also, there’s no point in having a Code of Conduct if there aren’t
> consequences of violating it.  However, the Code is flexible enough so
> that the number and severity of violations can be taken into
> consideration when determining what consequences would be appropriate,
> if any.  For example, different consequences would be in order if
> someone makes daily death threats to someone on the public mailing list,
> than if someone accidentally calls someone a 

Did some email gateway censor your message? :-)

VMF:  Haha, apparently.  ;-)  What I meant to say is “For example, different consequences would be in order if someone makes daily death threats to someone on the public mailing list, than if someone calls another participant a “knuckle-dragging moron” one time on a call while passionately describing an idea.  Hopefully you can see the difference here. 

I'm glad that you are saying this, but the language:

"Members agree to suspend, remove or replace any of their Member
representative(s) who violate the Code, as appropriate."

still suggests that if there is any violation, suspension, removal or
replacement are the only 3 options and one of them is required. This
could be fixed by adding "warn, reprimand, " to the list, or just change
it to "If a Member representative violates the Code, Members agree to
take action appropriate to the severity of the violation.”

VMF:  Ok, good suggestion. I will modify as follows:

"Members agree to take appropriate action in the event any of their Member representatives violate the Code.  Such action could include warning, reprimanding, suspending, removing, or replacing the Member representative who has violated the Code, depending on the severity of the violation."  

>  * Harassing or bullying anyone verbally, physically, or sexually.
>  * Directly insulting or demeaning another person.  For purposes of
>    this Code, “demeaning" means acting in a way that reduces another
>    person's dignity, sense of self-worth or respect within the Forum.
>    /[Note: this definition is from the W3C Code of Ethics and
>    Professional Conduct]/

The unfortunate problem with this definition (W3C-originated or not) is
that it's entirely subjective. If I say "Participant X said something
which reduced my sense of self-worth", then Participant X has no
available defence, because my feelings mean this automatically qualifies
as demeaning and so a code violation - no matter how unreasonable I am

I think that the judgement of forbidden behaviours needs to be rooted,
at least as far as possible, in objective criteria. It's never possible
to be totally objective (and to do so could lead to rules-gaming) but
totally subjective doesn't work either.

It is difficult, I admit, to come up with a more objective definition of
"insulting". (This is one reason there was a successful campaign in the
UK to remove that word from the Public Order Act -
http://reformsection5.org.uk/ . "Feel Free to Insult Me!" was the slogan.)

VMF:  Funny.  Glad to see we aren’t the only ones with crazy legislation.

I am trying to think of what behaviours would be forbidden by this
bullet which are not already covered by "verbal harrassment/bullying"
and the "spamming/flaming" line. If we still think this is necessary,
could we do what the law sometimes does and use the "reasonable person"

VMF:  I will ponder this too.  You’re right - some of it has to be subjective.  For example, if you call Ryan  “The Grand Poobah of All Idiots, with an IQ half his body temperature” maybe he wouldn’t be offended, because you two have worked together for a long time and understand each other.  However, if you called me “The Grand Poobah of all Idiots, with an IQ half my body temperature,” I might be offended, although probably not enough to report a violation.  I’d just call you up and ask you what the heck you’re talking about.  But maybe if you direct the “Grand Poobah” comment to one of our participants in another country, who aren’t native English speakers and who have different norms of culture and humor, or someone who hasn’t developed the rhino skin some of the rest of us have, maybe they would be offended.  It’s important to consider your audience.  There’s not a one-size-fits-all definition of “insulting.”  I don’t think the “reasonable person” concept fits here.  This is more like “you have to take your plaintiff as you find them.”  Let me think about this one a bit.

All of the other changes seem fine. :-)

VMF:  Hurray, so we are making progress.


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