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Protocol for changing the Code of Conduct?

6
Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

The Code of Conduct was changed yesterday (you can no longer threaten someone with legal action). Leaving aside the wisdom of this particular change, what are the rules for changing the Code of Conduct? Who is allowed to change it, and when? I don't see this explained anywhere.

Jdforrester (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Tgr (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Although saying that the community has achieved consensus seems like a bit of a stretch this time.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Jdforrester - ah, I missed the link before; thanks.

@Tgr - yes, it doesn't seem like the process was followed for this change.

MusikAnimal (talkcontribs)

Hello and thank you for raising this issue. Opinions in the discussion seemed to go back and forth, mostly revolving around how such an amendment could be misconstrued to include any legal commentary such as informing others about licensing. At least to some, our change was more of a clarification than a true amendment. The CoC already included the phrasing "deliberate intimidation" which a legal threat could fall under. For instance, a comment such as "I'm going to sue you if you don't merge my patch" is clearly inappropriate. However, a comment like "there could be legal problems if you don't license this properly" is not really a personal threat and wouldn't violate the CoC. In the same vein a comment could be seen as "offensive, derogatory, or discriminatory" but only when taken out of context, or say if there was an innocent language barrier. I think much of the CoC can't be taken literally and reports are always handled on a case-by-case basis. As for this amendment, we felt the wording "threats of legal action" was a balance between being comprehensive and not too explicit.

The proposed amendment was advertised on wikitech and the discussion was open for over a month. We recognize the consensus here is debatable. If you feel this amendment needs to be revisited, say so and we are happy to engage a new discussion. We did not mean to bypass community input or ignore consensus, and in reality we do not believe the scope of the CoC has notably changed as a result of the amendment.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Thanks for clarifying. I just went through the talk page discussion and counted - I see three people supporting this change (Doc James, Huji and Pbsouthwood - sorry for singling anyone out), and seven people either disagreeing with the change or at least wanting it amended in some way. So maybe consensus went the other way?

I'm also now very curious about which parts of the CoC you think shouldn't be taken literally, but maybe that's a topic for another discussion...

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