Making Our World More Respectful

Something has been bothering me a little recently, and I have been trying to think about the best way of solving it. This is a problem that is not specific to Ubuntu or my world, but one that I believe affects many, many projects. I am not sure that there is a crisp solution to this problem, and some of you won’t even see it as a problem in the first place, but let me explain…

I am getting a little tired of the bickering in Open Source. Don’t get me wrong, I love full, frank and colorful discourse and debate, and I believe that innovation thrives on the exchange of ideas and different perspectives. Unfortunately, it seems that respectful debate and discussion has been increasingly replaced with rudeness, abrupt perspectives that are ill-researched, and the kind of behavior that people may exhibit online but would never exhibit if the same conversation happened in real life. To be clear: this is not about people who disagree with me or the projects I am associated with, there are many people who offer disagreements and alternative perspectives politely, constructively and are willing to engage in a discussion — this concern instead reflects those who are more interested in angry rhetoric rather that constructive, informed debate.

What worries me is that I believe that this angry rhetoric is harmful to our community. Let me provide an example of where debate works well. Scott Kitterman in the Kubuntu community has often expressed concerns about aspects of the Ubuntu community, but Scott has always expressed his concerns with (a) politeness (b) respect, and his debate has always been well-research and informed and he has always been willing to listen to other viewpoints. Another great example is Emmett Hickory; a contributor who has exhibited all these same attributes as Scott. While we don’t always see eye to eye, I think Scott and Emmett are tremendously valuable participants in our community; they bring valuable perspectives, are not afraid to push back, but always place respect and accuracy at the center of their discourse, and they always have the best interests of the project at heart. Of course, there are many other similar examples of great debate elsewhere.

What worries me instead are the folks who engage in angry discourse that is often based on mis-information, or worse, an immediate assumption that there is malice or ill-will driving the person they disagree with. When did we become so argumentative and mis-trusting? One of the things that attracted me to Open Source when I got involved was the addictive feeling of being surrounded by a community of people with the best intentions in the world. I would meet people who would open their homes up to strangers for Linux User Group meetings, those who would contribute to projects because they like the idea of their work helping others, and within this ecosystem there was an assumption that the organizations who thrive in it have good intentions too. No-one ever questioned Red Hat’s ambitions, or Caldera’s, or Mandrake’s, no-one batted an eye-lid at VA, the humble Linux Emporium, or Loki games.

Today it seems our community is more suspicious than it was, and while there have always been folks on the fringes who assume mal-intent first and engage in rowdy arguments, it worries me that we are seeing more folks like this. What worries me is that this behavior (a) makes the Open Source community look like a group of petulant teenagers, and (b) more worryingly, discourages others from joining our community to help us bring freedom to others because frankly, they don’t want to wake up to a fight every day online.

I feel like there must be a solution to this problem. This is not a problem of people having different viewpoints, and I am sure some folks in the comments will provide some sweet irony and accuse me of trying to deafen those who disagree with me, but those of you who know me know that I love to have a good debate, and I am never afraid to shake hands and say “let’s just agree to disagree” or calmly not participate.

Over the last two or three weeks I have been kicking around the idea of putting together some kind of statement, inspired by the Ubuntu Code Of Conduct, that many of us could put our names behind. In fact, I registered and started putting together a draft. I shared this idea with Stefano Zacchiroli the current Debian Project Leader and Jared K. Smith the current Fedora Project Leader, two guys who I have unending levels of respect in their viewpoints. They thought it was a pretty good idea to have a statement, and were happy to participate.

A few nights ago I started writing something up, and it made me think hard about how multi-faceted this challenge is. This is not just about inspiring our community to engage in informed, polite, and respectful debate, but I also believe that it is also about accepting our differences and moving on. As an example, Scott Kitterman has communicated some of his disagreements to certain policies with me, but when he knows that I am abreast of his viewpoint, and I have sufficiently communicated my viewpoint to him, we agree to disagree and move on without repeatedly nipping at each other about the topic. I believe this is a core attribute of respect: my friend Dave has some pretty out-there views on politics, but I don’t poke him every day about them – we know where we stand, and we move on.

There were many of these small considerations as I worked on the text, and I felt less and less comfortable about writing it. So, I thought what might be better is to share what I have so far, and if others feel it might be worth pursuing a statement such as this, I might keep working on it, and maybe could be useful.

This is it so far:

All over the world there are many people who are united in creating software, content, and culture that is freely available for others to share, enjoy and enrich their lives. Together we believe that freedom is good. We believe it helps people do good things, make better choices, and lead safer and more secure lives. Together we are a community united by this belief.

Our community is vast. It spreads beyond our streets and towns, traverses countries and borders, and is wider than our groups and projects. Many of us speak different languages, make different choices, and engage in this software, content, and culture in different ways, but what unites us is the same core belief that freedom, openness and choice is good for people. Our methods and opinions may differ, and our definitions of what constitutes freedom and openness may vary, but this united belief in freedom and openness remains the same.

Irrespective of these methods, opinions, definitions, and differences, respect should always be at the foundation of how we engage. When we place respect at the center of our interactions, we enrich our lives, discover new ways of thinking, and expand our horizons with new ideas and experiences. When we remove this respect, our conversations suffer, which in turn makes our community suffer, and this ultimately risks our ability to bring our message of freedom and openness to others.

Respect is not just civility in communication, but also respecting other people for making their own choices, even if you disagree with them.

Respect is sharing opinions so a mutual understanding of principles is understood, but then giving others the freedom to pursue their own paths without fear of persecution by those who have made different decisions or have different definitions of freedom and openness.

Respect is engaging in open and polite debate with the goal of enriching each others perspectives, not for the purpose of proving each wrong.

We are all on the same side, we just sometimes draw the lines differently. Respect is understanding these differences but moving together as community, united by the core goal of freedom and openness.

The caveat is that this was about 15mins of work, so I appreciate it is not perfect.

I believe that the Open Source and Free Software community is the greatest community in the world, and it is populated by the greatest people in the world. Over the years I have seen incredible levels of generosity shared in our community, and a real feeling of family and looking after each other. Some of the people I would most vehemently disagree with, I consider some of my greatest friends, and many others are the same. I believe this openness to ideas and sharing perspectives is valuable, but I do think we need to confront some of the disrespectful discourse that is happening.

Any ideas on how we can do this?

  • Avery

    I feel like the Code of Conduct was already supposed to include most of this stuff. Maybe suggesting an addition to that document would raise further awareness.

  • nixternal

    “When did we become so argumentative and mis-trusting?”

    Depends, if we are talking about people acting like this via their web page, then 99.9% of the time it started when Google announced AdSense. If it is via a mailing list, and the mis-trusting or argumentative person has their webpage in their signature, once again AdSense.

    Jono, you remember this, I know you do, and I am sure many do as well. Lets go back 10 years, when not everyone had a website, there was no AdSense, and you didn’t need fake friends on Twitter or Facebook. Rarely would you see the uninformed come through mis-trusting or arguing like they do these days.

    Like you, this has drove me away from a project or 2, one being Ubuntu. That’s why I haven’t been around, I am tired of the whining, Canonical doesn’t care about me, omg they are putting the buttons on the left!

    If you or anyone ever finds a cure to this, then you will be the largest hero ever!

  • thicken_your_skin

    I do not think Jono is complaining too much about what you call whining, If buttons on the left is a problem then one should whine, you have to be stronger than that to work anywhere not only on open source projects,you are willing to walk away from a project because of complaints or petty fussing? stand your ground man !!! deal with the whiners, I think Jono means people who do not know what they are talking about and proceed to be rude, mistrusting and obnoxious, more along the line of accusing Canonical of becoming Microsoft, usability complaints is a different matter.

  • Jef Spaleta

    I see nothing in that statement about requiring honesty as part of respect. That’s probably and oversight.

    Freedom, openness… and honesty.


  • nixternal

    The CoC works fairly well for those within the community. For those outside of the community, the CoC means nothing. Even then, there are still a few people in the community who think the CoC is a freedom blocker, so they pay it no mind.

