The piece is not balanced of thoughtful. The piece is crafted to present the case in a way that's immune or resilient to typical and expectable attacks. It underlined the core failings of the concept behind a CoC, and it provides a concrete example of how people use CoCs as an oppression tool that's leveraged to manipulate and condition groups to follow the leader's bidding.
> Here, I think the story is pretty much just: people screw up
It really isn't. This isn't a mere "whoopsie". This is a CoC working exactly as it's supposed to work. By design. This is exactly what they were created to achieve. A community member said something, some people didn't approved based on their personal tastes, and thus they proceeded to leverage their CoC to persecute and punish that individual to keep the community in line.
There is absolutely no other use for a CoC. This is precisely what they were created for. This is no accident or mistake.
Not sure if it's too soon to joke about this, but I find it funny that "I like Jupyter notebooks" was such a controversial opinion at JupyterCon.
(Yeah I know it was actually the mask advocacy and not the talk itself.)
I recommend watching Stephen Colbert's or Trevor Noah's talk show skits to gain an idea of why a pro-mask position is controversial in the states.
Is that what actually caused the complaints?
Given that the complainers were anonymous (thanks to the CoC process), we'll never know. But it seems like a reasonable guess.
The question was: can we find out if hidden political vendettas against OP were the cause of complaints? You're implying that, yes, we can find out, because the complainers provided a bullet point list. If the complainers had hidden political vendettas against OP, do you actually think they would have listed them in the bullet points?
That's understandable, but to me it also seems to illustrate the reason we're having this. He felt persecuted by their words. They were unkind to him, and it left him "shattered".
CoCs calling for "kindness" are put into place precisely because words have such power to harm. That vagueness makes them prone to abuse as well, but the sentiment on this thread seems to be, "Because this has the potential to harm me it must be stopped, but the kinds of harms that I could inflict on other people the same way are unimportant and do not need to be addressed."
I'm sorry he was treated this way; this doesn't seem to have been handled well. It's hard to deal with situations where multiple people are experiencing the "low emotional resilience" he cites (both himself and the apparent fragility of the person who reported him). But I think it's important to recognize that there are many "oppression tools", so it's worth reconsidering who has them even without a CoC, and how they can be countered.
Would you accept (or would one even send) an ad-hoc post-conference invite to 'talk about something you did wrong and how you should be punished' from a committee member?
Let's put it differently: without it's oppressive and persecutory function, what's the point of a CoC? To make it even simpler to you, what do you expect if someone in a community is deemed in direct violation of a CoC?
Acknowledging that people come from different backgrounds or belief systems where norms and customs are different, a good code of conduct offers a concise and easy-to-understand set of core expectations that the participants in a community agree to follow, along with a mechanism for reporting and curing violations when they occur. Curing violations should typically involve helping members learn and adopt better ways to communicate their ideas and interact with others, rather than shaming or punishing them for lacking these skills or for having a bad day.
As a gross example, a functioning code of conduct should make the difference between someone saying “I don’t understand why anyone would believe X”, which is an open statement that invites thoughtful discussion, versus “X is stupid and anyone who believes it is an idiot”, which is a closed statement that triggers fighting instead. Or, it should make the difference between someone making sexual advances at a professional conference because they think it’s what the other person wants, versus someone not engaging in that behaviour—even if they still think that—because it’s outside of the norms listed in the code of conduct.
It is certainly the case that codes of conduct are sometimes abused to create cultural echo chambers. This isn’t because the concept of a code of conduct is flawed; rather, it is often (in my experience) because people adopt CoCs without having the knowledge and skill necessary to administer them. When this happens, the CoC can become a mechanism for suppressing disagreement instead of a mechanism for creating a healthy environment where ideas and relationships can thrive despite disagreement.
I think the challenge is in enforcement. A code of conduct should be a measure of last resort. In your example:
> a functioning code of conduct should make the difference between someone saying “I don’t understand why anyone would believe X”, which is an open statement that invites thoughtful discussion, versus “X is stupid and anyone who believes it is an idiot”, which is a closed statement that triggers fighting instead.
