SecureDrop Community contact persons


In the past few weeks we discussed Code of Conduct in general and we’re reaching consensus on its content. It helped clarify that the SecureDrop Community is responsible for what happens in spaces that it occupies (for instance this forum or the SecureDrop booth at FOSDEM). Which means that people who are in these spaces should know they can rely on someone to create a safe environment.

This is an ongoing effort and I believe we’re in a good place. We did not need a Code of Conduct for that, because we’re still young and there are not many of us. Going forward I believe we need more than a Code of Conduct: we need to acknowledge and value people who make an effort to listen and defuse tension. Not only in their interactions with others but also when they hear members of the SecureDrop Community failing to communicate.

I have two examples in mind to make this less abstract:

  • A few days ago I got frustrated and used aggressive language toward @kushaldas. The next day both @redshiftzero and @mickael reached out to me privately, listened to me and made me realize I overreacted.
  • During the discussion about the Code of Conduct I felt that participants failed to communicate and reached out to each of them in private to take the time to better understand everybody’s point of view. I don’t claim that I succeeded. I tried.

We all make mistakes: sometimes we do things that make our environment less safe. But we also try to create a friendly environment, when we can. There is no need to brag about it but we should not be too secretive either. When someone is in the SecureDrop Community space, they need to know about people who volunteer to make an effort and keep it safe for everyone.

I think we need a few people who are willing to be identified as SecureDrop Community contact persons. Since we’re a horizontal community, volunteers can create a thread proposing to be listed as a contact person, for a period of time (six months? a year?). And if there is consensus after a week, they are added in a page where they can easily be found.This is not very formal but probably enough given we’re still small. What really matters is that every person actively involved in the SecureDrop Community get a chance to comment and express reservations.

What do you think?

For comparison, at Tor there is a similar process: a council of people who assist in resolving intra-community disputes. After enough people are nominated, Tor people vote on which nominees for the council. The amount of time they serve in this role is a year.

I think given the size of the SecureDrop community, a year is reasonable: hopefully the burden on any one person will not be too high. I agree that the voting process is really not necessary in this case: we are too small. That also sidesteps the issue of who has the “rights” to vote.

FYI I’m happy to be considered as one of these contact people as smoothly resolving disputes is important for the health and future of our project.

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The list of categories displayed on the forum homepage was changed to be fixed instead of ordered by the most active so that the new General category shows first. In the description of this category we could have links to the contact persons so they can be easily found on the forum home page.

Another possibility would be to set a General Notice (shows in blue at the top of every page). It can be set in Admin Settings >> Others >> General Notice. I set it to Global Notice Displays Here to illustrate how it looks.

Does that sound sensible?

I will talk to you no matter what. Doesn’t have to be about anything, but it could be.

Want an uneducated opinion on something, moral support, sometimes good advice?
If what you need is a daily digest of happy cats, consider it done. I can help with some things!

I may be a filthy moderator, but we are the same. There is one boat, and we are both in it.

@redshiftzero I proposed my platform and invite you to do the same. We still have to figure out where contact persons should be listed but we can work that out in while the platforms are being discussed.

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