Update to the Zcash Contributors CoC

Through out this thread you will see reference to the zcash community CoC, this is actually the ECC zcash Contributors Code of Conduct, and not the zcash Community Forums Code of Conduct. The forum CoC is controlled by the zfnd

edit: please note. my post was not the one removed. the removed post was in response to a post I made and was aimed at me, calling me a clown.

I am not 100% sure this is the right place to post this. I can repost this to github if you like. I am pretty sure this update would impact forum moderation though. @shawn can you confirm this please?

This change creates a number of protected classes, but does not cover all - why? This then implies some dog whistles are okay. This is a road I dont think the CoC should be going down. I think it will have a number of unintended consequences.

A lot of us are hard on the banking industry - do I now need to learn all anti-Semitic dog whistles in case I inadvertently use one when expressing my dissatisfaction with the banks?

Specifically about the clown world meme. Like I said before people use it a lot in esports and twitch chat. I am sure many people do not know it is a dog whistle - so that could stop them from contributing?

to liken this change to cryptocurrencies, you are banning plausible deniability, which is monero, in favour of t addresses.

This feels close to thought policing and I really do not like the change. You are creating an impossibly high standard.


I, for one, invite all perspectives to this forum no matter how offensive and stupid. These ignorant, unfruitful ideas are easily challenged and demoted by wiser members of the crowd

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You have only quoted the change itself, without context. The full quote from the Zcash Contributor Code of Conduct (CoC) is:

Examples of unacceptable behavior by participants include:

  • The use of sexualized language or imagery
  • The use of language or imagery that originates with, or has been adopted as a symbol or “dog-whistle” for, any of: right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, white supremacism, eugenics, homophobia, or transphobia (whether or not the use by itself falls into those categories)
  • Personal attacks

As the CoC makes clear, these are examples, and do not comprise an exclusive list of unacceptable behaviour. Adding an example like this makes it clearer to readers of the CoC that this is an area that project maintainers are paying attention to, but it does not prevent the project maintainers from dealing with other behaviour outside the given list that is not aligned to the CoC, or remove their responsibility to do so.

Unacceptable language or imagery should always be addressed by project maintainers (removed or edited as appropriate), whether inadvertent or not. However, inadvertent use is an opportunity for education, particularly for new contributors. Repeated use of unacceptable language or imagery, on the other hand, is clear grounds for a stronger response (especially if the individual had been previously talked to about it).

People should generally not expect that acceptable behaviour within one community is guaranteed to be acceptable in any community. It’s up to individuals who want to participate in a community to learn its norms and bounds, something that the CoC and its examples makes easier for them to do, as well as the behaviour of existing members :slightly_smiling_face:

More specifically, how other communities choose to moderate their spaces, and what they consider acceptable behaviour, has no bearing on how we choose to moderate our spaces. The CoC does not claim to apply to esports or general Twitch chat; likewise, the esports and general Twitch communities should not expect their (explicit or implicit) codes of conduct to apply to us.

Note that the CoC does apply to spaces where Zcash is being represented by its contributors:

This Code of Conduct applies both within project spaces and in public spaces when an individual is representing the project or its community.

For instance, the CoC applies to my Twitch channel’s chat; I represent the Zcash project as I publicly stream Zcash development work.


I think you’ve set up a false premise. Just because you use some meme that’s a dog whistle doesn’t mean you get banned or not allowed to contribute. It means the meme gets taken down and you’re told hey, that’s a dog whistle, please don’t use it here.

If that’s done politely and reasonably (which are realistically big if’s and ones I can seen some moderators going way past the line on.), then its not that bad. Could it maybe get some memes taken down that have broader usage, sure? But that seems like a tiny cost as long as people can participate. Accidentally making those kind of mistakes shouldn’t be seen as some kind of dark mark against the person who did it.

What should get you banned is obvious trolling or how you handle being told hey, don’t do that kind of thing here.


I must stress that the aim is laudable, but I don’t think it does it without lots of unintended consequences.

Thanks for posting the fuller context. I was trying to make a point of it specifically calls out the right wing and does not do the same for the left. This implies that saying things like “LGTBT” is acceptable. (Liberals Get The Bullet Too - also sometimes used as LGBT - this stuff gets confusing, eh.)

I stream esports. My chat has used and I have encouraged chat to use clown world. Primarily due to an opponent building a team that is RNG based. When two of these team compete it is called a clown fiesta.

If I switch my stream in the afternoon to z2z messenger dev stuff, or zcash fpga stuff, do I now have to ban the emote from my chat and then explain to my chat how they are now racists? I am technically a project maintainer in this situation and obligated to treat them and their comments by the zcash CoC.

I hope so. I dont mind looking a bit stupid just to make sure. Asking saves a lot of guess work after all.

I don’t care about memes getting taken down from places like the forums, this is the intended consequence of the edit.

i.e. no posting that stuff on the forums please or we will ban you. That is very different from the potential to get removed from zcash projects - i.e. the forums, github, etc for contributions in non zcash spaces (twitch for example) that cover zcash.

