Richard Stallman has published "A Guide to Enjoyable Communication in GNU Projects"

    Richard Stallman, president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), has published the first version of a document called the GNU Kind Communication Guidelines , that is, “A Guide to Enjoyable Communication in GNU Projects.” He asked all FSF members and members of the open source movement to listen to these tips so that free software projects are not as repulsive for women as they are now.

    On the info-gnu mailing list, Richard Stallman explainedthe background to the appearance of this document: “In August, a discussion about the problem began among GNU package maintainers, which GNU development often pushes women away. 1) Obviously, there is nothing good about it. 2) Some maintainers advocated the adoption of a “Code of Conduct” with strict rules of communication. Some other open source projects have done this by overcoming some resistance. 3) Several GNU package maintainers said that if such rules were adopted, they would leave immediately. I myself did not like such a punitive approach and I decided to oppose it. However, I did not want this to be a pretext for ignoring this problem. ”

    Therefore, Richard Stallman decided to try a different approach. He identified some text communication templates that "seem to scare women ... and some men too." Some of these patterns appeared directly in the aforementioned discussion in August.

    Then Stallman consulted with members of the community, including some women, how to avoid such aggressive patterns. After receiving the answers, Richard tried to apply the advice he received in practice — and saw that some of them were effective. Actually, he tried to generalize these tips in a document called the Guide to Enjoyable Communication in GNU Projects. Naturally, the original version is not final: any advices and comments are accepted to improve the document.

    Some tips from the GNU Good Talk Guide

    • Assume that other participants act with good intentions, even if you do not agree with what they say. When people present a code or text as their own work, please treat it as your work. Please do not criticize people for errors that you just suggest.
    • Please think about how to treat other participants with respect, especially when you disagree with them. For example, call them by the names they use and respect their preferences regarding their gender identity (Stallman explains that there are different ways to express gender neutrality in third person pronouns in the singular number in English).
    • Please do not take a harsh tone towards other participants, and especially do not make personal attacks on them. Try your best to show that you are criticizing the statement, not the person.
    • Please remember that criticizing your statements is not a personal attack on you. If you feel that someone has attacked you or offended your personal dignity, please do not “strike back”. This leads to a vicious circle of escalating verbal aggression. A private answer, politely expressing your feelings as feelings and asking for peace, can calm you down. Write it, set it aside for a few hours or a day, review it to remove the anger, and then send it.
    • Please be especially kind to other members when you say they made a mistake. Programming means making a lot of mistakes, and we all make them. Diligent programmers make mistakes and then fix them.
    • Similarly, please indicate to other participants that they should stop using certain non-free programs. For their own sake, they should be free, but we welcome their contribution to our software packages anyway.
    • In general, the assumption that others use proprietary software is contrary to the basic principles of GNU, so this is forbidden in discussions of GNU projects.
    • If someone discusses a related topic in the discussion, please continue the discussion by focusing on the current topic, rather than the related topic.
    • If you consider that a related topic is an important and relevant issue, please raise it as a separate discussion.
    • Instead of trying to have the last word, look for moments when there is no need to answer. If you know something about the game of go, here's a clear analogy: when the opponent’s move is not strong enough, then it’s beneficial not to respond to it, but instead walk in another place.
    • If other participants complain about how you express your ideas, please make an effort to please them.
    • Please do not raise unrelated political issues in the GNU draft discussions.

    Probably many of these tips are relevant for any textual communications, forums, and chats, and not just for GNU projects.

    “The difference between leadership and the Code of Conduct is a matter of a common basic approach,” says Stallman. - The Code of Conduct approves rules and penalties for those who violate them. This is a rude way to teach people to behave differently, and it comes into effect only when people break the rules, so he is not trying to make people better than what the rules require. ” On the other hand, the task of the guide for pleasant communication is to start educating and pushing people towards more kind communications, so that no one will think about breaking the rules. This is just an attempt to make everyone kinder and more friendly to each other.

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