I Violated a Code of Conduct

Written: 28 Oct 2020 by Jeremy Howard

Summary: NumFOCUS stumbled on I violated their Code of Behavior (CoC) at JupyterCon because my focus on used to be now not “form”, because I said Joel Grus used to be “scandalous” in terms of his notion that Jupyter Notebook is now not a appropriate tool pattern environment. Joel (who I severely recognize, and preserve in mind an asset to the records science community) used to be now not all in favour of NumFOCUS’s action, used to be now not prompt about it, and did now not improve it. NumFOCUS did now not follow their have enforcement activity and violated their have CoC, left me striking for over per week now not even realizing what I used to be accused of, and did now not give me a risk to originate enter ahead of concluding their investigation. I consistently prompt their committee that my emotional resilience used to be low on the second attributable to medical disorders, which they laughed about and overlooked, as I tried (unsuccessfully) to preserve end help tears. The activity has left me shattered, and I gained’t accumulate a intention to accept any speaking requests for the foreseeable future. I improve the considerate enforcement of Code of Conducts to manage with sexist, racist, and harassing habits, however that’s now not what befell in this case.


In my recent JupyterCon keynote, “I Tackle Jupyter Notebooks” (re-recording equipped on the bottom of this publish, will maintain to you’re entertaining about seeing it for yourself), I sought to provide a rebuttal to Joel Grus’ extremely influential JupyterCon presentation “I Don’t Tackle Notebooks”. Joel claimed in his focus on that Jupyter is a unlucky change for tool pattern and educating, and I claimed in my focus on that it’s a appropriate change. The NumFOCUS committee stumbled on me responsible of violating their code of conduct for having now not been “form” in my incompatibility with Joel, and for “insulting” him. The categorical reasons given had been that:

  • I said that Joel Grus used to be “scandalous”
  • I weak just a few of his slides (successfully attributed) and a transient clip from one among his videos to expose why I believed he used to be scandalous
  • That I made “a negative reference” to his prior focus on
  • I used to be furthermore prompt that “as a keynote speaker” I would “be held to a greater same outdated than others” (though this used to be now not communicated to me sooner than my focus on, nor what that greater same outdated is)

Code of Conducts might well well also furthermore be a priceless instrument, when thoughtfully created and thoughtfully enforced, to manage with sexism, racism, and harassment, all of which were complications at tech conferences. Given the form disorders in the tech industry, it’s miles foremost that we continue the work of making conferences extra inclusive, namely to these from marginalized backgrounds. Having a code of conduct with explicit concepts against violent threats, unwelcome sexual consideration, repeated harassment, sexually explicit photos, and other wicked habits is the first step against addressing and stopping these behaviors. The JupyterCon code presents the following examples of unacceptable habits, none of which are in any recognize same to what I did (i.e. asserting that anyone used to be scandalous on a technical matter, and explaining how and why):

  • Violent threats or violent language directed against one other individual
  • Discriminatory jokes and language
  • Posting sexually explicit or violent field matter
  • Posting (or threatening to publish) other folks’s individually identifying recordsdata (“doxing”)
  • Inner most insults, namely these utilizing racist or sexist phrases
  • Unwelcome sexual consideration
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above habits
  • Repeated harassment of others. On the total, if somebody asks you to raze, then raze

My ride with the NumFOCUS code of conduct raises just a few key disorders:

  • The CoC enforcement activity fervent conflicting & changing recordsdata, no opportunity for me to present enter, the stress of a long wait of unknown duration and not utilizing a recordsdata about what I used to be accused of or what would happen subsequent, and the committee members violated their have CoC in the direction of the diagram
  • There were two entirely rather just a few Codes of Behavior with rather just a few necessities linked in rather just a few areas
  • I used to be held to a special, undocumented and uncommunicated same outdated
  • The existence of, or foremost parts about, the CoC had been now not communicated sooner than affirmation of the engagement
  • CoC consultants suggest warding off necessities of politeness or different forms of “appropriate” habits, however will maintain to concentrate on a selected list of unacceptable behaviors. The JupyterCon CoC, on the change hand, is quite entirely a list of “appropriate” behaviors (equivalent to “Be welcoming”, “Be considerate”, and “Be edifying”) which would be vaguely outlined
  • CoC consultants suggest utilizing a CoC that specializes in a list of unacceptable behaviors. Both the codes linked to JupyterCon maintain this kind of hyperlink, and none of the unacceptable habits examples are in any capacity linked or end to what befell in this case. Nonetheless NumFOCUS on the opposite hand stumbled on me in violation.

