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

Karen Shaeffer via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Oct 20 07:22:27 PDT 2015

On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 12:07:43PM +0100, Renato Golin via llvm-dev wrote:
> Hi Chandler,
> I have two very specific and very important details I want to discuss
> with you. The list of harassment concerns and the reporting policy
> being unilateral, with the latter being much more important than the
> former.
> I'm pleading people to avoid in-line reply, since the ideas are
> complete on their own, and picking any one paragraph may lead to
> misinterpretation of my words. Please, just read through, and comment
> at the end of each block.
> I also ask people not to interpret my words in any prejudicial way.
> This is a mathematical analysis of the text and the community, and
> it's the only type of analysis I'm physically able to make. If any of
> this looks offensive, it's because I'm not using the "politically
> correct" phrase construction and terms, not because I think human
> beings should be treated differently based on any characteristic
> irrelevant to the discussion. If you have any specific concern, let me
> know in private, to avoid deviating us from the discussion at hand.
>    0. Sources
> There are two main ones: the Ada initiative and Sarah Sharp's blog,
> both focus on gender inclusion. Personally, I agree with *all* of
> that, but I don't think we should side with any specific concern.
> Most of the time, prejudice is very similar, and advocating against
> one type often equals most other types. But not always. A few
> examples:
>  * It's easy to spot gender by names, so *directed* prejudice on a
> mailing list is easier to women (and ethnicity) than sexual
> orientation of mental disability. Indirect prejudice is a lot easier
> to spot overall.
>  * Disability is well established, so it's very crass to discriminate
> face to face, but some people feel more comfortable in discriminating
> against women (or gay) in person, especially if surrounded by other
> like minded men.
>  * Skin colour and immigration status is a *very* contentious issue in
> the US, but almost irrelevant in other places of the world. This
> harder to spot electronically but *very* easy personally, also easier
> to get it wrong in the latter.
>  * Religious discrimination is not as common in US as it is in Europe,
> because of the clash in cultural background in more mixed societies.
> It's possible that Americans (and I mean North, Centre and South) are
> more likely to be rude religiously than Europeans or Asians, due to
> severe lack of exposure to non-Christian religions.
>  * Some cultures think it's extremely disrespectful to treat women
> like men.

Hi Renato,
With all due respect, cultural tradition doesn't justify discrimination
against women. More generally, there is a long history of outrageous and
often violent discrimination against groups that becomes embedded within
the cultural tradition of a segment of a society. That is true everywhere,
including the United States.

Living and working in Silicon Valley for many years, I have worked with
and become friends with folks from all over the world. And most of them
are wonderfully adaptive folks who aspire to the ideal of equality for
all that the United States aspires to as an inclusive society at large.
But I have personally been the victim of hideous discrimination projected
onto me by individual's who justify their actions by cultural tradition.
It's no small matter.


> Others treat gun ownership like a religion, more important
> than people's safety. Isn't a gun more physically dangerous than
> disrespect?
> While we could go on forever, the key issue here is that all of those
> problems have infinite ramifications, but not all of them are treated
> equally by people that suffer a specific type of prejudice.
> I encourage you to draw another parallel here with me:
> Ada's post brings the "community conduct" in the beginning, but focus
> on physical contact, ie. conferences. In that area, discrimination is
> very clear, sometimes aggressive, and therefore potentially dangerous.
> Strong measures need to be taken quickly to safeguard the mental and
> physical state of the other participants. But most of that has a lot
> less practical value when dealing with mailing list or IRC conduct.
> Sarah's post is a lot more inline with the electronic interactions,
> which most of us do most of the year, and it doesn't bring much about
> all the differences nor speaks on drastic terms. It's based on
> respect. Plain and simple.
> So, based on your own sources, physical encounters and measures *may*
> need to be a lot more drastic than electronic ones, and that's not
> reflected on your proposal.
>    1. Harassment listing
> My point, simply put, is that listing some types of harassment, but
> not others, is prejudicial in itself against the people that face
> harassment types not specifically listed.
> Most of the codes you linked have a well separated block named
> "Diversity Statement", which lists even more stuff than what you used.
> CouchDB has both the list and the statement, which is highly
> redundant.
> As I listed above, there are many cultural, social and ethnic issues
> in each type of prejudice, and trying to list them all would be
> impossible. So, I think we should stick to the basics, remembering
> that this is an *international* community.
> I was recently reading about the word "race" in the English language.
> I see it as very derogative, trying to imply that we're *that*
> different. But I take it this scientific take on the meaning of the
> word may have been diluted over the years. I don't mind the use of it,
> as long as all native English speaker folks agree it's conflict-free.
> My proposal is to include one term for each *type* of conflict. I see:
>  * "race" and/or "ethnicity" and/or "gender" as all conflicts
> involving visual individual characteristics,
>  * "sexual orientation" and/or "religion" and/or "political views" as
> important non-visual characteristics,
>  * "social status" and "disability" as important background
> discriminatory issues
> Everything else can be regarded as sub-groups of these. The codes you
> linked all have three very interesting ones: genotype, phenotype,
> neurotype. It would be possible to mathematically include *all* others
> within those three, but that would be too terse.
> So, I understand this is a spectrum, and that we have to find the
> right threshold. Only, that threshold is different for each one of us,
> because we all suffer from different types of prejudice.
> One idea is to set on a finite list, say 10, and let people choose
> which 10 they cannot live without, and pick the most common. After
> all, this IS "including, but not limited to".
> Or, if no one else is feeling segregated by that list, just keep it
> and ignore everything I said. :)
>    2. Unilateral reporting and actions
> This is the critical one, and unlike the harassment listing, one that
> I'll have *a lot* of trouble if it goes in this way.
> The key points are:
>  * There is *no* mention that the committee will gather, nor value,
> the input of the accused.
>  * Due to protection issues, the accused will most likely only be
> contacted *after* the decision is taken
>  * Most decisions are unilateral and cannot be appealed
> If this was a form of government, it would be called despotism.
> Without knowing what the committee will be, or how it'll be chosen,
> replaced and be made responsible for their actions (some codes you
> link account for some of that), there is little we can work with at
> this moment. None of the codes nor the blog posts you linked have that
> kind of unilateral and strict consequences. I'm not sure where you got
> that from.
> Factoring out immediate criminal danger, my proposal is simple:
>  * The accused must be involved, and must be given *every* chance to
> defend him/herself, including asking other people's statements,
> publicly or privately,
>  * The accused's own deficiencies *must* be taken into account when
> presenting the verdict, and he/she should be consulted on which
> response would be best,
>  * *Every* decision must allow for appeal if new evidence is
> presented, (the asymptote here is zero very early)
>  * Any member of the community can request investigation of the
> committee's decisions, by an independent representative panel.
> By representative, I mean chosen by the people, for the people, and
> accountable for their actions to the people, with the same vigour as
> we deal with breaches of conduct.
> Basically put, the ends don't justify the means. This reporting guide
> puts too much power into a committee that hasn't even been decided how
> it will be formed. Given how the LLVM Foundation was formed, I
> understand why people are unsure how this will play out. However, even
> if we did know exactly how the committee would be chosen, these
> guarantees are still mandatory. As I said earlier, projects and people
> change. If the code allows for abuse, given enough time, abuse will be
> taken.
> cheers,
> --renato
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Karen Shaeffer                 Be aware: If you see an obstacle in your path,
Neuralscape Services           that obstacle is your path.        Zen proverb

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