It is with great sadness that I must announce my resignation as chair of the Perl Foundation’s Community Affairs Team (CAT, the team that responds to Code of Conduct reports), effective immediately. Normally this would be a hard decision to make, but I have no choice given TPF’s recent actions. A Charter and a Code of Conduct could and should have been passed many months ago by the Board of Directors. Sadly this has not happened. The TPF Board of Directors has now unilaterally retracted all of the CAT’s transparency reports of 2021 (first, second). This includes the second transparency report that the TPF Board itself approved the contents and penalties of. Retracting the CAT’s transparency reports sends the message the Board of Directors is not willing to support the CAT, and is not prioritizing the safety of the community. I was not involved in the decision by the Board of Directors.
Remaining on the Community Affairs Team would imply I accept or support TPF’s actions. I do not.
The reason given by the Board of Directors, was that the CAT shouldn’t have acted before a Charter was passed. And since the CAT acted without such a Charter, all of its reports need to be retracted. Even the ones previously approved by the same Board of Directors!
I do not find this reasoning very compelling. While it is important to have a Charter passed and power delegated to a body that can enforce a Code of Conduct, the safety of the community should be more important! If the Board of Directors can pass a ban and transparency report, then later retract it (without involvement of the CAT), it also has the power to pass a Charter for the CAT, AND also have the power to retract the same Charter based on pubic pressure. This is what TPF’s retraction demonstrates to everyone, that even if a Charter is passed, TPF may give in to public pressure and walk back their own past statements. I find this unsettling.
I have put in a large amount of work into creating a Charter for the CAT and a Code of Conduct. I have submitted this to the Board of Directors several times, each time refining it after comments from the Board of Directors. Even if imperfect, it is important to have some kind of Charter to work with! Sadly this has not happened. What has happened instead is backtracking and now finally retracting and erasing the CAT’s past reports.
The #tpf-cat Slack channel was intended to be used by people working to improve the state of the Community Affairs Team and a Code of Conduct within the community. Instead of improving the state of the Community Affairs Team, it has instead been consumed with people trying to tear it down. I have not been on that Slack channel for several weeks now due to the bad behavior and personal attacks I have received there over a period of months. Effectively zero moderation, which I find unacceptable.
I will not do any volunteer work for The Perl Foundation again until a Charter and TPF wide Code of Conduct is passed. I would also need to be confident that the TPF communication channels (be it Slack or whatever platform TPF will use) has an enforced Code of Conduct, moderation playbook, and independent moderators. Let me be clear, a Charter, a Code of Conduct and other documents have already been presented to the Board of Directors. It’s up to the Board of Directors to get it past the finish line, in whatever form it decides to do. Or not.
In any case, it is clear that the Board of Directors is not supporting the Community Affairs Team in its current form, so it is time for me to take my leave.