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Dear everyone,

to have an unbiased view on it, please have a look at the discussion of this issue before reading my thoughts on it in the following:

I opened this issue, it was my first try to contribute to the Go project and als my last one. The interaction with ILT and the way it was dealt with by the Go communityt still haunts me today.

I am still having a very hard time to deal with this, let alone speak about this. It does not haunt me that some dude obviously thinks that the only reason for me posting an issue is a lack of education and that he knows better without even listening to me. It worries me more that he is a major contributor and not able to reconsider his stance after I really tried my best to explain it to him. What is really haunting me is that the Go community approves of this behaviour.

I got vastly different opinions on this varying from “what a toxic culture”, “he is being aggressively dismissive” and “i would have immediately deleted my issue after his first comment” to “if only you could see what a good person he is” and “probably this is just a cultural misunderstanding”. [For the sake of brevity, these are not direct quotes, only pretty near summaries of what people said. ]

I don’t know what to do with that. How can it be that Go CoC seems to see no problem at all while other people have very strong feelings that ILT’s behaviour is not acceptable and violates Go’s CoC?

I would be interested in your opinion about this, because ultimately, I would like to get over this situation and find a way to contribute to OS that is safe and that also feels safe for me.

Hi Stefanie,

I’m not a member of the Go community, but your post really spoke to me, and so I wanted to try to respond based on my experience in other communities (and CoC response teams). But I would advise you to take this reply with a grain of salt as every community is different in some way, and I am not sure what culture and communication strategy is most appropriate to your situation.

Ok, clarifications aside, I can understand your position. You felt like you opened a valid issue at a certain level of complexity, and the reply seemed dismissive of either your level of understanding, if not the entire question/issue raised. I would say that this constitutes a CoC violation and that you clearly stated this to the person involved. The CoC then says that if you don’t feel that the issue is handled, which you don’t based on your message here, then you should send them an email. Have you done that already? You say you spoke with people in the community and that the CoC doesn’t have a problem with this, but it’s not clear to me if you submitted a report on a CoC violation or not?

Cheers, Noa

PS happy to follow up in private if you prefer…

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hi noa, thanks for your reply.

Yes, I sent a report to CoC before ILTs nopology. I very specifically asked whether they approve of this kind of behaviour, even adding “If you condone such a behaviour, then this is not a community I want to be part of, so please be so kind to let me know.”

However, they failed to answer the question, but preferred to speculate about my feelings. They obviously decided not to talk to ILT to make him aware of the impact of his behaviour.

In their public self-description, they claim to do this regularly when people make others feel unwelcome:

A typical outcome is to meet with the person whose conduct was reported and help them understand how to take responsibility for and correct their actions moving forward. (Code of Conduct Updates - go.dev)

So I conclude that they are fine with the ILTs behaviour towards me.

I am not.

I probably would not speak about this “publicly” with a link that clearly identifies the person whose behaviour I am not ok with if I had not tried to correct it within the Go community. But I think they had their chance to improve things and are obviously happy with how they represent themselves publicly on github, so I see no reason to not refer to it.

I’m sorry to hear that’s how they handled your complaint. I also understood based on their CoC and their blog post from September 2021 with CoC Updates that in this case they would go for a meeting between you and the offender (Code of Conduct Updates - go.dev).

They don’t have an elaborate CoC policy beyond what’s on their CoC page. Based on that, I don’t expect them to make value judgements on offending behavior, even if you ask for it (i.e. I wouldn’t expect them to answer your direct question on whether they approve this behavior. thought I wish they would have explained this to you themselves). As I understand the Steward is there to listen to your complaint, respect you experience and feelings, and help you get to a point where you experience improve so that you can continue to participate in the community. In misunderstandings and mild cases this can be simple.

I’m afraid that they may have assessed the situation to be mild and resolved, before you were satisfied. I think it’s fair to go back to the steward and say that you are still feeling uncomfortable to participate and would appreciate a conversation because at this point you can’t continue to contribute to the Go Project and have fears of contributing to any OSS project and you would like to have an open conversation about his. And that you think that with some listening and understanding from the other side you could feel reassured and get over this.

I am not sure if you will like the reply, or experience… I am concerned that they are quick to resolve and judge based on their own experience and it might be born out of many things, weariness of these processes (that blog post says they are dealing with 1-2 complaints per week), feeling victimized or attacked themselves, lack of skills in how to handle difficult conversations (conversations where they need to have high listening skills and emotional intelligence), or something as simple as the timing of the conversation on the day you meet being at a low energy point and they just won’t have the resources to do it well. That said, it might also be a much more positive experience just as you hope. Text conversations are very difficult mediums to discuss misunderstandings emerging from previous text conversations and it could be that as you switch to voice you will all have an easier time to connect with empathy and hear in each others voices the sincerity, respect, and encouragement. I truly hope it’s the latter - but being ready for both is a good idea for your own wellness.