  • nixternal

    Love it when people hide behind fake id’s. I said it was one of the things, not the only reason. I have a thick skin, I don’t use Ubuntu for one, so I could give a care less about buttons on the left. The ones accusing Canonical about becoming MS are the FUD mongers who want you to click their links, it is their only form of revenue most of the time. Goes back to AdSense :)

  • Jan Stedehouder

    Though it is sad we need an Open Respect-statement like this I do think you captured the essence in this draft. Putting it on a website and getting people to sign it shouldn’t be a problem. But we need to move beyond it. In order to be effective each one of us needs to act upon it, making sure it becomes part of the fabric of each community we participate in, setting fine examples first and make sure that communityleadership is chosen along these lines.

  • jono

    Totally an oversight, and great feedback: I totally agree, honesty is critical.

  • Valorie Zimmerman

    Jan, you said exactly what I wanted to say. Signing a statement is one thing; I’d do that in a heartbeat. But carrying it out is the key part. Are we part of one big movement? Or are those Debian users on the other side of the room The Enemy. We have to decide, and act on it, and keep our ideals in mind. Or we’ll end up like this: , yelling “splitter!” at Our Enemies.

  • Justin M. Mann (Justotech)

    I don’t quite see a way to force people to respect each other. I do think that showing the world what can truly be accomplished by debate and discussion could solve the problem of people distrusting each other in the community.

    So, the solution is to ignore the people being disrespectful and soldier on. Look at Linus as the example. If he’d listened to all of the complaints and rude comments from people to start with then Linux wouldn’t exist.

  • Justin M. Mann (Justotech)
  • jono


    Just to be clear: this post was not driven by me getting frustrated…I have pretty thick skin…I am more worried for those who don’t have such thick skin and get disenfranchised by it all.

  • Haciendo nuestro mundo más respetuoso « Gnometips

    […] Leer el artículo completo aquí. […]

  • whatever

    Jono, you’re such a fag.

  • mandy sauls

    Ubuntu Snapshot of CoC needed. People will be People personalities, moods and all. Remember You. Respect goes a long And do and say unto others as you would like To be treated. Competition and competing views is good but fairness and respectful Dialogue must take preference over pettiness. Open Source provide the platform to achieve Consensus on a great number of IT CI idealisms and collaboration in the Ubuntu Community as well as the broader Technological Science Society FLOSS. TECommerce is pecking on OSS ignorance and Profiting from free blueprints, so let’s just All stack our cards in order.

  • Tyler Buss

    Definitely a great topic and a worthy cause. I think society in general needs a refresher in courtesy and respect, but the difference between real world and online is that you are rarely held accountable for your actions. All the statements in the world mean little if people aren’t held accountable. Also, you have to remember that there are a lot of MS users trying to migrate to Linux, and while Ubuntu is fairly easy to get around in, it’s still different and sometimes, frustrating. Not to mention another distro like Gentoo or Slackware which aren’t always so user friendly. To compound the problem, an inexperienced user might ask a question that’s been answered a 100 times or better, then gets flamed for being a “noob”, asking a question that’s been posted in some sticky that’s nested “somewhere” on the forum, or told to do a little research before they ask such an “obvious” question. Well something brought them to forum in the first place, research perhaps? My point is, while yes, there are plenty of people who live for drama, there are just as many who simply want to be a part of something different and are trying. Ignorance and frustration don’t always bring out the best in people, but ignorance is forgivable, stupidity isn’t. I’m sorry that I can’t offer any solutions to help solve the problem, but understanding the problem in its entirety is a step in the right direction.

  • Peter Timusk

    I believe in putting people first before ideals. This is my view on respect. It comes from listening to preachers of dogma and aggresive persons talking this way. It comes from my experiences of the union and environmental movements. Remember we are people. I agree that we have disagreement in this world. I really hope as a programmer to someday contribute to Debian. I can not do that now as I program in other proprietory languages. I need to program in these languages to eat. I have programmed most of my life but have also been unemployed for some 30 years. I am not thick skinned. I can believe in ideals. There are some persons who based in similar experiences with poverty I give more respect too. Just some thoughts to share.

  • Jan Stedehouder

    I believe this was also part of the debate last year concerning women in FOSS-projects. If we can’t foster a community culture that embraces diversity and respect, we won’t only chase away women but quite a few others as well.

    Personally I don’t mind a healthy debate, but I know that over the years I have turned away from the community a couple of times because of the tone of the debate, the ad hominem attacks et cetera. I didn’t want to loose the joy of working with and promoting FOSS.

  • Raphaël Hertzog

    I like the principle. I believe since quite some time that Debian needs a new foundation document that describes the basis of the “how”. We already have the social contract which defines the “what”.

    Obviously it needs to be in very generic terms and your text could be a good basis. Respect is one of the core element to make a productive community.

    It should probably also speak of consensus-seeking/building and of accepting the limits of the community. A community united by a goal of providing free software can’t easily be turned in more political community. On the opposite, the community should be tolerant towards sub-communities which have supplementary values that are not necessarily shared by everybody.

  • _mark

    here here buddy. I’m in full accordance with what you are saying here. for me this kind of thing started in the mac world and other places on the net where some of the younger generation just want to whine about everything without researching anything first. It comes from ignorance and I think you are right for calling people out on this. healthy debate and strong opinions are one thing, but pissing in everyone’s cheerios when you have no leg to stand on is just annoying in the long run.

  • Making Our World More Respectful | jonobacon@home |

    […] is the original post: Making Our World More Respectful | jonobacon@home […]

  • Virgil Brummond

    I get this all the time. I like the Ubuntu community and feel it is my duty to help others and be a positive force. Lately (especially with this business of Unity) I have dealt with intentional misinformation spread regarding the subject. It spreads a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about an issue.

    I decided to trust Mr. Shuttleworth and the folks at Canonical, and I see their good intentions. I am willing to go a few things on faith, and the attitude of what I call the “vocal minority” turns a lot more heads then the folks who tend to be quiet and satisfied.

    I am at a loss why others seem to enjoy posting their unfounded fears and draw attention to problems that they can not even prove to exist. The only way I know to combat that is to spread an equal amount of honesty and facts.

  • Daniel Kaufhold

    Although I find it very important to have such things as a CoC, I think those who really join such a community with the willingness to add their best to it would behave in such positive ways even without signing a CoC or similar statements. For those willing to share and interact with respect and honesty those statements are nothing less than a door sign saying, you’ve come to the right place and you are welcome here…. or at least I did feel this way when reading the CoC =) But what about those who are NOT willing to be respectful in the first place? They won’t pay respect to each of those codes and statements either. I could imagine, that some of those being disrespectful don’t really see the amount of work that stands behind each project. As it seems to me, open source projects mean nothing more than “getting it for free” to a lot of people. So maybe besides just ignoring them and going on with being a good example, it might also help to show some of those who are disrespectful more about the work itself and the people behind it. Because from my point of view open source is never free. There’s always someone that spent his time and knowledge on a project.

  • Chris

    Jono, this is all fine and well – but it would have come across with more credibility had you drafted such a statement at a different time; say when openSUSE got roasted over a panel-applet named ‘GNOME main-menu’ and their use of MONO. Back then, openSUSE devs and community received heavy ‘friendly fire’ over including much smaller deviations from standard GNOME than what Ubuntu is up to now.

    Back then, there was name-calling and allegations of corruption and treason; and everybody lauded Ubuntu for being so adherent to GNOME standards.

    Where were you then?

  • rep

    Such a shame to see trolls on articles like this that were written with the best of intentions at heart.

    I guess that’s how the Internet works.

