We, the SustainOSS Organizers, froze the Sustain Discourse Forum because we realized and collectively acknowledged that we were failing to hold an online space that aligns with our own vision for the sustainable, safe, and inclusive open communities we want to belong to and to support.
In order to avoid any further harm or toxicity, we pressed pause.
When SustainOSS started out as a one-time, in-person event in 2017, we had no idea what the future might hold. The first event resonated strongly with many who participated, and we step by step moved to make SustainOSS a recurring annual event, and a year-round community.
We were genuinely excited to see SustainOSS take off, but we were not resourced to address the needs and responsibilities associated with a growing, passionate and globally diverse community.
We published a Code of Conduct (CoC) at the outset, but it was written in event-specific terms. As activity grew on the Forum, we realized we needed both a more general and comprehensive CoC as well as a more robust conflict resolution and reporting framework, as conflicts arose and harmful statements were made in our online space.
In trying to address community health issues and finalize a new CoC, we lived out some of the sustainability challenges that we founded SustainOSS to address. We are a super-majority volunteer organizing team, all holding other full-time and part-time non-SustainOSS jobs. Earnest efforts to push the CoC process forward moved slowly over the past year, and failed to resolve in a timely fashion or produce the needed outputs.
We paused the forum so we could get a CoC in place with input and buy-in from the SustainOSS community, in alignment with our values, and in parallel make sure we have the roles and the people in place to make it successful in addressing community health.
We acknowledge our shortcomings as an organizing team, and deeply apologize to those who have experienced harm, unpleasant interactions or toxicity in our spaces.
We plan to keep the forum paused until we have established an updated CoC and associated procedures that support and reinforce the safe, inclusive and sustainable space we want to hold.
We want to do this in collaboration with the SustainOSS community.
As a next step, we’ll host a community meeting on Tuesday 15 February at 17:00 UTC to review a draft of the updated CoC and invite feedback on both the document as well as our plan for taking it live and making it effective.
For those who are not able to join at that particular time, we’ll gladly schedule additional sessions or talk one-on-one.
We want this to be a Code of Conduct that is collectively owned and held, and we welcome and encourage input and contributions from anyone who has experience, perspectives and insights to share.
In parallel with moving the CoC forward, we will work to address recent toxic incidents on the forum, and do everything we can to avoid recurrences.
We realize it would be ideal if folks could respond directly to this post and share thoughts, feedback, questions, ideas and concerns, but we are not confident some of the same toxicity would not surface.
We welcome you to share your input by emailing email@example.com. We’ll summarize what we hear and echo that back out to inform the process.
We are grateful for the many brilliant, inspiring and passionate people who make up our community, and we look forward to realizing a healthier and more sustainable SustainOSS with all of you.