Community Leadership Summit Wiki

Attendee Roll Call - if you would like to add your name and contact information to this page, please do

Leslie Hawthorn - @lhawthorn

this session is about poisonous behaviors existing in our communities and the overarching discussion should focus on how do we handle it when these things come up and how do we change the culture of our communities to end these poisonous behaviors

using Drunk Driving as an example of poisonous behaviors being tolerated in our communities. used to be completely ok in Irish culture, now zero tolerance. want to see open source communities and all of our communities get to the point of zero tolerance for being horrible to each other.

this is not about whether there is poisonous behavior, what consists of poisonous behavior, Andy Oram leading session later on anti-harassment policies

having consequences for poisonous behavior

enforcement of stated consequences

involvement by community leaders - how, where, why?

do you need to have a stated policy?

argument that it's not needed to write it down, people should understand behavior and others argue it must be explicit

how do we get the community to consensus on what is reasonable behavior?

how do power dynamics play into this? if there are community leaders, what more is expected of them? (e.g. can delete a post / moderate out of mail queue, not allow future event registration, etc.) what about small communities where all lead?

Selena's post on this topic is useful - culture change is needed

policies are both a declaration of priniciples and to let people know where to go if they need help. also, communities change - everything may be great at the start, but can fall apart as project's grow

metafilter had discussion that site was "boy zone" and moderators added flags to list of reasons to report a post: "sexist" and "racist" - graceful way to handle issues

signal to the community - here is how we deal with it and it is not ok, also signaling before it occurs - before, during and after problems

- we care

- how to report poisonous behaviors (vs. spam)

- policy sends a signal

LinuxChix created an environment where people are expected to be polite & respectful

Why the law is not enough - "Do you invite people into your house and only expect them to obey the law?" "Well, I don't write down the rules for them." "Sure, but you don't invite hundreds to your house."

Example of "no smoking" sign outside your windows as needed.

This is our house - community ownership

free speech vs. appropriate behavior - what happens when your best contributors are saying things like "snorting cocaine off a dead hooker" stated in IRC

Genius is a commodity - great contributors are everywhere, want to have fun and not be the PC police, but make sure that expectations are set out and people are already comfortable are the ones joking around

having a separate IRC channel for friends type chat where you can say things that may be more inappropriate -dev list / channel with stricter rules

message someone who said something inappropriate to let them know they've made a mistake

Praise in public, criticize in private, start with "I know you did not mean to make someone uncomfortable or you would not have done this, but ...."

What about when the comeback is "but that's not offensive"?

Need to get buy in from person making statement, be aware that there are newcomers and they need to feel welcome

Leadership needs to be reponsible for the actions in the community, example of police chief responsible for beat cop's actions

Be very specific - not "this is offensive" but "this language implies this group of people is not welcome in this community"

If you don't know where the line is, stay away from it.

Argument that behaving "professionally" in public spaces takes all the fun out of it. Asking people what their idea of fun is - maybe they need to go elsewhere, such as focus on code not on answering user questions jerkily.

Focus on lack of civility rather than "not professional"

Don't be afraid to ask people to take furball problems off-list

If you see issues coming up - will see it coming with experience - moderate the list, contact the posters who are arguing and take it off list

Change community culture such that people are comfortable coming together on list to tell folks to take their furball elsewhere - especially significant for unmoderated lists - "form a posse"

At times when leaders are not interested in making change, what do you do to help make change? Groundswell of community voice, approach a friend of leaders to convince them

TED Talk recently on anti-bullying program, kids took individual pledge in a group setting to stop bullying when they see it and had good results

one of the most effective ways for kids to stop bullying is walk up, roll your eyes, act like bully is lame and not cool - look at things as childish behaviors rather than reasoning can sometimes be effective

have an "off-topic" channel for IRC conversations, push everything project related back into on topic channel since it's off-topic for off-topic channels, no one will need to deal with off-topic stuff if they don't want to. perhaps a different name so people don't get confused about what is or is not on topic.

having affinity groups for members of different groups in the community is very useful for projects to feel like people have an avenue for advocacy, e.g. ubuntu women

workshops at conferences on how to conduct civil discourse - understanding trolling

we need something along the lines of for bad community behavior - we all love new memes, it's clever, etc. - may help cultural change

Resource: "Difficult People" from Producing Open Source Software