  • Nicola

    I’m just a new user of Ubuntu desktop 10 (just few years of use of other versions), and I follow debate on Open Source communities and their willing versus Canonical…I wanna share my professional experience around IT because I think it’s related to these arguments. I started working as IT related in 1989, like Apple official system integrator. At that time Apple was great, there was still an alliance between Jobs and Wozniak on a revolutionary idea of IT, the real “think different” versus the mad Big Brother Microsoft. Motorola makes the fortune of Macintosh, until this dream come to end. Nowadays many people think that Apple is IPad, IPhone, IPod (I don’t know if the same people are able to use an IMac, or if they really know the baseline of MacOS, what a computer is or about what it could be used…); Apple is allied of Big Brother MS, Apple is fighting versus Motorola about IPhone. Apple WAS EVER NOT FREE, HAS EVER AN HIGH COST. So in my IT experience I understand one: customers will never appreciate what is free, what is useful for, what they could study and modify as they want…customers don’t get IT help to their business, customer simply think to BUY something IT related just in the same way they choose their car: better Ferrari (as a prestigious name and cost) than a useful car (may be free)! So, if other communities think to give IT freedom to everyone in a way different from Canonical…they will end as Wozniak: has anyone seen him? May be he is enjoying in another place with few friends, working around another Lisa…but this will never change the relationship between good IT and mankind.

  • Martin Wildam

    Dear Jono, it has been mentioned, that most of that is already contained in the code of conduct – I agree although I am sure there could be things added, like honesty or leaving others the option to disagree and leave the discussion with the best wishes for everyone in mind.

    I feel really well in the community, although I have more contacts to Ubuntu-specific community than to general Linux-community, I love them all and feel very good staying with them (be it eye-to-eye or in forums).

    I think, the ideals behind Open Source are compatible to Zen ideals or compatible to ideals the Dalai Lama stands for – so overall very positive.

    That said, I don’t think that the people you are sick of, give anything on the CoC and maybe even the

    Nixternal mentioned the adsense. Yes, some people just comment somewhere to push ads or simply push their own sites up in Google search results. However, that is not an explanation why their comments must be so rude.

    I also experience such rude comments more and more – but I think those have been there since the internet exists – of course, the more people, the more rude comments. And: The more you are into the internet and into the community the more you experience those.

    But one difference to earlier days I see is: Nowadays there is more risk to learn the “wrong” stuff – very specially in IT business. Know-How is critical. But when you get an expert in something that gets obsolete, you are back on beginner level with something else. I think this creates much FUD – not only for individuals, but also for whole companies. And some companies did open source stuff and played nice with the thought in background to earn the big money later. This might be a reason why there are companies paying poor students to post particular minded comments to forums. Those paid comments or the comments from immature children just having fun in bad jokes or destroying things which are not theirs – those are the comments you experience most, I guess. At least I suffer also from such posts. Opinion research centers are sometimes also into opinion making! And there are enough poor people who need to take any money they get – even if it is for work that is not matching their ideals.

    To avoid some of the rudes, maybe the only way is to create particular forums where only pgp identified persons are accepted or something like this.

    Although I also have a thick skin, I was suffering from those rudes trying to make opinion against open source, Ubuntu, Canonical or Java to name a few. The main problem is, that often you can’t really just ignore them – you want to correct for the sake of correcting the public opinion. And this eats time.

    Once the Dalai Lama said something like “Be only against violent actions and never against the creature in general.” – So I think there is a chance to cause a change in mind if people get informed (e.g. via

    I fully agree that there should be something like – There are plenty of relgions and philosophies with basically similar core elements and the common goal to “get people to live together in peace”. So I fully support your ideas behind this post.

  • Jevgeni Kabanov

    The statement is nice, but do you think you could make it shorter, to fit more or less into one paragraph. Something very concise?

  • Rob Hamm

    Statements can be powerful when backed up in both word and deed by community leaders, and by large numbers of community members. Social reality is defined by perception, but not everyone sees themselves as part of one big community here. One thing I could see this doing is reminding people–and this isn’t just devs, but end users, too–that they’re part of a community, and that the community will not tolerate… well, ass-hattery. Using the better side of peer pressure, I guess you’d say.

    (And I’m not casting any stones here. I know I’ve been a total you-know-what on occasion, which is all the more reason I’m for something like this.)

  • sorin7486

    Welcome to the internets mate :).

  • Fred

    Hi, I follow the planets of all kinds of OpenSource projects for several years now. I don’t have the impression that people within the Ubuntu community are getting more aggressive. I think that there has always been a very rude tone around from some people, once it was cool to be against something. I don’t know why, but for me it seems like it is rather cool to criticize new things always. I really ask myself since when this is the case and why ? Once you know why the public opinion is against those changes, then you might do something against it. And once the mainstream is with you, people are shifting to a more respectful behavior I think.

    I’d love to sign those codes about respectfulness, but I don’t see them solving the problem.

    P.S.: I have absolutely no clue about the reasons for all this mistrust etc, but I don’t think that the answer is as simple as ‘there are always those evil people out there’

  • Mahen

    Hi Jono !

    Well, I guess the problem is the signal to noise ratio that tends to drop when a project gets more & more mainstream.

    This is a bit sad, but a few individuals can easily ruin it all even if 95% of the others are definitely most respectful.

    I have no idea what can be done about it, except ignoring flamewars and rude people.

    Bye !

  • Olivier

    Thank you Jono. I think this friendly and clear statement can help a lot.

    I was particularly pleased to see Mark Shuttleworth talking about this in the UDS-N keynote.

    Getting diverse and disagreeing people to sign that statement (Torvalds, Stallman?) would indeed help keep the thin-skin among us motivated.

  • David Krider

    Disagreements will always arise. Disagreeable people will always be around. Ubuntu has done extraordinarily well in suppressing the jerks. (Which is why I’m loving it after leaving Gentoo.) I’ve been running Linux for 15 years now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the most important part of any large open source project is to have a strong “benevolent dictator.” This person doesn’t always have to be “right.” They just need to keep the majority of the particular community working in the same direction. Goodness knows that there are plenty of other Linux distros or office programs or Java implementations (or whatever) to work on. If sufficiently marginalized by the leadership, the people who make jerks of themselves will eventually leave to go bother someone else. That’s the best you can hope for. Unfortunately, this applies to more than just software; this dynamic comes into play in any volunteer-based organization.

  • Nick Mailer

    With all due respect 😉

    Fiery dialect can be just as useful as arse-clenchingly “consensual dialogue”.

    Torvalds’ and Tennenbaum’s gloriously disrespectful discussions about microkernels, for example, spring to mind.

    Give me brutal Hegelian dialectic any day than the mimsy nonsense you propose. Part of being grown up is being able to admit that, actually, you have the right not to respect certain idiocies, and not to agree to disagree.

  • Nick Mailer

    Oh, and to start the disrespect:


    “I believe this was also part of the debate last year concerning women in FOSS-projects. If we can’t foster a community culture that embraces diversity and respect, we won’t only chase away women but quite a few others as well.

    What a horribly patronising, patriarchal way of looking at women. Fortunately, I know enough women who can give as good as they get to realise that this image of a simpering Victorian maiden in distress, whose delicate constitution cannot cope with all the “nasty rude men” is laughably offensive.

  • Pitto

    Hello everybody!

    I’m a little sysadmin working in prehistoric southern Italy. I have little clues about the main question and topic but I’d like to throw my 2 cents about the involution of the scene. It’s really easy: open source is becoming popular. That’s it. And, as Woody Allen observes, the main error is supposing that a human being is basically decent.

    Keep on fighting for the marvellous things you all do: this kind of nasty feedback just means that you’re doing right :)

  • Chris Nichols

    I fully agree Jono. There is a definite shift in civility within the communities lately. I think part of the problem is there are too many stoic, stubborn, or down right arrogant users/programmers/community-leaders that have forgotten the meaning of freedom. It’s not freedom to do the opposite of what the closed-source folks are doing. It’s freedom to make a choice and do things differently if you want, because choice and freedom leads to even greater accomplishments.

    The road of open-source is very wide and it traverses many different places. Just because we’re not all going the same way doesn’t mean that we’re not on board with openness.

    You can’t contain freedom. You can’t dictate what freedom is. You can’t restrict freedom or else it dies. Being rude and combative drives away free thought, free ideas, understanding and civility, and in turn new members, and that causes freedom to wither on the vine.

