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Re: Should mailing list bans be published?

Hi Steve,

Thanks for starting this thread.

Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> writes:

> On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 10:33:42PM +0100, Florian Weimer wrote:
>> * Joey Hess:
>> > Simply obfuscating the name on the list of banned users (or not posting
>> > any names at all, only links to the posts that led to the ban) would
>> > eliminate most reputational damage. Ie, random searches for that
>> > person would not turn up a high pagerank debian.org page listing their
>> > youthful indiscretions.
>> > Using eg "J. Hess" would probably be fine in most cases.
>> I recommend to use a web page, and not announce bans on public mailing
>> lists because such announcements invite subsequent discussion, likely
>> decloaking the banned poster.
> Reducing subsequent discussion is inseparable from reducing both oversight
> and the closure given to other list participants.  I don't consider posting
> such content on a web page to suitably address the concerns.

I think it would be fair enough to have a fully public (but not very
well linked) web page that lists mails that were considered sufficient
to provoke a ban, and the duration and conditions of each ban.

I do not think such a page is liable to violate any rights because it
would not list names, and it would not end up being top hit for the
abuser's name in later years -- the mails they sent that provoked the
ban might well end up being their top hit, but that would be without the
help of the "Last straw" page.

The page could perhaps also be a place to collect resources that might
encourage people to express themselves more constructively, and so could
be referred to by the listmasters when issuing a first warning.

To address the need for oversight/closure, would you consider a
simultaneous post to debian-private sufficient?  I don't think it's
enough without the public list, but the combination allows future
abusers to be refereed to the list as an indication that they might want
to moderate their behaviour because we do actually ban people

The post to debian-private does fail to provide closure for non DDs but
otherwise does the job, and I would think that the readership of
debian-private is diverse enough that the spectrum of opinion should be
wide enough to ensure good oversight.

Also, if we're going to make these changes, I think we should publicise
them very widely, possibly going as far as a mail sent to every mailing
list where the policy is going to be implemented, and then any bans that
are then published in this way should be justifiable by reference only
to mails sent after that announcement -- it would not be fair to spring
this on a troll for sins committed before the announcement.

Cheers, Phil.

P.S. in case it's not obvious, I fully support publication, as long as we
can do it without putting a blight on the futures of people that might now
be committing childhood sins, and also without getting our listmasters sued.
|)|  Philip Hands [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]    http://www.hands.com/
|-|  HANDS.COM Ltd.                    http://ftp.uk.debian.org/
|(|  10 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, London  E18 1NE  ENGLAND

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