I'm not asking people to agree on every contentious issue. Yes, there will be some variance on what "be civil" means, but working in a group also requires a bit of tolerance. That's part of peacefully coexisting in a diverse workforce. No, I'm not talking about tolerating blatantly racist or sexist behavior, but recognizing that, so long as there is no ill intent, we should be willing to forgive minor trespasses or foibles.
My concern with creating a list of all principles, rules, prohibitions, etc, is that it appeals to rules lawyers, and no one else. I'm pretty sure Uber has a big list of these rules and prohibitions, but look at what that place is (allegedly) like, especially for female engineers. In short, it feels a bit to me like a feel-good measure that doesn't actually prevent bullying and backstabbing, and in some cases, even provides the tools for doing so.
I don't actually oppose codes of conduct per se, despite my Devil's advocate position. I just think recently that they've taken on a life of their own, and have gotten too complicated or convoluted, and in the process undermines their purpose. You've probably heard of this line in the Open Code of Conduct:
Our open source community prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort.
I think it's inappropriate for a code of people to define and divide people into "marginalized people" and "privileged people". Are people surprised then, when the Code of Conduct itself becomes controversial? This line is, by its own admission, quite divisive.
Ubuntu's, on the other hand, reads like this:
Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn will depend on the work of others. Any decision we take will affect users and colleagues, and we should consider them when making decisions.
Disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. We work together to resolve conflict, assume good intentions and do our best to act in an empathic fashion. We don't allow frustration to turn into a personal attack. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.
Take responsibility for our words and our actions
We can all make mistakes; when we do, we take responsibility for them. If someone has been harmed or offended, we listen carefully and respectfully, and work to right the wrong.
And then goes on for a few thousand more words... But one thing I appreciate is they try to offer advice on how to achieve technical excellence as well as inter-group harmony, which I think makes sense for an open-source project.
If you feel you must have a Code of Conduct, it seems better to affirm the positive attributes to which community members should strive, rather than listing all the ways one person can be horrible to another person, like the Open Code of Conduct, which defines "harassment" with a litany of examples.