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06 June 2013, 12:36

Python Software Foundation publishes Code of Conduct

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After approving a Code of Conduct (CoC) for its community in April, the Python Software Foundation (PSF) has now published the text of the guidelines. The PSF's Code of Conduct is partly based on similar documents that have been adopted by the Ubuntu and Fedora communities. The foundation also points out that the newly adopted document is separate from the PyCon Code of Conduct, which is "an entirely different document, written for use at an in-person conference."

The Python Code of Conduct is considered a guideline that communities within the PSF's sphere of influence can adopt, but the foundation is simply supporting this adoption, and is not enforcing any elements of the document. This is in contrast to communities such as Ubuntu and Fedora that have membership procedures and have adopted Codes of Conduct which allow the community to ostracise members that do not abide by them.

The Python Software Foundation says that no specific incident prompted the creation of the document and that it should not be seen as a checklist telling community members what not to do. The document is couched in positive terms, rather than negative examples. It encourages community participants to be open to collaboration and to participate in ongoing discussions with constructive comments and criticism. The Code of Conduct also calls contributors to be considerate and mindful of others and to respect their skills and positions. As such, the document is a standard to aspire to rather than a policing tool.

In its announcement, the PSF says that "without this CoC, the Python community would continue on as it has since its inception," but that it was of the opinion that publishing the document was important to ensure contributors find their place in the community.

The Code of Conduct has already been adopted by the Python Software Foundation itself and a number of mailing lists, including python-ideas, have also begun to implement it. The administrators of python-ideas said that they would remove members from the list if they repeatedly act contrary to the spirit of the Code of Conduct, but that they only recalled one instance in the last six years where this consequence would have been appropriate.

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