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Re: Should mailing list bans be published?

Le samedi, 26 octobre 2013 10.46:41 Steve Langasek a écrit :
> 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:
> (…)

While I do agree that we should publish the bans, I think we should 
really do it carefully and that these publications should satisfy the 
following criterias:

* forgiveness. This goes along with the concerns about harming one's 
reputation. As we all change during our lives, I think it shouldn't be 
of Debian's role to keep an eternal track record of past bans. I would 
therefore propose to only list active bans on a non-indexed webpage. 
Notifications of new bans could be posted to a private non-archived list 
such as -private (because posting them to an archived list would defeat 
the purpose). This would ensure people that later get unbanned also get 
their names removed from that list. They would start afresh (at least 
publically, not for the listmasters of course) and I think that's a good 

* least surprise and non-retroactivity. I think that the legal concerns 
can be circumvented by warning offenders in advance that in the case of 
a ban their names would be published. As Alexander puts it [0], "Banning 
is usually the last action we take and we only use it if we really have 
to.". This implies that the offenders get mails from the listmasters 
before the actual ban is put in place. If they get informed of the 
consequences, they can simply stop posting and don't have to face the 
consequences. With this in mind, I think we should also only publish new 
bans and not the ones already in force (non-retroactivity).

[0] <[🔎] 20131027164642.GA15115@smithers.snow-crash.org>

* transparency. This is very much along the lines of Steve's original 

> 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.

It is IMHO very important that published bans go along with a list of 
links to offending mails, a rationale (short-ish explanation of why the 
mails are a problem) and the duration of the ban. This makes the 
listmaster's job public, defendable and challengeable, which are good 
things™ too.



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