The Community Working Group: What We Do, and How We Do It

gdemet's picture

In previous posts, we’ve talked about who the Community Working Group (CWG) is and why we’re here, as well some of the work we’ve done around establishing a process for conflict resolution in the Drupal community.

In this post, I’d like to go into more detail about what happens when folks file incident reports with the Community Working Group, and open up the conversation on how we can more effectively address issues that have a larger impact on the Drupal community as a whole.

Currently, the CWG meets once a week over Google Hangout to go through any issues that might have been filed since our last meeting, as well as to discuss ongoing questions and concerns that have been brought to our attention through various channels (reports, individual conversations, etc.) and the overall health of the Drupal community.

As often as possible, we post the minutes of our regular meetings. By necessity, these are somewhat redacted due to the fact that we are often discussing matters of a sensitive nature that have been shared with us in confidence. We also maintain an email list where we discuss ongoing issues and other things that come up in the time between our regular meetings.

When an issue is filed, whether though the Incident Report Form, via e-mail, or in our public issue queue, it goes on the agenda for the next weekly meeting (if the matter is of a serious and immediate nature, CWG members may choose to take immediate action and/or meet outside our normal meeting time). We discuss each item as a group and come to agreement on next steps, then assign someone to follow-up with the individuals in question. If the issue is about something that doesn’t fall within the charter of the CWG, we may refer the matter to another group (e.g., the Technical Working Group or the Licensing Working Group), or reply back to the reporting individual with an explanation.

In cases where there is a dispute between two or more individuals, our general approach is to first gather as much information as possible from all involved parties. In order to ensure that people are able to share their stories with us in an open and honest manner, we do not share any names or other sensitive details outside the group without permission.

Once we have a sufficient level of detail, we meet again as a group to decide how to proceed. Depending on the situation, this may involve one or more CWG members providing mediation between the parties in conflict or suggesting ways that they can resolve the issue themselves. In cases where there is a clear Code of Conduct violation, we will talk directly to the person or persons who engaged in the violation to help them understand the impact of their words and/or actions and to take responsibility for them.

In some cases, we may receive an after-the-fact report about a situation that has already been resolved. In those cases, we review the incident, decide whether further action is necessary, and keep it on file for reference in case something similar happens in the future.

If this sounds long and drawn out, that’s intentional. Unless an issue requires immediate action, our process is designed to enable resolutions that are as thoughtful and permanent as possible. The Community Working Group is not the “Drupal police” and our role is not about deciding “who’s right” and “who’s wrong” in a given situation so much as it is about helping people in our community work together in a mutually respectful way. While many of the items that we tackle are initiated by issues that are reported to us, our process is not exclusively complaint-driven.

The people who volunteer their time serving on the Community Working Group are people with backgrounds in community leadership and conflict resolution who all have been working in the Drupal community for years. We believe that a culture that encourages healthy debate and disagreement is a big part of what gives the Drupal project and community its strength. What we are primarily concerned about are destructive conflicts that violate our shared community values and make the Drupal community a less welcoming place for everyone.

To that end, we’re looking for the community to help us shape our process for addressing systematic patterns of disruptive behaviours that have an impact that goes beyond just those individuals who are directly involved. Please read our proposal and give us your thoughts in the comments section. You can also share your thoughts privately by e-mailing us at drupal-cwg [at] drupal.org.

Thanks!

Drupal Governance

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