Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

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Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Sam Hartman-5

[It feels like I've been writing a lot of these messages lately.  I
think this is the last thread I know I'll be starting on -project this
week.  It's likely I will be starting another thread on debian-private
later in the week.  And then off to Debconf!]


Hi.

During May and June I collected feedback about the Antiharassment Team
from current and former members; from people who had interacted with the
team; and from interested community members.

I've attached a slide presentation that is slightly redacted from one I
gave at the DA/AH/DPL meeting in June.
I've also attached  markdown sources that I ran through pandoc.

I actually think that these results are consistent with what we've been
seeing in discussions on debian-private and here.

I think there's very broad support for the functions the antiharassment
team is performing.  There are a lot of people who expressed support for
the Code of Conduct and for a team like AH.  There are a few people
concerned about potential problems we can run into in this work, but for
example no one said that we shouldn't have a team working on conduct
issues.  Concerned individuals did raise issues of openness and avoiding
chilling effects that they want us to be very careful of in this work.

Unfortunately, there are serious concerns about our current
implementation.  It's my opinion as DPL that two of these stand out as
critical issues that must be addressed.  The first is that the AH team
is not sufficiently responsive.  The second is that we need to do better
at actually engaging in mediation.  By that I mean helping people
understand what changes in behavior we're looking for and how to
accomplish their goals within our standards.  I do not mean the AH team
should routinely engage in debates about whether particular conduct is
consistent with our standards.  My hope is that by addressing these
concerns we can build stronger trust in the team.

I don't think the survey alone would be sufficient to bring these
concerns to the level of critical issues that must be addressed.
Surveys like this tend to attract strong positive and negative feedback.
However, we got a lot of feedback earlier this year on debian-project
and debian-private.  First, a number of participants brought up these
same issues in those discussions.  However, what I find more significant
is the comments made by people who expressed support for the AH team.
At least from a number of participants, this support clearly envisioned
an AH team that was responsive and that effectively helped members of
our community be effective in their communication while following our
standards.

I'd appreciate feedback on everything here, bum I'd especially
appreciate feedback on whether I've correctly identified the right
concerns to address.  It would also help to know whether my analysis
that these are critical issues is correct.

Thanks for your consideration.  I'd also like to thank everyone who gave
feedback.
I was amazed at how constructive the process was.


--Sam

% Antiharassment Feedbac (Public)
% Sam Hartman
% June 22, 2019

# Nature of Feedback

* Feedback from 17 sources
* Respondents; reporters;former and current team members; interested community members
* Very constructive

# Nature of Feedback (2)

* Methodology tends to collect extreme negative and positive feedback, tending a bit toward negative
* We probably also collect feedback from people who believe that earlier debian-private discussions do not validate their views
* Only community discussion will validate if my reading of feedback represents a consensus; if the feedback is too off the mark we'll hear that when it is presented

# Bdale on CoC

Sam's summary of bdale's observation:

* when the Social contract was adopted, everyone was basically in
* The CoC is a new requirement
* Several members do not consent

When community values change without universal support, it will be hard.  We may lose people.

# Ah Has a Fan

* Feedback from one respondent talking about how suggestions from AH have improved their communications and helped avoid frustration in the community

* Positive feedback about the bigger issues AH has tackled

# Debconf 17 Success

* Multiple people talked about  AH's success helping the Debconf 17 local team set up an incident level response team
* Feedback that this is important

# Ah Matters

Significant feedback in support of the idea of an AH effort.

One story described a particularly painful situation and talked about how if there had been an AH team back then, it would have been easier to handle.

::: fragment

**Except** there was an AH team back then and the story even talked about how someone who (unbeknownst to the story teller) was an AH member was involved in trying to solve the situation.

:::

# Ah Efforts Sound a lot like Oppression to Some

* Our approach to antiharassment is particularly uncomfortable to those who have lived under oppressive governments
* Are we achieving compliance with community guidelines by building understanding or through fear
* We talk education; compare and contrast how education was used in the Cultural Revolution and in other totalitarian movements

# Project Members are Silenced

One story of a member of our community biting their nails in an audience at a talk.  They wanted to participate but were afraid.  They don't understand what the CoC means; they don't understand where the lines are.

Will they cross some line and be forced to humiliate themselves in public or leave the project?

The CoC obligates us to treat this person with respect; so far, we fail.

# The AH Team is not Trusted

* Significant fraction of feedback from people who would not trust the AH team if they were hurt; who would not trust the AH team to treat them reasonably as a respondent.

::: incremental
* One respondent indicated that when faced with potential harassment they found it more effective to engage in their own bullying until their harasser left areas of Debian they cared about than to engage with the AH team.
:::

# The AH Team is Not Trusted (2)

* Almost universal feedback: the AH team is inadequately responsive to engage in discussions
* Supported by current and former members; reporters; respondents
* Effective mediation and education requires a very responsive interaction cycle

# The AH Team is not Trusted (3)

* AH's activities DO NOT correspond to what it claims to do in its explanation on the wiki page
* Inadequate mention of policing on the   wiki
* feedback strongly suggests the name is actively harmful  and contributes to lack of trust

# Feedback about the Name

* Activities extend beyond harassment and toward creating a generally inclusive enviroment
* One person felt that the team was trying to tar all activity that didn't foster inclusiveness with harassment
*  Other respondents were not so articulate but seemed to support the same concern
* Yet choosing a name that is too politically correct will alienate others

# Listening to Respondents

*  The AH team (and da-manager) do not listen to the respondent's side before making a conclusion
* There's a lot of evidence to support this is generally true
* This seems to be causing significant social harm and distrust

# Lack of Mediation

We are not effective at offering to help people:

* Getting conversation away from legalisms
* Helping respondents understand what changes they would need to make
* Helping respondents gain compassion for how their behavior affects others

# There is a Double Standard

* we take people to task who have conservative views
* Yet those who support the CoC can bully with impunity
* the list was different from different respondents, but the point is the same; when some people get taken to task publicly and others do not, it creates erroneous impressions
* The implication here is very concerning: members of our community feel unwelcome because of inappropriate conduct and do not trust us to help them out

# There is a Double Standard (2)

* This feedback has a significant perceptual component that goes beyond any factual bias
* The community does not (and **should not**) generally know who has received mail from AH
* Supporters of the CoC are likely more able to interact with the AH team in a manner that appears constructive
  * Shared language
  * Shared values about what feels like an escalation

# Writing Responses in a Group

* It's really hard to be responsive and to engage in mediation when you write responses in a group in a periodic meeting
* Multiple current/former members of the team indicated strong enough fear reaction that they would not have been able to write responses except in a team
* It really helps if you have consensus on what is and is not a CoC issue.


# Incident of Inappropriate Language

* "inappropriate language" was a singularly bad phrasing in the most recent bits mail
  * Do we really need a team to tell people not to say "o, fuck" when things go wrong
* Would have been better to emphasize that language was directed at a member of our community

# Norbert's Apology

* Norbert's apology was seen as groveling and humiliating by others in the project
* Personal opinion: We must find ways of expressing regrets that let us grow rather than belittling ourselves in our own eyes or others
* Personal opinion: We must make it easy for people to see themselves expressing regrets and learning from actions

# Conflict of Interest

* The DPl and several community members were concerned about conflicts of interest that existed in recent AH cases
* Need for clear COI policy
* Discussion with team indicates we also need good fallbacks when the team is too small for people to recuse

# Involving the Community

Awareness of core values needs to come from the project as a whole not just from an inside team

# Project-Level Mandate

How do we get to a project-level mandate for the AH task?

