[EM] Bill of Responsibilities (or Code of Conduct)

Rob Lanphier roblan at gmail.com
Sat Nov 13 21:24:12 PST 2021

Hi everyone,

I can't remember if I've told you all about my thoughts about updating
the Code of Conduct for this mailing list.  One possibility is the
latest "Contributor Covenant" (version 2.1):

There are many versions of the Contributor Covenant, such as this one:

There have been many organizations that have developed Codes of
Conduct.  I wrote a very short one for the EM-list a long time ago, at
least as early as 2000:

Here's what it said:
> Please come prepared to defend the statements that you make, and to directly answer the
> questions that others ask of you. This list was set up to increase communication between
> people interested in new forms of election methodology, not as a sounding board for those who
> wish to drown out opposing views with prolific repetition of statements already made. When
> conflicts arise, please use this list to understand fully why the other side feels the way they do
> by honest intellectual inquiry. And when those who feel differently than you are trying to
> understand why you feel the way you do, please answer as honestly and directly as possible.
> Hopefully this is all common sense, but sadly not common enough (hence the reason for this
> message). In summary, please ask, answer, and be humble.

I wrote that back in the days before everyone else was talking about
how toxic online discourse was (and still is).  I doubt that I was a
frequent poster back in 2000 (because my job was keeping me busy).
But still, it seems that it needs an update.

Here's the "Bill of Responsibilities" framework I've been working on
for a while:

For each rule, there is a link to a webpage describing the rule more fully.

* Rule A - With freedom of speech comes the responsibility to use it wisely
* Rule B - There is no "undo" on the Internet
* (Draft Rule 20211114a) -- Use your inside voice
* (Draft Rule 20201103a) -- Attack mistruths, but don't attack your
opponent. Seek clarity in truth.
* (Draft Rule 20201103b) -- Pointing out a mistake can be pointy
* (Draft Rule 20201103c) -- Keep your emotions in check
* (Draft Rule 20201103d) -- Other people are the authority on their emotions
* (Draft Rule 20201103e) -- Don't burn bridges, and don't hide under them
* (Draft Rule 20201030a) -- You may be bigger than everyone else, but
someone smaller may have a point

I have nine "rules", which are almost enough for trying to map each
one to one of the amendments to the United States Constitution.

I wrote the rules with many different fora in mind (this mailing list,
electowiki.org, other wikis, other asynchronous online discussions,
and other synchronous online discussions, including video

I'm curious which of these y'all think are worth keeping (and
describing more fully on the webpages for each of the rules) and which
of the rules are problematic and should be removed.

Should I keep working on a "Bill of Responsibilities", or should I
update the election-methods code of conduct by linking to one of the
versions of the Contributor Covenant?  What do you all think?


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