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Should mailing list bans be published?

Hi folks,

Was discussing with one of the listmasters (Alexander Wirt) on IRC today
about mailing list bans, because it turns out that someone I was just about
to ask the listmasters to ban from debian-devel had just been blocked in
response to a request from someone else.

This led to a philosophical debate about whether bans should be made public.
Alexander expressed concern that having them published could be harmful to a
person's reputation, since employers will google your name and see that
you've been banned from a large project such as Debian.

I think we should publish them, for several reasons:

 - Debian is not responsible for the reputation of someone who has gotten
   themselves banned for their behavior; their reputation is already in the
   mud if employers read their actual posts to the Debian lists.
 - It brings closure to the rest of our community to know that action has
   been taken against an abuser, showing that we've stood up for the
   principle of civil discourse and that the problem hasn't just gone away
   on its own because a troll got bored.
 - It gives Debian contributors confidence that bad behavior doesn't have to
   be silently endured as a cost of participating in Debian lists.
 - It improves *Debian's* reputation to the rest of the world, by showing
   that our mailing lists are not "anything goes".
 - It provides a reference point for newcomers to the Debian community to
   judge their actions by, to understand what kinds of things will get them
   banned from participation (although I expect few of the people who need
   such guidance will actually take advantage of it...)
 - It casts sunlight on the kinds of decisions that the listmasters are
   making WRT bans, so that we collectively have oversight of these
   decisions and can ensure our principles are being applied fairly and

So I don't think bans need to be posted anywhere prominent like
debian-devel-announce, but I do think basic facts like who is banned, for
how long, and the rationale (with links to specific mailing list posts as
reference) should be made public.

What do the rest of you think?

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

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