The FreeBSD project is one of the oldest, longest-running, Open Source projects out there. The community is several hundred regular contributors and thousands of ancilliacy participants. The community, supported by the FreeBSD Foundation, runs a bunch of events each year and has a wide range of communications channels, from mailing lists to IRC to the FreeBSD forums.

Any community this size, spread out over so much of the world, needs to have a social contract: some basic rules on how to interact with each other, what’s acceptable, and what’s not. In the modern world, that means a Code of Conduct that spells out (at least) three things:

  • what behavior is acceptable, and what’s unacceptable,
  • what areas of activity are covered,
  • a complaint and resolution mechanism.

I’m not a student of CoC’s, but I know what I like.

The KDE CoC is one I don’t like all that much, actually: it’s generally-positive in outlook, but the scope is wishy-washy and the resolution mechanism not documented. The Akademy CoC is more clear that way.

The new FreeBSD CoC is based on LLVM’s CoC (draft) and .. I guess it’s ok.

The FreeBSD community has always worked to be a welcoming and respectful community, and we want to ensure that doesn’t change as we grow and evolve. To that end, we have a few ground rules that we ask people to adhere to:

There’s a reporting mechanism, at least (later on in the document).

The previous version of the FreeBSD CoC was based on the Geek Feminism CoC which put enforcement much of in-your-face. I liked that. Something else I miss in the new CoC is some explicit attention for trans- and non-binary rights: Geek Feminism puts that front-and-center as well. I must admit that when that CoC first showed up in my FreeBSD world I had to ask “what’s a deadname!?” And that was an education, and now I know.

So while I’m happy that the FreeBSD community (which I’m part of) continues to take Codes of Conduct seriously, I’m a bit apprehensive about the new wriggle-room. Time will tell, and we’ll have a new democratic round for the CoC in due course.