* More support for mediation than policing
* The team almost exclusively does policing

# Project-Level Mandate (2)

Dpl Opinion:

*  some level of policing is actually important, project buy-in or no.  But mediation is critical.
* Personal question: can mediation success along with clear documentation build trust that leads to project buy-in even for non mediation items?



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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Russ Allbery-2
Hi Sam,

Thank you for sending this analysis and the clear effort and thought
that's gone into it.  I'm very glad that you gathered some partial data,
which is a useful addition to the normal mailing list discussions.

I do have some significant concerns about the conclusions you've drawn,
and around the feasibility of what you have identified as the project's
goals for the anti-harassment team.  Maybe they're off-base, but I'll be
frank about them and see where the discussion goes.

First, although I've snipped all those parts of your message, I completely
agree with the concern about responsiveness and with finding some way to
prioritize that.  There is often a time limit on being able to effectively
respond to harassment or related problems in a project, beyond which a lot
of the value is lost.

That also makes the job very difficult, which leads into my concerns.

Sam Hartman <[hidden email]> writes:

> The second is that we need to do better at actually engaging in
> mediation.  By that I mean helping people understand what changes in
> behavior we're looking for and how to accomplish their goals within our
> standards.  I do not mean the AH team should routinely engage in debates
> about whether particular conduct is consistent with our standards.  My
> hope is that by addressing these concerns we can build stronger trust in
> the team.

Maybe I'm reading too much into what you're saying, but I'm troubled by
these statements.

First, to me this feels like Geek Social Fallacy 1: Ostracizers are evil.
What it feels like you're saying is that, as a project, we should invest
even *more* time and energy in those people who are making Debian a
hostile and negative experience for others.  I believe this sends a clear
if entirely unintentional message about who we value.

Second, I don't understand how organized mediation can possibly be on the
table at this point given our available resources, particularly since
you've identified lack of responsiveness as your other serious concern.  I
know there are multiple factors that go into the question of
responsiveness, but I can see no way in which adding a requirement of
mediation could possibly improve response times.

Third, I believe that requiring mediation expertise on top of the other
(quite challenging) requirements for the AH team will mean that the role
requirements are defined into impossibility.  At that point, we're talking
about a set of skills that people go through intensive multi-year training
to acquire, and yet somehow we expect to staff that role with volunteers?
This feels entirely unrealistic to me.  I think instead we need to start
with what sort of action is realistic for the type of project we are and
our available volunteer pool, and then reset project expectations
accordingly.

On that front, I will advocate strongly for prioritizing stopping the
behavior that is in violation of our Code of Conduct (on a timely basis)
over making people who are violating the Code of Conduct feel heard and
supported.

I'm very sympathetic to the folks who are trying to navigate different
cultures and different cultural expectations.  We can approach this with a
base standard of empathy, and we can start from an assumption of good
intent, and hopefully that will soften the occasional difficult moment.
But if we let empathy turn into paralysis, we're not doing the community
any favors.

Put another way, providing mediation is graduate-level work in AH.  I
don't think we have the 101-level AH work in a predictable and sustainable
state.  Let's start there.

> However, what I find more significant is the comments made by people who
> expressed support for the AH team.  At least from a number of
> participants, this support clearly envisioned an AH team that was
> responsive and that effectively helped members of our community be
> effective in their communication while following our standards.

The conclusion that I personally would draw from this is that a number of
people in the project have unrealistic expectations for what is possible
for a voluntary anti-harassment team in a project like ours.  I believe
any attempt to add mentoring, coaching, or mediation to the duties of the
anti-harassment team would have the effect of dooming the team, and thus
significantly undermining our ability to maintain a reasonable project
response to harassment.

--
Russ Allbery ([hidden email])               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Scott Kitterman-5


On July 10, 2019 1:36:16 AM UTC, Russ Allbery <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hi Sam,
>
>Thank you for sending this analysis and the clear effort and thought
>that's gone into it.  I'm very glad that you gathered some partial
>data,
>which is a useful addition to the normal mailing list discussions.
>
>I do have some significant concerns about the conclusions you've drawn,
>and around the feasibility of what you have identified as the project's
>goals for the anti-harassment team.  Maybe they're off-base, but I'll
>be
>frank about them and see where the discussion goes.
>
>First, although I've snipped all those parts of your message, I
>completely
>agree with the concern about responsiveness and with finding some way
>to
>prioritize that.  There is often a time limit on being able to
>effectively
>respond to harassment or related problems in a project, beyond which a
>lot
>of the value is lost.
>
>That also makes the job very difficult, which leads into my concerns.
>
>Sam Hartman <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> The second is that we need to do better at actually engaging in
>> mediation.  By that I mean helping people understand what changes in
>> behavior we're looking for and how to accomplish their goals within
>our
>> standards.  I do not mean the AH team should routinely engage in
>debates
>> about whether particular conduct is consistent with our standards.
>My
>> hope is that by addressing these concerns we can build stronger trust
>in
>> the team.
>
>Maybe I'm reading too much into what you're saying, but I'm troubled by
>these statements.
>
>First, to me this feels like Geek Social Fallacy 1: Ostracizers are
>evil.
>What it feels like you're saying is that, as a project, we should
>invest
>even *more* time and energy in those people who are making Debian a
>hostile and negative experience for others.  I believe this sends a
>clear
>if entirely unintentional message about who we value.
>
>Second, I don't understand how organized mediation can possibly be on
>the
>table at this point given our available resources, particularly since
>you've identified lack of responsiveness as your other serious concern.
> I
>know there are multiple factors that go into the question of
>responsiveness, but I can see no way in which adding a requirement of
>mediation could possibly improve response times.
>
>Third, I believe that requiring mediation expertise on top of the other
>(quite challenging) requirements for the AH team will mean that the
>role
>requirements are defined into impossibility.  At that point, we're
>talking
>about a set of skills that people go through intensive multi-year
>training
>to acquire, and yet somehow we expect to staff that role with
>volunteers?
>This feels entirely unrealistic to me.  I think instead we need to
>start
>with what sort of action is realistic for the type of project we are
>and
>our available volunteer pool, and then reset project expectations
>accordingly.
>
>On that front, I will advocate strongly for prioritizing stopping the
>behavior that is in violation of our Code of Conduct (on a timely
>basis)
>over making people who are violating the Code of Conduct feel heard and
>supported.
>
>I'm very sympathetic to the folks who are trying to navigate different
>cultures and different cultural expectations.  We can approach this
>with a
>base standard of empathy, and we can start from an assumption of good
>intent, and hopefully that will soften the occasional difficult moment.
>But if we let empathy turn into paralysis, we're not doing the
>community
>any favors.
>
>Put another way, providing mediation is graduate-level work in AH.  I
>don't think we have the 101-level AH work in a predictable and
>sustainable
>state.  Let's start there.
>
>> However, what I find more significant is the comments made by people
>who
>> expressed support for the AH team.  At least from a number of
>> participants, this support clearly envisioned an AH team that was
>> responsive and that effectively helped members of our community be
>> effective in their communication while following our standards.
>
>The conclusion that I personally would draw from this is that a number
>of
>people in the project have unrealistic expectations for what is
>possible
>for a voluntary anti-harassment team in a project like ours.  I believe
>any attempt to add mentoring, coaching, or mediation to the duties of
>the
>anti-harassment team would have the effect of dooming the team, and
>thus
>significantly undermining our ability to maintain a reasonable project
>response to harassment.