    However there are others that express their frustrations in less than constructive ways simply because they feel uninformed, lost, or left out. That is where the best of the open source community has an opportunity to shine. We need to do a better job of helping, explaining, and nurturing ideas, concepts, and strategies.

    Some say that we do that already, but I argue that many important decisions are made at 32,000 feet. The people on the ground level never see what happens at that level in the process. Those people only see things happen as they trickle down 2nd, 3rd, or 4th hand. They don’t understand why some decisions where made to steer a project a certain way and often times an explanation is never given. It is assumed that everyone got it at the high level meeting. Some of that may be because the online discussions were not read by the uninformed. Some of that may so be due to the complexity of the subject matter that the average lay-person/user doesn’t understand even if they read it over and over again.

    As far as getting folks to honor the CoC, or your objectives on your proposed site, perhaps a way to sign it is a good idea, but also a way to display a badge–like a gravatar–that says that you signed a pledge to uphold the concepts of what openness, whether that is open source, open choice, open respect, etc.

  • Moray

    As any organisation gets bigger, people will become disenfranchised.

    The decisions come from the top, or those who are very committed to being a part of Ubuntu.

    And you have a large core of people who are just users nowadays – solicited by advertising and marketing – who will never be a part of that.

    And there will be emotional responses from that. Hate, knee-jerk reactions and fear from imposed changes.

    It’s human nature and I think it seems like you’re just being overly dramatic.

    There is a code of conduct – a way to behave if you want to take part in Ubuntu and its discussions etc.

    Behaviour is one thing, but adding a ‘credo’ is superfluous and smacks of weirdness to me.

  • jorge


    I don’t think this is adsense driven, though I am sure it is for some people/websites.

    Before that people were jerks on usenet and BBSes, and before that people were bullies on the schoolyard.

    PA sums it up nicely:

  • TGM

    I believe Blizzard tried something like this with Battle.Net…

    The only way I can see this really being fixed is by publishing personal details alongside the username which is a spam nightmare.

    Either that or make the post process long winded enough that anyone out to cause trouble will just get fed up and leave. The flip side of that is you lose valuable comments for the same reason.

    Maybe we should make everyone post a lolcat first?

  • TGM

    Click! A verification system! You post by getting a verification account that is verified by credit/debit card details, and will always use your first and last name as your username. Sounds a bit similar as to how certain internet “businesses” verify your age?

  • Alejandro

    I am fairly new to the community… But I was attracted by the sense of humility and openness that MOST of the community shows. I agree with the proponents of: “Just ignore and trudge on.” After all, the beauty of Linux (including Canonical/Ubuntu),is that if you don’t like how it comes pre-packaged, you can personalize it. If you don’t like Unity, then don’t use it. Problem solved. As for Open source and FLOSS… well, there are different view-points… but again, if you don’t want to pay for something, or want to modify the source (if you have sufficient programming skills). Otherwise, why complain? There’s not much free (as in beer) in this world. Many of the contributors to these projects don’t get paid (although most do get paid somehow). We can’t expect other folks to starve in order for us to have free (as in beer) software. Thanks!

  • Pitto

    Ah! To complete my previous comment:

    I was looking at some kind of documentary on a sat dish channel the other night…

    They were discussing about an interet game about space wars (can’t remember the name). This game is famous because it’s actually the 1st one where democracy spontaneously happened. So, in the end, the virtual galaxy has a parlament that has discussion with the game developers about new laws and rules. They saw that the parlament (even in this virtual ambien) is close to useless. Human beings. That’s what we are :) We do have sex with dead bodies and leave toilets dirty.

    A little filtering can help, I do agree :)

  • Ramón


    There is some truth to this but I think those types of people are easily identified and ignored.

    I think most well-intentioned people voicing their concerns just forget on some level that they are talking to other actual human beings and that the words they type may offend. It’s unconsciously easier to yell and scream when you can’t see the face/reaction of the person you are yelling at (think driving in traffic).

    Another part of this is when users feel their concerns are being ignored.

  • usuckalsoasamusician

    Fuck you, bitch! And Mark, too! And also Jorge, since we’re at it. And fuck Ubuntu, of course.

  • Greg

    Thanks Jef, spot on, as always :)

  • David

    There is a lot of fear in the public narrative as of late due in major part to economic and political instabilities in many countries. This fear tends to bring out the negative and lowers the “age” of the conversation as can be seen in many online forums.

    What you see in Open Source is just a symptom of a broader societal trend. Quite honestly, invoking “codes” or rules of conduct, which already exist, is reactionary and does not address the root of the problem: the overall breakdown in trust as people lose their sense of security.

    This loss of trust is a “big picture” issue. People know something is wrong, but being unable to see beyond the minutiae of their daily life, they will lash out and blame others by imputing ulterior motives. There’s lots of this going on in the political arena. It is perhaps understandable that it can and will happen in the Open Source community.

    Thanks for reading my ramblings. 😉

  • Mohammed Bassit

    You, sir, just spoke my mind :)

  • Brett

    “Respect is not just civility in communication, but also respecting other people for making their own choices, even if you disagree with them.”

    That’s going in my ~/.signature-quotes file. Excellent :)

  • Mac Taylor

    Being respectful is not related neither with Ubuntu nor the open source community nor…. ANYTHING!!!!! It’s something that’s must be part of the human being! Why do we have to offend and disrespect others???? There’s no reason for that, at least, that’s the way I see life. Sometimes people take this projects as a kind of religion and start wars we’ve all been witnesses of like Linux vs Windows. It’s great, as you said, to debate, to discuss, as longs as that is done in a respectful environment! Good luck you all guys.

  • anon

    Speaking as one of the disenfrachised, I’m glad to see someone point this out.

    If the weakest are finding even the Ubuntu community as sometimes unwelcoming (of the major Linux distros) then you’ve got a problem.

    I wish your statement will bring about some change for the better.

  • Shawn B.

    Thank you for writing this, it has a great amount of topics that do need to be brought to attention.

    I have seen a lot of these specific items out there on Open Source related sites, forums, chatrooms, etc. and it’s aggravating. Some people don’t have respect for others and belittle them, or disagree too strongly (not backing down).

    It is disappointing, and has caused me to stop using FOSS for about a year or two. Just because I was new and people were condescending.

    We need to be a community, stand together as one, and help others who are interested in joining it. Not disagreeing, not being condescending, but promoting that as an open community we are there for you – and help remove the tarnish from the Open Source name.

    Thank You =D

  • ScaroDj

    I think the Code of Conduct should be shipped with the OS itself and introduced to even in the installation process, taking care it’s not seen as a preach or an “if you do this or that you’ll get banned” kind of thing, but more as a way to inform end users about how things are handled in Ubuntu and the Linux community in general. I say this because I think this problem is emerging because Ubuntu is getting more and more popular among young users that come from Windows (even pirate versions) and are used to costumer service or the way things are. I think they’re just miss informed or immature and I also think it’s a bad idea to ignore them, as ignoring doesn’t cure the problem, just drives them away; I think the solution is assertiveness and communication and letting them know they’re miss behaving when they are. is a great idea, because it’s a place to refer the offender to, in the appropriate moment.

  • David Krider

    In my experience, the biggest jerks are some of the most-talented people involved. In open source, the talent appears in the form of brilliance in understanding computers and code. These people often run around belittling others who can’t refute their statements. I’ve seen it done; I’ve tried it myself. I know what it gets you: resentment. So all you folks in this thread that want to tell people “Man up!,” understand that only reinforces the resentment. People have feelings. You do too, even if you won’t admit it. And the brilliant-yet-callous of those in the open source world need to understand that it’s to THEIR benefit, as well as everyone else’s, if they would apply some of their “brilliance” to learning how to get along better with others. There seem to be a great number of people involved with Ubuntu who lead both skillfully and considerately, so it clearly can be done.

  • jono

    Wow, you must be so proud of yourself! Great contribution to the world!

  • jono

    Maybe a sig would be a good way of socializing the message?

  • jono

    Thanks for the kind words, Shawn, and my thoughts precisely as uniting as one. :-)

  • Chris Nichols

    Troll much?

