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From Joan Touzet <>
Subject Re: Code of Conduct & Diversity Statement draft needs your feedback!
Date Sun, 18 May 2014 16:53:23 GMT
Hi Andy,

Thanks for the feedback. If we were voting I'd treat your response as
a -0. Indeed, part of understanding where another person is coming from
is respect, but respect does not go far enough.

The word empathetic (or empathic, a spelling variation) appears in many
of the other upstream codes of conduct. I had a feeling there might be
some confusion around the word in different languages, which is why I
placed a reference definition at the bottom of the document.

As an Apache project, we "value community over code." Translating this
into our code of conduct means that, all other things being equal, we
should prioritize good interpersonal relationships over good code. Let
me explain how I see this choice being a net positive to CouchDB.

Empathy differs from sympathy and compassion. It describes a human
ability to comprehend others through identification with their logical
and emotional viewpoints.  This is especially important to call out in
an environment like ours, where we are a fully distributed team who
communicate almost exclusively via the printed word.

We all have a shared goal - improving CouchDB - but we will all have
different hopes, dreams and expectations about what that means and where
the project will go. It is critical to recognize another person's
feelings and argument position when it comes to any sort of discussion
about the project, whether there is agreement or not.

It is also a community, like most of software development today, where
there is a statistical abundance of atypical human behaviour. This
includes but is not limited to individuals who behave along the autistic
spectrum, those who are are extremely antisocial or narcissistic, or
have difficulty in the regulation of their own emotional state. For
these individuals in particular (but not just for them!) empathy is
challenging. Calling out that it is valued here is a gentle reminder to
these populations to reinforce acceptable interaction patterns.

This is an inherently subjective matter and cannot be sidelined or
ignored simply to focus on more cut-and-dry topics like technical code
reviews.  Further, it tends to be a less lawful area, one that is harder
to systemize, so it requires special consideration and focus, especially
for those to whom such thought does not come easily. We are also 
acknowledging that people will not act without emotion, especially when
they are working on a volunteer project they join because of their own
wants, needs and desires. As developers in this community, it behooves
us to empathize with users, developers, committers and PMC members prior
to reacting to them. It explicitly acknowledges our own emotional
reactions as well as those around us.

I hope this analysis is clear. Empathy, not just respct, is crucial to
the long-term success of our project.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Andy Wenk" <>
Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2014 10:27:25 AM
Subject: Re: Code of Conduct & Diversity Statement draft needs your feedback!

Hi Joan,

thanks a lot. I have read the post the first time and it is really awesome.
It is very clear and I think also non-native English speaking folks can
understand everything.

The only thing I stumbled a bit upon was "Be empathetic, welcoming,
friendly and patient:" - here empathetic. The German translation is
"einf├╝hlsam". I personally would not use this word for a behaviour I expect
in a technical project. I would use it in a community where I discuss very
personal things like how I can have a better life or how to be a better
partner. Maybe others have this feeling also. It's a bit too much "power
flower" for me.

Regarding the endnotes and explanation why this word is used, I would
change it to

"Be respectful, welcoming, friendly and patient:"

But finally it is NOT a blocker for me also.

I will read everything again later.

Thanks again :)



On 18 May 2014 01:19, Joan Touzet <> wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> The draft CoC and diversity statement have been published at:
> The wiki is a bit slow today so if it doesn't load the first time, hit
> reload and be patient.
> Please take the time to review this and post comments here on the dev
> ML.
> Outstanding items (2 and 3 are specifically for the PMC):
>   1. Create expanded CoC for conferences/events
>   2. Determine appropriate venue and scope for diversity ML
>   3. Determine appropriate private reporting compliance mechanism
> -Joan

Andy Wenk
Hamburg - Germany

GPG fingerprint: C044 8322 9E12 1483 4FEC 9452 B65D 6BE3 9ED3 9588

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