[License-discuss] proposal for revising (and making relevant) the code of conduct

Luis Villa luis at tieguy.org
Thu Jan 3 04:04:23 UTC 2013

Sigh. The actual attachments are as follows:

OSI Licensing Code of Conduct (0.1)


The license-discuss and license-review mailing lists aim to facilitate
constructive discussion of open source licensing and further the goals
of the OSI. We can achieve this, in part, by behaving well towards
each other, so that the broadest diversity of participants - both
amateur and professional, new and experienced - feel that the lists
are welcoming and useful.

This code of conduct helps maintain that environment by capturing the
conduct we aspire to when we participate in licensing discussions at

We Strive To:

*Be friendly and patient*

1. We are volunteers, and so a sense of fun is part of why we do what
we do. Be positive and engaging, rather than snarky.
2. If someone asks for help it is because they need it. Politely
suggest specific documentation or more appropriate venues where
appropriate. Avoid aggressive or vague responses.

*Be civil and considerate*

1. Disagreement is no excuse for poor conduct or personal attacks. A
community where people feel uncomfortable is not a productive one.
2. If you would not feel comfortable saying something to a co-worker
or acquaintance, it is probably not appropriate on an OSI list either.

*Assume good faith*

1. Remember that licensing questions are often very complex and
difficult to assess. If you disagree, please do so politely, by
disputing logical errors and factual premises rather than by attacking
2. If something seems outrageous, check that you did not misinterpret
it. Ask for clarification, rather than assuming the worst.

*Respect time and attention*

1. List members are often busy people. As a result, we value concision
and clarity. Emails that are brief and to the point take more time to
write, but are repaid many times over when other members of the list
make the same effort.
2. Conversations should remain focused and on-topic. If you must
change the topic, start a new thread by changing the topic line of
your emails. Also, avoid flooding the list with long threads by
reading the entire thread first, instead of responding quickly to many
emails in a short period of time.
3. New members are welcome, but should be careful to respect the time
and energy of long-time list members by doing research in FAQs and
with search engines before asking questions.

*Disclose potential conflicts*

1. List discussions often involve interested parties. We expect
participants to be aware when they are conflicted due to employment or
other projects they are involved in, and disclose those interests to
other project members.
2. When in doubt, over-disclose. Perceived conflicts of interest are
important to address, so that the lists’ decisions are credible even
when unpopular, difficult or favorable to the interests of one group
over another.

Interpretation and Enforcement

This code is not exhaustive or complete. It is not a rulebook; it
serves to distill our common understanding of a collaborative, shared
environment and goals. We expect it to be followed in spirit as much
as in the letter.

Most members of the OSI license community always comply with this
code, not because of the existence of the code, but because they have
long experience participating in open source communities where the
conduct described above is normal and expected. However, failure to
observe the code may be grounds for reprimand, probation, or removal
from the lists.

If you have concerns about someone’s conduct, you can speak to them
directly, you can speak directly to the list moderators, or you can
discuss the conduct on the list.

Further Context

Other resources, while not formally part of this code of conduct, can
provide useful context and guidance for good behavior.

1. Chapter 6 of Producing OSS, by OSI board member Karl Fogel,
describes common best practices for mailing list participation,
particularly [“You Are What You
and [“Avoiding Common
2. [RFC 1855](https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1855.txt), particularly
section 2.1.1 (“User Guidelines for mail”), also provides useful
guidelines for sending good emails.
3. [The Ubuntu Code of
Conduct](http://www.ubuntu.com/project/about-ubuntu/conduct) provides
useful guidance for group leaders.

Inspired by [the GNOME Code of
Conduct](https://live.gnome.org/CodeOfConduct/), [the Mozilla
Community Participation
[the Ubuntu Code of
Conduct](http://www.ubuntu.com/project/about-ubuntu/conduct), and
other codes listed at [the OpenHatch list of project codes of

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 8:02 PM, Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> wrote:
> As many of you know, over the past few years, we've had occasional
> problems with list members. Some of the problems have been obvious and
> borderline malicious (hi, Alexander!), while others have been more
> subtle. At any rate, it hasn't always been a list you can comfortably
> encourage busy people, or even mildly thin-skinned people, to
> subscribe to.
> After some discussion with other board members, as well as some
> feedback from our affiliate organizations, I'd like to propose a
> revision to the existing (but hardly ever referenced/used) code of
> conduct (currently at http://opensource.org/codeofconduct ).
> A discussion draft follows (inline as .md, attached as generated
> .html). A few key points that guided the drafting:
> * The current document is basically a netiquette guide; this tries to
> focus on behavior more generally and reference other documents for
> netiquette/mailing list issues.
> * This aims to generally be positive and describe what we will do,
> rather than what we won't do.
> * Enforcement is deliberately lightweight, in part because OSI does
> not really have any organs other than the list mods (Karl and I) who
> can do enforcement. But Karl and I do plan to use this as a reference,
> both to guide our actions and to point others at when their behavior
> is borderline.
> Looking forward to a (hopefully boring and primarily +1 ;) discussion-
> Luis
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-discuss_lists.opensource.org/attachments/20130102/94d75cd4/attachment.html>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list