  • Johannes

    Hi Jono, thank you for this post. I’m eager to see what could become. However, I also think that moderating comments and posts in general is a good idea.

    Unconstructive, unpolite and rude posts should be deleted without too much hesitation!

    Keep on with your excellent work at Ubuntu, Johannes

  • JohanG*

    But this is in no way connected to the open source communities, it’s the fact of internet. Just as an example, this subject has recently come up för discussion in swedish media – in that case regarding the article comment-sections for online-articles in our major news-services here.

    I personally think the answer to ‘Why?’ is simple – being able to be heard is power and power corrupts. It’s also power without consequenses. You can say whatever as your anonymous. Everyone is an alphamale on the Internet.

    Personally my responce to rude people is to ask them over to my home to repeat what they say to my face – and this as I myself are not anonymous at my usual ‘hangouts’ on the web. I never get a responce and so far no-one has come to visit. ;D

    Other than that I have a hard time believing we can stop it. It’s human nature in combination with how the Internet works, imo it’s kinda like getting people to stop driving over the limit…

  • Tommy Brunn

    I agree wholeheartedly with this. While I am sure Jono’s intention is to improve the atmosphere in the free software community, I really don’t believe that forcing people to adopt a fake attitude is the way to go.

    While I don’t remember the Ubuntu CoC in my head, I remember it being fairly reasonable. That’s why I didn’t mind signing it to gain access to some of Launchpad’s functionality. If this Open Respect thing would work in a similar fashion (that you would have to sign it to gain access to certain developer tools, means of communication, etc.), I wouldn’t be as positive, because it would essentially mean forcing people to adopt a fake attitude.

    While I agree that you should try to refrain from being unnecessarily rude, there’s no need to “legislate against it” (for lack of a better term). This of course assumes that the Open Respect agreement would be implemented in a similar way as the Ubuntu Code of Conduct. If it’s not meant to be implemented in that way, I see no problem with it, since it would be truly voluntary.

  • Aoirthoir An Broc


    It depends on the topic doesn’t it? I mean if someone is asking for some software feature just cause, maybe they should always be polite. But a lot of discussions that end up heated are really centered on marginalization and mis-treatement. In that case there is no way to be respectful and kind and polite and nice.

    By that I don’t mean that the exposer of some wrong, or the objector of some bad behavior isn’t being nice. Rather, no matter how nice they are, they will themselves be accused of not being. I’ve been there.

    As a Pagan I’ve heard the question HUNDREDS of times, “Oh so you eat babies?” And this question is a joke less often than one would think. Now when I hear it I roll my eyes. When people in the FOSS community who are supposedly edumacated and should know better ask me that very question and I retort with an “oh for cryin’ out loud, uh yeah I eat babies….” I’m told I’m not being polite. I’m told I could respond more gently, kindly, nicely.

    Frankly, sometimes “politeness” is overrated. If someone is doing things that need calling out, and ze doesn’t want to be called out, no amount of civility is going to be viewed as civil.

    Nixternal, maybe money or site visitors has something to do with it in some cases. But as reasonable persons I think we can understand sometimes people differ in their opinions. Speaking with passionate assurance isn’t a bad thing.

  • Martin Wildam

    Maybe putting these things to and setting a default bookmark in firefox to this site would be ok.

    Jono, there is one thing to see positive about the rude voices:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” [Mahatma Gandhi] – So they are already fighting us…

  • Adam Williamson

    Hey, you can’t say he’s not thorough.

    All I was missing was ‘and your little dog, too!’

  • Alexander

    @ Chris Nichols,

    I like your idea of a gravatar. Count me in.

  • Alexander

    @ ScaroDj, That’s a great idea to ship the CoC with Ubuntu. I would have it displayed during the installation and pop up when you first log in. Linux Mint does something like this, which gives it a nice community touch to first-time users.

  • Steve Thomas

    Great thought, but I don’t see an easy solution. Those who are really old, like me, experienced the same levels of disrespect way back before the Web. Some people have no social skills, and some people just like to blow their own horn.

    I see no answer except in higher levels of moderation — as in, for example, you should have deleted a couple of comments above rather than responding. Eliminating the trolls is the first necessary step.

    Aside from trolls, peer pressure in a forum often works — either the abuser changes their behaviour, or they leave. Either works for me. :)

  • Steve Thomas

    See, that’s interesting to me: my post is awaiting moderation. So that means the maniacally abusive posts above were actually passed by you. I don’t know why you’d do that, because for me those sorts of comments are ugly and off-putting. If you allow comments, then you have — IMHO — some kind of duty to your readers to moderate comments that may offend others. Your blog, your call, but … I was offended. :/

  • Jeffrey Stedfast

    While I do agree, I also think it’s never too late to elevate the discourse and I think that’s what Jono is trying to do and so I, personally, support this effort.

    As Steve Thomas said in a comment further down, I think the first step is to stop publishing troll comments in blogs and stop giving them soapboxes allowing them to publicly disrespect fellow FLOSS developers/contributors, projects, and/or companies (or anyone else for that matter, fellow FLOSS community member or not).

    By giving them a soapbox to be heard, all you do is make the problem worse.

  • Brian Clarke

    The reason that no easy answer presents itself is that this is a new frontier.

    Like the wild west, the social structure of the web in general changes freely without rules or boundaries.

    Here’s the deal at this stage in the game:

    Carry a gun or avoid those who do.

  • Sam


    A sig would be a great way to get people to the website, but I’m not certain it will do much to curb the bitter tone that’s crept into the community. Everyone is different, some people are motivated by reason, others by fear of punishment, and others can’t be coerced/motivated to do the right thing and should be asked to leave.

    I’m not sure what the right answer is, but I just keep thinking what you would do if someone cursed you out in your house. Probably you’d ask them to stop nicely at first, but if they don’t stop you’d ask them to leave, if they don’t leave and it escalates, you call the cops.

    Not sure how to relate this to the OSS community, but we are definitely far removed from the natural way we do things in real life. Maybe a little more holding people accountable for their behaviour would be good?

    Best wishes and I’m totally with you in wanting to make things better

  • Virgil Brummond

    I am unsure, my post seemed to go right in. Might have been an error?

  • rEnr3n

    Since I joined the open-source community, I felt so welcome in the internet. But we all see trolls popping out on the internet, like the example above. They do it because they can, without even compromising their identity in real life. I am not comfortable seeing those.

    The first thing that I put in my mind regarding bad and good is “moderation”. I consider “least” and “best” as bad; I consider moderation as good. Why is that? Maybe because we are not born perfect and we all are unique (even though you may disagree with me, that’s one thing that makes you unique!). You are unique in every aspect of life, may it be good things or bad. It’s what makes life. Imagine if all humans are perfect as robots. Would you see any beauty or color in your life? I don’t think so (disagree? Ok). This post alone is unique of me built from my point of view in life, and everything about me.

    How do you deal with these people? I don’t think asking ALL people to be good is a good idea (that’s my opinion). People are not programmed to obey one set of rules, a robotic life. For me the best way to deal with this is to accept the fact that you cannot please everybody, even if it’s for good’s sake or bad. People who like the community can freely join. People who hates it can be freely ignored. Do not be easily carried away by your emotions by the people you don’t like. Human feelings is one of the greatest and weakest point of our life, I believe. I also thank to see people whom I don’t like because they are the persons who can give me better lessons than my close friends. I also admire movies which gives me great life lessons.

    I believe astrology can help with these situations (of course not everybody agrees with astrology, it’s intended for willing hearts or not?).

  • Aoirthoir An Broc

    “I see no answer except in higher levels of moderation — as in, for example, you should have deleted a couple of comments above rather than responding. Eliminating the trolls is the first necessary step.”

    Perhaps the first step is to stop dehumanizing people by using insulting language to refer to them. Calling someone a troll is a convenient method of shutting down discourse and thinking. Indeed, most of the time when I’ve seen someone called a troll, it is for nothing more than saying something that with which the accuser disagrees. Even if they are causing issues though, they are human beings, not trolls.

