Request to suspend the Thunderbird Council

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Jörg Knobloch

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Aug 20, 2020, 6:12:18 PM8/20/20
to mozilla-g...@lists.mozilla.org, Mark Surman, Brian Behlendorf
Dear Mozilla Governance,

I request to suspend the Thunderbird Council for the following reasons:

The current Council was elected for one year. It took office in April of
2019. The term has therefore expired.

The current Council appears not to be following proper process when
processing CPG violation claims. In particular, I consider an e-mail I
received entitled "CPG Enforcement Action for Thunderbird" illegitimate
and I interpret it as an attempt to expel and silence one of their own
members based on the claim of a CPG violation just in time for the
upcoming next Thunderbird Council elections.

To my knowledge as a councillor for many years, special Thunderbird CPG
rules or an enforcement committee do not exist and therefore CPG claims
need to be processed under the Mozilla CPG rules. By-laws for
Thunderbird equally do not exist.

I include the e-mail I received below. I don't want to go into details
here, but just as an example, "Assuming ill intent" as a CPG violation
is a little far fetched (and an unprovable accusation). The e-mail goes
further in trying to ban interaction with (quote): "community members,
paid contributors, and Thunderbird Council members". Such "conditions"
do not even apply to convicted criminals, let alone after a judgement
where the accused received no warning, no trial, and where judge and
prosecutor were all the same entity. The Thunderbird Council has even
affected the suspension of my Bugzilla account, so as a Thunderbird
Module Peer, I won't be able to comment on bugs or submit/review patches
(that includes Firefox bugs).

Thank you for your time to read these paragraphs.

With kind regards, Jörg Knobloch.

---

From: CPG Violations <viola...@thunderbird.net>
Subject: CPG Enforcement Action for Thunderbird

Dear Jörg,

We are writing today in order to address your participation in the
Thunderbird community.

This email is to let you know that the Thunderbird Council has
experienced and received reports that you violated Mozilla’s Community
Participation Guidelines
<https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/governance/policies/participation/>(“CPG”),
which Thunderbird has adopted. These alleged violations took place via
email, on bugzilla and other systems. Some examples that are alleged to
have violated the CPG are:

* Be Respectful / Be Direct but Professional

o Assuming ill intent.When roadblocks are in the way of what you’d like
to achieve, you tend to focus on your solution. In a number of
conversations you have been disrespectful towards others who are equally
looking to reach a conclusion, or offering to help you along the way.
The CPG requires you to be open to different possibilities and to being
wrong.

o Passive aggressive communication. When having critical conversations
you lean towards passive aggressive remarks. These can be hurtful
towards those who you are directing them against, and don’t contribute
to a healthy style of conversation. The CPG requires you to be
respectful in all interactions and communications.

o Using facts to excuse disrespectful language.In a number of
conversations where you have been called out for communicating
disrespectfully, you counter by stating what you said is a fact. While
in many cases it is truly a fact, the way in which you convey these
facts has not been appropriate. The CPG requires that if someone says
they have been harmed through your words or actions, listen carefully,
apologize sincerely, and correct the behavior going forward.

o Using your position to make demands.You’ve had a few interactions with
the community and council in the past where you’ve made demands for
something to change, and used your position in the community as a
pressure point to have them met. This was mainly connected to the threat
of putting critical tasks at rest until the demands are adhered to.The
CPG requires you to demonstrate an understanding of different
perspectives, not using all means necessary to win your argument.

* Be Inclusive

o Use of derogatory language.There have been a few situations where you
have used derogatory language to call out mistakes, for example related
to grammatical mistakes others have made. As a community member we need
you to be respectful of different backgrounds and communicate
professionally.The CPG requires you to be inclusive of everyone in an
interaction, respecting and facilitating people’s participation, for
example when there are non-native speakers involved.

* Personal Attacks

o You’ve demonstrated a number of times that when you disagree with
someone you will go to lengths to discredit them, find and bring up
unrelated issues that would demean or insult them. Oftentimes this leads
to personal attacks that are not acceptable.The CPG requires discussions
to be conducted respectfully and professionally, remaining focused on
the issue at hand.

* Lead by Example

o As a council member, you are in a special role within the community
that requires professional conduct more than usual. When engaging with
community members, users, paid Thunderbird contributors, your actions
set an example on what behavior is tolerated within the community. The
example you are setting by violating the CPG is having a negative effect
on the community.The CPG requires you to lead by example. Your actions
influence others to behave and respond in ways that are valuable and
appropriate for our organizational outcomes.

These are some examples among many of what has long been a pattern of
behavior on your part that is no longer welcome or acceptable within the
Thunderbird project.

