The OpenRespect Declaration

All over the world there are many people who are united in creating software, content, and culture that is freely available for others to share, enjoy and enrich their lives. Together we believe that freedom is good. We believe it helps people do good things, make better choices, and lead safer and more secure lives. Together we are a community united by this belief.

Our community is vast. It spreads beyond our streets and towns, traverses countries and borders, and is wider than our groups and projects. Many of us speak different languages, make different choices, and engage in this software, content, and culture in different ways, but what unites us is the same core belief that freedom, openness and choice is good for people. Our methods and opinions may differ, and our definitions of what constitutes freedom and openness may vary, but this united belief in freedom and openness remains the same.

Irrespective of these methods, opinions, definitions, and differences, respect should always be at the foundation of how we engage. When we place respect at the center of our interactions, we enrich our lives, discover new ways of thinking, and expand our horizons with new ideas and experiences. When we remove this respect, our conversations suffer, which in turn makes our community suffer, and this ultimately risks our ability to bring our message of freedom and openness to others.

  • Respect is not judging people based upon their genetic or social attributes, but instead the quality and content of their discourse.

  • Respect is not just civility in communication, but also respecting other people for making their own choices, even if you disagree with them.

  • Respect is sharing opinions so a mutual understanding of principles is understood, but then giving others the freedom to pursue their own paths without fear of persecution by those who have made different decisions or have different definitions of freedom and openness.

  • Respect is engaging in honest, open and polite debate with the goal of enriching each others perspectives, not for the purpose of proving each wrong.

  • Respect is understanding that others often pour their heart and souls into their work, and being sensitive of this emotional connection to their work, particularly in times of critique.

We are all on the same side, we just sometimes draw the lines differently. Respect is understanding these differences but moving together as community, united by the core goal of freedom and openness.