I suspect it may not be what you meant, but what I'm reading from your response is that you think AH should be limited to telling people to be quiet or asking DAM to show them the door?

If that's their scope, why would anyone ever do anything other than ignore them?  What's the upside for someone who someone claims has violated the CoC to engage with AH?  It seems to me that one might as well ignore them and see if DAM gets called in.

Wouldn't it be better to try and engage members of the project that engage in relatively minor things and try to guide their behavior in a positive direction?  Sure, there are some things that are serious enough that no second chances are appropriate, but not every crime deserves the death penalty.

Ostracizers are evil may not be true, but that doesn't mean the reverse is true.  That would also be a fallacy.

Scott K

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Russ Allbery-2
Scott Kitterman <[hidden email]> writes:

> I suspect it may not be what you meant, but what I'm reading from your
> response is that you think AH should be limited to telling people to be
> quiet or asking DAM to show them the door?

> If that's their scope, why would anyone ever do anything other than
> ignore them?  What's the upside for someone who someone claims has
> violated the CoC to engage with AH?  It seems to me that one might as
> well ignore them and see if DAM gets called in.

I think we should separate how we want to organize the function from what
the actions should be, since how to construct the team is complex and has
a lot of possible options, and it may be more useful to start with
agreeing on a goal.

I think the goal should be to stop the behavior in violation of the Code
of Conduct.  I'm going to use aggressive personal attacks as my example,
mostly since I think that's the most common.  It's only an example; there
are other potential issues in this space as well.

Debian project business is mostly conducted on mailing lists, on IRC, and
in bugs.  Therefore, for aggressive personal attacks, a fast and effective
anti-harassment action to stop the violation of the Code of Conduct is to
warn the person doing so to stop and then temporarily ban them from that
mailing list, bug, or IRC channel if they don't.  It's probably
immediately obvious why timeliness of response is very important here.

I realize that this is already done by people other than the AH team (in
this case, owner@bugs, listmaster, and IRC channel operators), but this
*is* an anti-harassment function, whoever does it.  It's useful to note
because I don't think it's a horribly controversial one.

Similarly, if there is a harassment complaint at DebConf, there are lots
of examples that we can follow of other conventions with effective local
anti-harassment efforts.  One of the most common, if the behavior is not
egregious, is to tell the person whose behavior was unwelcome to stay away
from the person they were harassing for the remainder of the convention,
with the understanding that if they don't they'll be removed from the
premises.

Do you feel like this sort of thing is "telling people to be quiet or
asking DAM to show them the door?"  I don't.  I think it's taking
immediate action to stop the violation of the Code of Conduct, which is
the point.

If we think we're so good at doing this that it's smooth, automatic, and
predictable, and we're ready to look at much harder problems like heading
off patterns of behavior or mentoring people in how to work more
collaboratively, that's great, but I'm rather dubious, and that's not what
I'm hearing in Sam's message or what I've seen in the project.  I think we
still have some work to do in making this kind of thing consistent.  I
think we're also lacking an escalation process for what to do if someone
repeatedly crosses this line in various different project forums and
repeatedly requires someone to intervene.  (To be clear, I do *not* think
that escalation process should be to give that person license to waste
even more project time, effort, and attention.)

Note that this also raises the question of how to structure and organize
our response.  Right now, different teams handle these problems in their
own areas, with the AH team as a catch-all backstop.  That has some
significant advantages, but it also has a risk of inconsistency, and also
a risk of burning out the AH team because they get only the hardest
problems.  I think one of the open questions about how to structure the AH
function in Debian is whether we want to try to create more consistency or
general principles, or if we're happy with the current distributed
enforcement and mostly need to focus on escalation process and information
sharing.  (For the record, I think the listmasters and owner@bugs both do
excellent jobs on the whole, although rarely I think they may err on the
side of intervening too late.  I personally don't use IRC, so have no idea
there.)

> Wouldn't it be better to try and engage members of the project that
> engage in relatively minor things and try to guide their behavior in a
> positive direction?

Telling people they crossed a line and need to stop, and then if necessary
forcing them to stop by temporarily restricting their access to the place
where they're crossing the line, *is* engaging members of the project in
relatively minor things and guiding their behavior.  It is, in fact, by
far the most *effective* way to do that.  It is far more effective than
trying to politely convince them to act differently, which takes
considerably more time and energy and is normally read as an invitation to
an argument instead of a clear statement of a boundary.

> Sure, there are some things that are serious enough that no second
> chances are appropriate, but not every crime deserves the death penalty.

There are endless things we can and should be doing that are far short of
expelling someone from the project but are still effective at putting an
end to unacceptable behavior.  If anything, I would like to see us
concentrate our energy in finding more effective short-term ways to put a
stop to behavior than to focus on mediation.

The idea that there is no space between gentle coaching and mediation and
some sort of destructive ultimatum is exactly the problem.  This is the
type of empathy that turns into paralysis.  The Debian project is composed
of adults who are perfectly capable of learning to control their own
behavior, learning to not do things that result in someone warning or
banning them temporarily from a project resource, and figuring out that a
warning about their behavior is neither the end of the world nor something
that they should just indignantly ignore.

I don't want to be unsympathetic to people who are honestly struggling
with conflicting cultural expectations, but I think we're making this way
harder and way more fraught than it actually is, and are not having
sufficient confidence in each other's abilities to react to conflict by
modifying our behavior.  Maybe we get grumbly about it, feel unfairly
treated, and complain to friends; all that is a perfectly normal human
reaction.  As long as the behavior changes, the project can clearly draw
and maintain those boundaries, and there's some escalation process
leading, if we have to, up to expulsion from the project for people who
absolutely refuse to modify their behavior, I think we will be in a fairly
good place from an anti-harassment standpoint.

Supportive mediation and coaching would be a gracious and generous gesture
should someone choose to volunteer that to someone who sincerely accepted
it and benefited from it, but this is a *really* high bar that practically
no organization reaches, and my point in my original reply is that I don't
think this should be our success criteria.

--
Russ Allbery ([hidden email])               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Christian Kastner-3
Hi Russ,

I'm deliberately commenting on just two very short fragments of your mails:

On 10.07.19 05:45, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Telling people they crossed a line and need to stop, and then if necessary
> forcing them to stop by temporarily restricting their access to the place
> where they're crossing the line, *is* engaging members of the project in
> relatively minor things and guiding their behavior.
This statement is, by itself, entirely reasonable.

However, if there's one thing I've learned from reading -project and
especially -private in the recent past, it's that where this line is
drawn seems to be entirely unclear, and an unclear rule rarely (if ever)
results in an improvement of things.

In my observation, given any two sides of the discussion, the line
between the two extremes -- which, unfortunately, are also the loudest
-- is actually a chasm (and the middle 90% of the discussion just stay
out of it, for obvious reasons).

As it appears to me, one extreme seems to reject even the concept of a
CoC, while the other seems to define "harassment" as something
exclusively subjective.

I consider both of these extremes irrational. As to the former: I
believe that Debian should be a welcoming place, and that we should
enforce conduct that makes it such. As to the latter: however, I also
believe that we need objective interpretations of what the proper type
of conduct *is*. Because otherwise, we risk labeling as aggressive or
offensive behavior that is objectively clearly not so simply because a
given individual perceived it as such.

Hence, I not only personally like Sam's idea of mediation, I believe it
is essential to actually drawing that line. I believe it is essential to
leading to improvement.

That doesn't mean that every problem needs mediation, or the same amount
of mediation. As an extreme example, a death threat against a member of
the community is objectively harassing, as it is defined as criminal
behavior in all jurisdictions I'm familiar with.

