Contributor Covenant and Code of Conduct

So, I was impressed with the varied backgrounds of the current team page of the people working on MaidSafe and was pleased to read about the gender representation at the Jakarta conference.

While I have noticed the Contribution guidelines on the various repositories I was wondering if the MaidSafe team ever considered adopting something like the Contributor Covenant on it’s projects to reinforce the massage I have already seen in places that the SAFE Network and ecosystem is explicitly for everyone.

Thanks, and I’m interested to hear thoughts on this. I would want to help make MaidSafe a place where people of all backgrounds are welcome to contribute and feel safe and respected in the community in doing so. :slight_smile:

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This is the developer forum, I think it’s better to place this post on the common forum in the community section. This way you only reach the more technical people that are focusing here on technical issues.


Hi @ootoovak, not sure if you were going to move this topic over as @polpolrene suggested, but I’ll confirm here anyway and that way that at least have a response. I see both agreements working toward different things. The contributor covenant seems to by a code of ethics that seem very reasonable and make perfect sense, a pledge that helps to encourage good behaviour. Our current Contributor Agreement is more about the legal aspects, ensuring that when MaidSafe license the work of others that we have the legal authority to do so and protect ourselves from the contributor being able to withdraw that right at a later date, potentially causing all sorts of issues in the process.

I hope that makes sense and helps with your query.


HI @polpolrene I specifically didn’t put it in the wider SAFE Network Forum because I think the Contributor Covenant directly relates to the repositories and the people that are involved in contributing to it (you can see the in the list of adopters they have it in their git repos). As @Nick_Lambert mentions the Contributor Agreement covers the legal requirements to contribute where as something like the Contributor Covenant specifies the expected behaviour requirements. In my mind people make (and use) code so being explicit about the expected behaviour when joining the repo as a contributor is just as important as the syntax that is contributed. I see something like the Contributor Covenant as a sign that says, “Even if you are currently underrepresented in the community as a contributor we will make sure you are safe and welcome. We will value your contributions and make sure this is a friendly and safe environment for all.”

In terms of the wider SAFE Network at a whole community (not just the repo level) I think a more general Code of Conduct is more fitting. Many communities and conferences adopt and modify existing community built ones like the Citizen Code of Conduct which states both expected and unacceptable behaviour. I am happy to start the discussion in that forum for that winder kind of Code of Conduct as well.


I guess as a possible alternative the Rust programming language seems to have adopted a single community wide one, but then they also explicitly link to it in their code repositories as a part of the contributer requirements.


OK, I’ll respond here then. I think there’s no need for Maidsafe to sign a Contributor Covenant as proposed above. All these rules are very obvious and there’s no sign of devs (internal or external) that they weren’t open and respectful. I also believe that if some disrespectful person shows up he or she won’t hold back due to some rule in some covenant. I’ve been a mod on the other forum since early 2015 and we’ve seen quite some folks come by (over 3200 members). Far over 99% are respectful and welcoming people and the ones that aren’t didn’t really give a thing about our guidelines :grinning:. Even though we have the most peaceful and friendly request in there:

Please treat this discussion forum with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation. This forum is family friendly. Keep that in mind when posting a reply or topic.

My whole point is: The far over 99% are already open and nice, the other ones don’t care about your rules no matter how polite you ask then. So there’s no need to bother the “good ones” with another set of rules. We already have rules on our forum, so if Maidsafe (the company) ever spots a disrespectful dev writing harsh things in their code comments they could easily ask that person to remove it and point to the guidelines we already have on our forum. And so far there’s no single incident in the Maidsafe repo pointing towards someone not being in line with these rules. It’s the opposite actually, both Maidsafe the company and the SAFE community are very open and welcoming.


Well that is disappointing to read. A lot of other open source projects (like Rust, Python, and many others) have adopted a Code of Conduct because they recognise it is an important part of making an inclusive community. It is good to be explicit about the values and guidelines the community supports and that the core maintainers will uphold.

By not having one you may be missing out on contributors that you never even knew were considering contributing to this project. I for one will be reconsidering whether or not I want to contribute myself, I will have to give it some thought.

Please do consider taking some time to read about why people want and implement explicit codes of conducts. There is a lot of great writing about this already online. Often related to underrepresented genders but also related to other marginalised communities. These are the people I think MaidSafe could best serve so I would be sad to see them not represented on the project as contributors.

Just so I can understand what you are asking.

Are you asking if a code of conduct will be set up and adopted.

OR are you asking if a covenant will be setup and adopted?

I don’t know much about the codes you’ve mentioned, but I don’t see any downside to having one at this point. So I will support it if people feel it is valuable.

I don’t think the forum guidelines apply here, so having clarity relating to coder/developer behaviour is a positive IMO.

I think it has been helpful to have guidelines on the forum because even if some disregard them: 1) it reassures people about what they can expect from the mods, and others, and helps them understand what is expected of them. 2) it encourages people to report things that go against the guidelines. 3) it’s useful to be able to refer to them as a moderator, both to know what is OK and what’s not, and to refer people to when they go too far. Without explicit guidelines transgressors can more easily take things personally, which seems to be a common thing among those who behave badly towards others online. When someone takes things personally it makes things very much harder to manage as we’ve seen.

I think roughly the same applies to the developer community, although probably to a lesser extent than with a community forum.

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I’ve asked several questions about SAFE on Reddit in 2014. I was asked to “have a look at our forum”. I did, asked some questions and got a very warm welcome. Even the main dev (Maidsafe CEO) took time to welcome me and answered a lot of questions. Since then I connected with a big number of people from all over the planet and talked and enjoyed this project. We connected over Facebook, Hangouts, Telegram and I got views on topics that really have nothing to do with SAFE as well. People support each other when they started coding and more. To me SAFE is already a very inclusive community. No matter if people jump on the forum only once a month to see what’s going on or hangout everyday. Maybe it’s an option to give “us” a try for some time? I’m really open to the things you post even if I don’t agree with all of it. My idea would be to open a topic on the other forum and start a discussion on communities (maybe the SAFE community specifically?) and inclusiveness and post links about this topic you strongly feel about. Maybe after some discussion and links you find a lot of support, or maybe not. But if you like the idea of SAFE and would like to help out, I would just do it if I were you. There’s always an option to decide different after some time. But like I said before, this is quite an amazing community. Can not image people not feeling welcomed and included.

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@robI was thinking both or either. Rust seems to use a Code of Conduct for the community and then links to it in the code bases (repositories) for example.

Thank you @polpolrene for your thoughtful reply and I am glad you have had such a positive experience in the SAFE community. I am just aware this is not alway the case for everyone in Open Source (some good talks on this I can try link to at some point) and so something like a Code of Conduct can provide guidelines and actions to keep people safe.

I think you can think of it the same way you think of computer security. Most people don’t want to break into your stuff but we still invest time in things like encryption because there are examples of enough people that do and we have to take measures to keep everyone safe. I think SAFE network is doing a great job of this in code so far from what I understand, and seems to be doing a great job of it in the community too (from what I have seen so far) but like @happybeing mentions it would be good to have explicit guidelines and measures in place for when things do happen.

I have been pleasantly surprised so far by the responses here, I know some other dev communities are not nearly as open to these ideas, but I think it is getting recognised as more important by more and more communities.

In any case I will continue to take a look around and as you say @polpolrene I will think about opening this issue up to the wider SAFE network as well. Thank you for you time. :slight_smile: