Perl's Community Affairs Team chair quits as org put on ice by code language's foundation

Previous statements yanked while charter is 'formalized'


The Perl Foundation has put its Community Affairs Team (CAT) on hiatus, and the team's chair has resigned.

Samantha McVey's departure came in the wake of the decision by The Perl Foundation (TPF) board to retract the CAT statements of April 19, and May 2, and put the CAT on ice "while its charter is formalized."

The Register noted those CAT reports back in May, one of which included news of a permaban over alleged "unacceptable" behaviour by certain members of the Perl community. That ban was later dialed back to last a year. Now the CAT has been frozen.

The team's reports have been updated with a bland redaction statement. The sanctions, agreed by the board, will continue to stand.

TPF pointed to a lack of a final charter for the CAT as a cause for the hiatus and yanking of the CAT statements: "While the CAT has had board-sponsored training and a draft charter, the final charter has not been formally approved therefore previous CAT actions cannot be measured against it."

McVey was unimpressed, and said: "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.

"Remaining on the Community Affairs Team would imply I accept or support TPF's actions. I do not."

McVey also noted that a substantial amount of work had gone into a charter for the CAT and a Code of Conduct, with refinements following comments from the Board.

"Even if imperfect," McVey said, "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."

Matt Trout, one of the individuals sanctioned, was pleased to see TPF's statement. However, he also accepted the punishment meted out to him.

The CAT reports caused more than a little controversy in the Perl community, and their retraction has been welcomed by some members.

However, "the reason TPF gave for retracting the reports was for not based on the contents of the reports," said McVey. "If it had been, maybe things would have turned out differently."

Of the CAT, Trout said he expected "it to be back in some form" but wanted a Code of Conduct agreed and published before restarting.

"In the end, this wasn't really about me," he told The Register, "this was about multiple structural process and community outreach failures by TPF which turned what would ideally have been 'mst gets a well deserved public slap for upsetting sawyer' followed by everybody nodding approvingly and moving on into a slow motion trainwreck that resulted in a massive waste of human capital at the TPF level and a massive erosion in community trust.

"Given TPF ideally *should* have an effective, trusted team to enforce standards in TPF managed spaces, I hope that they take this opportunity to reboot the CAT in a form that's able to become such a thing."

And McVey? It looks like there's a vacant position in the Perl community. At least for the time being.

McVey told The Register: "The hardest part for the Board will be to decide exactly what they want. We are a long way off from where we were, yet it feels like we are further away from the objective. The Board needs to pass and then convince people a Code of Conduct or Charter won't be later reversed."

We put it to McVey if the current furore was a symptom of a wider problem. The reply? "I don't think it is unique to Perl, but is shared by any community lacking in well defined structure."

There remain two incidents reported to the CAT which will be held for review until the dust has settled and the charter is approved.

The Register contacted TPF for its thoughts on the matter, and has yet to receive a response. ®

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