On the other hand, a complete rejection of mediation can lead to cases
such as the following, where I cannot see the positive effect of A-H
enforcement at all. On the contrary, I find this utterly confusing, and
mails like these lead me to actively question whether I should even
publicly disagree with someone on a list, lest it be considered
harassment (this is not hyperbole, I can give an example on -private
where simple disagreement led to an A-H report).

    https://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2018/12/msg00033.html

As to your other mail:

> The conclusion that I personally would draw from this is that a number of
> people in the project have unrealistic expectations for what is possible
> for a voluntary anti-harassment team in a project like ours.

I concur. However, I believe that the expectations, most notably
mediation, are entirely reasonable, and hence if it is unrealistic that
these expectations can be satisfied by a voluntary team, the Project
should engage a professional resource. As far as I understand it, the
Project does this all the time when a lawyer is needed, for example.


Regards,
Christian








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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Gerardo Ballabio-2
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
Russ Allbery wrote:
> I think the goal should be to stop the behavior in violation of the Code of Conduct.

I see here an implicit assumption that whenever an alleged violation
is reported, the allegation is actually true. I suspect that this is
exactly the problem: many people are concerned that they may be
unjustly targeted.

In fact, I understand that some have been afraid that they might be
targeted if they just expressed their opinions on certain sensitive
matters if those opinions aren't aligned with the current politically
correct mainstream -- i.e., "censorship".

Having an AH process that isn't transparent and/or doesn't give the
accused room to defend themselves and/or doesn't provide a way to
appeal an unjust ruling can only add to that concern.

Of course if there is a situation that requires immediate action then
it is appropriate to "shoot first, ask later" but that should be the
exception rather than the norm.

Gerardo

(P.S. I'd appreciate if anyone could teach me how I can reply to a
message that I haven't received -- not being subscribed to the list --
without breaking the thread.)

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Eldon Koyle
On Wed, Jul 10, 2019 at 3:02 AM Gerardo Ballabio
<[hidden email]> wrote:
<snip>
>
> Gerardo
>
> (P.S. I'd appreciate if anyone could teach me how I can reply to a
> message that I haven't received -- not being subscribed to the list --
> without breaking the thread.)
>

You need to set the In-Reply-To: header to the message-id of the
message you are replying to.  At the bottom of each message in the
list archives there is a "Reply To:" section with links that should
hopefully auto-populate the needed information in your mail client.

--
Eldon Koyle

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Martina Ferrari-2
In reply to this post by Christian Kastner-3
[Replying in a personal capacity here.]

Christian,

On 10/07/2019 06:45, Christian Kastner wrote:

> However, if there's one thing I've learned from reading -project and
> especially -private in the recent past, it's that where this line is
> drawn seems to be entirely unclear, and an unclear rule rarely (if ever)
> results in an improvement of things.

This is true, and makes things more difficult for everybody involved. It
is a direct consequence of how the CoC is written, but I am not sure
there is a reasonable way to have a line clearly drawn without
drastically weakening the usefulness of the CoC. I think there were long
discussions about this very question back in the day when the CoC was
being drafted.

> Hence, I not only personally like Sam's idea of mediation, I believe it
> is essential to actually drawing that line. I believe it is essential to
> leading to improvement.

How do you see mediation helping draw that line? (Not a rhetorical
question, I am honestly curious). Also, there are different ways to
interpret the word mediation, what is your interpretation in this context?

> On the other hand, a complete rejection of mediation can lead to cases
> such as the following, where I cannot see the positive effect of A-H
> enforcement at all. On the contrary, I find this utterly confusing, and
> mails like these lead me to actively question whether I should even
> publicly disagree with someone on a list, lest it be considered
> harassment (this is not hyperbole, I can give an example on -private
> where simple disagreement led to an A-H report).

Please note that the case referred there was not simply about a
disagreement on a mailing list, and A-H did not produce any report: as
far as I know (I was not part of the team back then), the team only
involvement was giving support to the people raising the complaint to DAM.

--
Martina Ferrari (Tina, the artist formerly known as Tincho)

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Gerardo Ballabio-2
In reply to this post by Eldon Koyle
Thanks -- but the link doesn't seem to work with Gmail (it somehow
mangles it and tries to send to a nonexisting address).
Googling for "gmail in-reply-to" didn't help either (all proposed
solutions seem to require using an external mail client or even
crafting the email message programmatically).
As this is off-topic here, I'll seek help in some more appropriate place.

Gerardo



Il giorno mer 10 lug 2019 alle ore 17:59 Eldon Koyle
<[hidden email]> ha scritto:

>
> On Wed, Jul 10, 2019 at 3:02 AM Gerardo Ballabio
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> <snip>
> >
> > Gerardo
> >
> > (P.S. I'd appreciate if anyone could teach me how I can reply to a
> > message that I haven't received -- not being subscribed to the list --
> > without breaking the thread.)
> >
>
> You need to set the In-Reply-To: header to the message-id of the
> message you are replying to.  At the bottom of each message in the
> list archives there is a "Reply To:" section with links that should
> hopefully auto-populate the needed information in your mail client.
>
> --
> Eldon Koyle

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Pranav Jain
You can configure your browser to register mailto link with Gmail. [0]

[0]: https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2012/02/Getting-Gmail-to-handle-all-mailto-links-with-registerProtocolHandler

On Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 3:18 PM Gerardo Ballabio
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Thanks -- but the link doesn't seem to work with Gmail (it somehow
> mangles it and tries to send to a nonexisting address).
> Googling for "gmail in-reply-to" didn't help either (all proposed
> solutions seem to require using an external mail client or even
> crafting the email message programmatically).
> As this is off-topic here, I'll seek help in some more appropriate place.
>
> Gerardo
>
>
>
> Il giorno mer 10 lug 2019 alle ore 17:59 Eldon Koyle
> <[hidden email]> ha scritto:
> >
> > On Wed, Jul 10, 2019 at 3:02 AM Gerardo Ballabio
> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > <snip>
> > >
> > > Gerardo
> > >
> > > (P.S. I'd appreciate if anyone could teach me how I can reply to a
> > > message that I haven't received -- not being subscribed to the list --
> > > without breaking the thread.)
> > >
> >
> > You need to set the In-Reply-To: header to the message-id of the
> > message you are replying to.  At the bottom of each message in the
> > list archives there is a "Reply To:" section with links that should
> > hopefully auto-populate the needed information in your mail client.
> >
> > --
> > Eldon Koyle
>


--
Regards,

Pranav Jain

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Sam Hartman-5
In reply to this post by Russ Allbery-2

Hi.  In this message I'm speaking as the DPL facilitating a discussion.
I'm trying to explain where I see the project consensus (or in this case
lack there of).  That is I'm explaining what I'm hearing from the
project and trying to focus future discussion.

First, by this point, I have quite high confidence that my original
reading of the project's requirements is accurate.  Russ did not
challenge my reading of what people had expressed; he questions whether
that is a good idea.  No one else has come forward to challenge that
reading.  Summaries like the ones I posted are very good at pulling
forth disagreement: when people read such a summary and they don't feel
like it reflects the discussion, they are very likely to reply.

As an example, when Russ challenged mediation, he got multiple replies
indicating that it was important.

Moreover, I had a long phone call with Russ where we discussed various
feedback we had receive.  This issue is important to both of us; we've
apparently both been spending a lot of time talking to people.  What we
were hearing was surprisingly well aligned.