I would moderately now not need to jot down this publish in any recognize. Nonetheless I do know that of us will demand about why my focus on isn’t readily available on the JupyterCon region, so I felt that I will maintain to expose precisely what befell. In notify, I used to worry that if simplest partial recordsdata grew to alter into readily available, the anti-CoC crowd might possibly soar on this as an instance of complications with codes of conduct extra on the total, or might possibly point at this as a part of “homicide custom” (an notion I vehemently disagree with, since what is continuously called “cancellation” is incessantly appropriate “going thru consequences”). Eventually, I stumbled on that being on the “other facet” of a code of conduct notify gave me additional insights into the diagram, and that it’s foremost that I will maintain to fragment these insights to help the community in due direction.


The relaxation of this publish is a fairly detailed memoir of what befell, for folk who are sharp.

My focus on at JupyterCon

I recently gave a focus on at JupyterCon. My accomplice Rachel gave a focus on at JupyterCon just a few years in the past, and had an beautiful ride, and I’m a massive fan of Jupyter, so I wished to enhance the project. The conference weak to be organized by O’Reilly, who maintain continuously done an beautiful job of conferences I’ve attended, however this year the conference used to be in its keep aside handled by NumFOCUS.

For my focus on, I decided to concentrate on Jupyter as a literate and exploratory programming environment, utilizing nbdev. One challenge, on the change hand, is that two years earlier Joel Grus had given a vital presentation called I Don’t Tackle Notebooks which had been so compelling that I in actuality maintain stumbled on it nearly now not in all probability to focus on programming in Jupyter with out being prompt “you’re going to maintain to peek this focus on which explains why programming in Jupyter is a dreadful notion”.

Joel opened and closed his presentation with some light-hearted digs at me, since I’d asked him ahead of time now not to attain this kind of presentation. So I believed I’d abolish two birds with one stone, and judge the opportunity to acknowledge straight to him. Now now not simplest used to be his presentation sharp, however his slides had been hilarious, so I decided to straight parody his focus on through the use of (with corpulent credit rating in fact) just a few of his slides straight. That capacity those that hadn’t seen his focus on might well well both catch to catch pleasure from the tremendous notify material, and furthermore understand appropriate what I used to be responding to. For example, here’s how Joel illustrated the challenge of running cells in the lawful expose:

I showed that plod, explaining that it’s Joel’s decide on the difficulty, and then followed up with a plod showing how easy it in actuality is to fling all cells in expose:

Every plod incorporated a snippet from Joel’s title plod, which, I outlined, showed which slides had been straight taken from his presentation. I used to be careful to catch particular that I did now not regulate any of his slides in any capacity. When first introducing his presentation, I described Joel as “a vital communicator, if truth be told comic, and scandalous”. I didn’t catch any other feedback about Joel (though, for the document, I judge he’s awesome, and extremely suggest his book.

The Code of Behavior violation undercover agent

Per week later, I got an electronic mail telling me that two CoC reports had been filed in terms of my JupyterCon keynote presentation. I used to be prompt that “The Code of Behavior Enforcement Crew is assembly the following day to analysis the incident and will in all probability be contacting you to expose you of the persona of the document and to impress your point of view”.

The CoC wasn’t talked about in any recognize till after I’d been invited to communicate, had permitted, and had carried out the catch registration. I had reviewed it at that time, and had been fairly perplexed. The email I got linked to a JupyterCon Code of Behavior, however that in flip didn’t provide a lot element about what is and isn’t OK, and that in flip linked to a special NumFOCUS Code of Behavior. A hyperlink used to be furthermore equipped to document violations, which furthermore linked to and named the NumFOCUS CoC.

