Updated: This post was updated to clarify that the Grails mailing list was not closed due to abuse, and to reflect the fact that it has been (and continues to be) largely a single individual causing problems throughout our community.

I am pleased to announce that today we are opening the new Groovy community Slack. The goal of this Slack is to provide and foster a safe and healthy communication medium for those working in, and interested in, the Groovy ecosystem and its corresponding technologies. It is our hope that this area will serve as an open venue for community members to engage, stay apprised of changes throughout the ecosystem, and ask questions.

It should be noted that this Slack is in no way intended to replace the many other existing ones that serve their particular corners of the ecosystem. Conversations in this forum can be as broad or specific as our users feel is appropriate, and as such there will be channels specific to Gradle, Grails, Ratpack, and Spock, and we will continue to grow that as necessary.

My first open source contribution was to Grails. I was nervous to submit the patch; I was fearful I would be ridiculed or made fun of for some mistake I hadn’t seen, or for generally being a bad programmer. Instead, I found Graeme and others to be thankful and encouraging toward my effort. With some helpful guidance, that patch was merged and I felt confident enough to submit subsequent patches, ask questions, and help others in the community.

I knew right away that this experience was not unique to me. Indeed, throughout the broader community that encompasses the Groovy ecosystem, there is an overarching nature of being helpful and welcoming. So many members throughout our community are ready and willing to help in any way they can. We bring each other up as we progress, we help one another round out our understandings, and we do so with an unparalleled level of respect and courtesy toward one another. I have been privileged over the years to be involved with many different communities in many different spaces, and I can say that none has been as helpful, embracing, and respectful as the Groovy community.

But, that has not been without a few bumps in the road. Over the last couple of years, we have seen some disruptions that have caused people to question their continued involvement in our ecosystem. We have seen an individual take advantage of our good community’s good nature to say hurtful things and threaten violence; we have seen closure (pun intended) of the Grails community slack at times, and suspension of the signup process that is designed to welcome new members. Luckily, I think many immediately understand these were isolated incidents and are in no way indicative of the atmosphere that newcomers can expect.

Still, we have to do more. The Grails team and OCI worked to implement moderation in their Slack, and went further to adopt a Code of Conduct. You can see how rare these disruptions are in our community by understanding that until recently nobody has felt as though there was a need for a Code of Conduct. The implicit understanding of "respect and be respected" has been ever-present for us. But still, it is important that we set forward the precedent that all are welcome in the Groovy community, and having an explicit Code of Conduct that outlines what we can expect from one another will only further help us in being the best and most welcoming we can be.

From its outset, the Groovy community Slack will feature a comprehensive and inclusive Code of Conduct for everyone. By joining us there, you can expect that you will be treated with dignity and respect. This will be an open forum for all to participate and have their voices heard. A panel of moderators will ensure adherence to the CoC.

The conversations we have in Slack are incredibly valuable for the community. There may be discourse on new features, or support in fixing a bug, or rationale about why something is the way it is. We want to be sure that we preserve this record and make it available for everyone. To that extent, all public channels will be archived in a way that will be searchable by anyone in the future. (Private channels and direct messages will not be logged or made public.) This way, no mindshare is lost as our communication platforms continue to improve and evolve.

We welcome everyone to join our Slack and talk about the many wonderful technologies we have in the Groovy ecosystem. I look forward to seeing you there!