[Owasp-leaders] Seeking Your Feedback on OWASP Participation

Michael Coates michael.coates at owasp.org
Thu Feb 20 19:13:34 UTC 2014

Glad that we're having a larger discussion on the issue.

I definitely look at missions statements, and any words that guide
behavior, in terms of the spirit and not absolute literal sense. By this I
mean that the spirit of being free and open in no way is an absolute
literal statement that applies in every possible scenario. I think we've
captured it well when we say that we are free and open provided you can
conduct yourself inline with our code of conduct.

In situations where there is a problem it's good to take the Jerry-Texas
approach of talking with a person and asking them to chill. If there's no
success a more formal follow up with a link to code of conduct is
necessary. If there are still egregious problems then you may have found
the rare situation where the purpose of organization and the community that
we've created are just not a match with the person. Again, I think this is
a rare situation, but in these times it's best to come to a polite
understanding with the person that it's just not a match and we won't be
able to continue their interaction at the particular event (whether that's
a local chapter or whatever). In all situations you hope people can reflect
and change but sometimes it's not possible.

Michael Coates

On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 11:05 AM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:

> Jerry,
> Fortunately, we haven't had this issue with the OWASP Austin chapter and
> our community tends to be very positive and cooperative overall.  I count
> us lucky in that regard, but there are more than one chapters out there
> where I know this issue strikes very close to home.  In both cases that I
> am aware of, said individual has been counseled to cease their activities,
> but to no avail.  The chapters have taken steps, as suggested by others, to
> keep these individuals away, but in hearing this it did force me to
> re-evaluate what we mean when we say that OWASP is free and open to all.
> Hence, my bringing it to the leaders to see what you all think about the
> topic.  So far, the majority who have contacted me both in public and in
> private seem to favor the approach of NOT letting one rotten apple spoil
> the bunch.  I tend to agree with this, but wanted to seek advice on what
> the impact of such an action was on OWASP's overall ideology of openness.
> Is there anyone out there who disagrees and feels that even in the face of
> this adversity we should strictly adhere to the standard of openness and
> allow this individual access despite their behavior?
> ~josh
> On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 12:53 PM, Jerry Hoff <jerry at owasp.org> wrote:
>> Josh,
>> Apologies in advance if you have already done this - but have you told to
>> the offending individual to chill?  When I used to do martial arts, lots of
>> people would come in super amp'd and wild.
>> Sometimes just bringing it to their attention and letting them know,
>> Texas style, that they need to get with the program, not interrupt other
>> people's presentations or spoil the mood of the event is enough.  I
>> wouldn't consider banning them from an event until they've had a fair
>> warning or two to cut it out.
>> Jerry
>>  --
>> Jerry Hoff
>> @jerryhoff
>> jerry at owasp.org
>> On Feb 20, 2014, at 1:45 PM, Steven van der Baan <
>> steven.van.der.Baan at owasp.org> wrote:
>> Hi Josh,
>> Even though that non-members don't know our 'code', that doesn't free
>> them from it. Especially if the code is an extension on 'social behaviour'.
>> I see a similarity in law, where you as an individual living in a country
>> have to live by that law, even if you don't know the exact writing of it.
>> This is a universal principle within communities and OWASP should be no
>> exception to that.
>> Steven.
>> On 20 Feb 2014 17:22, "Josh Sokol" <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
>>> I appreciate your feedback Steven.  For those who haven't read it, the
>>> OWASP Code of Ethics that Steven is referring to can be found here:
>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/About_The_Open_Web_Application_Security_Project#Code_of_Ethics
>>> I most certainly agree that this document dictates expectations on how
>>> those in our community should behave.  The real questions are how do we
>>> respond to those who do not follow this code.  You bring up an interesting
>>> point as well about the member vs non-member aspect of this.  I'd guess
>>> that the majority of non-members who attend meetings haven't read that Code
>>> of Ethics.  Heck, I'd guess that the majority of members haven't.  Is this
>>> equivalent to "you didn't read the fine print" or do we have an obligation
>>> to be more explicit here?
>>> As you can imagine, this is far from a purely hypothetical situation and
>>> I'm very interested to hear what our leaders think particularly about
>>> preaching "openness" while at the same time closing the door on those who
>>> don't conform to our Ethics.  Thank you.
>>> ~josh
>>> On Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 11:03 AM, Steven van der Baan <
>>> steven.van.der.baan at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>>  Hi Josh,
>>>> this is a big problem.
>>>> I personally would refuse that person entrance to the meetings based on
>>>> the code of conduct, even if he/she is not a (paying) member.
>>>> I believe that anybody who is attending an OWASP meeting is bound by
>>>> our principles and code of ethics  And the behaviour that you described is
>>>> in clear violation of that.
>>>> However, there should be a possibility for the person to demonstrate
>>>> the willingness of abiding to the principles and be able to attend the
>>>> meetings again.
>>>> But that is just my point of view.
>>>> Good luck with it,
>>>> Steven.
>>>> On 20/02/14 16:34, Josh Sokol wrote:
>>>>    OWASP Leaders,
>>>>  Let's say that there is an individual in your local security community
>>>> who is routinely feuding with other security professionals in the area.  No
>>>> physical violence, but fairly frequent name calling, negative insinuations,
>>>> etc.  Their attendance at your OWASP functions (metings, happy hours,
>>>> conferences, etc) makes other people uncomfortable due to their tendency to
>>>> cause problems and perhaps these people have even said that they will not
>>>> attend these events if this individual is also in attendance.  Attempts to
>>>> seek peace with the individual have failed and the behavior will not
>>>> change.  What do you do?  Is it acceptable to ban them from these events?
>>>> Do you allow this one rotten apple to spoil the bunch because OWASP policy
>>>> says that we are free and open to all?  Is there a point where an
>>>> individual becomes enough of a distraction that we should consider banning
>>>> them from OWASP altogether?
>>>>  A couple of points of reference:
>>>> Our mission statement says "everyone is free to participate in OWASP" (
>>>> http://www.owasp.org).
>>>>  Our Chapter Handbook says "Local chapter meetings must be free for
>>>> everyone to attend, regardless of whether the attendee is a paid member,
>>>> and open to anyone." (
>>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Chapter_Handbook/Chapter_2:_Mandatory_Chapter_Rules#Organize_free_and_open_meetings<https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Chapter_Handbook/Chapter_4:_Chapter_Administration#Mailing_Lists>
>>>> )
>>>>  Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
>>>>  ~josh
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