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First things first, we all know that Ask Ubuntu is independent and does not follow orders from Canonical (related: Is Ask Ubuntu sponsored by Canonical?).

But, the imposition of Ubuntu Code of Conduct seems contradictory to the fact that Ask Ubuntu is independent.

Back then, this was mentioned in Stack Exchange Network Terms of Service:

When accessing the askubuntu.com, meta.askubuntu.com, or chat.askubuntu.com sites ("AskUbuntu"), Subscriber will also abide by the most current Ubuntu Code of Conduct, which can be found at http://www.ubuntu.com/community/conduct, and is hereby incorporated by reference, but solely with regard to AskUbuntu.

Also, check this post: Why does Ask Ubuntu have elevated status in the Terms of Use?

But, this clause no longer exists in the current Terms of Service. (Also, check this post: Why was the Ubuntu Code of Conduct clause removed from the Ask Ubuntu terms of service?)

Though the clause has been removed from the Terms of Service, Ubuntu Code of Conduct is still mentioned in the tour page ("Please follow the Ubuntu Code of Conduct when participating within this community.") and people who want to nominate themselves in the moderator election have to sign the Ubuntu Code of Conduct. Also, it is weird that the bullet point relating to Ubuntu Code of Conduct in election page is bold as if it is the most important thing required to be a moderator and it being bold kind of belittles other important bullet points.

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So, what do you feel? Should we still include Ubuntu Code of Conduct in Ask Ubuntu? Or should we remove it? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Let me quote some text from an old question in Ask Ubuntu Meta:

In order to nominate one self for the community moderator elections one must provide a link to one's LaunchPad account in order to verify that one has signed the Ubuntu Code of Conduct. However some individuals such as myself may not want to link to their LP account because it contains provide details about oneself such as the real person's name and an email assigned to the GPG key.

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    In my perfect world everybody would be kind to each other and there would be no need for such a thing as a Code of Conduct in any shape or form. However the world has not reached such a state and the Ubuntu Code of Conduct, which I have signed and will continue to personally uphold, is a great tool to help in maintaining the peace.
    – andrew.46 Mod
    Jul 15 at 9:28
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    @andrew.46 Well, even the SE CoC helps in maintaining the peace. What's so special about Ubuntu CoC? Jul 15 at 11:02
  • Before I retired I was involved in putting a similar document together for the organisation I worked in. I am grateful to have one here 'ready made' as my experience creating one taught me that it is a lot of thankless work and you cannot make everybody happy with the end product. Is there anything special about the Ubuntu COC? I look at it a little differently than that: I look on it more as a guide and a tool and for those purposes it works well.
    – andrew.46 Mod
    Jul 16 at 1:01
  • @andrew.46 Let me make it clear. My post has nothing to do with regarding how good or bad the Ubuntu CoC is (that's a subjective issue). My post is just about whether it is right or wrong to enforce Ubuntu CoC on AU users when SE themselves have removed it from SE ToS. Jul 16 at 19:01
  • VTC: This does not seem a constructive question. It seems intended to generate strong opinions --instead of answers-- by using a "X is right/wrong" framework, open-ended questions, and gently suggesting nefarious intent.
    – user535733
    Aug 1 at 2:46

1 Answer 1

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I have mixed feelings about this, but I lean towards keeping the status quo.

I feel that our community is already somewhat unwelcoming with all the rules and restrictions. And I don't think we should add extra constraints.

Besides, the Ubuntu Code of Conduct and the SE Code of Conduct align well. If anything, I feel the SE CoC is more "restrictive" and covers more conduct-related behaviour than the Ubuntu CoC.

The extra items covered in the Ubuntu CoC are more related to teamwork and leadership in projects, Which is not something needed by newcomers asking or answering questions.

However, moderators in Ask Ubuntu have an active leadership role, so asking moderators to sign the Ubuntu CoC is relevant.

Ps. Just to make it clearer. I'm not against the Ubuntu CoC. I've signed it a long time ago and I completely agree with its content. I just don't feel we should force it on every user in Ask Ubuntu especially since the SE CoC is already enforced.

