Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019


Now what? Following through on your community guidelines

Is there a single right way to enforce a code of conduct, community guidelines, or whatever you call the systems you have to help maintain a good community? This is a peek into how the Debian Anti-Harassment (AH) team functions, a few (anonymized) examples of issues handled, and the philosophy behind helping the Debian community to be a welcoming place for all contributors.

The Debian code of conduct (, mailing list code of conduct, Debian Community Guidelines, DebConf code of conduct, and even the Diversity Statement are tools used for the goal of building a welcoming and inclusive community for Debian.

As much of Debian's work is carried out in the open, so too are many of its problems, which can be visible on social media, in the blog aggregation site Planet Debian, and on public mailing lists. Inappropriate behaviors, harsh communications, and general poor decision making occur on a fairly regular basis. When problems arise within the project, they are typically escalated to either the Anti-harassment team or the Debian Project Leader (DPL). The Anti-harassment team (AH) tackles these problems on a fortnightly basis, making recommendations and directly contacting those involved in disputes or questionable practices.


Photo of Molly de Blanc Molly de Blanc