I used to worry that I had done one thing that is also seen as a violation, and regarded ahead to listening to in regards to the persona of the document and having a risk to fragment my point of view. I used to be heartened that JupyterCon documented that they follow the NumFOCUS Enforcement Handbook. I used to be furthermore heartened that the book has a fraction “Keep up a correspondence with the Reported Person in regards to the Incident” which says they would per chance well “Let the reported individual expose somebody on the CoC response crew their facet of the account; the individual that receives their facet of the account will maintain to be ready to elevate it on the response crew assembly”. I used to be furthermore chuffed to stare that a lot of the book and code of conduct followed the advice (and even weak some wording from) the intellectual of us on the Ada Initiative, who are extraordinarily considerate in regards to the style to make and apply codes of conduct.

One challenge is that the JupyterCon CoC is in step with Django’s, which has very total guidelines equivalent to “Be welcoming” and “Be considerate”, that can per chance well well also furthermore be taken by rather just a few folks in rather just a few ways. The NumFOCUS code is intention clearer, with a selected list of “Unacceptable behaviors”, though that list involves “Other unethical or unprofessional conduct”, which is grand, since “unprofessional” might well well also furthermore be decide-all gate-preserving mechanism for whatever these in the “occupation” judge to be against their notify norms, and which these outdoor the in-group (relish me) can’t be moderately be anticipated to know.

These keep of disorders are discussed in an engaging presentation from Valerie Aurora, who explains that “a code of conduct will maintain to absorb” “behaviors which many of us judge are acceptable however are unacceptable to your community”, and that “In expose so that you just can list appropriate behaviors or mumble the community supreme of habits, attain it in a separate document”, and in notify “Invent now not require politeness or different forms of ‘appropriate’ habits”. Magnificent a lot all of the JupyterCon code of conduct is a list of forms of ‘appropriate’ habits (e.g. “be edifying”, “be welcoming”, “be respectful”, and so forth.) Whereas broader and extra subjective values, equivalent to “be form”, might well well also furthermore be priceless as a part of a conference’s values, it’s less fine if and even how they settle on to be enforced thru a code of conduct.

Total, I felt very wired, however hopeful that this is in a position to per chance well well be resolved soon.

The calls

The promised name befell the following day. Nonetheless, the representative prompt me that they’d now not be informing me of the persona of the document at that time, and would now not be hunting for to impress my point of view at that time. I asked why the switch of plans. The representative outlined that they’d had a committee assembly and had decided to wait till they’d spoken to the 2 journalists.

I used to be bowled over. The representative might well well now not even decide to a time after they’d catch help to me, or expose me what might well well be going down subsequent. I prompt them that I believed that telling somebody that they’d a violation document, however then now not asserting what it’s, or when or whether or now not they would per chance well accumulate a intention to originate their facet of the account, or offering any time frame for any subsequent step used to be merciless. I prompt them that my emotional resilience used to be now not high, since I’ve been going thru now not easy family successfully being disorders, and that I hoped they’d preserve in mind changing their capacity for other folks in due direction, so that they wouldn’t need to take care of an commence-ended and obscure price relish I did.

The representative outlined that I had “made now not decrease than two folks if truth be told feel unlucky”. I prompt them that I in actuality didn’t judge that used to be comely. We shouldn’t be held responsible for other folks’s feelings. As a proponent of Nonviolent Verbal substitute I accept as true with that we can maintain to fragment how we if truth be told feel in response to the phrases or deeds of others, however will maintain to never blame others for these feelings. Furthermore, if it’s a requirement that talks catch folks if truth be told feel gay, that must be clearly communicated and documented (NumFOCUS did neither).

The next name did now not happen for one other week (I had made myself readily available to fulfill any time). I used to be panicked to be taught that the aim of the name might well well be to “focus on the consequences of our investigation”. I might well well now not know the style they can even wish carried out their investigation and maintain results, with none enter from me. Nonetheless, I agreed to the name; I figured that every body I foremost to attain used to be dial in, hear the consequences, and I used to be done.