You do have another option in the CoC, given you already had an unsatisfying experience with the steward:

If for any reason you are uncomfortable reaching out to the Project Stewards, please email the Google Open Source Programs Office at opensource@google.com .

As for you last remark about speaking about this publicly. I personally would do the same. don’t bury your emotions and cause yourself more harm. Choosing not to link and mention the offender’s name is respectful, and shows that you are still open to the resolution of a misunderstanding. I personally appreciate this, and I hope he would too. I can only hope that the Go Project and community value this discourse in the long view of things, because it is what they need to improve their community and make it more welcoming and more open. But I would say - it sounds like they are a bit overwhelmed right now, and I hope they don’t feel that way for a long time and burnout.

I hope this is helpful and more than anything I hope you realize that you are not alone in feeling like it can be hard to get started in open source. There are other projects that have done more culture and community work, which might feel more welcoming. And there are some communities which support minoritized people in OSS so that you have a network, and resources for this kind of situations, and don’t feel alone. I hope you will be able to find those for the projects you are interested in and find your way in, so long as you want to.

Yes, I am overwhelmed - and not only a bit. I did not fully understand your answer and I am not capable to try right now, I hope I can do this later.

What I would like to say that I very strongly believe that there is a limit to subjective interpretation and I think that in an exam in linguistics/ philosophy of language about pragmatics ILT would have definitely failed with his claim that the there is no difference between the truncated and the untruncated sentence. ILT is either lying that he sees no difference or he pays so little attention that this is not acceptable after I made abundantly clear that I feel misinterpreted.

I don’t want to make claims about his intentions, maybe he was just overworked and could not think straight, I don’t know and frankly, I don’t even care anymore, but I think that the way he communicates is objectively problematic and he should be made aware of it.

This blabbering about my assumed feelings and my cultural difference by the Go people makes me feel as if there was something wrong with my perception. I would be happy to accept that if I was the only person that felt that way. However, I am not.

What I take from this bottom line is that the Go people just don’t care. If they don’t get what the problem is, they could have asked. Als ILT could have before his nopology. If he really did not see what he might have done wrong, he should have been interested in learning what was perceived as a problem. Instead, he apologizes “if” he has made me feel unwelcome. That is not an apology, that only shows that he does not care.

Hi again Stefanie,

Again, I completely agree that the way ILT communicated with you on that thread was problematic, and that once you made him aware of it, it didn’t lead him, or later on the steward, to resolve your issue. I found your report of having the latter speculate about your feelings particularly troubling. Again, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I also think they weren’t making much of an effort to listen to you, and I mean really listen to what’s bothering you - which is why they have not yet been able to resolve the issue. It is really quite sad - it is, or was, within their grasp to resolve this quickly. I can see why you are so frustrated.

I am also sorry my previous message wasn’t helpful. I really didn’t want to add to your feeling of overwhelm-ness - please feel free to disregard it. I don’t think there’s anything there that’s particularly important.*

I see how you get to the bottom line of them not caring, considering what you described so far. I myself can’t judge, being so removed from the community and the incident. If that is how you see it, I would personally advise you - as a minoritized person on the internet - to prioritize your mental health and well being. We aren’t treated fairly in all places, and it is worth fighting for, but it can also unravel a person. Pick your battles, find communities of support, and know when to take breaks or call it quits because your well being is more important.

As for your original question on how to proceed and find a safe way to contribute, for me finding inspiring role models & allies on twitter helped, but mostly joining communities of minoritized people to work with in FOSS was my safe way in. From local meetups to global networks like PyLadies and WiMLDS that have slack channels with more privacy and support beyond an open forum like this one. I hope some of these exist in your areas of interest as well, and if not - maybe you’d want to start them :wink:

I do hope some of my words are of help. I’ll leave it at that for now.

Wishing you all the best,

Noa

* I was trying to give some “other side” context, in case it might be helpful in making your decision on how to move forward. But obviously it wasn’t, so it doesn’t matter at all. I was in no way trying to excuse them or explain their possible states, only to prepare you for how a follow up meeting might go badly and why. But again - you don’t have to proceed with your CoC complaint.

Sorry for causing confustion: your previous message was very helpful as well as this and I appreciate both a lot, so thank you. I just was not sure that I understood every detail of it, because the topic makes me nervous and I have to think about those things very slowly.

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That’s really nice to hear :blush: Honestly, this topic makes me very nervous as well. Even writing these messages makes me feel uneasy and even scared. Of judgment, of making mistakes, of making things worse. But I think it’s good that we are daring to talk about it, and I think you are very brave to talk about your experiences publicly. I hope it helps others who haven’t yet had the courage. Thank you for sharing.