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Symfony Code of Conduct Transparency Report 2018

Last year, May 2018, Symfony adopted a Code of Conduct (CoC). Émilie Lorenzo, Tobias Nyholm and I, Michelle Sanver were entrusted with the task of CARE, CoC Active Response Ensurers. You can read more about Symfony's CARE Team.

Quite early on we were all part of a Code of Conduct training by Otter Technology. This helped us understand and practise some typical scenarios between each other, which we all found very helpful going forward.

In this blog post I will share some insights of our work in 2018. Due to the nature of this topic, we won't and never will dive into details about any of these reports. We have erred on the site of caution as this is our first transparency report - And we are open to feedback how to do the other ones in the future!

In 2018 we had about 15 reports.

Most reports we received were per email using our official coc@symfony.com email address, some were direct messages on Slack. Some came in during SymfonyCon. When a report comes in, we respond to it as soon as we can to confirm that we received the report. Then we assess it. We typically measure reports by urgency and impact, and put them on a grid.

In certain cases we would need to act first, and discuss later. Luckily, in all of the cases we had so far, we could get together and discuss the appropriate way to deal with the reports and do so accordingly:

  • Typical reports were about unwelcome and non-inclusive language most on Slack and/or on GitHub.
  • There has been one report about sexualized language or harassment.
  • There have been a few cases where we had to remove a user from Slack. One of them was a bot.

The typical cases were resolved with conversations, where we were asking the reported people to help us make the Symfony community a better place, and explaining what impact their behaviour can have. It was regularly received positively, and people were happy to do what they can to help us build an inclusive environment.

We didn't get much negative feedback or criticism. This is a wonderful community to be a part of.

Of course, there will always be cases where people feel uncomfortable. Whether it was intended or not, it's the impact that we look at. We as people are very different and perceive situations differently.

We're here for you if you perceive a situation in the community as uncomfortable or problematic.

I hope that we can keep the number of incidents as low in 2019 as we have in 2018 - And let's keep growing together.

This list is not meant to spread shame or blame. We're publishing it to show why our Code of Conduct is important, and how it is enforced in practice.

Thanks for CAREing!

Comments

Thank you CARE team for taking on this responsibility!
Thanks for the update and transparency Michelle! I've been really impressed by that.
Great work language police team!
@Cornelius let me explain one of the things we do related to "unwelcome language" to see if it's better understood.

Imagine yourself in these three situations: 1) "you an your friends at a pub"; 2) "you and your boss at work"; 3) "you and your parents at their home". Do you use the same words and expressions in all these situations?

I'm sure you tell your friends to "fuck off" or "fuck you" frequently ... and no offense is taken because of your friendship and the relaxed environment. Now, would you say "fuck off" to your boss? Would you say "fuck you" to your parents? No, you wouldn't.

On Symfony Slack, whenever anyone says the word "fuck", we show an automatic reply asking to not say that word and explaining the reason. We don't delete or censor the original message, because this has nothing to do with "thought police", "language police" or "censorship". We've just decided that using the "fuck" word is not appropriate in the professional environment of Symfony's Slack. Use that word with your friends or in direct messages, but not on public channels.
@Javier
Your example is very reasonable and I have no problem with it.
My sarcastic comment was in response to "Typical reports were about [...] non-inclusive language", it *triggered* me so to speak.

Maybe include a "politically correct activism" trigger warning to avoid offending me in the future.
@Cornelius Thank you for your feedback. I am sorry that you feel offended by my blog post, it was in no way my intention. Please let me know if there is any way I can make these posts more clear to avoid offending you in the future. Feel free to e-mail me: hello [at] michellesanver.com, if you wish to speak privately.
@Cornelius I would also appreciate a chance to talk to you more directly via chat. Its clear you have big concerns over steps taken within the diversity initiative though you do not seem to oppose the actual goals: ie. having a more diverse and inclusive community. Since you take so much time to comment, maybe we can support all this energy in a manner that moves thing forward. Perhaps for example on the topic of translations that you mentioned in the comments of a previous blog post?
I have no problem with an initiative that seeks to improve Symfony for more people.

What worries me is the increasingly hostile atmosphere these code-of-conducts create, and the fact that Symfony hired a person that casually accuses people of being rape apologists on twitter (https://twitter.com/_sagesharp_/status/1042769399596437504).

There are also already calls to censor opinions in the PHP community. Heres an example:
https://twitter.com/da_wehner/status/1090210503488606208

Of course the leadership of the Symfony community is free to impose any rules they want, its just annoys me because I have to read about it on the blog here because the advertising agency I work for uses symfony after I convinced them to do so.

@Michelle:
I don't actually demand that you alter your behaviour so you don't risk offending me, thats obviously silly and exactly what bothers me about code-of-conducts, everybody can claim to be offended.
@Cornelius We take every report very seriously, and no-one should have to worry. All discussions are valuable as long as they are done in a respectful manner - We never intend to censor any opinions. We look at mistakes others have made in the past when enforcing code of conducts, and we will do our very best not to repeat those mistakes.

All feedback is welcome.

Also: Me changing the way I express myself is not something I took as a demand. It is something I offer, and take as feedback to try to communicate in a way where my intention is clear. Everyone indeed has the right to be offended.
Cornelius: What puzzles me a bit is that you point to an “increasingly hostile atmosphere” which to me acknownoleges that feelings do indeed play a role in a community. This report however should come as a relieve to you as you raised concerns over people being expelled due to the CoC, yet the above report shows that not only that didn’t happen, no public reprimand of any kind happened.

As to your concerns Sage Sharp, there have been several people raising similar concerns over the email thread in question and I personally come to the same conclusion. From what I understood from that twitter thread Sage was pointing out that CoC reports would go to Tso. So Sage wasn’t even talking about expelling Tso but that he should not be in a position to receive, let alone comment on CoC reports. I am not sure why you added the word “casually”, because I don’t think there was anything casual about calling this out and Sage was also not the first person to call this out.

As for the other tweet you mentioned, you might have also seen my response. Again it appears to me like you are addressing personal fears, while discounting the relevance addressing the fears of others through a CoC.

Note we do take your fears seriously and like I said I would be very happy to discuss them directly with you or through mediation. Obviously the method of implementing a CoC to address the fears and documented very real dangers of online harrassment is creating fears within you. I do very much acknowledge that a CoC can be used to improperly supress opinions but again the above report should maybe help to reduce those fears ..

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