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Re: [OT] aggressiveness on our mailing lists.

Charles Plessy <plessy@debian.org> writes:

> I hesitated between answering in public or private, but since there
> are planned discussions at Debconf about aggressivity on the mailing
> lists, I will do it in public.

What is meant here by “aggressivity”? I think there's an important
distinction to be made here, between aggression toward people, versus
criticism of ideas.

> In case you had any doubt about it, let me confirm: it hurts to read
> that kind of answer.

The specific message to which you're replying was critical of an idea. I
didn't see anything in it that was aggressive toward a person.

That ideas are criticised openly is a good, healthy thing for a
community. If someone thinks an idea is silly or otherwise deserves
ridicule, they should feel free to say so.

People may feel hurt when an idea they identify with comes under attack,
but the correct response is for people to stop identifying with ideas to
that extent.

Let ideas stand or fall on their merits, and let no person feel they
cannot separate themselves from an idea. Ideas are not sacred: There is
no such thing as an idea that should be defended from criticism or even

I am in wholehearted support of reducing aggression toward people in our
forums. But I'm just as wholeheartedly against hurt feelings being any
kind of justification for suppression of criticism.

In brief: So long as doing so doesn't attack a person, an idea is always
a valid target of attack.

> It does not help, nor bring any useful element to the discussion by
> starting your anwers with that kind of statements. Please consider
> refraining from writing them.

I think either your idea of “aggression” is not one that I agree with,
or that you chose a poor example to which to respond.

 \       “One of the most important things you learn from the internet |
  `\   is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It's just an awful lot of |
_o__)                                            ‘us’.” —Douglas Adams |
Ben Finney

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