    Also I would disagree strongly that the way to make people nicer is to censor them. On every forum I’ve run over the years I have a category “Fight Club”. I ask folks to take off topic disagreements, particularly insulting commentary, to their. It’s served me well as I’ve never had to censor someone, not even one time. Not even once. And this coming from the guy who disagrees with all of you humans.

  • Hamish

    Nice work. Just to point out a typo in the 2nd last paragraph:

    “Respect is engaging in open and polite debate with the goal of enriching each others perspectives, not for the purpose of proving each wrong.”

    I assume that should end with “proving each other wrong”.

    I hope this makes some small difference. There obviously isn’t one answer, but by raising awareness that this causes issues hopefully more people will call it out and the culture can slowly shift.

  • Bradley M. Kuhn

    I generally support the idea you’re going for, but I think you are romanticizing the past a bit, and missing the fact that the companies in the FLOSS world aren’t always working toward the goal of software freedom.

    For example regarding the past, people did question Caldera’s motives: with good reason. Caldera eventually ended up merging with SCO and launching one of the largest campaigns of attack on Linux-based systems we ever experienced.

    People did question Red Hat’s motives. In the 1990s, Red Hat used to be much like Canonical: experimenting a lot with proprietarization, making deals with proprietary software companies to run their proprietary software on their systems, and the like.

    In fact, Canonical’s history traces Red Hat’s in a number of surprising ways. I think if you look back to the kind of respectful criticism that software freedom advocates gave Red Hat in the late 1990s, it’s very similar to what Canonical experiences now.

    I think everyone should be respectful, but that doesn’t extend to the idea that we shouldn’t question the actions of companies when companies decide to work against software freedom. Most companies in the FLOSS world simultaneously do things to advance software freedom and things to work against it. Software freedom advocates usually thank companies when they do the right thing, and criticize them when they do the wrong thing. This is as it should be; it’s the job of community watchdogs.

    Sometimes interests align, but we aren’t all reaching for the same goal, as your point suggests. Companies are reaching to make money, and will sometimes do proprietary software to do it, while software freedom supporters seek to end proprietary software. So, only sometimes are we working together toward the same goal.

  • Michael Sandahl

    If this works can we use it as a template for fixing the US government. I see the Open Source world and Linux heading down the same path as the US political landscape. Just replace the Republicans & Democrats with Ubuntu users & Non-Ubuntu users and you have a fairly accurate snapshot of the Linux world at the moment. I’m tired of the “Ubuntu Conspiricies”, people spouting off FUD which they haven’t even researched, and the general culture of hate aimed at any group that proposes change that deviates from the norm. The US political process is shit because the Dems & the Republicans have ceased to work together in a respectful manner, and the American people will believe anything some talking head on TV will tell them. In the Open Source world we get the same thing when users of “distro A” read a tweet/dent/blog post from some Linux talking head, then base their world view on that persons opinion. I don’t know how to solve the problem, but a good plan of action would be: 1. THINK FOR YOURSELF! 2. RESPECT EVERYONE!

    Thank you for pushing this forward, Jono.

    P.S. Here’s an idea. If you don’t like something a project is doing, and or a project in general, and you don’t use that project, and you have no plans to use that project, then show some respect and keep your mouth closed. You’re wasting my bandwidth.

  • bigbrovar

    One thing which really hurt is when many allows the few nay seers to determine the direction of a FOSS project. Majority of users are always appreciative and respective. The people you refer to are the vocal minority. I for one appreciate the work you do for the kubuntu community and I always take time to express my thanks. If you pulled back from your contribution at least u should have thought about us. The folks who really appreciate what you do. It is sad when we are ignored instead its the nay sayers who get all the attention. I noticed I have not been seeing you around (blogs and even identica) and I was wondering what could be the problem. Anyway am glad you are doing fine. I just want you to spend some time to look at the otherside. to people who are actually appreciative and who are level headed. and not the trolls.

  • sap

    Me like proprietary respect, me pragmatic.

    Me sickly sweet. Me spin.

  • sap

    Oh well 😀

  • ..but can you belt it out like Tammy Wynette did? ;)

    To be honest, I am a bit suspicious of the timing of this post. It does seem a bit contrived to someone outside of the community, and perhaps that is part of the problem; The trust inherent, and so easily taken for granted, within your community has not yet been earned from those outside of it. Care must be taken to understand that always. As well, many people are affected indirectly by what Ubuntu does and have the right to speak out should they feel the need to be protective of their projects/ communities. Again, you have not yet earned their trust and should act accordingly. I would suggest that you do some research into the behaviour of Ubuntu community members when they are not constrained by the CoC (in outside forums/ communities) to get a proper feel for the true underlying issues. There are a lot :( I know you don’t want to hear this, but some of the most arrogant and hurtful people I’ve encountered online have been Ubuntu community members. Usually, I find they justify their actions as ‘fighting the good fight’ against an an evil characterization of a ‘neckbeard’ stereotype (lol, nothing could be further from the truth). You see, the suspicion goes both ways. Also, sadly, I think you will find that painting a person as being “disrespectful” or “rude” is already a common tactic I’ve observed being used by your community members, usually as a way of dismissing someone who refuses to capitulate to the majority (polarized version of pro Ubuntu) views. Stating a definitive meaning of “respect”, etc. would be a good thing to do as well. It would seem unneeded, but it obviously is. I realize now that I am dumping a laundry list of complaints upon you. My appologies. I simply intended to point out the scope of your undertaking and that it should begin with a little honest introspection. I sincerely hope that your motivations are as stated and that you do have a desire to rectify this horrid problem. That is certainly commendable :)

  • Sint-maarten (ex-na)

    Great article! I am no fan of the buttons on the left. No big deal. I for one am glad ubuntu provides a excellant OS alternative. In some cases even the best. We should not forget what the ubuntu community and other foss cimmunities have achieved that even governments could’ve not.

  • Julian

    Thanks for the post Jono, this is exactly how I’ve veen thinking lately. Sometimes I find myself guilty of replying to conversations just for the sake of contradiction and only notice later. I was getting tired of the endless discussions about various things in the Free Software world, that weren’t important at all but were impossible to ignore. At least this post and some of the comments showed me that I’m not alone with this perceiption. I’ll definitely keep OpenRespect in mind when seeing another of these heated discussions popping up. After all, we’re all trying to make the Linux platform better together.

  • Sean McCann

    Jono, I admire the sentiment expressed in the manifesto.I do think there is a lack of respect in the community displayed by certain people. I can appreciate people who spend a lot of their time trying to do the right thing becoming frustrated with the negative and often personal comments people make about the work they are doing.

    However this is not unique to the open source community. You can see this lack of tolerance or inability to communicate civilly in any Internet community you care to mention. I’ve been knocking around the net since the days of usenet , so stupidity on the net is not new, its just increasing in volume in line with the greater numbers on the net.

  • Brad Baker


    At Joomla, we’ve faced and still face this issue as well. I’d be happy to share some suggestions and ways we’ve been coping with this attitude within our community with you.

    Reading this makes me feel better knowing Joomla is not the only project rising to great heights as a community and project, despite this negative undercurrent that is constantly there telling others that the sky is falling, and our project is badly ruined. Granted, it a tiny percentage of users, but they do make a lot of noise and nip at anything (everything) they can.

    In particular, I liked this point you made:

    “Today it seems our community is more suspicious than it was, and while there have always been folks on the fringes who assume mal-intent first and engage in rowdy arguments, it worries me that we are seeing more folks like this. What worries me is that this behavior (a) makes the Open Source community look like a group of petulant teenagers, and (b) more worryingly, discourages others from joining our community to help us bring freedom to others because frankly, they don’t want to wake up to a fight every day online.”

    Thanks, this post, and your efforts to try to help and make a difference made my day.

  • Fab

    Maybe I’m alone with this, but personally I feel respect must be earned. It’s much easier for me to respect people (like Jono for example) than to respect companies a lot of times, since companies tend to do things that destroy my respect for them now and then.

    I also feel people should always be allowed to say what they think. If it is disrespectful, I just move on and ignore them most of the time. I also reserve the right to be disrespectful to people who have earned it (people who abuse kids and people who seek to destroy democracy are just two examples) both in real life as also on the Internet.

