The new code of conduct

For a long time, Reactiflux was moderated by a very small number of people more or less acting at their own discretion. For nearly 2 years after we moved from Slack to Discord in 2015, we had no guidance on what was acceptable and unacceptable, and it worked okay. We had roughly 5 people who were actively guiding the server, in the form of answering questions, rebuking those who broke the social norms, and banning spammers and trolls. Most of those frequently answering questions had moved to Reactiflux from IRC, and from that perspective, it was an extremely friendly and welcoming community.

Since then, as we've grown, we created some incremental guidance to fill gaps. For the past several years, the principles motivating that guidance have been facilitating those seeking answers to questions, helping people to improve themselves, and minimizing disruption in the server. This can be seen in the content of our tips.

Notably, we haven't had an explicit code of conduct, with the guidelines intended to serve the same purpose. We now believe that our previous guidelines aren’t sufficient for how large the community is now. It's no longer acceptable to merely be more welcoming than IRC.

We intend to more strongly demonstrate our support for those who are underrepresented in the industry, and to better surface our expectations of members in the community. To do so, there’s no tool more appropriate than a formal code of conduct.

Today we're announcing 3 changes: a new Reactiflux code of conduct, an anonymous reporting tool on our website, and a mandatory opt-in acceptance of that code of conduct before members may participate in the chat. The intent is not to dramatically change how the server operates, but to clarify that we are an inclusive space and to provide a better avenue for reporting violations.

Over the past 18 months, we’ve improved our moderation in a number of ways. We’ve made efforts, with mixed success, to recruit a more diverse staff, we’ve added 3 ways for members to quickly get the attention of staff, and we’ve codified internal processes so that less bad behavior slips through the cracks. We now have dozens of active members helping to keep the server friendly, lively, and helpful, and have 10 active staff members on hand to intervene if the situation calls for it. Reactiflux is one of the (if not the) largest chat communities for software developers, and we have a corresponding duty to ensure our members feel welcome and safe in the space we provide.

Thanks to the Rust and Python communities for some prior art on how to properly surface a code of conduct within the server, to Frame Shift Consulting’s excellent book on implementing a code of conduct, and to everyone who has invested their time and energy to make software a less exclusive industry.