[llvm-dev] RFC: Introducing an LLVM Community Code of Conduct

Philip Reames via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Oct 14 13:57:32 PDT 2015

On 10/14/2015 01:25 PM, Chandler Carruth via llvm-dev wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 1:02 PM Renato Golin <renato.golin at linaro.org 
> <mailto:renato.golin at linaro.org>> wrote:
>     On 14 October 2015 at 20:35, Tanya Lattner via llvm-dev
>     <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org <mailto:llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org>> wrote:
>     > Related specifically to the developers meeting, we are growing quite
>     > rapidly. For the past few years, we have been increasing our
>     attendance from
>     > 50 at the start to now over 350 attendees. With this many people
>     (and many
>     > new to the community), it seems important to have a code of
>     conduct to refer
>     > to and possibly *prevent* any incidents from happening. And for
>     some people
>     > (not sure exact percentage), it makes them feel more comfortable
>     attending a
>     > conference that has a code of conduct.
>     Just an honest and simple question: would it make sense to have a
>     different code of conduct for meetings and the rest?
>     I know it sounds like a bad idea, but my rationale is that maybe this
>     would at least solve some of the points that socially inept people
>     feel pressure on the current proposal.
>     Because the consequences of a physical meeting can be a lot tougher
>     than any electronic one, and because timing is of the essence, the
>     wording *has* to be stronger and an executive decision has to be
>     implemented.
>     But such strong wording and harsh unappealable consequences do make
>     us, of the anti-social variety, very frightened. We grew in a world
>     that never made sense, and we have suffered our childhoods and
>     adulthoods in constant fear of irrational (to our minds) reprimands.
>     This is not a simple matter, it's quite real and have made me
>     seriously consider many times leaving the open source realm for good.
>     I have left jobs and regressed in my career because of things like
>     that.
>     From the very wording in the proposed CoC, we don't want to leave
>     anyone behind, including physical and mental disabilities. If that's
>     true, and we really mean it, than imposing such a harsh CoC from the
>     majority of opinions is exactly the opposite of that. People like me
>     are clearly not the majority, the NAS UK estimates 1 every 100 people
>     in England has some form of autism, but that's the whole point of a
>     CoC, is to not forget about the people with some form of fragility.
> There is an extremely large difference between fragility and an 
> inability to be polite and respectful.
Chandler, I think your opening here is a bit quick to dismiss Renato's 
position.  Your following text is more reasonable, but you first 
sentence comes across as a bit harsh.

(For the record, I'd normally not have said anything, but since this is 
specifically in a thread about community social norms...)
> I do not think there is a useful way for us to encourage and welcome 
> individuals who, for whatever reason including medical reasons, are 
> literally *incapable* of interacting in a social setting in a civil, 
> polite, and respectful manner. That would be a no-win situation. But 
> reality is not this cut and dry or black and white.
> I have both friends and colleagues with autism and other severe 
> mental, social, and cultural challenges. And yet, they are not 
> *incapable* of this. Certainly, sometimes, it is a significantly 
> greater challenge for them to understand why people react in the way 
> that they do. However, they take on that challenge and learn and 
> succeed at being wonderful people. Do they have to work harder than I 
> do? Some of them probably do. Do I try to sympathize, remain patient, 
> and help them as much as I can? Absolutely. Does any of this mean it 
> is *ok for them to be disrepectful?* Absolutely not.
I would read Renato's point as being in a round-about-way a request for 
help.  How should he (or anyone) not familiar with the existing norms 
within the community expect to function?  Part of learning is making 
mistakes and being corrected.  Particular for someone with a form of 
autism, those corrections may need to include an explanation of what not 
to do again and why.  I think part of Renato's concern - it definitely 
is part of mine! - is that he might say something, unintentionally 
offend someone, and not get a chance to learn from it.

For the record, I have personally run into this in the past.  I've 
managed to seriously offend a couple of folks and had *absolutely* no 
idea why until a third party took me aside and explained what I did and 
how it was perceived.  That doesn't change the fact that I'm still 
responsible for having given offense or that I didn't do my best to make 
amends, but the chance to learn without it being "game over" is key.

Now, obviously, providing that learning opportunity should not be taken 
too far.  If someone's safety is in question, "game over" is 
*absolutely* the right response.  Nor does it mean that there can not be 
serious consequences.  We simply need to keep in mind that behavior can 
change, and that offense may not have been (probably wasn't) 
intentional.  If we keep that in mind and steer towards moderation and 
informal correction (as we have in the past), I don't see there being 
any inherent conflict here.
> This is a tradeoff between effort on your part to be polite and 
> respectful, potentially *a tremendous amount of effort*, and both 
> causing direct and in some cases irreversible emotional damage to 
> someone and furthering an entrenched and harmful bias in our community 
> as well as the larger industry.
> I think it is reasonable to ask people to undertake the effort, even 
> though for some it will be a very significant effort.
+1 to this.

(Nothing I said above is intended to dispute this in any way.  If it 
seems that way, my wording was poor and please ask me to clarity.)
> For example, this discussion and getting a strong and effective code 
> of conduct is a *tremendous* effort for me. It is worth it. I couldn't 
> think of a better cause to pour my energy into than making more people 
> feel welcome in our open source community.
> And I do want you to feel welcome here. I just *also* want you to put 
> forth the necessary effort to keep your communication at the high 
> standard we have here. And I have seen you do so! I *know* that you 
> are in fact capable of communicating effectively *and* in line with 
> the proposed code of conduct. So I truly hope you do not feel discouraged.
> -Chandler
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