I’m writing this blog post on impulse, not entirely sure how it’s going to end. For context, it comes after some thinking about how to co-exist with other people. To “manage expectations”, I am not going to heavily research or put significant amounts of thought into this — it’s merely me trying to articulate my own thoughts on this.

So, the crux of the problem I am thinking about is social retribution. More generally,

  1. How do you decide the scope of the social community of which you are a member?
  2. How do you decide when someone has violated the (potentially unwritten) guidelines of the community?
  3. How do you decide what the appropriate retribution of the violation should warrant?
  4. How do you decide when to take responsibility for dealing that retribution, and communicating that role to others in the social group?

There have been various examples of this in the open source community:

In both of the above cases, the principle social violation was associated with sexual abuse (or allegations thereof), however the questions about are not limited to significant infractions such as these. I will attempt to document how I would handle the above.

How do you decide the scope of the social community of which you are a member?

  1. Violations specific to that community, and that only make sense within that community. For example, in Boxing, sparring with too much violence, and inflicting unnecessary pain on your boxing partner.
  2. Violations of the standards that are expected of all people in your life. For example, violence with a view to control another person.

Community Violations

Broader Violations

How do you decide when someone has violated the (potentially unwritten) guidelines of that community?

How do you decide what the appropriate retribution for the violation should warrant?

Particularly large social structures

How do you decide when to take responsibility for dealing that retribution, and communicating that role to others in the social group?

Handling the infraction

  • Entitled
  • Jealous
  • Violated
  • Cheated
  • Enraged
  • Desperate

All of the above are perfectly normal human feelings, and are nothing which require shame in and of themselves. These two things mean that punitive action only makes sense if it is about teaching that person a more appropriate way to seek the help they need, rather than some sort of satisfaction for the victim. As part of the remediation for this issue, the person who committed the infraction must be required to make amends for their infraction to the victim until such a time they feel OK continuing. Such forgiveness allows a community to remain diverse and handle the problems of being human.

A note about other members of the community

Handle things quickly. Be open about it. Answer questions as they come up.

Handling the abuse of the reporting mechanism

Handling remediation failure

The complications of power and money

To mitigate that, those in power must either

  1. Delegate the authority of handling the infraction to another group who, in turn, has the power to overrule that power.
  2. Be sufficiently diverse as to mitigate the risk of a % of bad actors corrupting the system.

Do #1. It’s way better.