The Dancer community policy

In October 2014 we have introduced our Dancer core and community policy and our Standards of Conduct. You can find them at Dancer::Policy or Dancer2::Policy (identical documents).

While the Dancer community has always pride itself of the warm feeling members have received, helpfulness and kindness were abundant, we still found it necessary to introduce a policy document.

Why do we need it?

While the policy is not an answer to a situation in the Dancer community, it is to behavior we've seen in other communities in and out of the tech industry.

There are people who are not only discriminated against, but also marginalized daily. There are people who feel pushed out of the way, made small and insignificant, and dis-empowered by others who tend to have a more favorable starting point - what is usually referred to as "privileged".

We felt it is absolutely crucial to provide a document that makes it absolutely clear, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Dancer community is maintained and owned by its members - all having a fair and equal stance in it. It is essential that everyone in the community feel and understand this space belongs to them just as much as it does to anyone else.

Introducing a problem where none exists?

So, are we really just fixing a situation that is not broken? If all is fine and well in the Dancer community, why provide such standards of conduct? That's a good question.

Standards of conduct have multiple purposes:

  • Set expectations of behavior

    It is important that people in the community are aware of both what is expected from them (such as "you are expected to not be abusive towards anyone") and what they can expect from others (such as "you can expect not to be abused by anyone"). Setting these expectations allows people to let their guard down, enjoy their time, approach others, and be an active member without fearing abuse.

    The community, above all, should be a safe space for all of its members.

  • Provide a stern warning

    The document clearly explains that not only do we have expectations, but we will take measures against those who violate them. This helps defend the expectations we described above.

    If you will violate those standards, we will make sure you are held accountable. This makes sure these are not empty promises and that they won't be perceived as such.

  • Enforcement transparency

    While we provide these standards and a promise to enforce them, it is also important to provide transparency. You need to know what will be done and how decisions will be made.

Can I still be me?

Many people worry that with a standards of conduct policy they will not be able to be themselves anymore. This is worth addressing.

The standards of conduct clearly stipulate you may not, under any circumstance, be abusive to others. If violating that robs you of your being, it means you are an abusive person - a person we hope other community members will not have to experience or deal with.

This, however, is not the same as "I will need to watch what I say". Having to make an effort to be kinder, more composed, or in general more respectful, is an understood effort. It is an effort we make every day. We make sure we're more respectful towards our friends, colleagues, peers, and we make sure we curse much less around our parents.

While it is not always a simple task to work on our behavior, it is far different than violating your core principles.

In short, if your core principles are to hurt others, and you feel like our standards of conduct negate that, we've done a good job.


The community is maintained by the community members. Each and every single member should be regarded with respect, and we should all feel a sense of belonging to and in our community.

The Dancer standards of conduct have been introduced to make sure new members understand this and know what we each expect from each other.

We were thrilled with getting such positive results from a community. Members have unequivocally said we are happy to make this message clear to all current and future members.


Praise should be given to #p5p (The Perl 5 Porters list) which provided the base for the policy document, to @sungo for pushing to make community standards published clearly and for doing so with the Perl IRC servers, and to ribasushi for helping revise and suggest improvements to the policy as it was being written.

The biggest thanks is, as always, to the wonderful and loving Dancer community and all of its members. :)


This article has been written by Sawyer X for the Perl Dancer Advent Calendar 2014.


No copyright retained. Enjoy.

2014 // Sawyer X <>