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  • Moderators in all SE sites have an active leadership role and non-AU moderators don't sign the Ubuntu CoC. Jul 15 at 11:01
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    @RandomPerson the point Dan is making is that AU is part of the broader Ubuntu community, even if the site itself is neither owned nor operated by Canonical and so AU moderators are in a sort of "leadership" position in the Ubuntu community which is why asking them to sign the CoC seems reasonable. It is also The Way We Have Done Things® so unless there is a problem with it, why go to the trouble of changing a perfectly good process? Do you have any reason why mods should not sign it?
    – terdon
    Jul 15 at 17:22
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    Actually - when I stood for elections years ago, agreeing to the Ubuntu COC was a prerequisite for standing. A good many if not all mods on AU as such have agreed to it. Also as a mse and SU mod, I don't have any formal standing more than any other mod. At best I advice and meddle Jul 16 at 2:55
  • @terdon I find it as an additional barrier (which is also legal). A user who wants to become an AU mod should not be compelled to create a Ubuntu One account (for which they need to accept Ubuntu One ToS, Ubuntu data privacy policy, and Canonical's SSO privacy notice). Let us not come to a conclusion that the process is "perfectly good". Also, even if the user who wants to become an AU mod has an Ubuntu One account, they should not be compelled to sign the Ubuntu CoC. Also, even if they have signed the Ubuntu CoC, they should not be forced to reveal their Ubuntu One profile details. Jul 16 at 18:57
  • @terdon Also, I noticed this comment of yours: meta.askubuntu.com/posts/comments/29852 Jul 16 at 19:18
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    @RandomPerson The rest of that question seems very relevant here too. Becoming a moderator, an elected one at that, is a position of repsonsability and puts you in the community's eye. In this case, both the AU, SE, and Ubuntu communities. For lack of a better term, you become a (minor) public figure. If you don't want the small amount of scrutiny that this entails, then becoming a moderator might not be for you.
    – Seth
    Jul 24 at 6:10
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    Becoming a moderator of Ask Ubuntu also makes you a member of the wider ubuntu community, you can't separate the two. It is a position of responsability. You have a lot of influence over the community here as well as access to quite a bit of user PII. Your actions reflect not just Ask Ubuntu, but Ubuntu itself too. It's also worth pointing out that you only have to link to your launchpad profile (basically just your AU profile but for all ubuntu projects), not your ubuntu one account. There's no direct link to your ubuntu one account nor any personal details that you don't have in your profile
    – Seth
    Jul 24 at 6:10
  • @Seth "(minor) public figure" seems to be an overstatement. I would love to say what one of my AU friends said me: "We are colleagues and friends, we are equals." It's ok to have scrutiny to become a moderator but I want it to be consistent (why should just AU moderator nominees sign additional CoC, why not all SE moderator nominees?) In the past AU and Canonical were interlinked... but now, things are changing I suppose. Jul 24 at 13:09
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    @RandomPerson As I said, you're a representative of the ubuntu community too. Signing the ubuntu CoC makes sense. Any actions you take as a moderator represent SE, AU, and ubuntu. As an AU mod I interfaced with ubuntu community managers and ubuntu forum moderators several times on different topics, and had many confused or frustrated (or even a few thankful!) users reach out to be directly about issues (one of the reasons my twitter is not in my profile anymore, not a great forum for that lol).
    – Seth
    Jul 24 at 19:00
  • @Seth I want AU to be a independent site run by SE, not a subsidiary of Canonical. Sure, AU is a part of the larger Ubuntu community, but that does not mean we are obliged to follow whatever Canonical wants us to do. We are unique in our own ways. Jul 24 at 20:33
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    @RandomPerson ubuntu community != canonical (although they're a part of it too!). Actually, the ubuntu community has way more autonomy than any Stack site has from SE. The ubuntu community council is responsible for the CoC, not Canonical. Our own Thomas Ward is actually on the CC. I encourage you to take a look at the governance page and hang around the community to get a better idea of how it all works together :)
    – Seth
    Jul 25 at 0:35
  • @Seth I wish I could speak more openly to you... but that'll lead to complicated consequences. I hope you'll get to know more details as time passes :) Aug 1 at 19:33

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