The reports

One the name, I used to be bowled over to search out myself going thru four folks. The old name had been with appropriate one, and being so severely outnumbered made me if truth be told feel very intimidated. One in every of the representatives started by telling me precisely what the finding used to be. The journalists claimed, and the committee agreed, that there had indeed been a code of conduct violation, namely in failing to be “form to others” and in “insulting others”.

I used to be bowled over. I judge Joel is wide, and I do know for a reality that he doesn’t mind being called “scandalous” (since the name I checked with him). I most if truth be told did now not insult him. I said that I judge his capacity to coding is sub-optimal, and namely that it would maintain the back of utilizing Jupyter. I showed a clip of him are residing coding to expose that. I stumbled on it precise that a part of the findings of the committee might well well be a notify as to why I showed a selected plod, namely brooding about they by no methodology even asked. I in actuality have not any desire to discredit Joel, and I don’t judge that my judge that his coding setup is sub-optimal will maintain to be regarded as a miniature on his persona.

Could or now not it’s argued that I used to be now not “form”. I guess it might per chance well well. I did a parody. In so a lot of ways, this is form – it reveals that (and I explicitly said this) that I judge his presentation is sharp and extremely influential, to the extent that I keep aside in a foremost quantity of time finding out it and dealing with the jokes and structure as most fine as I might well well. On the change hand, I did indeed say he’s scandalous, and tried to point to the errors he made by pointing them out straight on his slides; I don’t judge that’s unkind, however it appears to be like to be that NumFOCUS committee disagrees. Personally, I don’t judge it might per chance well well also furthermore be argued I used to be insulting him. It’s rather that you just would possibly well well possibly accept as true with to debate somebody and say they’re scandalous, with out claiming they’re a faulty individual or asserting mean things about their individual. The JupyterCon CoC even mentions this: “When we disagree, try to impress why. Disagreements, both social and technical, happen the total time and Jupyter is now not any exception”.

There is a massive disparity between the examples which would be equipped on the Jupyter and NumFOCUS codes when in comparison with what I used to be being charged with. Here’s the list from NumFOCUS of “unacceptable behaviors”:

  • The utilization of sexualized language or imagery
  • Crude profanity (please steer clear of curse phrases; folks vary severely in their sensitivity to swearing)
  • Posting sexually explicit or violent field matter
  • Violent or intimidating threats or language directed against one other individual
  • Unsuitable bodily contact and/or unwelcome sexual consideration or sexual feedback
  • Sexist, racist, or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language
  • Trolling or insulting and derogatory feedback
  • Written or verbal feedback which maintain the pause of other than folks on the muse of membership in a selected group, in conjunction with stage of ride, gender, gender identification and expression, sexual orientation, disability, neurotype, non-public look, body dimension, fling, ethnicity, age, religion, or nationality
  • Public or non-public harassment
  • Sharing non-public notify material, equivalent to emails despatched privately or non-publicly, or snort message history, with out the sender’s consent
  • Continuing to value interplay (equivalent to images, recording, messaging, or dialog) with somebody after being asked to raze
  • Sustained disruption of talks, events, or communications, equivalent to heckling of a speaker
  • Publishing (or threatening to publish) other folks’s individually identifying recordsdata (“doxing”), equivalent to bodily or electronic addresses, with out explicit permission
  • Other unethical or unprofessional conduct
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviors

They furthermore provide this samples of impact analysis on their enforcement info:

These are behaviors that I strongly agree will maintain to be stopped, and the community will maintain to unite to face in the help of this. Nonetheless these are now not the behaviors that the NumFOCUS committee targeted on in this case, or in the sections of the CoC that I used to be stumbled on to maintain violated.

I in actuality have not any notion what befell here – why some folks decided to make utilize of a code that used to be, it sounds as if, written to guard folks from sexism, violence, racism, and intimidation, in this suggests. I do know that I’ve made many enemies this year with my advocacy of universal masking, and maintain needed to manage with constant harassment and even death threats consequently. I’ve furthermore got rather just a few abuse over recent y

Read More

Recent Content