Request for Comments: Code of Conduct

Abstract

The following is an RFC for the Stacks Code of Conduct (Beta Version). Please review, make comments and suggestions on the proposed code of conduct. You can also review it here: Request for Comment: Stacks Code of Conduct (Beta) · Issue #132 · stacksgov/pm · GitHub

Prior work on the Code of Conduct and relevant documents can be found at Grant project management · Issue #119 · stacksgov/pm · GitHub. The proposal and relevant milestones can be found at Stacksgov Grant Proposal: Voting Mechanism and Code of Conduct · Issue #27 · stacksgov/Stacks-Grants · GitHub.

Timeline

Comments are due by end of day 1 March 2021

Stakeholders

Stakeholders include all members of the Stacks community. Community members can be generally identified as members, contributors and leaders.

Problem

There is not an official code of conduct for the Stacks community that has been reviewed or voted upon by the community at large. On April 17, 2020, the Blockstack PBC team adopted a Code of Conduct based on the Contributor Covenant model. Add a code of conduct. by diwakergupta · Pull Request #1436 · blockstack/stacks-blockchain · GitHub

While the Contributor Covenant model is widely used in open source communities, there was no review or adoption of the April 17th code of conduct by the Stacks community at large. Even if the April 17th code of conduct is adopted by the community, there is no code of enforcement in existence. A code of conduct without a code of enforcement is useless: Ada Initative: HOWTO design a Code of Conduct for your Community

Finally, the Contributor Covenant model is generalized for early adoption without addressing key issues that are important to the Stacks community.

Solution

The creation, adoption or adaption of a code of conduct submitted to the community for review and decision making via voting mechanism as proposed by the Governance group grant proposal. Stacksgov Grant Proposal: Voting Mechanism and Code of Conduct · Issue #27 · stacksgov/Stacks-Grants · GitHub

Anticipated Difficulties

Freedom of Speech
An important potential problem is how wide the scope of enforcement should apply given freedom of speech issues. Some code of conduct models espouse enforcement related to communication outside the community. In addition, some members of our community believe that enforcement and removal should apply if community members engage in bad behavior in another public space.

Public Participation
One anticipated difficulty is encouraging community participation in the code of conduct review and decision making process.

Risks

  • Potential for stalled decision making.
  • Failure to represent all members of the community.
  • Too broad or too narrow in scope.
  • Need to repeatedly update.
  • Lack of acceptance by the community.

Stacks Code of Conduct - Beta

Purpose
A primary goal of Stacks Community is to be inclusive to the largest number of contributors, with the most varied and diverse backgrounds possible. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion (or lack thereof).
This code of conduct outlines our expectations for all those who participate in our community, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior.
We invite all those who participate in the Stacks Community to help us create safe and positive experiences for everyone.

Open Citizenship
A supplemental goal of this Code of Conduct is to increase open citizenship by encouraging participants to recognize and strengthen the relationships between our actions and their effects on our community.
Communities mirror the societies in which they exist and positive action is essential to counteract the many forms of inequality and abuses of power that exist in society.
If you see someone who is making an extra effort to ensure our community is welcoming, friendly, and encourages all participants to contribute to the fullest extent, we want to know.

A Can’t Be Evil Ethos
A root ethos of the Stacks community is “Can’t Be Evil’. This rallying cry represents a deep core belief in a user owned internet flanked by the pillars of privacy and self sovereign identity. We strongly believe in individual rights together with decentralization. This ethos is a centerpiece of our community and development.

Our Pledge
We as Stacks community members pledge to make participation in our community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, visible or invisible disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.
We pledge to act and interact in ways that contribute to an open, welcoming, diverse, inclusive, and healthy community.

Our Standards
Examples of behavior that contributes to a positive environment for our community include:

  • Demonstrating empathy and kindness toward other people
  • Being respectful of differing opinions, viewpoints, and experiences
  • Giving and gracefully accepting constructive feedback
  • Accepting responsibility and apologizing to those affected by our mistakes, and learning from the experience
  • Focusing on what is best not just for us as individuals, but for the overall community

Examples of unacceptable behavior include:

  • The use of sexualized language or imagery, and sexual attention or advances of any kind
  • Trolling, insulting or derogatory comments, and personal or political attacks
  • Public or private harassment
  • Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or email address, without their explicit permission
  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, age, race, national origin, ethnic origin, nationality, immigration status, language, religion or lack thereof, or other identity marker.
  • No racist, sexist, cissexist, ableist or otherwise oppressive behavior is allowed, casual or explicit. This includes any harmful language, behavior, or action toward people of color, trans folks, disabled and other marginalized identities in our community. These are violations of the Code of Conduct.
  • Other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting

Enforcement Responsibilities
Community moderators are responsible for clarifying and enforcing our standards of acceptable behavior and will take appropriate and fair corrective action in response to any behavior that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful.
Community moderators have the right and responsibility to remove, edit, or reject comments, commits, code, wiki edits, issues, and other contributions that are not aligned to this Code of Conduct, and will communicate reasons for moderation decisions when appropriate.

Scope
This Code of Conduct applies within all community spaces, and also applies when an individual is officially representing the community in public spaces. Examples of representing our community include using an official e-mail address, posting via an official social media account, or acting as an appointed representative at an online or offline event.

