Update: 20 / /
Well, that was unexpected.
If you did not notice, we locked down the
vscoderepository for the last ~ hours because of what some are calling “SantaGate”. We learned a lot, made some changes, and now we want to share with everyone what happened, how we handled it, and how we will handle this going forward.
A little background…
For the past few Decembers we changed the settings gear in the Insiders build to have a red hat with a white pom-pom (aka a Santa hat). To the gear menu we add a “Happy Holidays” command that shows an overlay (with snow!) And wish the community a happy holiday season as we wind down, take time off to spend with family and friends, and get ready for the new year.
What happened …
Earlier this week, we were notified through an issue (and on twitter) that the design of the gear with the Santa hat was divisive and offensive to some of our users (even a single person being offended is one too many ), meaning it represented the opposite of what we wanted to convey to our users. In the spirit of the season, and to practice inclusiveness, we reverted the gear to something (hopefully) less controversial (a snowflake) and checked it into the Insiders build.
There were a few “thumbs down” on the issue, which is a common and respectful way to disagree, but we decided the change kept the spirit and conveyed our best wishes for the holidays, without offending any of our users .
Much to our surprise, many people were fond of the holiday treatment, so when we changed it, they were a little disappointed with us. Someone filed an issue, and we closed it pointing to the original issue that was raised. Someone else filed a new issue. And then another. And another.
Some agreed with what we did, some did not, and many tried to make their point using humor. Now, we love humor (especially the references to Monty Python movies), but unfortunately a few went well beyond tasteful, were directed at people rather than the product, and violated ourCode of Conduct.
To adhere to our values and the Code of Conduct, we had to delete a handful of comments, which is unfortunate but not uncommon. Our responses triggered more responses. Bots were being employed to create issues and comments. Temporary accounts were being created to spam the system. Offensive issues were being created. The repository was filling up with issues which, frankly, were uncalled for, and we needed to do something, fast.
It was at that point we decided to lock the repository down to contributors using the Moderation feature of GitHub, so that we could clean up the backlog and let emotions settle. We posted this issue (which was titled “Why can’t I file an issue right now?”), Locked it, and then went to work cleaning up the backlog.
Cleaning up issues…
We follow Microsoft’s Code of Conduct here, which means we can and do remove issues and comments that we believe do not follow the guidelines. At the same time, we want to be transparent. We were sensitive to some comments that suggested we were “censoring” feedback, which is an unfortunate interpretation of what we had to do, which was to delete offensive content targeted at individuals or racial or religious groups.
In a nutshell, we did the following:
* off-topicand tagged issues with it, which caused our triage bots to close the issue, making it easier for us to go through the backlog more quickly.
* off-topiclabel and added the reason for closure manually.
As you can imagine, we heard a lot of feedback in these issues. Some were upset at the original issue, but the majority were upset at us in how we responded. The icon change, locking of issues, removing comments, not responding (until now obviously), and more. Some even felt that we were violating our own Code of Conduct.
All good feedback, thank you, and we apologize to everyone offended by the product or by our responses.
If you’ve looked at our settings, you know that you get a lot of choice with VS Code. We decided to follow this pattern and let users configure how the gear looks. We’ve added a new setting toInsidersthat lets you choose the icon. If you like the red hat, go for it! Maybe you live in the southern hemisphere or you are heading to the beach during the holidays, there’s an icon for you too.
You will still find the “Happy Holidays” command which will bring up the overlay, snow, and message.
And finally, as we did in previous years, we will remove this little treat around the first week of January. In the meantime, download Insiders now and have a happy holiday season from all of us in Redmond and Zurich.
In conclusion …
Having a community as large as ours is an interesting challenge, especially once you step out of the boundaries of “business only”. This pause allowed us to get back to what we do best – develop software for you – and we implemented a solution that we hope can be enjoyed by everyone.
Thanks, and #HappyCoding,
The VS Code team
This repository is temporarily limited to collaborators as a result of a number of issues being submitted containing content which violates theMicrosoft Code of Conduct.
We will remove the offending issues and comments which we determine do not adhere to the Code of Conduct.
We apologize for the inconvenience this creates for our contributors.