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Re: apply to NM? ha!

Russell Coker wrote:
On Monday 31 January 2005 16:16, Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> wrote:
1) - a community where people are pleasant to each other, where
disagreements are discussed politely, and where people who are unable to
be civil are not glorified for their behaviour.
This isn't too far from the situation we have.
Really? A moment ago you were saying that flaming a polite, competent
coder was a respectable way to become famous.
Flaming competent coders can be a quick way to become infamous. Read my messages again and you will discover that I did not say that flaming good coders makes anyone famous, just that good coders can generally ignore the idiots.

What you said was

] Some people are (in)famous for nothing in their lives apart from
] flaming a good Linux programmer.

  -- http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2005/01/msg01836.html

And frankly you were right the first time -- it can be both, but either way it's a good way to make a name for yourself. Rewarding bad behaviour just creates more of it. Even just tolerating it reduces good behaviour -- by encouraging the people who won't tolerate to leave.

In any case, mere civility is a woefully low bar to set. Is there really
some reason Debian shouldn't be an absolute pleasure to be involved in,
ubiquitously and continually? Perhaps we can't hope to never receive
nasty comments from outsiders, but is there any particular reason we
can't make our development forums technical, productive, kind, and
While we have an open posting policy for the Debian lists with no moderation it is impossible to have "kind and generous" lists.

While we're unwilling to provide any reward for good behaviour, or any punishment for bad behaviour (except in the form of further bad behaviour -- ie, flaming the flamer), things aren't going to change, certainly.

Make all posting by non-subscribers moderated (and all postings to this list by non-DDs moderated) and have a set of rules for posting that are enforced and there might be an improvement.

And there are certainly far more options than just that one.

However such changes are extremely unlikely to happen.

They certainly won't happen unless someone makes them happen.

But even enforcing rules about posting won't necessarily make the lists "kind and generous".

Fundamentally, "kind and generous" isn't about "enforcing rules". I realise we're all programmers, and "enforcing rules" is the terms in which we think; but no set of rules is remotely sufficient to get people to be kind and generous in /any/ circumstances. And yet, that doesn't imply that kindness and generosity are impossible.

The point of any rules, or moderation, or whatever is to /encourage/ good behaviour, and discourage bad behaviour. One very simple class of behaviour that's easily divided into good and bad is on-topic and off-topic posting; and yet our rewards and punishments are pretty much inversed for those. The response to that scenario is pretty predictable; and I don't think your posting history is remotely alone in reflecting it.

But if we've got lots of bad outcomes, how do we resolve them? I don't think it's reasonable to blame you personally for your signal:noise ratio; personally I think you're exactly the sort of person who should be participating in -devel. And in any case, you're far from alone.

Some lists and forums that I have read which have such behavior rules are filled with posts that try to get as close as possible to the line without crossing it. However to get the result that one flame might get they use a series of more subtle attacks carried out over a period of weeks or months.

That's a nice theory, but if you look at -devel, it's fairly rare that "one flame" gets a result, and we usually spend months or years going over the issue anyway.

Finally even if you prevent flame wars and cold wars in the community that doesn't mean that things will always be working well.

That things won't be working perfectly forever, doesn't say anything about whether it's worth trying to make them better. That some solutions aren't adequate doesn't imply that no solution will ever be adequate, either.


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