It is overused, but this is straight up Orwellian. Do I really have to accept this CoC to participate in helping to build private financial freedom? (this not a rhetorical question.)

A more detailed explanation of how and where these rules apply would really help me. Because afaict everyone who ever posted the OK sign on the forums is in violation of it, and the moderators are too for not removing the posts.

So again, I don’t make mod decisions here. And In fact I think the last two mod decisions that caused enough controversy to get my attention were poorly handled in a way that fed the trolls.

But I don’t think this is Orwellian in principle. Effectively the spirit of the rules are “don’t repeatedly be a dick.” One can legitimately argue over what the community norm is on “being a dick”. But for any community, there are lines after which you cross them you are written off as an asshole. That may be formal or you just increasingly find people ignore you. No where is freedom of speech freedom from the consequences of your speech.

The only way its Orwellian is if its imposed and you don’t get a choice if to obey. But the entire point of a code of conduct is that it’s supposed to reflect community norms and if you don’t like those norms, fork the code and go elsewhere.

Factually, we have 1) a post edited to remove a meme the moderator thought was a dog whistle 2) a post that was removed because the poster was obviously trolling to disrupt things (and admitted to such).

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Im not worried about the forum rules.

I am worried about how this impacts my actions on other platforms. This is an update to the zcash community CoC not the forum CoC/rules.

I think the spirit is fine, but the nuance of the wording is causing issue for me - I am not arguing for peoples right to be a dick, im trying to make sure I or others dont get caught up in a badly worded amendment.

This is unambiguously stating that if I am a project maintainer, I have to censor clown world or face the consequences.

I know it is not intended to be Orwellian, but it is.

This, to me at least, is setting everyone to being guilty of thought crime - this is what i am referencing when I say Orwellian.

Imho this is not enough to update the CoC - at a very long stretch the forum rules, but it feels like a knee jerk reaction. - I also think the incidents were not handled that well, i agree that just letting people rage, burn out then get ignored, is the best way to go. and containment threads. they work too.

I don’t want to fork the project, I want to contribute to zcash. I am happy with the spirit of the CoC, just not the implications from the wording.

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The purpose of the addition is to address a real-world tactic of the alt-right and white supremacists. I didn’t write it to appear balanced just for the sake of it; I wrote it to address a concrete problem that we actually have. For the record, yes, something like LGTBT would be unacceptable because it’s a specific threat (but something like ACAB might not be, depending on other context).

LGBT wouldn’t because the idea that leftists use that to mean “Liberals Get the Bullet Too” is not a real thing. It’s a right-wing talking point.

In that case, you should stop using an anti-Semitic, white supremacist meme, if you care at all about Jewish people and people of colour.

Yes, you do.

You must explain to them this requirement of the Community CoC.

I know it probably feels bad to have used an anti-Semitic meme and have to do something about that. You’ll get over it.

To not do something about it and just continue doing the same thing, would, in fact, be racist.

Yes, that is what it is saying (quibbles about whether the term “censor” really applies aside).

BTW, Orwell may have made significant contributions to literature but he had his own flaws, and we’d apply the CoC equally to him too if he were here.

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I think dog whispering can be debated on, I see the potential problem in terms of freedom of speech (and perhaps thought), but can see the other side.

But, I think explicitly naming a few protected groups (most of all only mentioning victims of right-wing extremism) is taking a very explicit political and non-inclusive stance. I think if the language is not changed to be more neutral, it will be another nail in the coffin of the Zcash community (first big nail was breaking promise to remain gpu friendly)

I’ve actually learned from this thread - next week I am giving a technical talk and was tempted to use it to make some political statement about what’s going on in the world. But seeing this thread makes me feel there should be a more clear separation of political opinions and venues of professional/crypto activity (like this forum); namely I actually feel it is more left-wing extremism that is damaging the world right now, I think it’s OK to express it personally from a social media profile, but not from an official position e.g. as forum moderator (actually also as user maybe writing a political opinion shouldn’t be allowed, and my posts should be deleted, but a forum moderator has set a precedent in the other direction).

Unless Zcash foundation and ECC want to explicitly say they are not about everyone, but just the political left.


meant dog whistling mixed it with the show :slight_smile:

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Ok, you’ve actually gone far too far on this and it appears without consulting anyone else. And, not for the first time, doing it in a way that feeds the trolls and does a disservice to the very environment you want to create.

You are strictly applying the CoC to any venue in which a community member 1) discuses Zcash dev work at all 2) has moderation ability. And you seem to be taking an absolutist view of it. This is far beyond the “don’t be a dick” and “try not to let others be a dick in places you moderate” point of view.

