Policy proposal: New Code of Conduct

I don’t agree with this. The goal of the Code of Conduct is not to enforce justice. I’m… pro-justice, mind you, but it’s just not why we have this. If there’s an issue of injustice, it needs to be addressed in a different way. (This may even include situations which have CoC-relevant aspects.)

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We are also limited by law in some other ways, like certain national origins. I don’t think there’s anything we can do about that, but we could make the wording at least acknowledge the limitation.

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A code of conduct is not meant to be a hammer, but an agreement on what kind of community we wish to have and maintain. That does mean in some way it needs to be enforceable, but it is not THE LAW, it’s the road map. I wish many of the things in the code of conduct were just a given, but I have to live in the reality that they are not.

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I personally don’t see any harm in adding political orientation in this regard for two reasons.

One, political orientation should be caught up in the catch-all “any other dimension of diversity.”
Given how heated some discussions can become, perhaps an explicit mention is worth including to make is clear that “all members or supporters of party X / candidate Y are [unpersons]” is not appropriate.

Two, in my reading, the code is providing for a a set of negative rights - that you are “free from” not “free to”.
My being free from harassment by others based on my diverse characteristics does not empower me to target other individuals or groups with defamatory statements, i.e. my diverse characteristics grant me no “positive rights” beyond those available to the entire community. Most basically, whether the statement is appropriate is and should be independent of the speaker.
I don’t read any right to “hide behind” an identity, class, or other “dimension of diversity” for abusive purposes.


I think “political party” is a much poorer choice than “political orientation” as it is much narrower and more exclusive. Compared one-to-one, “political party” would seemingly elevate protected status to someone claiming to me a member of a particular organization (club) over someone holding political or philosophical views which are not directly aligned with an established political party.

Despite having a catch-all clause in the diversity statement, we know from historical precedent (9th Amendment to the US Constitution), that claiming failing to enumerate rights leads to their erosion because there’s no chance to point to it explicitly in the source material.


I have a hard time understanding the arguments you are making.

For a start, not seeing any harm do not mean much, cause that do not mean it doesn’t exist, just that people (and more precisely you, but I doubt you are alone) do not see it. That’s a fine opinion, for sure, but this is more a statement of a fact, not a reason on why it should be included. I would see no harm in adding “the color of your tshirt”, but yet, there is no reason to add it, so there is some underlying assumption that is not spelled out clearly and that it should be said loud, if you want to push for that inclusion.

Then you say it should be included, because it is already here. If the argument is "this would be already in “any others dimensions of diversity”, then it is here, so why change that ? And if this would change something (and I think it would change something), then this argument do say why it would be changed. Again, the core of the argument should be spelled out, IMHO.

You are right that it doesn’t give more rights, but this passage is not about giving more rights. This is about saying “we welcome individuals regardless of” + list of various things.

And I do not think we should actively say we welcome people regardless of their political affiliations.

For example, someone whose political beliefs would be that software should be proprietary and free software shouldn’t exist would surely not be welcomed in our community. I doubt there is people with such extreme view nowadays, but there is for such lobbyists pushing to avoid bills like “governement should only use free software”.

I point on that because Free software (and copyleft) is pretty much a political topic, and is seen as such by the FSF and numerous people around the world. For one example, from as long as I remember, there was a political track during Libre Software Meetings. As I pointed in another discussion, LibrePlanet has plenty of talks around political topics. There is people calling for more free software in their government at various levels (local to national).

No one say we should exclude people based on their beliefs or lack of beliefs on free software and politics, but I think we should not say “we welcome you, no matter your political beliefs”, because this wouldn’t be true.


I may be wrong, but the US requires parental authorization below a certain age, it doesn’t outright forbid it. @mattdm might have a anecdote and a story around that, if my memory serve me well.


Of course, the kind of political beliefs not welcome in the community should hopefully be a very small subset. Fedora and FOSS are both “big tents” in terms of conventional (and even some unconventional) political beliefs. Ideally, we don’t explore those in the community daily anyway, because they’re often irrelevant day to day. But “we welcome individuals regardless of […] political orientation” is simply not true, and moreover, it’s a risk to include.

