On Friday, after consulting with the other freedesktop.org admins, I pushed a change to the freedesktop.org wiki, adding a Code of Conduct, based on the widely-used Contributor Covenant. In doing this, we join pretty much every other large open source project on the planet, with the exception of the Linux kernel, a magnificent anti-pattern. From this point on, all projects hosted on freedesktop.org are subject to this CoC.
why so broad?
fd.o is a notoriously loose collective of communities, who largely run their own affairs. However, freedesktop.org as a project is responsible for the content on our site: mailing list archives, bug tracking systems, website, etc. We’ve already had to intervene to remove legally problematic content from our hosting platforms; ultimately, it is our responsibility.
The culture of our member projects reflect on us as a wider organisation, and the problems of abusive and bullying behaviour weren’t solving themselves. In some specific cases we looked at, we were told directly by senior figures in the project that the lack of a defined fd.o-wide CoC made it harder for them to enforce it themselves.
In the end, the only course of action was completely clear: that we take the same approach to unacceptable behaviour as we do to legally-unacceptable content. Enforcing it across the platform gives everyone complete clarity of what’s required (i.e. behaving like reasonable human beings).
but the honeytrap / bad code
The notion that codes of conduct are used as a kind of submarine device to saddle communities with terrible code, and run completely excellent people out of the community for literally no reason, has been thoroughly debunked over the years that codes of conduct have been implemented. I don’t plan to give these arguments any time at all.
The conduct mailing list now exists, for confidential reports of any CoC violations. This is currently only manned by fd.o admins. We have, however, been in touch with some of the larger member projects, inviting them to help deal with conduct enforcement in their own projects. This process will take time, but if you’re interested in doing this for your project, please get in touch.
And hopefully, people continue to build healthy communities producing excellent code.