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From Jan Lehnardt <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] Code of conduct - edit of the point 2
Date Mon, 21 Jul 2014 06:59:08 GMT
Empathy is the capacity to  recognise emotions of others.

The first order of empathy is recognising that you can never know another's emotional state,
but to be open for signs that tell you.

I'd like for this community to be the baseline of interaction: looking out for each other
in order to avoid misunderstanding and help to resolve conflict amicably.

One can very well be emphatic towards total strangers. For example, notice how we treat people
differently, when they post here for the first time. We take into account, that they haven't
been accustomed to how things work around here. That's empathy in action, unambiguously.

The fact that empathy is harder to practice in a written, electronic medium makes me want
to put empathy front and centre into culture even more.

I like your point about trust and best intentions and that's worth capturing, if we don't
have it yet, but that's a separate point and can't replace empathy.


> On 21.07.2014, at 04:56, Benoit Chesneau <> wrote:
>> On Sat, Jul 19, 2014 at 11:38 PM, Noah Slater <> wrote:
>> I am +1 on including empathy and -1 on removing it.
>> Empathy is difficult (perhaps one of the most difficult things to do
>> as a human, behind perhaps forgiveness) but it's also the most
>> important thing that we're looking for on the project. Doubly so
>> because we're a loose, distributed team.
> Empathy is just the feeling that you understand the other and then be able
> to share with other. Ie something prone to conflict. You can't be empathic
> with someone you don't know. For example you will have hard time to be
> empathic with me since you don't know what I did today, what I do,  if i
> had hard time,  If I am in the middle of a crisis, badly slept, etc. You
> don't know nothing about the other, only what he wants you to know about
> him and his public appearance. And that's really true over mail/irc/im.
> The more important thing for the project is to feel the best about the
> other and that (s)he has the best intention for the project. What is
> generally defined as trust. I don't want to have someone taking all the
> precautions possibles, hiding his frustration just because eventually a
> critic can be badly taken. Until a critic is about the code, the
> documentation, the project, there is nothing bad to say that a change is
> really bad, eventually stupid.  If you trust the other you know it's not
> about you. The other way, because eventually the other think he could be
> empathetic, you don't know. And the frustration will stay around
> eventually. And again who is the more empathetic in a discussion? How lack
> of empathy will be defined?
> Anyway I don't want to discuss about psychology. I don't think we should
> base a code of conduct on a psychology term prone to conflict. It should be
> neutral and precise. Let's not introduce another concept then (even  if I
> don't think honesty is a concept...) . I would simply replace the whole
> paragraph by:
> Be welcoming, friendly, and patient: We work together to resolve conflict,
>> assume good intentions of each others. We may all experience some
>> frustration from time to time, but we do not allow frustration to turn into
>> a personal attack. A community where people feel uncomfortable or
>> threatened is not a productive one. We should be respectful when dealing
>> with other community members as well as with people outside our
>> community.
> I don't see any reason to use the word empathetic at all. For those who
> think that term has any sense, the whole sentence includes it. I don''t see
> any reason to use a sensitive term in a Code Of Conduct that advocates
> openness and diversity.
> - benoit.

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