Code of Conduct: why? how did we change it from others you may have read?

The Tidelift Code of Conduct applies to this forum. I thought I’d share a little bit about the motivation, sources, and drafting of the code in case people are curious.

Why?

I’d hope it’d be self-explanatory by now, but the Tidelift team believes strongly that open source collaboration should be constructive and inclusive.

This is in keeping with Tidelift’s overall philosophy of open source: we think it works best when it is professional in the best sense of that word: consistent, clear, and structured to bring out the best in all participants.

Where did we start?

The Tidelift CoC draws heavily from the latest version of the widely-used Contributor Covenant. You can see some other sources (like Mozilla and Rust) listed in the original document.

What changes did we make?

The biggest changes were those that made the CoC more appropriate for Tidelift’s unusual relationship to other projects. For example:

This Code of Conduct applies whenever a lifter is interacting with contributors to a project that they lift.

And

This Code of Conduct does not replace any existing policies of a lifted project. Where such policies exist, lifters are expected to follow both policies.

Similarly, we removed references to “project maintainers”; that don’t make sense for us, and made clear that termination is an appropriate remedy for CoC violations (which doesn’t make sense in a typical open source volunteer context).

At the same time, borrowing from Mozilla, we also tried to make clear that we believe people can and do make mistakes.

Tidelift believes that mistakes can be an opportunity for learning, and we will respect and encourage genuine attempts to listen, apologize, and improve future behavior.

It isn’t always possible (hence “genuine”), but we do want to encourage constructive responses to problems, and hope this language encourages that.

We also tried to make sure the document is easy to read. As with many documents I work on, I used readability tests to flag particularly complex sentences and vocabulary, and tried to make structure clear where possible.

What’s next?

So far, this has been non-controversial with lifters - which I think is a great sign of how open source is changing. But if you’ve got questions or concerns, please note that the CoC puts obligations on Tidelift too! In particular:

We will also seek to regularly update this Code of Conduct and other Tidelift documentation to reflect what we’ve learned.

This is your chance :slight_smile:

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