Consideration in Amateur Radio

The first clause of the original Amateur's Code reads:

The Amateur is Gentlemanly. He never knowingly uses the air for his own amusement in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others. He abides by the pledges given by the A.R.R.L. in his behalf to the public and the Government.

The 2022 ARRL handbook version states it like this:

The Radio Amateur is CONSIDERATE...never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

Today the ARRL website presents it as:

The Radio Amateur is CONSIDERATE...He/[She] never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

It's surprising to see the addition of the He/[She] pronoun when nothing is added by doing so, in fact for some amateurs this actually reduces its relevance, something which I've spoken about before.

We could just simply change the words to remove the pronoun entirely, but does that actually cover all of what we want it to mean? Should this consideration be limited to operating, or should we go beyond that? What about conduct in a club setting, or on social media, email or SMS?

Some of these activities are conducted as a radio amateur and some are not. If we're limiting ourselves to amateur radio, not an unreasonable place to start given that we're talking about a document called "The Amateur's Code", we should really discuss the nature of amateur radio today.

I find myself in a community of amateurs, not a radio in sight, exchanging thoughts, opinions and experience that go beyond the concept of operating. I will note that there are legal definitions in our hobby that describe the notion of operating that do not include, email or Reddit and there is an argument to be made that operating falls strictly within the bounds of a licensed amateur activity.

That said, since "no man is an island", first uttered in 1624 by John Donne, neatly illustrates that although we're licensed amateurs, we do more than key our radios alone and even when we do, there are activities that affect others who are not operating as such.

When we discuss things with each other, face to face, that's not a licensed activity, even if both of us are amateurs. Neither is sending an email to another amateur, or commenting on a social media post. Standing in a club and teaching is also not a licensed amateur activity and cannot be considered under the idea of "operating".

All of what this clause is attempting to say is to be considerate. Don't reduce the pleasure of others by doing things that are unacceptable. It goes to how you are expected to be, to conduct yourself, to behave.

To incorporate this idea that what you do with other amateurs goes beyond operating, I think the word "operate" needs to be changed to the word "behave".

I'd also like to explore the word "gentlemanly" from the original text. Synonyms for this include civilised, courteous, honourable and polite to name a few. It seems to me that words like that would benefit our interactions within our community, not to mention beyond it.

One word that comes to mind is "respectful", something that lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves towards each other.

So, if we drop the pronouns, update the word operates and add in respect, a revised clause one could be:

The Radio Amateur is CONSIDERATE and RESPECTFUL...never knowingly behaving in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

Let me hasten to point out that I'm proposing this as a starting point for discussion. This is an activity that should go beyond one individual, it should also go beyond a single organisation. Amateur Radio is a global activity and it would do well for us to consider all of humanity when drafting a code of conduct which is essentially what the Amateur's Code is attempting to achieve.

So, how would you approach the first clause, what do you like, what do you think is missing, what would it need for you to consider it words to live by?