Diversity initiative Update #2
A few days ago Symfony adopted a code of conduct and a process for enforcing it. While this was a major effort of the diversity initiative which took several months to complete, it should not change how we interact. The fundamental rules of how we treat each other already have now simply been written down. More importantly we have thought about how to deal with incidents in case someone thinks these rules have not been followed. So while nothing changes for the bulk of our community, we hope that in the edge cases where people don’t treat each other well, we can now give them a clear communication path to getting the situation resolved.
"A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the social norms and rules and responsibilities of, or proper practices for, an individual, party or organization." (quoted from). A code of conduct includes a statement of unacceptable behavior, how it is enforced and to whom an incident should be reported to (see also). It is not meant to be used to police people but mainly for:
- Making it clear that our space is safe for anyone;
- Helping anyone who experiences intimidation or harassment to feel safer coming forward;
- Encouraging people to feel more comfortable stepping in and taking care of their fellow community members.
For further reading check.
In general when people come together good things happen, but sometimes problems occur. Ideally people work out issues on their own, learn from their mistakes and move on. However sometimes this doesn't work. Members part of minority groups are more often the target of misconduct than others. This creates a vicious circle where those smaller demographics become the most likely to leave the community. It is often hard to even realize the gravity of this problem for members not part of a marginalized group. We created a document of cases that have been reported, or experienced by members of PHPWomen to illustrate just how bad things can get. We will continuously update this document with our own experiences, as time passes in case incidents happen. Of course we hope this document won't grow further!
There are few codes of conduct written in the OSS space. Like Django, Python or Ubuntu. The adapted version of the Contributor Covenant is widely spread in the OSS with a public list of adopters. We felt it has the best balance between being not too vague and specific enough, describing the unacceptable behavior and what steps will be taken in such situations.
To put it in other words, the code of conduct defines rules for a respectful communication style that is welcoming to a diverse community. However these rules largely already existed before the formal adoption of this code of conduct. This code of conduct covers all communication on the official Symfony maintained channels, like this blog, the Symfony documentation, the Slack chat and the non-maintained channels like social networks or forums.
To clarify, if a user on Twitter posts through the official Symfony account (e.g. http://twitter.com/symfony), then they should follow the code of conduct. On the other hand, if the same user has a second Twitter account with no official relation to Symfony, then the code of conduct would not apply there.
The introduced code of conduct is not a bulletproof document that covers all possible cases of misconduct, but it is specific enough to handle the most common issues that might occur. An important part of the code of conduct is enforcement. If a community member encounters an issue of harassment or other unwanted behaviour, they can report it to the CARE team (CoC Active Response Ensurers). Note the CARE team will soon be appointed by Fabien.
The process for reporting and enforcement is detailed here. Once an incident has been reported, the CARE team will then take over from there and handle the case. The guidelines are adapted from Stumptown Syndicate and the Django Software Foundation.
We intend to organize a training for the CARE team and some of the people involved in running SymfonyLive events, to ensure that they are prepared to handle incident reports in a professional manner. Obviously this sort of thing costs money. There are often ideas coming up that may require additional funds. Any organization interested in sponsoring the diversity initiative, please contact me so that I can maintain a list of potential sponsors for the various initiatives.
Moving on to another topic, one point of discussion is the fact that our documentation is only available in English. In the past we had French and Italian translations, but they were dropped since it was simply impossible to keep them up to date given the rapid pace on the English documentation. However we have taken steps to make the experience with Google Translate hopefully acceptable. Doctrine has now taken things a step further by offering a dropdown on all documentation pages to get a translation of any given page more easily. It would be interesting to get some feedback from the community on how useful they think this is and if we should do something similar for Symfony.
So far we have SymfonyLive events mostly in Europe and a few in the US. For next year our goal is to bring SymfonyLive to more continents. We are already fairly far in the discussions for some specific locations on continents that have so far been left behind. That being said, this all depends on local people assisting the experienced event team at Symfony to make this happen. So anyone who is serious about bringing the SymfonyLive format to your country, get in touch with Nicolas.
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