    I think we should generally grow up and try to learn to ignore personal verbal and written attacks. This is the cost of free speech and an inclusive community. As I see it, the alternative is a lot worse…

  • Dave Crossland

    I agree with Bradley Kuhn: everyone should be respectful, but when someone works against software freedom, they should be criticized.

    Perhaps our community is becoming more argumentative and mis-trusting because we are getting closer to the goal of a system with 100% free software that meets most people’s needs.

    As the tantalising end goal has come closer, it is more frustrating to see people moving it farther away.

    When companies who send mixed messages, saying they are working towards a 100% fully libre system while heavily promoting a proprietary app store, that is also likely to increase frustration and less respectful criticism.

    When a GNU/Linux distribution with a proprietary app store talks about software freedom, the double think is maddening.

    Better to talk about “open core” or whatever so there’s less confusion.

  • Felix Miata

    Might it be helpful if the web technically was more respectful? As it is now, frequenters are constantly tormented by disrespectful websites that irritate eyes (squinting at tiny and/or gray text), backs (leaning forward to see better) and brains (constantly fiddling with zoom buttons, and mousing to the readable bookmarklet).

  • Fedora Board Meeting, 8 Nov 2010 « Máirín Duffy

    […] with this statement? – We examined the statement itself, and also reviewed Jono’s blog post on it as well as Aaron Seigo’s response. A number of concerns about the statement were […]

  • Randall

    @ScaroDj @Alexander @Jono

    Please see the bug I opened on this, and if possible add your thoughts in the comments there. It may also help to click the “This bug affects me” link. Thanks for your support.

    Cheers, Randall.

  • Replicating memes » Blog Archive » A great idea

    […] More info here and here. […]

  • Jack Repenning

    I think you’re on the right track, Jono, and you’ve established plenty of credibility to lead this effort. The draft you provided tags up on the right points, and has a great tone, I have no qualms about that, but I think the approach could be stronger. I’m not sure I can explain this in a bullet-proof way, but then I’ve seen other writings of yours that did this well, so I suspect you’ll get the drift anyway.

    The weakness of the approach here is that, roughly, it says what to do or not to do, rather than setting forth a vision of what we want to achieve. It’s true that your “do’s and don’ts” are pretty abstract, which is ALMOST the same as describing a vision … but not quite. Statements like “we want a community where anyone can express their opinion without fear of insult” set a visionary standard that’s one step beyond merely “we should all be respectful.”

    The visionary approach seems to have several advantages. First, it calls for creativity in how to comply with the vision, where the “do’s and don’ts” approach seems more to call for creativity in nit-picking and evading the guidelines. Second, it calls for all community members to engage each other in the vision–the last thing we want is for you personally, to become the Great Arbitrator of What Constitutes Respect, not because you couldn’t do the job, but because there are other jobs you should be doing. And lastly, it’s an example of what we want, rather than what we don’t want: it’s constructive, supportive, and helpful, where the “do’s and don’ts” approach risks sounding just a bit petulant.

    But, yeah … I’m in … where do I sign?

  • Phil

    Spot on Jono! I am so very impressed that you have put this down in this form and my hope is now that people get to read and respect the idea itself.

    I feel, as you articulate, that respect is found to be wanting at times these days amongst some of the community which is such a shame as there is so much on offer from a wonderful mix of minds it is sad to see it muddied by disrespectful rants.

    I for one agree with your comments and hope that many more will read your words and do their utmost to abide by the thrust of it.


  • jorge

    Do you have any examples of Ubuntu members acting inappropriately?


    Maybe if Shuttleworth and others stopped using their dictatorial power to one-up the community to implement stupid half-baked nonsense people wouldn’t be so angry.

    Wifi drivers? An intuitive interface not out of 1996? Actually fixing PulseAudio? Having more than 1 Wine dev? Nahhhh, let’s put buttons on the left and put in a bunch of stuff we stole from OS X and Windows 7! Man we’re just so innovative!

  • Benjamin Geese

    Jono, i realy appreciate this work. I think this is leading in the right direction. Are there any plans to translate this to other languages? You could also add support resources for communities with other native languages than english.

  • Stefano Zacchiroli

    As my name is mentioned in this blog post, people are (as it’s normal) asking me what I think of this statement and more generally of

    I have one may problem with it: they way in which it has been pushed out, which has unfortunately not been collaborative at all.

    Jono is very correct in what he wrote in this blog post: he shared the idea with both me and Jared, when it was in its embryonic stage. I liked the principle and proposed that, after a first draft, we could have worked together to check if we can agree on a shared text. Unfortunately, I heard nothing back until the subsequent blog post announcing the initiative was launched. At that time, I have also been asked if I wanted to subscribe the statement or not.

    Jared experience has been very similar, according to what is documented at

    So, no matter how much I might like the general idea, and before even coming to comment the actual content and form (with which I have some issues), I object the way this statement has been launched. If it was meant to become a shared statement among FOSS communities, then an attempt to write it collaboratively (instead of sending it out and ask for seconds) had to be tried.

  • Richard Weait

    Jono, thanks for writing this and advancing the discussion. I’m perceiving the same increase in argument for the sake of argument in more F/LOSS communities than the ones mentioned in the comments above.

    It’s worth considering your reminder that F/LOSS-folk are various flavours of awesome.

  • Johan

    Companies consist of people. When companies do something bad it’s because of decisions made by people. I do not think you should separate between them. It’s all just people.

  • Johan

    Excuse me? Dictatorial power? Ubuntu and Canonical belongs to those who run it. Canonical have been very good at listening to the community and working with it, but you don’t have a right to whine if decisions made by Canonical about their product doesn’t suit you. And really, Windows 7 borrows a lot from KDE, and KDE borrowed some stuff from OSX, and what’s the problem with doing that? You see a good idea, you use it. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

  • David Pravec

    I think you missunderstood what Fab is saying.

    Trust, respect and love cannot be created by force, fear, company policies, laws, or even websites.

    You need to give respect to be able to receive some back. You need to love to induce love. You need to trust to get trusted. You need to prove you share the same values and that you do not preach water while drinking wine. Its hard to trust, to share values with a company having own agenda.

    The task is very personal! Its you who needs to try harder.

    World is becoming crazy a lot in last years. As the western civilisation slowly collapses, all good morals are vanishing. And people need some not only managers and owners — but also good leaders, models and ideas worthy of following. But you somehow missed the biggest idea and leader which started this all — Free software and RMS. Open Source movement is leading us to wrong path, where you really cant trust — as it is not about Freedom, power, authority and respect for all users. Fix this first, please.

  • Marc Bélanger

    Hi Jono A noble endeavor indeed, but I fear it will miss the target… There are multiple charters, manifestos, constitutions, code of ethics – without mentioning the laws and the religions – promoting the values of respect, compassion, equality, etc… Alas! Those people who do not have respect cannot be expected to “respect” these guidelines and as such, the goal is not attainable by these means. The realistic expectation would be to accept this fact and change what can be changed. And I think the only way is education, AT HOME, with our kids, one by one, teaching them compassion, which is the doorway to respect. Otherwise, ignorance is a decent coping mechanism. Best regards.

  • Jakes

    Personally I place this intolerant paradigm at Stallman’s feet. Time & time again he has shown an intolerable & uncompromising attitude to other payers in the field, & this is evidence in the GPL (& it’s incompatibility with other FLOSS licences) & FSF (see the recent spat re VLC & iPad). (not to mention the childish “Bad Vista” campaign) I’d rather try & work with others than fight them (ref: O’Reilly & OSI), since there is more to be gained that way, IMO.

  • lawrence K.


    i can go back to all your old podcasts and dig out all the comments of “Shite” and such you used to lob left and right but now that youve grown up and got a real job, were supposed to say please and mother may I?

    Can you spell hypocrite?

    Nothing worse than a reformed alcoholic preaching to others that they shouldnt drink.