I don't think that the code of conduct should be invoked the first time someone steps a bit onto the side of expressing something in a hostile way. When collages are in the process of solving real problems, and getting real work done, it can be the case that disagreements occasionally get heated. If someone steps a bit over the line in terms of how they express themselves in such a disagreement, the first response should be for a colleague to put the metaphorical hand on the shoulder and invite the offender to reign it in a bit, equal-to-equal, rather than invoking the authority of the CoC right away. If someone repeatedly demonstrates abusive behavior, then it makes sense to escalate this to a matter of community governance.
It's certainly not ideal if people express themselves in a hurtful or inflammatory way, but if everyone is self-censoring for fear of punishment, it can negatively affect the quality of work that gets done.
Declaring that “X is stupid and anyone who believes it is an idiot” without any discriminatory intent is definitely in bad taste, but should _absolutely not_ be grounds for a CoC violation or any kind of punishment, other than "your talks are obnoxious and we're not going to be inviting you or accepting your papers anymore".
My take is that the problem with this code of conduct was that it was dumb. I want to recommend to you the degree to which it is easy and relaxing to just acknowledge that and move on, maybe with a note or two about what not to do in any code of conduct you write. It seems --- I could be wrong, I started today confidently wrong about bay leaves --- like the alternative is an exhausting vigilance about conspiracies to control and persecute. Even if you're right, nobody is going to believe you, so what's the point in letting your pulse quicken?
Is this a widespread problem in software-related communities? I'm genuinely asking, because if it is maybe I am just not aware of it, but for example in the open-source projects I have been involved with the conversations tend to be extremely focused on the subject matter, and I'm not even aware of the race or gender of the people I'm conversing with.
20 years back (in Debian) there was some banter on the mailing lists, but never of that nature. It was mainly jokes about women. The community was primarily of young males, and that did stop as more women got involved. However, I should state for completeness that none of it was anything that anyone should have been banned over; sometimes a joke was just a joke, before humour was effectively outlawed lest anyone get even slightly offended.
The laziest of Google searches quickly found people being racist on GitHub (... to a GitHub employee! With their own, non anonymous accounts!): https://www.tinykat.cafe/on-all-that-fuckery
(This incident also made it to hn iirc, but maybe you didn't read it that day)
Seems like a very generous reading of what the person I'm specifically responding to said
If you are a woman or black or ... you will very likely experience sexism or racism. You will probably also see more, because you are used to identifying it.
If you say "a third  of the people in this group experience a bad thing" I would say that's pretty wide-spread.
The OP was specifically saying "it's not widespread, I've never seen it" 
I'm not trying to claim there's a nefarious subtext. I'm not saying the op is sexist or racist. I'm just trying to point out that a lot of people experience this, and one of the stated goals of CoCs in open source or at conferences is to help combat it. I think that's a good thing, and while you or perhaps others have pointed out that a community could combat such negative behavior without a CoC, the CoC does give some indication of how such behavior will be dealt with (before I join the community/attend the conference), which can increase my confidence recommending a conference or increase someone else's confidence attending (or participating in an open source community etc)
 not a real quote so please correct me if it's way off, I'm being lazy
Also, I know they were referring to open source - maybe they've seen workplace sexism etc and were specifically excluding that. In that case I'm definitely misquoting and apologize
It's just hard to imagine how racism or sexism would enter into to a community like this because the race and sex of the participants is not known, and you're not even discussing races or genders at all, heck you're generally not discussing people at all.
It happens. People leave tech communities because of it. I don't know what else to tell you. I've provided citations to this effect in a bunch of other comments.
It's important to note, though, that people can do or say racist or sexist things without targeting it at someone. That would still impact someone's decision to stay in the community, even if the person who said it didn't mean to offend them.
However, they aren't. They require moderation because people are rude even when not anonymous.
Here's a quote from the vscode repo moderators:
> We deleted a handful of comments which we deemed too offensive to leave as-is (foul language, racist remarks, etc.). We also deleted a few issues that were overwhelmingly offensive. Unfortunately, that resulted in some non-offensive comments within those issues being deleted as well.
