For me, this CoC has a few issues. First, it is focusing on one specific problem. At this point, it's focused so much on one problem that it's excluding all the other ones. Quick, can you tell me what is explicitly called out as bigotry in the Code of Conduct?
Did you come up with some? There are four.
We don’t tolerate any language likely to offend or alienate people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion — and those are just a few examples.
Yet, for those four being called out, everything in the past month has been focused on gender. What about the other three or the others that are implied by "just a few examples"?
Second, is the massive amount of hypocrisy coming from Stack Exchange. This is my biggest complaint about Stack Exchange, and it isn't something that has happened in the last four weeks. It's been festering for a couple years.
As a moderator, I am bound by the moderator agreement.
ii. I acknowledge that I may have access to potentially personally-identifying information about Stack Overflow users and that in connection with such access
b. I will not disclose this information to anyone,
c. I will not store or copy this information and
d. I will only use such information in connection with performance as a Stack Overflow moderator for the benefit of Stack Overflow.
Specifically, section II.b. "I will not disclose this [personal] information to anyone". Along with that is the common practice of not talking about actions taken against user accounts in public, unless they bring up the information in public. Even then, err on the side of "less is more". I, and every other moderator, are to be quiet and respect the community. Yet, Stack Exchange couldn't do this themselves. This entire month long controversy started because of a public (in a mod chatroom) firing and escalated from there. It escalated to posts around the network that, at the very least, cast people in unflattering light. It ended with speaking to the press about a single, specific user.
Stack Exchange shared less information publicly when Ross Ulbricht was arrested. They have shared less information when other moderators were removed for other reasons. Yet, this time, they spoke with the press.
Finally, there is another portion of the Code of Conduct that I don't think Stack Exchange is holding up.
Be clear and constructive when giving feedback, and be open when receiving it.
I haven't seen a lot of that from Stack Exchange in the past...well, few years, but let's focus on the last month. We've been dropped edicts in the Teacher's Lounge and then left to argue between ourselves with no follow up. We've been given the chance to provide feedback on this Code of Conduct, yet that now seems like it was a pointless exercise. To me, it looks like Stack Exchange already had their minds made up about a series of actions before they even asked for feedback. Stack Exchange hasn't been clear in their feedback on this entire incident. We've gotten apologies, copy and pasted good byes, and the cold shoulder. We're being given edicts that conflict with how the site has been run. All of this is being done and it really feels like feedback being provided is at best ignored.
In summary, my issues with the new Code of Conduct are:
- Narrowly focusing on one specific problem to the exclusion of others that the CoC itself calls out
- A huge lack of trust on my part toward Stack Exchange. There is so much bad faith communication around this entire update that it's hard for me to separate the good changes from the drama that has occurred. I also can't shake the feeling that Stack Exchange is trying to get rid of community members.
- Communication. Like almost every "incident" in the last few years, communication is lacking.
I've been re-evaluating my positions on Stack Exchange over the past month and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to ignore that lack of trust. I'm trying to get past it. But, as I wake up each morning and check my sites, I find that I'm withdrawing more and more from the Teacher's Lounge and other network wide discussions with Stack Exchange. I trust my moderator team mates, but it's been harder and harder to read comments from Stack Exchange employees and assume good faith. The Code of Conduct changes are included with that.
That feeling sucks. I hate it.