Criteria for good community and “the missing stair”

missing stair[H/T Leigh.]

In the aftermath of the Linux culture problem, Sarah Sharp offered some insights about what makes a good community, which are well worth repeating.

The concept of the “missing stair” I find intriguing:  “an abuser or harasser who is tolerated in a community, even though their misdeeds are well known”, as well as the idea of warning newbies about them.

Here is the text of Level Zero, “basic human decency”.  Needless to say, Wikipedia is not exactly there yet.

Level 0: basic human decency

•In order to attract diverse candidates, you need to be known as a welcoming community, with a clear set of agreed-upon social norms. It’s not good enough to have a code of conduct. Your leaders need to be actively behind it, and it needs to be enforced.

•A level 0 welcoming community exhibits the following characteristics:

•Honest and direct technical feedback is encouraged

•Contributors are encouraged to work out social issues in a healthy manner

•Day-to-day community interactions are generally at DISCON level 1 (Everything is peachy), occasionally dipping down to DISCON level 2 (Non-personal Insults) or DISCON level 3 (swearing)

•Contributors who repeatedly reach DISCON level 4 (personal insults) are encouraged to change

•Contributors who reach DISCON level 5 (threats) are discouraged from participating

•Repeat harassers are removed from conferences and banned from communication channels

•Newbies are warned about any “missing stairs” and people who give unhelpful feedback

•Code of conduct spells out what behaviors are encouraged and discouraged

•When microaggressions are pointed out, community members stop, listen, and apologize

•The whole community, including leadership and community managers actively enforce communication standards


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