Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct

It looks like in response to the abuse that has infected some online spaces, many of the big open-source tech projects—which rely on community contributions and engagement for their existence, and don’t necessarily have HR departments—have adopted a shared ‘code of conduct’ for their projects. This includes the makers of our forum software, Discourse.

While I feel that we have a good thing going here on Cosmos / Infinite Conversations so far, when I saw this code, I thought, well, yes, we should have something like that for the future, when the site is bigger and there are more people. It goes a bit further, and feels more binding, than our FAQ page (which is also from Discourse). It would just be good to have something in writing we can point to, if needed (which will be rare, if we do our culture right) in the event of unwanted behavior; and rather than try to come up with something from scratch, I am content to align with a open-sourced policy that’s generally acceptable for the project. I am not in favor of political correctness or thought-policing, but this stuff should just be common sense.

My only caveat would be that such a ‘covenant’ is meant to provide a standard for community discourse, but should not apply to artistic creations. E.g., a poem cannot be required to use “welcoming an inclusive” language, or to avoid “sexualized imagery.” I believe we should distinguish between our collegial interactions and our creative work as such, and like any game, know where the boundaries are.

Here is an overview of the initiative:

And here is Discourse’s adoption:

Does anyone have thoughts, comments, or objections; or anything they would add? Do we need to talk about it? Should we add this Covenant to the Codex?


I think this is fine, Marco @madrush, with the addition of your caveat. I also think we need to be flexible - I can conceive of some discussions that might head into problem areas and language, so maybe we might need some “exception flagging” capability that could be applied where appropriate. This might require some sort of mutual agreement.


I agree with both Geoffrey and Marco. The additional caveat

applies to our community here. An outsider might be turned off by some of the works we produce, hence the need for groups like the Writers Underground that allows for a safe space to explore without the concern for an outside viewer and opinion. And Geoffrey’s point about “exception flagging” is as easy as flagging an inappropriate post (which, according to the Flag Badge, we have only had one “flag”) before a matter gets out of hand.
As an all inclusive community we may have to deal with a troublesome character. It can be a challenge (our Quaker community recently dealt with an unruly member, concluding that he was not welcome back without written notice and an escort) but I do not foresee any issues arising that would be beyond a simple correction or redirection.

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