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Clearly we’re of different minds. I’m not interesting in thought-policing (I would say the CoC provides a kind of speech-policing instead).
My personal opinion is that if a bona fide Nazi (which I choose as my example not because Nazis are in vogue but because I am a Jew) wanted to contribute to the project, e.g. testing, packaging, etc. in a way that did not involve expressing hateful viewpoints, then I believe that it should be out of bounds for someone else to go out of their way to attack that individual apropos of nothing that has been said or done inside of the community. I believe in including and protecting even those who have “bad” views - no one should be suffering harassment. That’s an inclusive and progressive community:
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

This is where I am drawing a distinction on positive and negative freedoms. Lots of people have “bad politics” with “bad” being relative in many (if not all) cases (a deeply philosophical issue…). I personally don’t feel that most political discussions (not directly related to the Fedora Project) belong here whether advocating “good” or “bad” positions and I am wary of leaving an opening for ad hominem attacks based on political opinions of affiliations that exist outside of the community.

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This is true; we could include younger children but aren’t equipped to deal with the requirements. If we would decide to do so and put in the effort to assure appropriate protections it would be possible.

I am still not understanding where you are going in relation to the point being discussed, as we seems to be going further from the proposal of @eclipseo about whether Fedora should explicitly say that we welcome people from all political orientations .

You seems to say that we should include that because you are personally ok with nazis as long as they are quiet in Fedora space. If I skip over the logical problem (eg., there is more than nazis/non nazis to be covered), this doesn’t explain why it should be added.

Do you fear that if this is not explicitly written, someone will read and think “welp, this side of me is not explicitly listed as being welcomed, so I am not coming” ?

Since right now, we have no document, I think that would be a rather hard to prove point, but then if this is not the point you are trying to make, I have a hard time to understand exactly what you suggest, and why ?

@misc I’ve reread my comments and believe they are sufficiently clear.
I do not believe it is of benefit to the rest of the community for me to repeatedly restate myself.
I do not know if you are willfully misreading me or simply trying to teach me “sealioning” by example.
I have no further comments in response to you on this matter.

Maybe something like, in accordance with [US?] laws?

I think parental consent here applies to ages 13-18 but I could be wrong

This might be true for online, but we must be equipped for this in offline contexts. I have seen lots of Fedora kiddos at Flock over the years, and I would consider them as much a part of the Fedora Community as their adult sponsor.

I don’t think we should discourage kids coming to our offline events either, even if they cannot contribute to Fedora Linux legally. But they can still use Fedora Linux and other useful things we make in the Fedora Community.

Furthermore, we pledge to not use the Fedora Project and its platforms as a basis to engage in personal campaigns against other organizations or individuals.

How is that compatible with Fedora Council statement on Richard Stallman rejoining FSF Board - Fedora Magazine ? How is the RMS Open Letter not a “personal campaign[…] against [an]other organization[…] [the FSF] or individual[…] [RMS]”?


The Fedora Project did not sign or endorse that open letter, nor is it using any of our platforms.

The Fedora Council statement is not a “personal campaign”.


The statement submitted by the Fedora Council in the name of the Fedora Project (or in whom else’s name, if it “is not a ‘personal campaign’”?) feels like an endorsement, even if it does not directly state it. Not only is it linked in the Open Letter, but it also pronounces a boycott against the FSF and RMS, which is very much a campaign against both another organization and an individual.

As for it not being a “personal” campaign, well, you have a point when it comes to the letter of the sentence, but how is it consistent with the spirit of a code of conduct that prohibits individuals from running this sort of ad hominem campaign that Fedora then runs exactly such an ad hominem campaign as an organization?

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We have no control over who links to Fedora Magazine, as you know.

Saying “this behavior is inconsistent with our values, and we will not support it” is not an ad hominem. If the statement was “we’re not going to participate in FSF events because Richard Stallman has long hair”, that would be different. This is consistent with the Code of Conduct, not contrary to it.


There are mentions of ad hominem attacks by late commenters in the thread, but I am hearing no rebuttals to claims about the role, influence, and I believe personal failure of leadership by RMS in the Free Software Foundation. I am still aghast at how the FSF and RMS were regrettably silent in the 1990s as Microsoft and the other tech corporations were busy courting the public and private sector with aggressive, binding technology contracts.

If the belief that RMS should not remain in a position of leadership in 2021 is considered “cancel culture,” then so be it. Speaking for myself (and I think other Council members), we hold a core personal belief that RMS is not an effective leader, and instead of arguing about whether or not he is, I think we have more productive conversations by not centering him all the time.

When can we go back to talking about copyleft, Fedora Linux, and Free Software again?

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Maybe CoCs just don’t work? People want attention, and maybe it is just a way for people who invent CoC to filter out those who communicate and behave differently? Then those who are filtered start to resist, because for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.