While Russ didn't challenge my reading of the project's requirements, he
did something very important.  He argued that mediation is focusing even
more energy on bad behavior; he argued that we don't have the resources
to approach mediation; and he argued that it would make it impossible
for us to find volunteers for the AH team.  That is, he raised a
blocking objection in the form of a insufficiently considered issue.
He demonstrated that even if we had a consensus, it would be
uninformed.

We must respond to Russ's concern to move forward.
However, we must also respond to the project's requirements that we've
identified.

Similarly, I understand from Molly that she (and probably the AH team)
share a substantially similar concern to Russ.  Clearly, we must have the AH
team's support for any plan for their scope/approach/role.

Several people have told me or assumed that given Russ's concern we'll
move forward and not focus on mediation.
That's not how building a consensus and listening to people's concerns
work.  The intersection of "we need responsiveness and mediation" and
"mediation is impossible," is not "move forward without mediation."  The
intersection of "we need responsiveness and mediation" and "mediation is
impossible," is "no consensus."

Put another way: we're not done talking yet.
I hope that surprises no one: this is a hard topic and it's doubtless
going to take more than four or five messages to get a proposal that
works for the project.
We've identified the first conflict between what we want and what we can
get.  We've identified something to focus our discussions on.
I think that is great progress.

I think the question we should be asking ourselves is exactly the one
Tina posed to Christian:


Tina> How do you see mediation helping draw that line? (Not a rhetorical
Tina> question, I am honestly curious). Also, there are different ways to
Tina> interpret the word mediation, what is your interpretation in this context?
[The line of which she speaks is the line around ambiguous areas in the
code of conduct.]

As DPl I have some thoughts on that, but I'd rather hold back for a bit
and see if Christian or anyone else has answers to Tina's question.

I understand Russ has some thoughts that I hope he'll be sharing soon.

That's where I think we stand right now.

----------------------------------------

If you haven't already, feel free to stop reading here.

Above I made the implicit assumption that we're looking for a consensus.
That's the approach I'm following now.  I think that finding a solution
that works for the project, for DAM, for AH, for DPL, and for others
involved in the code-of-conduct function is the best way to build trust
and a welcoming community.
I certainly think we should not give up on trying to find consensus at
the first snag.

Other approaches are available.  In theory, the DPL could delegate a
team without project consensus.  (Delegating with a consensus that the
DPL is making the wrong decision seems like a clear recipe for an
override, but delegating with known objections none of them strong
enough for an override may sometimes be the best choice.) That said, I'm
very unlikely to unilaterally delegate in this instance without
something much closer to a rough consensus.

We could get to a point where calling a vote is the best way to choose a
path forward.

And of course, a team with somewhat less de facto power than the
Antiharassment team has been assumed to have by a lot of us might not
even need delegation or much project buy-in.
I've been hearing from both AH and DAM that they'd rather have a team
that actually is recognized (and delegated) as a central resource for
the project.
I concur with that goal.

So right now, as DPL, I'm trying to get closer to a consensus.

--Sam

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Scott Kitterman-5
Thanks for trying to work this out.

Comments inline.

Scott K

On July 13, 2019 2:23:15 AM UTC, Sam Hartman <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>Hi.  In this message I'm speaking as the DPL facilitating a discussion.
>I'm trying to explain where I see the project consensus (or in this
>case
>lack there of).  That is I'm explaining what I'm hearing from the
>project and trying to focus future discussion.
>
>First, by this point, I have quite high confidence that my original
>reading of the project's requirements is accurate.  Russ did not
>challenge my reading of what people had expressed; he questions whether
>that is a good idea.  No one else has come forward to challenge that
>reading.  Summaries like the ones I posted are very good at pulling
>forth disagreement: when people read such a summary and they don't feel
>like it reflects the discussion, they are very likely to reply.
>
>As an example, when Russ challenged mediation, he got multiple replies
>indicating that it was important.
>
>Moreover, I had a long phone call with Russ where we discussed various
>feedback we had receive.  This issue is important to both of us; we've
>apparently both been spending a lot of time talking to people.  What we
>were hearing was surprisingly well aligned.
>
>While Russ didn't challenge my reading of the project's requirements,
>he
>did something very important.  He argued that mediation is focusing
>even
>more energy on bad behavior; he argued that we don't have the resources
>to approach mediation; and he argued that it would make it impossible
>for us to find volunteers for the AH team.  That is, he raised a
>blocking objection in the form of a insufficiently considered issue.
>He demonstrated that even if we had a consensus, it would be
>uninformed.

I think there's a countervailing point.  If we don't have a n AH team that is willing to work with people to try and seek a common understanding of what is or is not appropriate (which is how I read what you term mediation), is there any point in having one at all for other than face to face events like debconf?

>We must respond to Russ's concern to move forward.
>However, we must also respond to the project's requirements that we've
>identified.

Russ has made an assertion.  I think the way to test that assertion would be to see if we can reach a consensus definition of 'mediation' for AH and then issue a call for volunteers.  If that falls short, then I think it's fair to call it a blocking point.

>Similarly, I understand from Molly that she (and probably the AH team)
>share a substantially similar concern to Russ.  Clearly, we must have
>the AH
>team's support for any plan for their scope/approach/role.

That or different team members if the current team isn't willing to fill the role the project believes is appropriate.

>Several people have told me or assumed that given Russ's concern we'll
>move forward and not focus on mediation.
>That's not how building a consensus and listening to people's concerns
>work.  The intersection of "we need responsiveness and mediation" and
>"mediation is impossible," is not "move forward without mediation."
>The
>intersection of "we need responsiveness and mediation" and "mediation
>is
>impossible," is "no consensus."
>
>Put another way: we're not done talking yet.
>I hope that surprises no one: this is a hard topic and it's doubtless
>going to take more than four or five messages to get a proposal that
>works for the project.
>We've identified the first conflict between what we want and what we
>can
>get.  We've identified something to focus our discussions on.
>I think that is great progress.
>
>I think the question we should be asking ourselves is exactly the one
>Tina posed to Christian:
>
>
>Tina> How do you see mediation helping draw that line? (Not a
>rhetorical
>Tina> question, I am honestly curious). Also, there are different ways
>to
>Tina> interpret the word mediation, what is your interpretation in this
>context?
>[The line of which she speaks is the line around ambiguous areas in the
>code of conduct.]

For work outside face to face events, I don't see what else there is for the AH team to do.  There are people whose role it is to address behavior issues on (I think) every online resource (e.g. mailing lists, BTS, IRC, planet.d.o).  Where I see potential value for the AH team is in helping people (potentially the administrator of some of those resources or potentially people who have said things that other people find problematic) understand why there is an issue and how best to address it.

Some people involved in this discussion seem to assume all communication that someone might find upsetting is a deliberate attack.  I don't think that's true.

I think not wasting time on someone who's problematic behavior is well established and unlikely to change is one thing.  Treating everyone who is the recipient of a complaint that way is another and not one I would be comfortable with.

I may be misunderstanding, but that's what I think the implication of not doing 'mediation'.