The view you come across as espousing is “If you let someone say the wrong thing, even if you don’t know it’s the wrong thing, you will get in trouble.” I don’t know if that’s out of Orwell or Heinlein or Mao, but it’s certainly not good

It’s an unreasonable and unwelcoming position to apply to informal moderation of ad-hoc channels which is already a huge burden. And you seem to have forgotten that the actual point of at least our CoC is to be inclusive and welcoming to people. Yes, if someone’s zcash related twitch channel constantly has racist frog memes in it, you explain why thats harmful and that they should get people to stop. If they are a dick about that, ok things can happen. But don’t threaten.

Have some empathy. There’s a bewildering amount of stuff that can legitimately make people feel unwelcome and we should avoid most of that. ( “Eeny ,meeny, miny, moe …” for example used to end in a racial slur). You can’t expect everyone to handle all fo all the time or from the get go (most users of “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” are probably genuinely ignorant of that fact). We wouldn’t ban moderators from the entire community, for example, for just messing up policing others on this forum. We’d try and teach them and then remove them as moderators if that fails.


It is false to say I didn’t consult anyone. The CoC change PR was properly reviewed.

Dog-whistles for ideologies such as the ones described are not acceptable in this project. We can talk about what the scope of applicability of the Community CoC is, but it has been changed and it is clear what it says. If you dispute that a “z2z messenger dev stuff, or zcash fpga” stream is covered by the Community CoC, then let’s argue about that separately from the CoC’s wording.

The Clown World meme is not even remotely in a grey area. Nevertheless people are still trying to fudge the issue of whether things similar to this racist, anti-Semitic dog-whistle should be acceptable in the Zcash community.

Who reviewed it and do they agree with the interpretation you are putting forth here?
One person signing off on a PR doesn’t really count.

And yes, I agree with you, dog-whistles aren’t acceptable. That change to the CoC is a distraction (though IMHO a predictable one we could have avoided by not adding it). But @mistfpga’s seems to have raised a few issues and some of them aren’t dog whistle related. And I didn’t actually see his point until I read your response. The problem seems to be in part with what the code of conduct says he has to do about moderating others. And I suspect he and I may slightly disagree. I’d hope he’d make a good faith effort to try and keep the zcash parts of his twitch feed as welcoming places. And the code of conduct should ask people to try and uphold those standards.

You can’t force everyone to apply the same standards you have in the same way. If for no other reason than most people don’t have the same encyclopedic knowledge of racist origin memes. And you won’t get very far if you ask them to by threatening them. It’s neither welcoming nor inclusive.


And i think even some of the dog-whistle objections should be viewed as people expressing surprise and disbelief that some meme has racist origins and then arguing that their usage of it wasn’t racist b/c they feel the need to defend the fact that they aren’t racists for using it.

Which matters, because if we take those reactions as genuine, then it underscores the point: it’s scary for people to find out they might be held accountable for what they let others say that they genuinely didn’t know was problematic. You’re applying a standard not to what people say, but what they let others say. You’re asking them to police other people’s speech. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask them to try and learn, but it mean’s we shouldn’t be a dick about it. We shouldn’t threaten.

This doesn’t have to be a big deal. If someone posts something offensive where its plausible they didn’t know, you tell them “hey thats actually bad and you should take it down”. They go “oh, sorry, didn’t know” And you ask them to ask others the same if they see it.


I see this added condition as doing is merely providing another example, one that is relevant to recent behavior on this forum, of patterns of behavior that are worthy of censure. The “clown world” meme, like many, is intended to both signal sympathy with discriminatory ideas and to intimidate and harass with plausible deniability. This doesn’t mean that such a meme might not be used by someone ignorant of such intent; however, once informed of this relevant context, I’d expect a decent human being to cease using it in the future and to more carefully assess the background and potential impact of what else they share.

For me the “ignorance” excuse is good only once. After that I have to assume malicious intent, and this extends to defending others’ claims of ignorance.

I have yet to encounter a case where I thought that the posting of a meme with discriminatory connotations added anything to the discussion. It’s not useful, it doesn’t need or deserve defense.


Yep, totally agree with you there. And that’s a reasonable thing to ask others to do too.

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I am deeply saddened by the recent comments that I am anti-Semitic and racist, and would somehow allow these ideals to propagate through spaces I have control over.

I am going to take a couple of days to calm down and think out a proper response.

I really hope this isn’t some kind of Kafka Trap


That gives enormous power to the abuser - people use a phrase with no bad intent for years, and it is enough for one person one time to abuse it, and then by this philosophy we give this person and their interpretation all the attention, and allow them to delete a phrase from our vocabulary.

As a Jew who had most of his family wiped out in the holocaust, I’d personally prefer connections of memes to anti-semitism not highlighted and given attention; I don’t feel I am being defended, I feel uncomfortable.


I at least, and I think most here, were not accusing you of being a racist for posting a meme. Did someone directly accuse of that? If so, please point me to it. Regardless, the way this has been handled might have made me feel accused if I were in your place. So I see where you are coming from. This wasn’t handled well. its in fact counter productive and stupid and needs to be handled better in the future.


IMHO we’re too tolerant - dodgy content (intentionally posted or otherwise) should be taken down.