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XEP-0458: Community Code of Conduct

As submitted to the board@ list by Dave and approved unanimously
by the Board in today’s meeting.
Jonas Schäfer 2 years ago
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<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
<!DOCTYPE xep SYSTEM 'xep.dtd' [
<!ENTITY % ents SYSTEM 'xep.ent'>
<?xml-stylesheet type='text/xsl' href='xep.xsl'?>
<title>Community Code of Conduct</title>
This document describes the XMPP Standard Foundation's Code of Conduct
<initials>XEP Editor (jsc)</initials>
<remark>Accept as Experimental after unanimous approval by Board of the ProtoXEP draft for discussion within the community.</remark>
<remark>And so it began.</remark>
<section1 topic='Introduction' anchor='intro'>
<p>The XMPP Standards Foundation provides a number of venues, both physical and virtual, for discussion
and community activity. These include mailing lists, chatrooms, Summits, and so on. It also
produces much output designed for the general public, such as the XEPs themselves, the website,
and kiosks or stands at actual events. Collectively, these are the XMPP Standards Foundation
<p>The Members of the Foundation, and the wider community of participants in the XSF Activities, are
diverse in viewpoints and goals. We see this as a benefit - we wish the maximize the
applicability and quality of our protocols, and therefore we wish to maximize the pool of
potential participants who might offer their unique viewpoints and help us reach new goals.</p>
<p>It makes sense that there is a Code of Conduct that applies to the behaviour we expect both of
ourselves and any other community members when participating in discussions or producing that
public output.</p>
<section1 topic='The Code of Conduct' anchor='conduct'>
<section2 topic="Welcome">
<p>You are welcome. Ensure that you are also welcoming. We want
everyone to feel welcome no matter what the colour of their skin, the country they live
in now, or the country their ancestors came from. We want to welcome people from all
cultures, and religions, and of all sizes and shapes. We want people to be welcome no
matter their sexual identity or orientation. We want you to feel welcome no matter your
level of experience or ability. And we want you to help us make everyone else feel
welcomed, too.</p>
<section2 topic="Assume Good Faith">
<p>We are a diverse community, working often to multiple goals. We
assume the best intent from each other, and do not ascribe malice. Assume that if
someone is complaining about your conduct, it is because they either genuinely feel it
is exclusionary to them, or they genuinely believe it is exclusionary to others - in the
first instance, take it as a learning experience, correct your conduct and move on. If
possible, assume, too, that bad conduct from others may derive from a misunderstanding
or a lack of that learning experience rather than a deliberate attempt to exclude - in
the first instance, correct them and move on. Do not, however, use this as an excuse for
bad conduct or a reason to ignore it.</p>
<section2 topic="Pick Your Words">
<p>A small amount of effort in ensuring your words are
professional and polite, and avoiding subjects and expressions that may offend, goes a
long way. Humour is not a mitigating factor here.</p>
<p>Examples of what to avoid:</p>
<li>Racist language, whether intentional or not.</li>
<li>Threats of violence, or violent language directed against someone else.</li>
<li>Sexually explicit imagery, language, or behaviour.</li>
<section2 topic="Be Respectful">
<p>Disagreements are normal and common. Sometimes, the different goals we
have in our shared endeavour conflict, and it is important that we are able to explain
why. Criticism is essential to find the best solutions to the problems that face us.
However, it is vital that while we are open and honest in our criticism, we do so with
the calm respect we expect of others.</p>
<p>Examples of what to avoid:</p>
<li>Personal insults.</li>
<li>Ad-hominem attacks.</li>
<section2 topic="Be Friendly and Supportive">
<p>We are, fundamentally, a community of people working to
share technology with each other. We should be friendly toward each
other, and act to support each other's efforts.</p>
<p>Examples of what to avoid</p>
<li>Impersonation of other people (copying their nickname, avatar, and so on).</li>
<li>Privacy breaches, including doxxing etc.</li>
<li>Unwelcome sexual attention.</li>
<li>Encouraging poor behaviour in others.</li>
<li>Harrassing others.</li>
<p>If you find yourself dividing the community into an
"us" and a "them", you are risking breaking this Code of Conduct.</p>
<section2 topic="About the Examples">
<p>The examples in this document of what not to do are intended to be just that - examples.