Enforcement
Instances of abusive, harassing, or otherwise unacceptable behavior may be reported to the community leaders responsible for enforcement at [email protected]. All complaints will be reviewed and investigated promptly and fairly.
All community leaders are obligated to respect the privacy and security of the reporter of any incident.

Enforcement Guidelines
Community leaders will follow these Community Impact Guidelines in determining the consequences for any action they deem in violation of this Code of Conduct:

  1. Correction
    Community Impact: Use of inappropriate language or other behavior deemed unprofessional or unwelcome in the community.
    Consequence: A private, written warning from community leaders, providing clarity around the nature of the violation and an explanation of why the behavior was inappropriate. A public apology may be requested.

  2. Warning
    Community Impact: A violation through a single incident or series of actions.
    Consequence: A warning with consequences for continued behavior. No interaction with the people involved, including unsolicited interaction with those enforcing the Code of Conduct, for a specified period of time. This includes avoiding interactions in community spaces as well as external channels like social media. Violating these terms may lead to a temporary or permanent ban.

  3. Temporary Ban
    Community Impact: A serious violation of community standards, including sustained inappropriate behavior.
    Consequence: A temporary ban from any sort of interaction or public communication with the community for a specified period of time. No public or private interaction with the people involved, including unsolicited interaction with those enforcing the Code of Conduct, is allowed during this period. Violating these terms may lead to a permanent ban.

  4. Permanent Ban
    Community Impact: Demonstrating a pattern of violation of community standards, including sustained inappropriate behavior, harassment of an individual, or aggression toward or disparagement of classes of individuals.
    Consequence: A permanent ban from any sort of public interaction within the community.

Attribution
This Code of Conduct is adapted from the Contributor Covenant, version 2.0, available at https://www.contributor-covenant.org/version/2/0/code_of_conduct.html.

Community Impact Guidelines were inspired by Mozilla’s code of conduct enforcement ladder.

Language was incorporated from the following Codes of Conduct:
Citizen Code of Conduct licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
LGBTQ in Tech , licensed under a Creative Commons Zero License
Django Project Code of Conduct, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Rust Code of Conduct

References

General
Our Culture
The Guide to Allyship
Creative Commons: When we share, everyone wins

First Amendment
Does Freedom of Speech Exist in Cryptocurrency Communities?
First Amendment and Censorship | Advocacy, Legislation & Issues
Mahanoy Area School District v. BL - SCOTUSblog

Participation
Working Open & Public Participation
Open Leadership Training Series : Working Open
IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation
Blockchain for Cities - A systematic literature review

Codes of Conduct
http://safetyfirstpdx.org/resources/code_of_conduct.html
Open Leadership Training Series : Write or Choose a Code of Conduct
Python Community Code of Conduct | Python Software Foundation
Your Code of Conduct
HOWTO design a code of conduct for your community
Django Code of Conduct | Django
GitHub - rust-lang/rust: Empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.
Contributor Code of Conduct — Zcash Documentation 4.3.0 documentation
ECC Code of Conduct - Electric Coin Company
policies/citizen_code_of_conduct.md at master · stumpsyn/policies · GitHub
Contributor Covenant:
Code of Conduct - LGBTQ in Technology

Moderation & Enforcement
How We’re Making Code of Conduct Enforcement Real — and Scaling it.

Centralization is a danger to democracy — Redecentralize.org
Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech

2 Likes

Great work on this @JulietOberding! This looks very thoroughly researched.

The only (minor) comment I had on this pertained to the Scope section:

This might be already implicitly covered by the language, but I think that it may be a good idea to state that for people who hold an official role in the Stacks community (e.g. a channel moderator, a designated role in the SIP process, membership in a working group, employment at the Foundation, etc.), the scope broadens to all your public activities – both offline and online. The rationale is that by holding that role, you officially represent the community 24/7 for the duration of your tenure. Building on this, I think it might also be a good idea to state that violating the code of conduct may result in you being removed from that position, in addition to being temporarily or permanently banned.

What do you think?

2 Likes

@JulietOberding

First of all, thank you so much for putting this together. Your work speaks a lot of volumes when it comes to your passion within the community. A very well-thought-out proposal that is ready for implementation. This is much needed in all our social spheres (Discord, Telegram, Twitter and beyond) as we’re always having a hard time punishing bad actors in the ecosystem.

Question: What’s the next action item here, how can we move it forward and implement it in our ecosystem?

2 Likes

Should we explicitly state whales as marginalized identities? Or is it covered enough by socio-economic status? Whales and the disproportional distribution of STX between individuals can be seen as inequality and whales could abuse their power. Should the code of conduct cover this more explicitly?

3 Likes

Thanks for putting this together, Juliet! Looks really good overall. A few questions:

  • Can we list all individuals who might be considered “community leaders”? Sounds like we’re counting moderators and official members of entities – anyone else?

  • Echoing Friedger’s comments, I wonder if we can say more about the responsibilities of STX token holders. I can’t imagine this section being super comprehensive at this stage, but as token access increases worldwide, community members will want to understand what it means to have a stake in this network. Are STX holders entitled to votes? Do they get more of a say on network-wide decisions? As Friedger suggests, what kind of (ethical/economic) responsibilities do whales/large token holders have to support the network?

  • Are we able to include a more detailed section on how we plan to ratify this document? Also, what is the process for adding or making changes to this Code of Conduct? What about the process for citing violations of the Code of Conduct?