Something that will, sadly, not be a secret to many of you: Some people are awful.
Even if you think it’s acceptable to be a rude arrogant jerk to people in private, (and would you want, as queer person, to work with someone you know donates heavily to prevent marriage equality, even ‘in private’?) it’s very hard to argue that it’s OK in professional life. Open Source is no longer just a fun hobby; it’s a professional reality that you will use and (hopefully) contribute to Open Source. Unfortunately there are people in many many projects, often in significant roles, that will say things that are cruel, hurtful, that erase and trivialise people’s identities and personal triumphs and disadvantages. They’re being bullies ‘at work’. That’s super NOT OK.
One of the best ways to make communities professional and welcoming to beginners, as well as enhancing diversity, is to adopt and enforce a Code of Conduct. Ashe Dryden answers all of the questions you might have about why and how far better then I could, but I want to re-enforce five things:
- Having a (good) Code of Conduct makes your project more welcoming to everyone willing to not be a prat. Diversity is at the heart of the Internet
- Code of Conduct violations are not about being offended, they are about being unprofessional
- You may have a right to freedom of speech but there’s no right to freedom of consequences
- If there’s ‘no problem’, then there’s no harm in adopting a Code of Conduct! (Spoiler: there totally is a problem)
And number five:
begin objection.text = "but you're discriminating against my right to discriminate!" rescue RediculousCircularObjectionException => e objection.deny objection.objector.judge :pretty_harshly objection.objector.rebutt "Really? Really. You think that's a coherent argument?" end
You know who’s not awful? Coraline Ada Ehmke. She’s actually really great. She’s proposed a Code of Conduct for Ruby Core (and wrote the original Contributor Covenant) and you can find that proposal here. All y’all with Core Ruby accounts should go support it.
What do we have to lose? Awful people, that’s what. HUZZAH!