    And you forget to mention that cultural differences are much more powerful than feelgood statements. I work in a high tech environment (P&W in north america) and work with people whove come from all over the world. Intelligent, educated professionals who say the right things. Except some of my coworkers/friends tell me that someone of them still have the caveman mentalities from the home country. And whenever a female manager passes by in a skirt, the comments in arabic about her are mind-blowing. Since I dont understand, I was never aware of this problem but its a big problem in our dept. As a gay man, I am treated differently than my coworkers by these men but never in an open fashion. To do so would entail consequences. So looks of disgust, snorts of contempt and avoidance are part of the ritual for myself and the other openly gay coworkers. Our very existence is an insult but not enough for them to risk their jobs.

    Would this feelgood declaration help here? No. Because you dont change people’s way of thinking. All you do is have it stay under the surface where it can percolate. The brits are good at that passive-aggressive stuff.

    The intent is good, dont get me wrong but its a feelgood gesture. Nothing more.

    The day I hear you slap some of the nasty GNOME board members or others involved in the projects for their vile attitudes I might change my mind. But Lefty is your buddy so you wont.

    I DARE YOU to post a question under a pseudonym and politely ask in a GNOME or other forum a question about the dangers of Mono. Ask it politely. Then watch the ad hominem attacks come in flying. Your declaration wont stop this and I doubt you have to courage to enforce it. No one wants to tell their buddies they are acting in an uncivilized manner.

    But you who used to blast people/ideas to shreds in your youth are still a hypocrite.

  • jono

    Not sure I am a hypocrite, but maybe I am a hypocrite for saying that. :-)

    I understand where you are coming from, but I think there is a difference between satire and respect. LugRadio was all about satire, and while we certainly accidentally took it a little too far at times as we were all were (and still are) idiots, I believe that there is a difference between satirical commentary and disrespectful conflict-orientated discourse. Satire pokes fun, and OpenRespect never wants to stop people poking fun, but OpenRespect is encourage people to have civil debate that doesn’t descend into bickering and name calling.

    I do think we live and learn, and while I am intensely proud of our chievements in LugRadio, I consider LugRadio a satirical show that in itself helped me learn more about respect, particularly from the times we overstepped out bounds.

  • jono

    I don’t think Stallman is disrespectful, he has always demonstrated the utmost respect in my interactions with him, but he does the world in a very black and white way, which is fine given his beliefs.

  • Beth Lynn Eicher

    Thank you for kicking things off with the “open respect” declaration.

    Discrimination is wrong, regardless of its reasons: Company affiliation or lack there of is one form. Have you reached out to anyone at Novel or Oracle?!? How about BSD community distributions?

    When I introduced you as keynote speaker at the Ohio LinuxFest in 2008, I used that stage to call an end to elitism. Building belonging to me means encouraging diverse participation in safe environments.

    Moose and I wrote a paper entitled “Open Source Should Be Open To All” The url for this article is the “website” of this post.

    Just in case this message misses you, I will send it via email as well.

  • David Gerard

    I assume this has nothing to do with GregKH of Novell’s statements that Ubuntu’s kernel contribution record is deficient, nor with Red Hat’s that Ubuntu’s GNOME contribution record is deficient.

  • Jarlath

    I think it’s great that this is even being considered by parties – regardless of the posture they end up adopting. I agree with Jonos observations. But one thing I read on minutes of a Fedora board meeting at states:

    “Jono Bacon talked to Jared about this, and said he would draft a statement and would involve Jared but ended up releasing via his blog without collaborating before release and emailed Jared afterwards.”

    I believe Jono is asking for participation here so it’s a moot point in one way as it is still being drafted. But given the sensitive nature of this topic, it’s unfortunate to begin the process like that.

    Again, no harm done from my point of view. But as they say in the beginning of Dune, “A beginning is a very delicate time.”

  • Jakes

    Fair point. He’s entitled to his (IMO, overly-simplistic) world-view, and goodness-knows he’s made enough contributions to warrant his position. Unfortunately many of his hard-line followers take the “superior” attitude of: “it’s this way, and if you disagree then there’s something fundamentally wrong with you”, which puts people in a very uncomfortable if you’re planning on working with them in a constructive manner. One does not need to compromise your own principles when making certain concessions or sacrifices when dealing with people with a differing world-view.

  • Read my lips

    Do you want a more respectful world?. Ok. Less words and more useful code & contributions outside Ubuntu’s galaxy.

    And you’ll be respected.

  • Buscando el respeto perdido en la comunidad Open Source | MuyLinux

    […] Open Source que trabaja en Canonical como Community Manager- en su blog, y que ha titulado “Making our world more respectful” (“Haciendo que nuestro mundo sea más respetuoso”). Como se puede adivinar por […]

  • Respeto | Incognitosis

    […] Open Source que trabaja en Canonical como Community Manager- en su blog, y que ha titulado “Making our world more respectful” (“Haciendo que nuestro mundo sea más respetuoso”). Como se puede adivinar por […]

  • En busca del respeto perdido « El Blog de Ragadast

    […] recomendadas: El artículo que utilizado para basarme en esta entrada, la entrada de Jono Bacon en su blog, y los dos artículos que existen hablando de como la idea surgió en un grupo y como […]

  • The unrespecting gentleman at Written and Read

    […] the issue he is addressing here and in a previous blog post is as old as debate itself, but is perhaps – probably – aggravated by the internet […]

  • OpenRespect | Pillateunlinux

    […] que nos quiere transmitir Jono Bacon, Community Manager de Ubuntu. En su artículo titulado “Making our world more respectful” o “Haciendo que nuestro mundo sea más respetuoso”, Jono aborda un tema bastante […]

  • Airon90

    Hi Jono, could you make openrespect translateable, so that we could spread openlove over the world? :)

  • Phil Kohler

    Having read your post, the comments and reviewed, it seems that the issue you’re addressing is far more complex than I realized.

    While some of the comments seem to call out things from the past, I’m not particularly swayed by them. I understand what you’re intending with and I can respect that.

    Some of the comments to this post correctly point out that trust needs to be earned. While I respectfully agree with this, I also believe that respect should be an expectation.

    I have chosen to add the OpenRespect button to my site in support of the larger and far more important point: how we treat each other from this day forward matters.

    I have been an Ubuntu user for a few years but have primarily been a lurker in the community, focusing my involvement specifically on collaborating with other users who I know offline. Having considered the idea of ‘respect’, I have to wonder if my lack of involvement in the user forums and online community is respectable. I’ll have to strive to be better than that in the future.

  • shackra

    i think, the one of the most terrible things than a free software user don’t like from a Open Source user is when the last one offer a GNU/Linux distribution without, at least, warn the new user about the non-free software what he will get and how this affect he’s freedom.

    i respect the Distribution of GNU/Linux what other users uses, i use Trisquel because i change some part of my computer to get it work.

    there is something wrong with some Open Source people, is harder when you ask them to tell the people about the non-free software what have/provide X distribution of GNU/Linux, they just get mad at you… they tread you like a crazy and extremist guy and another things :S, the Free Software and the Open Source are fighting for the same objectives, no? why they can cooperate with something than simple like that?

    we live in a time where you can use a computer in freedom, compared to past time, if we want to get more open Hardware to live in freedom, we need the cooperation between us and help with what each calls the other team.

    there is anothers problems to, about concepts and definitios about the name controversy of the operating system GNU/Linux and etc. but that is a topic to other post.

    regards from Costa Rica!

  • Carmen Johnson


  • Bavarin Fleetfoot

    I am actually glad to find more people starting to think like this. I myself have been finding myself drawn into the argumentative mentality by the “trolls” in recent times, and I honestly don’t like how it makes me feel, not only about humanity, but about myself as a person. I would far rather encourage the mentality of discussion rather than argument, as it leads to learning and growth and benefits all. Not only would I like to see more of this in open source, but in life in general. Thankfully, it seems that as the world goes progressively more insane, there are a growing number of people who would rather seek solutions rather than contributing to the problems. If that trend continues, there’s sure to be some sort of “critical mass” at some point, where solution seekers outnumber problem creators by enough to actually create change for the better.