Pre-proposal discussion: Use the code of conduct for gaia-funded repos

The code of conduct is near unique in its recognition of power dynamics.

For example it places onus on leadership for accountability.

Other than it’s prohibition of glaring, which I feel to be subjective, if that code of conduct were placed on the cosmos hub and then evenly enforced, which the current code of conduct is not, We could just have validators instead of fucking validators although it’s really clear that there’s only one type of validators, validators with 20% commissions, poor up time, and endorsement from the ICF. All the others are fucking validators, according to informal systems team member Jehan Tremback.

You see, the contributors covenant is completely unenforceable because what if somebody finds my farts offensive to their religion or sexual orientation or gender? I fart loudly many times a day.

No let’s avoid dangerous misinterpretations because the contributor’s covenant could ban me from even discussing my concern that my farts are offensive to others but I’m concerned about that. Also I’m concerned that the contributors covenant will continue to be enforced in an arbitrary manner. That is absolutely not okay. Because there is no corporation behind the hub, I think that it is important to have the people making decisions about code of conduct violations actually be out in the open. They should be identified and accountable. So that’s one modification that we would need to make for me status code of conduct. Without transparency we die.

Out of my deep concern for ensuring that I do not violate the current code of conduct, I wish to say that I want for people of all color religion shape size sexual orientation gender and stuff like that on anything else to be able to contribute to the cosmos hub at parity to anyone else. I am not seeking to remove or marginalize anyone but instead provide the community the clarity that it deserves.

Of course, I’ve violated the existing code of conduct, and I’ve got to reckon that nearly every user of this forum has. There are bits of the new one suggested by @sacha that I’m not a huge fan of (essentially things requiring interpretation) but at the end of the day, this is a dramatic improvement to the previous one.

I think that it would also be pretty sensible to hand enforcement of the code of conduct over to governance. That way, certain scenarios cannot play out, for example:

  • difficulty between repo maintainers and code contributors who validate due to a complete lack of clarity around expectations.

This takes away “the ax” the ability to career ending code of conduct violation accusations as a way of further gating the private discord server gaia is developed from, taking the project further from the stated goal of decentralization and putting ultimate power in the hands of repo maintainers.

  • lack of clear expectations on the part of all community members due to the code of conduct’s vast, sprawling nature.

  • double standards like what is driving the censure proposal. It shouldn’t be alright to refer to the validators collectively as “fucking validators” while trying to toss a validator under the bus for disclosing this:

The wisest move – most likely – for all parties here, is to cede the ax and allow governance to deal with code of conduct violations. The other option is of course to simply remove the governance module from Gaia entirely and call it a day on gov. Surely, it seems that the Interchain Foundation, which controls the Gaia repository, isn’t terribly concerned with governance anyhow:

It delegates massively to validators who don’t think governance matters.

Here’s another example of what I believe to be one-sided code of conduct enforcement that leads me to believe that the code of conduct was used influence governance decisions of validators during proposal 69. Please keep in mind that the code of conduct accusations against myself were made in front of an audience consisting entirely of Cosmos hub validators. It is not unreasonable to believe that this would have a chilling effect on governance debate on the cosmos hub.

More recently, an ICF Grant recipient, Rick Dudley, made numerous claims about my person and character.

One of the many reasons that I think that this is unfortunate is that I actually think that Rick is one of the more insightful people around, however there really can be no doubt that his ad hominem attacks against me violate the contributors covenant. I think it would be much simpler for the ICF to simply address issues around delegations, or say that they strongly endorse the validators that they delegate to.

Interestingly, a member of the cosmos hub team stated that the code of conduct was on the Gaia repository to protect me.

Really I don’t really need or want protection, and in fact the only thing that I have seen the code of conduct used to protect anyone from, is to protect the ICF/cosmos hub team from a validators participation in governance.

I want to put a positive spin on this conversation as well. Cosmos Hub growing requires the institutions that guide its development to become more pluralistic and function at a higher order. The ICF imho is one of the healthiest crypto foundations in the industry. They have a broad board, a fantastic team, and they are working within an institutional apparatus that was not designed for the work that is needed by the community. I dont think we need to be dismissive of the role of the ICF (their mistakes and successes) in order to work forward proactively to create the right mechanisms for a healthy community governed and enforced code of conduct
Now: getting into the nitty gritty of moving towards a community created, governed and enforced code of conduct:
There are two ways forward: to vote to give the ICF this role and update the CoC and hold them accountable as an institution for enforcing it, or create a new enforcement body. My opinion is that the ICF has plenty of other work to do: and that the ICF should be a part of the process but that it is a sign of maturity for there to be an independent body taking this on. So I’d prefer the later scenario. If neither of those two options is viable or palatable then I agree with @jacobgadikian, we should have no CoC because having an unenforceable CoC is worse than having none at all.
1-Can you please share (or perhaps @sacha can share) the improved code of conduct?
2- I’d like to understand how we are thinking about different codes of conduct for different venues. Does inflammatory language on twitter count? Is it only covering forums and venues like this one and github and discord where core contributors are engaged?
My sense is a good CoC needs to cover the whole internet.
Some other questions I have:

3- Enforcing a code of conduct is work. It seems like we should have payment for that work. I would say the cosmos hub pool, and perhaps some small capital allocations from other institutions should be put into escrow and delivered quarterly to a group account with known community members hired to enforce a CoC.

4- I would say that we need to have a governance vote on a CoC in order to work out details and make it clear what the community is opting into (I think this might also honestly extend to a constitution on-chain as well, but that’s a convo for another day).

My proposal is generally as follows:

  • Hash out the details of a new CoC specifically for GAIA contributors
  • Bring that proposal (the CoC itself and details about governance and enforcement thereof) to vote onchain
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Greg it’s a great start.

I’m not sure that I share your feelings on the ICF but I think that it can be made to be what you describe and that’s awesome. The simple fact that we are having this conversation in public is a really solid indicator that we can begin to make improvements.

And just so you know, at the end of the day I figure that this is I mean it’s not my choice, at the end of the day it should be the hub’s choice. I also think that the whole internet might be too large. But at the same time I get where you’re coming from. One thing that you might need to consider is that an overly restrictive code of conduct encourages sock puppeteering and the like-- there are many many anonymous accounts in cryptocurrency and I have precisely zero of them. I think that many validators have precisely zero of them. I think that It is totally okay to validate anonymously or pseudonymously.

But but when participating in conversations, you really should do so as yourself otherwise that’s quite disingenuous.

So basically what I’m trying to say is that we don’t want to give advantages to the use of alternative identities.

The code of conduct that @ssacha recommended can be found here, and I think that it could be modified in a couple of places to make it a little less subjective but he ran it past me and honestly I do find it to be overall good.

Having different codes of conduct for different modes of participation discourages those different modes of participation. Just for example, as a validator I value deeply and I believe that the community values deeply, my ability to freely speak out on issues. So it would be troubling to me that I might be differently restricted as a validator who contributes code.

Those are my initial thoughts and thank you so much for beginning a candid and public conversation on these matters.

Accountability almost never happens in private.

By the way, when somebody accepts a code of conduct, well I guess what I’m saying is, you just mentioned contributors but you see I’m a validator based on my survey what kind of validators, there are reasons that validators do not contribute to the gaia code base, mainly they’re terrified.

So I would like to know if by contributor you mean validator or software developer and if you recognize that there’s lots of interplay between the two?

Why would a validator ever contribute code, knowing that it opens up the opportunity for the other validators to attack them based on their contributions?

This is more or less Gaian exceptionalism in play.