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Re: Making -devel discussions more viable

On Thursday, May 03, 2012 10:49:22, Gergely Nagy wrote:
> Stefano Zacchiroli <zack@debian.org> writes:
> > 2) "don't feed the troll" + report abuses to listmasters and act
> > 
> >    accordingly
> Of the three, this is the least disruptive, in my opinion. Of course,
> all the problems you mention (social awkwardity, effort from the
> community and extra burden on listmasters) apply, BUT!
> Perhaps a compromise could be to close threads forcibly, and temporarily
> ban everyone from posting to the list, if they attempt to post to a
> closed thread after its closing has been announced (a little window
> of error should be given, of course, half an hour tops, or thereabouts).

I've been helping moderate a LUG mailing list for a couple of years that uses 
this strategy, and I think it works.  The message of "this thread is closed, 
anyone posting will be temporarily banned from posting if they reply" comes as 
a relief when the thread has gone on long enough to have touched on seemingly 
all the possibilities for solving an issue, but feels slightly heavy-handed 
and "muzzle-ing" if done too quickly.  Feedback on the list typically helps 
the list moderators attain a reasonable equilibrium for the cuttoff point.

There are a couple of downsides to this strategy:

  - one or more moderators need to be monitoring posts, and thus it's work.
    The volume that this particular mailing list gets I think it's not a
    one person task.  [Come to think of it, how many DDs are currently
    allowed to officially moderate the list?]

  - There's a tendency to forget that the 'mod bit' is set for the user
    that's been temporarily banned from posting

> This reduces the social awkwardness, as we'd be reporting bad threads
> instead of bad people, and threads don't mind. It would reduce the load
> on listmasters, as threads are fewer than people, and there's less
> emotion involved, and justification is easier.
> And if so need be, the temporary bans can gradually increase in length
> if one keeps on posting to closed threads.

Yes, this works.  Thankfully it very rarely ever comes to this, but I've seen 
a couple of instances where this became necessary.

> I've seen things like this work reasonably well on web-based forums, and
> while it is considerably harder to implement it on a mailing list (and
> probably impossible to make it entirely correct at that), something
> reasonably similar that works in most cases shouldn't be terribly hard
> to implement. People abusing the shortcomings of the solution can still
> be banned on a case-by-case basis.

It's always a judgement call.  Not all judgements are going to be correct.

  -- Chris

Chris Knadle
GPG Key: 4096R/0x1E759A726A9FDD74

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