>As DPl I have some thoughts on that, but I'd rather hold back for a bit
>and see if Christian or anyone else has answers to Tina's question.
>
>I understand Russ has some thoughts that I hope he'll be sharing soon.
>
>That's where I think we stand right now.
>
>----------------------------------------
>
>If you haven't already, feel free to stop reading here.
>
>Above I made the implicit assumption that we're looking for a
>consensus.
>That's the approach I'm following now.  I think that finding a solution
>that works for the project, for DAM, for AH, for DPL, and for others
>involved in the code-of-conduct function is the best way to build trust
>and a welcoming community.
>I certainly think we should not give up on trying to find consensus at
>the first snag.
>
>Other approaches are available.  In theory, the DPL could delegate a
>team without project consensus.  (Delegating with a consensus that the
>DPL is making the wrong decision seems like a clear recipe for an
>override, but delegating with known objections none of them strong
>enough for an override may sometimes be the best choice.) That said,
>I'm
>very unlikely to unilaterally delegate in this instance without
>something much closer to a rough consensus.
>
>We could get to a point where calling a vote is the best way to choose
>a
>path forward.
>
>And of course, a team with somewhat less de facto power than the
>Antiharassment team has been assumed to have by a lot of us might not
>even need delegation or much project buy-in.
>I've been hearing from both AH and DAM that they'd rather have a team
>that actually is recognized (and delegated) as a central resource for
>the project.
>I concur with that goal.
>
>So right now, as DPL, I'm trying to get closer to a consensus.

Assuming my description above is reasonably well aligned with the definition people who think we can't do mediation believe it is, I'd like to hear what they think the job of the AH team is outside physical meetings.

I have a hard time understanding why I would ever do anything other than delete mail from the AH team if their role is limited to talking at me, not with me.  I might as well just wait to see if the DAM is going to say anything or not.

Scott K

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Russ Allbery-2
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
Sam Hartman <[hidden email]> writes:

> I understand Russ has some thoughts that I hope he'll be sharing soon.

I'm afraid that for reasons unrelated to this discussion I'm not going to
have the time or energy to try to expand on my thoughts, and am going to
bow out of this thread.

--
Russ Allbery ([hidden email])               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Marc Haber-2
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
On Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 10:23:15PM -0400, Sam Hartman wrote:
> While Russ didn't challenge my reading of the project's requirements, he
> did something very important.  He argued that mediation is focusing even
> more energy on bad behavior; he argued that we don't have the resources
> to approach mediation; and he argued that it would make it impossible
> for us to find volunteers for the AH team.  That is, he raised a
> blocking objection in the form of a insufficiently considered issue.
> He demonstrated that even if we had a consensus, it would be
> uninformed.

If you stand the chance of being expelled without your case being heard
just on the cause that somebody might consider what you said a CoC
violation, the project should not expect people to speak at all.

I don't think that Debian silenced based on fear is what we want. At
least it is not what I want.

Greetings
Marc

--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marc Haber         | "I don't trust Computers. They | Mailadresse im Header
Leimen, Germany    |  lose things."    Winona Ryder | Fon: *49 6224 1600402
Nordisch by Nature |  How to make an American Quilt | Fax: *49 6224 1600421

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Enrico Zini
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
On Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 10:23:15PM -0400, Sam Hartman wrote:

> I think the question we should be asking ourselves is exactly the one
> Tina posed to Christian:
>
> Tina> How do you see mediation helping draw that line? (Not a rhetorical
> Tina> question, I am honestly curious). Also, there are different ways to
> Tina> interpret the word mediation, what is your interpretation in this context?
> [The line of which she speaks is the line around ambiguous areas in the
> code of conduct.]

I'll write about the reason I would like a team that can intervene in
conflicts with something different than enforcement.

On the enforcement side, the entities that I can see in Debian now are
DAM, and the teams responsible for various bits of infrastructure
(listmasters, bts admins, DSA, planet, and so on).

On DAM side, we tend to be contacted when issues are thoroughly
escalated already, and I would like people who got entangled in a
conflict to be able to get help[1] earlier.

As DAM we also do not intervene at the first problem, and look more for
repeated, established patterns. The gap between the first problem and
the establishment of a pattern of behaviour that makes work in Debian
harder is pretty wide, and I'd like the project to be able to do
something earlier, possibly avoiding that the pattern is established in
the first place.

At DAM we also don't have the energy to intervene early to ask people
"Ehi, what happened there? Are you ok?"[1]. I think it would require a
large team. In fact, this should be the responsibility of every member
of Debian: making a shared space good to work with is a responsibility
shared by everyone who is in the space.

I would be interested in investing in increasing the average skills of
Debian members as a whole in helping in a conflict, for example by
collecting and sharing links one can read, or working out suggestions on
how to join in safely if something happens, like who has my back if a
bully turns on me when I ask them to stop, or who has my back if I wrote
a single email in a bad day and suddenly I get 20 harsh emails from self
righteous people pointing their fingers at me[2].

Then I see a gap between "everyone can intervene" and "DAM intervenes":
what if nobody intervenes[3]? What if I need help and I don't know whom
to ask[4]?

I'd like to document a number of points of contact for "who to ask if
you don't know whom to ask". I'd like to document some contact addresses
for most teams in Debian[5]. I'd like a healthy diversity team to
contact for issues related to discrimination. I'd like a fallback
address to contact when all the previous did not work. That fallback
currently tends to be the DPL, although it's not documented as such, and
many good people might not feel entitled to bother the DPL for what
seems like a personal problem, and the DPL is only one person, and
usually very very busy indeed.

For that gap I'd like something like a Debian community fallback team,
some people who volunteer to be a safety net for when the community
itself didn't manage to help.

That is one need.


Another need is some peple who are trusted enough (and possibly
delegated) to interpret the Code of Conduct.

I have seen a few people going "you harassed me!" "no! you harassed me
by telling me that I harassed you!" and I agree we need someone who can
have a say on which things they believe were or weren't constructive or
respectful or acceptable.

Possibly the same people could help me with preemptive questions like
"To get $FOO done I can only think of doing $BAR, but I'm not sure about
it, do you think it's acceptable? If not, would you have a better idea
of how I can get $FOO done without getting people hurt?"

So, someone who could speak usefully for the Code of Conduct, to have a
better workflow than "try to do something and see if you get away with
it"[6].

I think such a team should be generally trusted, delegated, and so able
to get away with having the final say on controversial interpretations,
so that tricky situations at least would get, if not a sense of complete
satisfaction for everyone involved, at least a sense of closure.


Another need I have is some address that I can contact that gives some
serious guarantees of confidentiality: that would document who would get
to read my message, how it is archived, who could be able to see it in
the future, how it can or cannot be disclosed to others if needed. I
think that would also require delegation.


Another need I have is for someone doing moderation: intervening to wind
down a thread that has drifted off-topic, to move a thread from -private
to a public list, to poke a person who is flooding a discussion
repeating their point over and over again[7].

The tradition in Debian is to do as little moderation as possible. I
think it's because we identify the people who are running a service with
the people who we expect to moderate it, and generally those people are
too busy keeping the service running to also deal with the moderation.
Or possibly, the expertise needing to keep a service running is not the
same expertise needed in being an effective moderator for the service.

Also, moderation isn't the same thing as antiharassment, and is
something that possibly has more to do with editioral choices than with
personal conduct. For example, I haven't met a single person who doesn't
regularly skip the frequent CRAN posts on planet, and I think planet
would be destroyed if every single person who syndicates their blog on
it started to post montly summaries of their work, but I certainly
wouldn't call those posts inappropriate content.

Still, the confusion with moderation as editorial choices to keep the
signal-to-noise ration of a given medium optimal and moderation as
stopping inappropriate behaviour, and the confusion between who is
running a service and who is moderating it, means that it's just easier
at the moment to do no moderation at all, and I think we're missing out.


