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Re: Complaint about #debian operator

On 12/10/05, Michael Banck <mbanck@debian.org> wrote:
> Hi,

Hi Azeem,

> On Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 02:49:35AM -0800, Josh Rehman wrote:
> > My apologies for sending this message here, but I wasn't sure where to
> > complain. I've been an off-and-on debian user over the years. Lately
> > I've used RedHat at work. I was thinking of trying Debian again, and
> > heard about Ubuntu. I could find very little on the web compairing
> > Ubuntu with Debian. I wanted to know a little more before making a
> > choice, and a word or two from an experienced person would be enough.
> >
> > and the mention of 'On-line Real Time Help Using IRC'. Unfortunately
> > this did not work out as planned. I was almost immediately banned for
> > even mentioning Ubuntu. This when I had found someone with real-life
> > deb and ubu experience ('det').  After the ban was lifted, the
> > operator "dondelecaro' refused to answer my question about complaining
> > about this annoying ban, and in fact banned me again when I mentioned
> > this fact. Another user suggested that I send a message to this list.
> Looking at the log, your question was being addressed for 10 minutes
> before you were silenced (definetely more than "a word or two"), and
> dondelecaro gave you useful input as well.  When the discussion seemed
> to drift away, you were advised to take it elsewhere, which you
> declined.  You were also warned several times that you were being
> off-topic.

My question had been partially addressed, but one user brought up an
interesting idea of "goal oriented development model" - which begs the
question of what sort of "development model" debian has.

As for being warned, I was told that because my discussion was about
ubuntu I should stop. Because I felt my discussion was not about
ubuntu, I did not feel that I should have to stop.

> Also note that the channel's topic reads, besides others: "Please note:
> this is not #ubuntu."

Absolutely. What is wrong with understanding Debian better by figuring
out where it differs from one of its derivations?

> I don't particularly agree with the second ban, though.

Glad to hear; it is roughly equivalent to a customer service person
hanging up on you when you ask to talk to their manager.

> > Let me say first that I don't expect much to come from this complaint.
> > I understand fully well that Debian is organized and run by
> > volunteers. Furthermore, my case is not clear cut since I wasn't shut
> > down for asking about "KDE" when the moderator really only wanted to
> > talk about "Gnome", for example. My query bordered on an advocacy like
> > discussion. However, I think I was careful to keep it nuetral - I
> > really just wanted to know what value-add ubuntu has over Debian that
> > has given it such a buzz. In addition, the operator gave me no
> > external link to read or alternative channel (with the exception of
> > telling me to take it to #ubuntu which I frankly don't see why an op
> > there wouldn't tell me to go to #debian...)
> > If in fact I was in the wrong, I apologize, but if that's the case
> > it's quite possible (even likely) that many users will be steered
> > toward debian's IRC channel with the wrong expectations. Perhaps a
> > disclaimer should be placed in the http://www.us.debian.org/support
> > page that states, "The debian IRC channel is for technical support
> > only. In other words, you should be posting nothing but error messages
> > and the occasional config file. No other traffic will be tolerated."
> In my experience, off-topic discussion is tolerated for a while until
> it starts to drift away.  The main purpose of the channel is indeed
> end-user support, and maybe the description could be changed to better
> reflect this.

I'm still not really clear on why asking questions about Debian is
off-topic on #debian. Sure, they are questions related to Ubuntu, but
they are primarily about Debian. I frankly don't see the point of
Ubuntu - AFAICT it's primary difference is billionaire flash. Being
pointed to #ubuntu by Don and then banned by him reminds me of the
sort of runaround one experiences with hardware vendors: "it's not our
problem, call Microsoft". Microsoft says, "its not our problem, call
the hardware vendor." Hardware vendor, "well, maybe you should contact
the reseller." Etc.

> Still, one would assume that newcomers (even to IRC) would accept that
> their concern is off-topic and not try to argue with the channel
> operators.  Just because you know no better channel to ask, doesn't mean
> an issue is on-topic in #debian.

I've had experience with IRC in the distant past (1999?), and
egotistical users were a primary reason I don't use the service. I had
expected a debian channel to be different.

> Further, you were given directions on how to continue your discussion
> with `det' in private, but decided to continue argueing against
> `dondelecaro' instead.

Frankly, I didn't understand those instructions. Furthermore, I still
disagreed that my questions about Debian were off-topic in #debian.

> > Full transcript attached. (My user name in the transcript is "josh__").
> I took the liberty to edit it to the discussion at hand, to filter out
> the unrelated chatter.  My nick is `azeem'.  Note that I do not think
> that `deadcat' is acting reasonable in this discussion, either.
> Attitudes like his make newcomers feel unwelcome and only add to the
> heat.

Telling a new user to "shut up" first thing is traditional troll
behavior - another reason I stopped using IRC back in the day. The
ecosystem works like this: someone like deadcat is not banned because
they invariably support the ego-tripping op.

Thanks for the edit. (Snipped for brevity)

IRC is just not for me, I think. I'm glad I gave it another shot,
though. I would *highly* recommend altering the support page and/or
setting down clear guidlines for channel operators. It might be good
to find an operator who is humble, helpful, patient and intelligent.

"All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood."
-Rainer Maria Rilke

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