Subject: RWoT Community Growing Pains

Dear Rebooting the Web of Trust Community,

This message is directed at the Rebooting the Web of Trust Community (RWoT), but also touches on our interactions with members of our sister organizations: the W3C Credentials Community Group, the Internet Identity Workshop, and the Decentralized Identity Foundation.

There is a great deal of excitement around Self-Sovereign Identity these days. It is the result of 15+ years of work done by many people both inside and outside of these communities. Our communities are growing, and new friendships are forming, which is wonderful.

As our communities grow and rediscover one another, there are also bound to be growing pains. These pains have become noticeable at the RWoT events through a series of concerns raised around aggressive or antisocial behavior of particular individuals toward other individuals. Nothing has risen to the level of physical harm or threats, but there have been six incidents over the past six events that have made some individuals feel as if they cannot contribute freely. We want everyone to be able to participate in a way that makes them feel safe and thus perform their best work.

As a result, RWOT has formed a Community Resilience Team, comprised of Kim Duffy, Manu Sporny, and Heather Vescent to address these issues. The goal here is to encourage community diversity, cohesion, and safety. We are taking the following actions:

  1. Codify and communicate our Code of Conduct
    • So far this has been relatively informal, but we want to clarify our expectations to ensure the event is safe, inclusive, and enjoyable for all attendees.
    • Ensure all attendees are made aware of the Code of Conduct via event promotional materials, announcements, and other mechanisms.
  2. Improve our Incident Handling Process
    • Clearly document the process for escalating issues and conflicts in the RWoT community.
    • Investigate each complaint utilizing a panel of peers.
    • Acknowledge the issue with all involved while protecting each individuals right to privacy during and after the investigation.
  3. Reflect on our performance to ensure we are continually improving in our goals of increasing diversity and inclusion
    • Promote best practices among our leadership through training and general awareness
    • Acknowledge that these are only our first steps in addressing these concerns. This will be an ongoing process as we learn what will best encourage a diverse community.
    • Encourage the community’s partnership and feedback to help us grow. We approach this role with humility and acknowledge that we have a lot to learn.

We will keep the community apprised as we work through the actions above. If you can help us through this, please reach out to us as we could use a few guiding hands.

On behalf of the RWoT Community Resilience Team,

Heather, Kim, and Manu

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