Let me comment this topic as a member of the current Steering Council, but also as an individual.
What we tried to do in the SC is to forbid some specific behavior that we no longer tolerate (but have been tolerated for years), rather than targeting specific persons.
Having to handle CoC violations as part of the SC was really stressful and painful for me. We spent multiple meetings about these issues and it was painful for everybody. I was really not comfortable with the two bans that we applied, but I’m proud that we did it and I don’t regret. Having to justify our actions is not easy for me neither.
Sadly many evidences are private to protect victims, but also the abuser. Please remind that the first core developer who has been banned was not named for a good reason, to give them a chance to change their behavior. We did our best to handle these CoC incidents privately, sadly for one case it had to be made public.
In another topic, Raymond wrote:
Honestly, a few years ago, I had the same feeling: Python is a very welcoming community and there is no conduct incident at all!
Then I met some (non core dev) developers in person who reported to me privately various kind of abusive behaviors in the Python community. I started to pay more attention to that on python-dev and bugs.python.org, and I started to see more and more patterns. Months after months, I got more and more reports in private.
Why not talking about these issues in private? Well. When the abuser is more famous than the victim, other people will first believe the abuser if the victim decides to start talking. It’s not only about the popularity, but also about technical skills, gender, origin, etc. More generally, the victim always feel ashamed of being a victim and prefers to attempt to forget what happened, rather than making it more known.
Multiple core developers suffered from various kinds of abuse, but this is little known. Since people talked to me in private, I cannot share what they told me without breaking their trust. I can only suggest you to ask around you if someone got bullied or harassed once.
I now always suggest to report CoC violations to the PSF conduct working group. I don’t want to be the judge since I’m far from being objective!
In my experience, it’s difficult to discuss how to deal with CoC violations with someone who has never been a victim. For example, people who have never been a victim usually see a CoC as a threat; they don’t understand that the purpose is to protect, rather the opposite.
By the way, I have been harassed multiple times as a core developer, and I don’t want to talk about that in public neither. All I can say is that I had a burnout and stopped from contributing to Python for 3 months, partially caused by this. I was really close from stopping completely to contribute to the Python project (I only decided to continue because I got a great opportunity at Red Hat).
The SC followed recommendations of the PSF Conduct Working Group.
The SC was not in charge of deciding if messages violated the PSF CoC.