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What do Open Source Projects need? - part 3

On 6/6/07, Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> wrote:

[.. regarding Sven Luther ..]

> Even if the sentiment happens to be widely shared, making a comment
> like that only causes further polarization in an already unfortunate
> situation.


And thats why the clear words in direction of Sam Hocevar, who did
parts of his electoral campaign on costs of Sven Luther.

And no, Kalle Kivimaa, I dont need proof in form of a web cache that
shows the old content of sam2007.zoy.org to be able to say that.

On 6/6/07, MJ Ray <mjr@phonecoop.coop> wrote:

> My question about unsubbing Christoph Berg from Planet Debian was
> more about: do we think it will recur and should we draw a line
> here?

And this is a complete misunderstanding of my movitation to post the
mails under the subject "What do Open Source Projects need".

I do not plan to attack Christoph Berg.
I do not plan to deface anybody.
And I dont ask for any form of punishment of people who had their
share of feeding the conflicts around Sven Luther.

The topics behind such situations is what interests me much more.

On 6/6/07, Martin Schulze <joey@infodrom.org> wrote:

> There are always people and situations in which people misbehave.
> I'm pretty sure that it even happened to you and me in the past.

I am happy that we totally agree on this point.

> A controversial discussion does not have to include ad-hominem
> attacks, foul language and fingerpointing.  If it comes to that,
> everything is lost already.
> (this is also true for this thread btw.)

I totally agree on foul language. That should not be part of any
interaction with people.

But whatever you mean by "ad-hominem attacks", it is impossible to
speak about mistakes of certain people without pointing at them.

And if it was me myself who killed my own thread, then I have a
wrong imagination about human interaction.

The first 2-3 replies I received were about my person.
I was called a troll.
These people did not reply to any of my points.

The same goes for this outburst of Raphael (buxy) Hertzog when I
accidently quoted his private mail, because it showed in the same
thread in my Google Mail. And the next dude replies to my excuse
that there is no excuse.

You cant meassure me by standards that obviously do not count for
all other people who replied to my thread - except for you, Joey.
You are the only person so far who is civil and correct, according
to your own standards.

> However, usually, these are one-time incidents and it's not
> permanently bad behaviour.

People like Christoph (Myon) Berg, Peter (weasel) Palfrader, Joerg
(Ganneff) Jaspert, Uli (youam) Martens, Alexander (formorer) Wirt,
Marc (HE) Brockschmidt and quite a few others keep their personal
score system. And they add every single mistake a person does to
this imaginary list and hold it up against you in every possible
and impossible situation to justify hostile behaviour and sanctions.

If I keep such a similar score system in mind when I review the
last years of mailing list and IRC activity, then I come to the
sad conclusion that the above mentioned people behave repeatedly
in a hostile and destructive fashion, like I did as a consequence
to that, when I felt hurt, offended and not treated properly.

But they key to understand the logic behind all this - also in the
case of Sven Luther and other developers who were removed in the
past: in what situation is the person who is misbehaving?

If I am able to write on my web log that I plan to fight against
trolls on OFTC in my role as network admin, then be sure that I
have a smile on my face when Nattie Mayer-Hutchings is barking in
my general direction on IRC. The theoretical option alone to be
able to zap her offline means that I can feel superior.
But when you are alone as user and the first person flames you,
then the second and third joins, then you are in a defensive
position. And sooner or later you react like a helpless person
reacts if he does not want to choose the only alternative left:
to resign on anything you value.

> Not every log entry that is aggregated on Planet Debian has a
> connection to Debian.

And here we have one of my favourite topics when it comes to

Its hosted on resources of the Debian Project and its called
Planet Debian, but it has no connection with Debian when it counts.

The Round Robin irc.debian.org points to OFTC but the activity
on debian channels has nothing to do with OFTC.

SPI supports and sponsors OFTC as a project but SPI has nothing
to do with the things happening on OFTC.

People have special priviledges on OFTC and act as network admin
based on things that happen on single debian channels, but it has
nothing to do with the Debian Project and OFTC.

That is very nice.

> > The Debian Social Contract makes a few very interesting and
> > important statements.

> Which of these would have helped in the conflict you are pointing
> at (svenl)?

I want to move this a bit away from Sven Luther's situation.

I dont want to reduce his chance on getting a fair review of his
situation in case I poke the wrong people with my opinion.

The Debian Social Contract is very interesting in that way as it
speaks about things like this:

"No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups"

That only targets the license in this context. But what sense would
it make to have high standards for a piece of paper but not for the
behaviour amoung developers and users?

Now where is discrimination in all this you might ask.

I will try to show you.

Anti-Racism is a very modern thing and it grew out of a positive and
popular movement. But only very few people are still that stupid to
discriminate based on something as trivial as the color of skin or the

It would help to look at some of the psychological patterns behind

In the middle ages the localization of a person was part of the name.
It was an important part of the identity.
And we still use that in some kind of reflex all the time when we meet
new people: "Where are you from?"
Another important factor was clothing in the middle ages.
It helped the people to categorize.
And categories were important to behave properly towards that person.

In context of "Blacks in America":
the man has a dark skin.
He must be of african descent.
His ancestors were brought to this country as slaves.

As privileged classes have been of importance in the middles ages,
your social background and your place in society do matter in all
kinds of situations today.

People want to seperate from other people and groups to feel special.
It is a typical human reflex to look doubtful at people outside your
group. It costs energy to tolerate what is different from yourself.
Fears come into play. Separation from the different generates security.

In the anti racism movement initiated by Martin Luther King I think it
was not in the main focus that many humans have the feeling, that a
person with a dark skin is somewhat different. I think the key of that
movement was, that people who are somewhat different should not have
any disadvantages in society.

And for most colored people it might not be their problem that some of
their looks is different, but the message they frequently get from
other people "you dont belong to us".

If you travel through virtual communities you will constantly see
examples of defacements and behaviour of that type that has many things
in common with discrimination and racism. It seems to be the disease
of society of these days: elitism.

You cause an uncomfortable feeling for the wrong person and you are
called a troll.

You admit without shame that you prefer mIRC on a Linux channel and
you are target of a massive flame war.

You feel helpless and misbehave in some way and people want to send
you to a psychologist.

> There are not many people good in conflict management.  If you have
> practical ideas how to improve this situation, at least I'm interested
> in hearing them - without pointing to people and beating dead horses.

To avoid a serious misunderstanding -

I dont think that I am a better person than others. Just the opposite.
And I am not that dense to think that I could have better plans for this
community than the Debian Project Leader himself.

But before people think about how a Social Commitee could be elected
I would like to advertize for a social conciousness. And that seems to be
the most essential thing before we try to look for solutions.

I am interested and willing to spend a lot of hours of my spare time to
work out some of my ideas in such a way that my postings appear to certain
people like more than a rant.

But before that can happen I need to have the feeling that most people
care about the points I try to make.


Patrick Frank

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