Community Expectations

Anyone who’s paid attention to other open source projects over the past year or two has seen the development of codes of conduct for almost every project/conference series that didn’t already have one. We’re behind here, for several reasons.

  • Our project tends to mostly be filled with respectful, kind people, so many people don’t feel we need a code of conduct.
  • Some people feel a code of conduct sets up the notion that we expect people to be inappropriate jerks, and that will make people not want to join us.
  • We have lots of libertarians that don’t like centralized rules and policies. :)

For these reasons we have tended toward generalities rather than stating behavioral rules in specific detail.

We’re outgrowing this.

WordCamps, meetups, forums, irc, trac tickets, blog comments, and more all have the potential to be home to conduct unbecoming a WordPress community member. But how is anyone supposed to know what we expect without having been around?

And even if they have been around, the people who’ve been around longer have inside jokes and know each other well enough that they might say things tongue-in-cheek that newcomers think are being said seriously and take in a way other than intended. Without any evil intentions, people who’ve never thought about what it’s like to be a member of a minority or anything other than able-bodied/financially-stable/caucasian/American/male/heterosexual/bearded/whatever-the-majority-is might not realize how unwelcoming some language or imagery may be to those who are different.

To that end, I want us to have a page on wordpress.org that lays out our Community Expectations. A little less harsh-sounding than Code of Conduct, the Community Expectations should lay out what kinds of behavior are welcome/encouraged/expected in the project/at events, and provide a way for people to let us know if we fail to live up to these expectations so that we can continually improve our ability to welcome new contributors.

This is part of the diversity initiative. I’d like to assemble a small team of folks to work together on creating a draft of this document that we can then share with the broader contributor community for comment. To ensure that we are sensitive to language affecting multiple groups of people, I’d like this small team to itself be diverse. If you’re interested in helping draft this document, please leave a comment on this post and I’ll be in touch next week.

If you don’t want to be on the team that works on the document but you’d like to make sure we take something or other into account while we draft it, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments as well.