They are not intended to be exhaustive. Many of these examples have formal definitions,
either in law or elsewhere - in general, if you are reliant on such a definition to
argue why your behaviour might be acceptable, you have already lost the argument. </p>
<p>Instead, please try to follow the spirit of this document, perhaps more so than its
<section1 topic="Governing Principles">
<p>The governing principle of this Code of Conduct is that all participation in XSF Activities is
solely by permission of the XMPP Standards Foundation. No person has any automatic right to join
a chatroom, or write a XEP. Ordinarily, the XMPP Standards Foundation welcomes and encourages
participation in XSF Activities, but this guiding principle allows the XSF to partially or
completely exclude anyone from any activity, for any reason.</p>
<p>The final decision on such exclusions is made by the Board, who may from time to time appoint a Work
Team, called the Conduct Team, to act on their behalf. If the Work Team has not been appointed,
the Conduct Team is the Board.</p>
<section1 topic='Who This Applies To' anchor='who'>
<p>This Code of Conduct applies to anyone who:</p>
<li>Acts in a capacity which could reasonably be expected to be acting on behalf of the
XMPP Standards Foundation or the wider XMPP Community.</li>
<li>Participates in any XSF Activity.</li>
<section2 topic="Acting in a capacity">
<p>The first case may seem extremely broad. The intent here is that while good behaviour which
might be associated with the XSF and its community reflects well on us, the opposite is
also true. By explicitly stating that this Code of Conduct applies this allows the XSF
to sanction bad behaviour outside of XSF Activities should the need arise.</p>
<p>Note also that this is not intended to mean that any XMPP developer's behaviour will be
scrutinised constantly - using, for example, racist language in a talk about your XMPP
project would be problematic here, but using sexualised language in an unrelated setting
is likely to be irrelevant to this Code of Conduct.</p>
<p>However, higher standards may be applied to Members and in particular members of Board or
<section1 topic='How We Handle Bad Conduct' anchor='enforcement'>
<section2 topic="Reporting">
<p>If you witness bad conduct by somebody - that is, if you feel someone's behaviour does not
live up to this Code of Conduct - please do call it out to that person at the time, but
only if you feel able. If you feel uncomfortable to call it out that is perfectly fine
and will not affect further handling of the incident.</p>
<p>Whether or not you called it out, do one of the following:</p>
<li>Let the Conduct Team know.</li>
<li>Let the Board know.</li>
<li>Let at least one member of the Board, and preferably more, know.</li>
<p>Who you report it to depends on who was involved in the incident.</p>
<p>Importantly, even if someone else called it out or said to you they would report it, report
it anyway.</p>
<p>When you report it, include the place, date and time, and report it as calmly as
<section2 topic="Consideration">
<p>The Conduct Team will then discuss the incident. This should be done quickly.</p>
<p>The Conduct Team may ask for further information from you, the person accused of bad conduct,
or others who were present.</p>
<p>Finally, the Conduct Team will make a decision on sanctions or other action.</p>
<section2 topic="Sanctions and Actions">
<p>The Conduct Team will always hand its recommendation on Sanctions or other Actions to the
Board. The Board will discuss and vote on these "in camera" (ie, not in public and not
<p>Finally, the result will normally be explained to the person accused on bad conduct, and may
be explained to the complainant. In high profile cases, the result will be announced
<p>In general terms, any announcement should be proportionate to the bad conduct and the size of
the audience which witnessed it.</p>
<p>Sanctions may consist of having the ability to participate reduced or removed from some or
all XSF Activities. Actions may include discussion with the Conduct Team. These are
<p>Many minor incidents will, therefore, not be reported publicly at all, and - even if there is
an agreement that bad conduct occurred - may not result in any visible actions at all.</p>
<section2 topic="Appeal">
<p>If you disagree with the decision made by the Board and you were either the subject of bad
conduct or subject to the actions or sanctions, you may appeal in writing by sending an
email to the Board. The Board will consider your argument as written and will normally
respond. The Board's decision after appeal is, however, final.</p>
<p>While the sanctions described herein are, by their nature, exclusionary, and much of the behaviour
discussed is negative, the intent is the opposite - we want to maximize inclusion, and promote
positive behaviours.</p>
<section1 topic='Security Considerations' anchor='security'>
<p>It is possible for almost any behaviour to have some argument why it is not, in fact, exclusionary,
and why it's just someone taking offence too easily. It also is possible for the Code of Conduct
to be weaponised for exclusionary purposes, by using the complaints mechanism to stall or
silence valid debate. Both of these are cases where the very existence of a Code of Conduct is
used for exclusionary purposes, perverting its very intent. Obviously, don't do either.</p>
<p>"Assume Good Faith", in particular, holds the risk of an endless argument over how far to go with
that assumption, and where the burden lies - the phrasing is intended to minimize the wiggle
room there.</p>
<p>There are no simple answers to these concerns. Future Boards and Conduct teams are advised to be
wary of both cases.</p>
<section1 topic='IANA Considerations' anchor='iana'>
<p>This document has no considerations for IANA.</p>
<section1 topic='XMPP Registrar Considerations' anchor='registrar'>
<p>This document has no considerations for the XMPP Registrar.</p>