Then I'd like people who can do early intervention with short temporary
bans from lists or the bts when people get heated. I'd like it to be ok
to be kicked out from lists for a few days, and since everyone might
have a bad day every once in a while, It might even get to a point when
most people who have been in Debian for more than a decade could count
one or two short bans from a list in their history. It'd be better than
being able to count having flooded one or two threads in an extremely
embarassing way and having everything archived everywhere across the
internet for everyone to see.

It'd be more akin to asking a person to take a step back and count to
ten, than to tell a person that they are a harasser who is abusing
people. I'd see value in having this teams also being a team able
to add "and are you ok? Wanna talk?", now that they have someone's
attention, but I'd rather have one or the other, than try to have both
and end up with none.

I think this role would also need some delegation, to allow people who
run the services to act on their requests without the need to double
check them every time.


I would guess that all these needs of mine are needs that are more or
less shared by many in Debian, like a static charge building in the air,
and now that we are waving a lightning rod in that general direction, we
get a request for *everything* coming through: mediation, early
intervention, moderation, safety net, confidentiality, interpreting the
CoC, being reactive, being proactive, be nonjudgemental, pronounce
judgements.


I'm super happy that we are having this discussion, and that we are
starting to deconstruct and map the gaps that we want to fill. I don't
think we'll be able to fill them all, and least to fill them all with
one team, and incremental improvement is better than no improvement.

If we can get someone who interprets the CoC, but doesn't do mediation
or moderation, I think that's better than the status quo.

If we can't have a mediation team, we can start a collection of links
for conflict resolution that anyone in Debian can read, and add to
Developers' Reference a section on how to help when people seem to be in
trouble, and how to ask for help. I think that'd be better than the
status quo.

And so on. Debian is going to be around for a long long time: we'll have
the solutions to all our problems when they're ready. In the meantime,
I'm super excited that we're working on them!


Enrico


[1] I make no assumptions on directionality of help in a conflict: I
    think there is a stage at the beginning when everyone could use
    help. Even if one party turns aggressive, it may happen out of
    frustration from not being heard, for example.
    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_policing
[2] Or maybe that it's good to expect that if I don't postpone sending
    my emails when I have a bad day, I'll get 20 mails from random
    people telling me to take some long breath before posting next time.
    That sounds healthy actually. I'd like to expect that those 20
    emails are not harsh, though, because harsh replies don't generally
    help with recovering from a bad day.
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect
[4] I'd like to document an invitation never to be alone in Debian, and
    always have a few friends/teammates at hand you're comfortable with,
    who can help you weather a bad day, or support you and help you to
    respond if you find yourself on the receiving end of something
    unpleasant.
[5] There would be the team mailing list or IRC channel, but sometimes
    one could use some confidentiality.
[6] *sends a mail*
    "Failure to assume good faith!"
    *takes one penalty card*
[7] https://joeyh.name/blog/entry/thread_patterns/
--
GPG key: 4096R/634F4BD1E7AD5568 2009-05-08 Enrico Zini <[hidden email]>

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Norbert Preining-5
In reply to this post by Marc Haber-2
Hi,

On Sat, 13 Jul 2019, Marc Haber wrote:
> If you stand the chance of being expelled without your case being heard
> just on the cause that somebody might consider what you said a CoC
> violation, the project should not expect people to speak at all.

Agreed. I for my side will try to remember never to utter anything
controversial *within* the project realm, but move it out to my blog
without aggregation to the planet.

> I don't think that Debian silenced based on fear is what we want. At
> least it is not what I want.

Neither do I.

In former times listmasters moderated/banned, and although there have
been controversial times (I guess, but I can't remember), complains
about listmasters actions have never been reached the level we had this
year. I can only assume their (listmaster's) decisions are more
"reproducible" than those of AH/DAM.

Norbert

--
PREINING Norbert                               http://www.preining.info
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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Christian Kastner-3
In reply to this post by Martina Ferrari-2
Hi Tina,

On 11.07.19 21:59, Martina Ferrari wrote:

> On 10/07/2019 06:45, Christian Kastner wrote:
>> However, if there's one thing I've learned from reading -project and
>> especially -private in the recent past, it's that where this line is
>> drawn seems to be entirely unclear, and an unclear rule rarely (if ever)
>> results in an improvement of things.
>
> This is true, and makes things more difficult for everybody involved. It
> is a direct consequence of how the CoC is written, but I am not sure
> there is a reasonable way to have a line clearly drawn without
> drastically weakening the usefulness of the CoC. [...]

I didn't mean to challenge the text of the CoC itself; the pattern of
being unspecific in norms is common and I concur that it is necessary here.

However, (this part is a setup for my next answer) for any given body of
people and one unspecific norm, it is possible for two individuals of
said body to arrive at conflicting interpretations, which calls for one
or more processes to resolve that conflict.

>> Hence, I not only personally like Sam's idea of mediation, I believe it
>> is essential to actually drawing that line. I believe it is essential to
>> leading to improvement.
>
> How do you see mediation helping draw that line? (Not a rhetorical
> question, I am honestly curious). Also, there are different ways to
> interpret the word mediation, what is your interpretation in this context?

Answering the second question first: my interpretation of mediation in
this context is a resolution process for the aforementioned conflicting
interpretations, whereby one or more neutral roles (eg: DPL or A-H)
attempt a resolution in cooperation with the involved parties.

I see this form of mediation helping to draw that line because (a) it
gives all parties an opportunity to have their side heard, (b) it
demonstrates that those drawing the line have sufficiently engaged in
understanding the problem, and (c) it sends a clear signal that we as a
project aim to solve conflicts cooperatively.

To me, (a) is an issue of fairness of the process. "The Project will
draw a line but will hear you before drawing that line".

It is my impression that some of the grievances, or the magnitude
thereof, result not from actual actions against an individual, but
rather from not being heard in the process.

[I very much empathize because to me personally, this is a matter of
principle. I believe that social processes, with social consequences,
should be as fair as reasonably possible, and I believe that not hearing
someone out does not reach that bar.]


(b) is important for two reasons:

First, there are numerous reasons why two parties might arrive at
conflicting interpretations, ranging anywhere from misunderstandings to
moral differences to incomplete information to simple matters of principle.

Second, even if the root cause is correctly identified, there might be
more than one solution to the problem, with varying costs and benefits
to the parties but also to the project.

To me, the no-mediation-approach is at best a crude heuristic that just
targets a specific symptom, regardless of the actual cause.

I believe that value of this symptom relief is at best only short-term
(as the root cause has not being fixed), often paid for with a much
higher long-term price. Anyone sharing the view of the "losing" side of
the argument will feel left out or shunned, and therefore result in a
loss of faith in those deciding. But even bystanders may be negatively
affected (eg: chilling effect).


Last but to me most important, (c) demonstrates inclusiveness,
collaboration, and the wish to deescalate. It demonstrates a "we're in
this together, let's fix this together" spirit that I believe the
Project sorely needs. It sets an example for others.

No-mediation is just so polarizing, and we've seen so much of this
lately. People get so hung up on what the Project's values should be,
and discussions completely deescalate, instead of just looking for a
Project where differing values can peacefully and respectfully coexist.

I've seen vegans and non-vegans attend DebConf, and drinkers and
non-drinkers attend the Cheese-and-Wine party, so I know it should be
possible at least in some cases.

>> On the other hand, a complete rejection of mediation can lead to cases
>> such as the following, where I cannot see the positive effect of A-H
>> enforcement at all. On the contrary, I find this utterly confusing, and
>> mails like these lead me to actively question whether I should even
>> publicly disagree with someone on a list, lest it be considered
>> harassment (this is not hyperbole, I can give an example on -private
>> where simple disagreement led to an A-H report).
>
> Please note that the case referred there was not simply about a
> disagreement on a mailing list, and A-H did not produce any report: as
> far as I know (I was not part of the team back then), the team only
> involvement was giving support to the people raising the complaint to DAM.

