[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Just a single Question for the Candidates

* Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> [2004-03-04 01:36]:
> 	OK. Last I heard, irc.debian.org #debian is a project
>  resource. Here is an example of how women are treated in Debian; and
>  helix tells me that this is how they are treated all the time
> 	However, #debian on irc.debian.org has become a very
>  unfriendly place, and not just for women.

I've asked the #debian channel operators to comment on this and to
explain how they'll handle situations like these in the future, and
David B Harris kindly wrote the response below.

From: David B Harris <dbharris@eelf.ddts.net>

As background for this mail, I'd like to state just a few things for
the record. Though I'm currently the #debian "Contact" (the person
titularly responsible for an IRC channel), I am not the most active of
the #debian channel operators. While this mail has my name on it, it
was provided to other senior channel operators for review and editing
before it was sent.

The contents of this mail are primarily a written record of a set of
conversation which occured in #debian-devel, and basically document
the policies #debian channel operators have held themselves to for as
long as I can remember. It was prepared at the request of the Debian
Project Leader.

On Thu, 04 Mar 2004 01:36:39 -0600
Manoj Srivastava <srivasta@debian.org> wrote:
> 	I should say, though, that the ops did  handle the situation,
>  and promised to take action if they notice such behaviour in the
>  future. The policy is that anyone deliberately offensive to anyone
>  else , or persistent about non-delibrate offensiveness, will be
>  removed from the channel.

Indeed. The policy of #debian channel operators is and always has been
that anybody being deliberately offensive to another (or, within
reason, somebody *not* being deliberately offensive, but being
persistent about it), will be banned. In this context, "banned" means
unable to contribute to further conversation in the channel.

Such measures are, however, typically a last resort - we live in a
large world, and something said in an innocent manner might be found
amazingly offensive by another. As such, #debian channel operators
attempt to encourage good communication between all parties, so that
further incidents might be avoided.

Only when this is unsuccessful, for whatever reason, are technical
measures put in place. They are not meant as punishment, nor are they
intended to satisfy the desire any one individual. Rather, they're put
in place in order to preserve the usefulness of the channel to others.
Those technical measures are rarely permanent, however - oftentimes,
people simply need to "cool off". Only repeated offenses will result
in a permanent ban, in most cases.

> 	However, #debian on irc.debian.org has become a very
>  unfriendly place, and not just for women.

I agree that the usefulness of the channel to others has been
declining recently. There are currently 12 active channel operators,
and it's a very rare occasion that there are *no* channel operators
watching the channel at any one time. However, the users of #debian
are wide and varied, and often have differing opinions. While one may
wish to jump up and ban any who are being particularly forceful in
the expression of their opinion, we shouldn't fail to recognise the
possibly beneficial end-results of any given debate.

One of the things which we attempt to do is to encourage
communication, both amongst users and between users and channel
operators. The #debian channel operators are generally quite skilled
at lowering the temperature of a given conversation, and have enough
experience to determine to a reasonable degree the intent of the
various participants.  Misunderstandings abound, and often it takes a
bit of experience to sort through the mess.

What's more, it is often the case that a channel operator simply
stepping in and "taking care" of the problem is counter-productive;
many people react negatively to such shows of force. As such, channel
operators walk a fine line between acting as mediator, enforcer,
policy-maker, and passive bystander.

By far the best course of action for anybody who feels that they have
been offended (whether deliberately or not) is to simply tell those
who offended them what they were offended *by*. If the results
thereafter aren't satisfactory to any one individual, contacting one
of the channel operators is the appropriate course of action. The list
of channel operators is available via "/msg chanserv access #debian
list", but most #debian regulars are already familiar with the most
active from that list.

 -- David B Harris <dbharris@eelf.ddts.net>

Martin Michlmayr

Reply to: