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Just ignore. [Was: Re: More polls and social pressure]

On Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 11:34:56AM +0100, Alberto Gonzalez Iniesta wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 11:05:48AM +0100, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > On Wed, 22 Feb 2006, Alberto Gonzalez Iniesta wrote:
> > > And keeping those not
> > > bored with them making pseudo decisions (or DD's opinion) for the rest.

> > The second part of the proposal (social pressure) should not hinder the
> > interest of "usual polls".

> > I'm pretty sure the discussion will only be about the second part and how
> > bad they can be. That's right, the proposal is far from perfect and I'm in
> > no way convinced that it's a good solution that will work.

> > It's just an idea that I wanted to share because I believe that we need to do
> > something to reduce the level of flames on our lists. I'm always open to
> > better ideas.

> I just wanted to express that such a system, no matter how it is
> implemented, if it ends in listmasters banning people, is not a good
> idea.
> Flames should be ignored. Every one, once in a while, has been a troll
> or a flamer. They should be ignored in that moment, but not banned,
> kicked, expelled or $whatever.

Why do people actually believe that telling everyone to ignore flames is a
workable strategy?  People have been saying "don't reply to flames" for
years.  Are the lists less cluttered now with people flaming and responding
to flames than they were 2-3 years ago?  Not noticeably, I think; at least,
there's not so much improvement that we don't have to worry about
contributors unsubscribing due to flames.

The trouble with trying to give flames and trolls the "silent treatment" is
that it only takes *one* person who's {new,having a bad day,didn't think it
was a troll/flame,disagrees with the policy,insert other condition here} to
break the silence.  We have over 900 developers today, which means the
target audience for most of our core mailing lists is on that order.  That
makes the odds of consistently avoiding flamewars by use of the silent
treatment very, very low.

Heck, for that matter, look at the case of the debian-women list -- we've
had to deal with a troll there who didn't go away even when everyone *was*
ignoring him, and had to be banned by the listmasters.  I think that
expecting the S:N ratio to improve on the mailing lists just by telling
people to ignore the noise is pretty naive.

Then again, maybe the reason this issue never seems to get any traction is
that people don't actually agree that we have a problem on the lists, and
think it's ok for the size of the mailing lists to self-limit through
unsubscriptions of large numbers of DDs. :/

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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