I have absolutely no idea as to what this incident is about, but I read
that mail as an instance of argument (a) above.

Regards,
Christian

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Sam Hartman-3
>>>>> "Christian" == Christian Kastner <[hidden email]> writes:

    Christian> However, (this part is a setup for my next answer) for
    Christian> any given body of people and one unspecific norm, it is
    Christian> possible for two individuals of said body to arrive at
    Christian> conflicting interpretations, which calls for one or more
    Christian> processes to resolve that conflict.

    >>> Hence, I not only personally like Sam's idea of mediation, I
    >>> believe it is essential to actually drawing that line. I believe
    >>> it is essential to leading to improvement.
    >>
    >> How do you see mediation helping draw that line? (Not a
    >> rhetorical question, I am honestly curious). Also, there are
    >> different ways to interpret the word mediation, what is your
    >> interpretation in this context?

    Christian> Answering the second question first: my interpretation of
    Christian> mediation in this context is a resolution process for the
    Christian> aforementioned conflicting interpretations, whereby one
    Christian> or more neutral roles (eg: DPL or A-H) attempt a
    Christian> resolution in cooperation with the involved parties.

    Christian> I see this form of mediation helping to draw that line
    Christian> because (a) it gives all parties an opportunity to have
    Christian> their side heard, (b) it demonstrates that those drawing
    Christian> the line have sufficiently engaged in understanding the
    Christian> problem, and (c) it sends a clear signal that we as a
    Christian> project aim to solve conflicts cooperatively.

Thanks for a well reasoned reply.


I have a couple of concerns.

First, it sounds like you'd have an interaction where reporters,
respondents and the DPL (or AH) might all be talking together.

If As a reporter I'm being bullied, I don't want to talk to my bully at
all.
If the process makes me confront my bully, I'm not going to feel safe.
I have no desire to debate with my bully whether their behavior is
consistent with our code of conduct.

Typically the DPL or the AH team sits in the middle and exchanges
separate mails with both sides.
Also, typically neither the DPL nor the AH team is entirely neutral.
They are more aligned with creating a welcoming community than is
entirely consistent with neutrality.

Next point.

I agree that we need a way to have a disagreement about whether some
issue is or is not a violation of the code of conduct.

I don't think we want that to be a default part of handling a given
issue.
Often discussing whether something is a violation tends to escalate the
conflict significantly.

You have what starts as a relatively simple problem.  Someone is
aggressive on a list.
You ask them to stop.

They debate whether they are agressive.  Quickly both sides have heals
dug in.

Having someone who is presumed to be able to interpret the code of
conduct helps a lot.  Yes you want a procedure for overriding them.
Yes, you want to have community discussions about interesting corner
cases.
But being able to say that a particular behavior strongly defaults to
being inconsistent with our code of conduct can really help de-escalate
the situation.

You can then move onto  a discussion of why someone is being
aggressive.  Enrico's "hey, is everything OK over there."  Or my "Would
you like help trying to accomplish your goals in a more constructive
manner?"

Although I also have some significant points of agreement.  I do think
that spending the time to hear someone is essential.  I think we often
drop that step and people are bitter about it years later.

I find your three lettered points a very interesting set of points.
I'm just not entirely sure where in the process they fit.

Again, I really appreciate your engagement here.

--Sam

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Marc Haber-2
In reply to this post by Christian Kastner-3
On Sun, Jul 14, 2019 at 10:04:43PM +0200, Christian Kastner wrote:

> Answering the second question first: my interpretation of mediation in
> this context is a resolution process for the aforementioned conflicting
> interpretations, whereby one or more neutral roles (eg: DPL or A-H)
> attempt a resolution in cooperation with the involved parties.
>
> I see this form of mediation helping to draw that line because (a) it
> gives all parties an opportunity to have their side heard, (b) it
> demonstrates that those drawing the line have sufficiently engaged in
> understanding the problem, and (c) it sends a clear signal that we as a
> project aim to solve conflicts cooperatively.
>
> To me, (a) is an issue of fairness of the process. "The Project will
> draw a line but will hear you before drawing that line".
>
> It is my impression that some of the grievances, or the magnitude
> thereof, result not from actual actions against an individual, but
> rather from not being heard in the process.

+1

> First, there are numerous reasons why two parties might arrive at
> conflicting interpretations, ranging anywhere from misunderstandings to
> moral differences to incomplete information to simple matters of principle.
>
> Second, even if the root cause is correctly identified, there might be
> more than one solution to the problem, with varying costs and benefits
> to the parties but also to the project.
>
> To me, the no-mediation-approach is at best a crude heuristic that just
> targets a specific symptom, regardless of the actual cause.

The no-mediation approach is un-inclusive towards people who
involuntarily write things that sound more harsh than meant. This is a
rather common pattern in nerds that we tend to overreact and overstress
things. Not doing any mediation before making actions such as expelling
people from the project is a violation of the diversity statement.

The no-mediation approach will cause people who know that they sometimes
get over the top with things they write and say to shut up and not feel
welcome any more in the project.

Is that what we want?

Greetings
Marc

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Re: Results of the Antiharassment Team Survey

Christian Kastner-3
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-3
On 15.07.19 13:02, Sam Hartman wrote:
> First, it sounds like you'd have an interaction where reporters,
> respondents and the DPL (or AH) might all be talking together.

No, although I can see how one could read it like that.

With "including all parties", I meant what you said further below:

> Typically the DPL or the AH team sits in the middle and exchanges
> separate mails with both sides.


> Also, typically neither the DPL nor the AH team is entirely neutral.
> They are more aligned with creating a welcoming community than is
> entirely consistent with neutrality.

Fair point.

> I agree that we need a way to have a disagreement about whether some
> issue is or is not a violation of the code of conduct.
>
> I don't think we want that to be a default part of handling a given
> issue.
>
> Often discussing whether something is a violation tends to escalate the
> conflict significantly.

I'd expect the exact opposite from proper mediation.

It's clearly what happens in practice: discussions get heated, people
gravitate towards either pole, the issue escalates, ad nauseam. It's as
if everyone had fallen in the "outrage culture" trap.

What if all of this is just because we don't have the proper mediation?
And this is not a jibe at A-H -- I think we are all in agreement that
volunteers can do so much, and maybe this is one of the issues where we
could use some outside help, just as we do when we need legal help.

> You have what starts as a relatively simple problem.  Someone is
> aggressive on a list.
> You ask them to stop.
>
> They debate whether they are agressive.  Quickly both sides have heals
> dug in

That's a difficult problem that I can, for the moment, only acknowledge.

> Having someone who is presumed to be able to interpret the code of
> conduct helps a lot.  Yes you want a procedure for overriding them.

Agreed, even though I would attach a caveat to the presumption.

> Yes, you want to have community discussions about interesting corner
> cases.

IMHO: absolutely not, at least not on our lists. The "interesting corner
case" quickly becomes "strongly A" or "strongly B" (and the majority of
people wisely just stay out of that mess). There's far too many people
(on both sides) obsessed with trying to be right at all costs, rather
than searching for compromise.

> But being able to say that a particular behavior strongly defaults to
> being inconsistent with our code of conduct can really help de-escalate
> the situation.

For particular behavior: absolutely.

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