Rust’s language community is in disarray following the resignation of the entire moderation team, citing the “structural irresponsibility” of the core team.
The moderation team, represented by Andrew Gallant, job his resignation to GitHub yesterday, saying it was “done to protest the core team not being accountable to anyone other than themselves.”
Therefore, the post goes on to explain, “We have not been able to enforce Rust’s code of conduct. [CoC] to the standards that the community expects from us.
The team further requested that “Rust team members come to a consensus on a core team monitoring process,” recognizing that being a moderator is “a thankless job, and we didn’t not doing our best to recruit new members “.
The specific issue (s) which gave rise to the resignation were not specified. The post was confirmed by Matthieu M and Andre Bogus, also now former members of the team. Two new moderators were appointed, Khionu Sybiern and Joshua Gould.
The governance of Rust is made up of 10 teams, with the core team responsible for “managing Rust’s general management, sub-team management and any cross-cutting issues.”
The moderation team is responsible for “helping to uphold the code of conduct and community standards.”
The Code of conduct states that moderation covers “all official Rust sites”, including GitHub repositories, Discord channels, and forums under rust-lang.org.
On Reddit, Matthew M expanded on the situation a bit, explaining that most of the day-to-day enforcement action (for example, banning someone from a location) is the responsibility of location-specific moderators, and that most of the work of the day is done. The moderation team responds to specific complaints, in which case they endeavor to intervene and, if unsuccessful, may issue temporary or permanent warnings or bans.
Interactions with core “are rare,” he said, meaning less than once a month, but necessary for bans because “we don’t enforce bans directly, instead we ask Core to do them. apply for us, and Core will recheck our work (but without access to the file, unless the complainants agree). “
Other scenarios are where Core enforces a ban and notifies the moderation team, or when a member of the core team is “involved in a complaint”.
Who moderates the core team? That’s the problem, commented Matthieu M on Reddit, “It’s undefined behavior, essentially. Rust’s governance document never explicitly stated that a team would have control over the core team, nor that the moderation team should not own the core team. Members are responsible … this led to the first governance crisis of the Rust. “
In a later comment, he added: “Communication with Core has failed, there is no team above Core, so … it’s up to the Rust Project members to get organized and decide what to do in terms of follow-up. “
That said, Rust is governed by RFCs (request for comments) which are discussed and accepted in the Rust repository, one of which concerns governance. He states that “one of the reasons for separating the moderation sub-team is to ensure that CoC violations by Rust management are dealt with by the same independent body of moderators.” However, it also states that the moderation team members “are chosen directly by the core team,” which could be problematic if there is a disagreement.
In the discussion on Reddit, Gallant noted that “if we had an answer to your implied question, it would necessarily reveal things (via obvious logical inferences) that we carefully avoided revealing in our statement.”
Can the newly formed Rust Foundation help? We spoke to Executive Director Rebecca Rumbul shortly before the incident, about the relationship between the foundation and the Rust teams, for example, when it comes to language functionality. “We don’t fix these things at the Foundation,” she told us. “We were very careful about this when the Foundation was established last year. This is largely a decision for the project teams, the core team and those responsible for maintenance.”
Having said that, she “would like to put resources in place for the community” so that in the event of disagreement “people within the community have a place to go to mediate these discussions.”
We have asked for further feedback on the current issue and have also approached a member of the core team, but with no response so far. ®