Not only do these actions devalue the work of the team, but they are
driving away new contributors, send the wrong message to observers about
what is and isn’t acceptable in our community, and in some cases even
make it difficult to determine exactly what the real issues are and how
to resolve them.

While we’re grateful for the amount of time and effort you’ve put into
Thunderbird, no single contributor’s participation outweighs the
importance of civility and professionalism among our contributors, as
developers and as a community.

The CPG reports were reviewed, and an investigation was conducted by the
Thunderbird Council, with support from Mozilla HR and Community
Management. The Thunderbird Council has determined that a material
portion of the violations were substantiated to our satisfaction
following the Thunderbird CPG investigative process.

The decision was made to issue a 3 months mandatory ban from
participation in Thunderbird communities from August 20th to November
20th, 2020. This means:

* All accounts deactivated during this time.
* No interaction with any of the people involved. This includes
o No interactions with Thunderbird community members, paid contributors,
and Thunderbird Council members.
o No interactions in any official Thunderbird channels, as well as
external or unofficial channels like social media (Twitter, Facebook,
Telegram).
* No attendance at Thunderbird events during this period (virtual or
physical)
* All community leadership roles suspended.
* Mandatory CPG onboarding process after this period.

This pause will allow you to reflect on what your next steps are and
consider how you wish to contribute to Thunderbird going forward. We
trust that you will comply with the conditions of the pause, but the
pause may be extended or made permanent in accordance with the
consequence ladder if you do not.

After November 20th if you would like to be active in the community
again, you will be required to attend a Community Participation
Guidelines onboarding. We will let you know at the onboarding which
tools and community events you will receive access to immediately, and
which you may be asked to not participate in for a longer period.

If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a 1:1 regarding the
scope of this decision, please reply to this email.

Enforcement of our CPG is something Thunderbird takes very seriously.
All community members are held accountable to the standard set forth in
the CPG. As a community leader your behavior also sets the standard for
others and signals what is, and is not, acceptable in our community. We
hope this is an opportunity for you to evaluate your role within the
community, with positive goals for the future.

Your next step is to indicate that you have received this email, and to
let us know if you would like to schedule a 1:1 call. We will be in
touch in November to begin the reinstatement & onboarding process.

Signed, the Thunderbird Council

Jörg Knobloch

unread,
Sep 2, 2020, 2:39:06 AM9/2/20
to mozilla-g...@lists.mozilla.org
Dear Mozilla Governance,

a while has gone by since my initial post[0]. Since there was no
reaction, I am wondering whether this is the appropriate place to
discuss this matter. It raises the question how Thunderbird governance
is "embedded" into Mozilla governance. On this subject, a former
Thunderbird Council chairman, Kent James, once wrote[1] (quote): "There
needs to be some mechanism for a rogue council to be replaced, but that
can be done by the parent organization in the rare cases that it is an
issue (Mozilla for us, Apache for their subprojects)."

Here a summary where I think the Thunderbird Council operated outside
the rules, some of which it set itself:

1) Council term already expired earlier this year.

2) According to published guidelines, the Council is not processing any
CPG reports. To my knowledge after 4.5 years on the Thunderbird Council,
"CPG Violations <viola...@thunderbird.net>" has not existed until very
recently and no guidelines exist for the Council to process such reports.

3) Even if the Council were authorized to prosecute CPG infringements in
the Thunderbird Community, it's questionable whether it would have the
power to exclude Mozilla contributors from Mozilla systems like Bugzilla.

4) When dealing with alleged CPG infringements, the Council is, in this
case, witness, prosecutor and judge all at the same time.

5) The Thunderbird Council has a so-called Code of Conduct. It calls for
four unanimous votes[2] to exclude a member. This was not followed.

6) The Council even went so far as to strip Thunderbird module
peer-ship[3] which seems unprecedented.

Thank you for your time,

Jörg Knobloch.

[0] https://groups.google.com/g/mozilla.governance/c/RQHR3eFAYZ8
[1] https://mail.mozilla.org/pipermail/tb-planning/2015-November/004161.html
[2] If an issue is determined to be irreconcilable, the council may cast
a vote to speak out a warning to the offending council member. The vote
follows the normal voting process including a second of motion, but must
be conducted under participation of all council members aside from the
offending council member. The voting result must be unanimous, with a
council of 7, 6 members must vote YES. Council members that have
gathered 3 warnings are subject to an additional exit vote, where the
council will vote on either suspending council activity for a set time
frame, or excluding the member from further council work.
[3]
https://wiki.mozilla.org/index.php?title=Modules%2FThunderbird&type=revision&diff=1230238&oldid=1228813

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