Surely you can't continue to claim that open source communities do not suffer from such issues, now, right?
> a way to assure newcomers that your project wasn't going to allow racist trolling on the mailing list
This is what seems a bit funny to me, because I would take it for granted that racist remarks would not be tolerated as a matter of course. It doesn't seem to me that you need a CoC to enforce this.
And I would repeat that in my personal experience, having been involved with OSS discussions for over 10 years, I have never personally encountered this.
What it does is sets expectations. It sets expectations for everyone involved in any interactions. In general, this should give you confidence that there will be some moderation or recourse if you experience rude behavior. That may allow some people who have been burned by ruder communities to be willing to give yours a try.
 if you think this is "just a c++ problem" you're going to be very disappointed
The boost community has managed to lose a large number of very technically proficient people who were tired of dealing with racism/sexism
JeanHeyd came to prominence a few years ago with some stellar open source libraries and gave some pretty good conference talks & joined the c++ committee.
Throughout his continued work in the c++ community, he ran into a lot of... unnecessary, non-technical feedback.
At some point, he got fed up with it all and created this.
Within the c++ community there are people who are known to be particularly toxic, fwiw, and some of this is calling them out specifically.
I think everyone who has attended a committee meeting knows who/what he is talking about.
There's also an additional bit, where he managed a discord server for one of his open source projects. When discussing Black Is Tech, he got racist pushback.
Hopefully this helps add a little bit of context.
I don't think it's too important to understand the details. The tl;dr is that an extraordinary developer, speaker, committee member left the community because he found it to be hostile
That's a fact, and it's one engineers should be reckoning with. Your actions matter.
The implication being that every project without an established code of conduct is awash with racism?
Exhausting vigilance about conspiracies indeed.
Problems such as a plague of racist jokes aren't omnipresent, but they show up often enough in the world that a little signpost at the front door about expectations can help with first impressions and understanding the community.
The problem is the weaponization against random people for obscure reasons. The blog poster here didn't make a presentation full of racist jokes, it's not even clear what they did.
Lawful evil anti-social people exist in the world, we shouldn't let them bully people just because they're waving a rainbow flag while doing so.
Fun straw man though
Bay leaves work their magic in stews, especially beans. Not much else. (I absolute hate licorice btw).
On the other hand, I had seen americans before to mistake bay leaves and cherry laurel. Specially when trying to harvest leaves in gardens. Don't do that. They look similar but cherry laurel contains cyanide.
Certainly it is interesting to consider the set of circumstances that give victimhood and fragility such power to those who claim it.
That's quite the inversion. It is interesting that the people who focus so much on the analysis of hierarchies to the point where they see them everywhere and assert the unjustness of hierarchy qua hierarchy end up just inverting these hierarchies and using their power to tyrannize other people.
What does that say about the people that allow them to do that?
> There is absolutely no other use for a CoC. This is precisely what they were created for.
> There is absolutely no other use for a CoC. This is precisely what they were created for. This is no accident or mistake.
I run groups that use a CoC and I assure you that they aren't supposed to work like this, weren't created for this and it is a mistake if they are.
> There is absolutely no other use for a CoC.
Sure there is. It's a good way to keep racist and sexist trolling and harrassment out of talks.
This sounds terrible and I guess I'll have to modify our CoC to deal with it when it occurs.
OTOH, we've had frequent cases of sexual harassment (primarily men hitting on women at events) and a CoC has been extremely useful in dealing with those situations.
This seems like a pretty reasonable use for a CoC in my view--flirting isn't ubiquitously taboo (unlike racism, trolling, or overt sexual harassment) nor should it be, but it's understandable that a community would prefer to just prohibit it outright and set that expectation clearly up front.
CoCs should focus narrowly on this kind of thing (of course, without giving the impression that these are the only offenses that a person might be kicked out for), and proponents of CoCs should talk about this. Instead, much of this thread is talking about racist trolling, as though CoCs are necessary or sufficient for dissuading a racist troll (everyone understands racism is unacceptable; if you're motivated to cross that line anyway, a CoC isn't going to deter you).