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Re: Code of Conduct: picking up

Hi Wouter,

thanks for your reasonable answer, very much welcome in the
bunch of unreasonable on and off list answers.

Of course we can continue this discussion about words forever,
and I will do it another round, but probably that is the last.

> > What does
> > 	"poor behaviour"
> > mean?
> That which is socially disruptive.

You exchange one undefined term against another, but that doesn't
change the underlying problem, which is, *what* is socially

An example: I was living long years in Siena, Italy, and some of
my friends used *very* commonly very strong words for daily 
greetings, like "che c**** fai" "porco ***" etc (those speaking
Italian will understand). In many regions of Italy, and in other
circumstance, like my current living environment in Japan, this 
would be *extremly* socially disruptive, but back there it was

The whole point is that all these pseudo definitions of normality
are just fake, fake, fake. We are cheating ourselves if we believe
that even the most simple facts are globally socially acceptable.
Go to Chechnya and or some remote provinces of Georgia, and you
will be tought something else.

Changing tags, names, words does not change the fundamental problem.

> (Personal attacks, not person attacks)

Yeah, sorry for that.

> argumentum ad hominem, if that's clearer? I.e., this is to say "play the
> ball, not the man".

See above, same same. What is consider "personal attack" in one
surrounding is just a friendly greeting between close buddies in
the other?

Example: In America hip hip society if I meet my buddy and greet
him with "Hi boy, you got a belly that big that you cannot see your b***s",
in most of the cases I would be considered extremely rude, while in
other surroundings this is a honorific term.

> > Why don't we try to be *honest*, something like
> > 
> > 	Debian is a practical oligarchy. If you don't happen to
> > 	sit in key positions, you should be careful what you 
> > 	are saying since disrespectful behaviour versus the
> > 	oligarchs will be punished by bans without recurse.
> >
> > 	Like in every jurisdiction, Debian is not about true or
> > 	false, good or bad, but what is declared as right or wrong
> > 	by the law makers.
> I vehemently disagree with that statement, and I don't think the draft
> that I wrote comes even close to such a thing.

Not that draft, but reality. 

I never said that it is good or bad. People often cry out when 
someone says "foobar is not democratic". I myself in my other life
I am professional mountain guide. THat is far from being "democratic".
In certain situations I don't give a sh** for what my clients want
or think, because *I* decide what is in their best interest and safety.
So democracy is not always the best, far from. I could ramble about
stupid intervention of the US in south-east asian countries to enforce
democracy with the effect of destroying all proper structures, but
this is 30% off topic, so I stop here. (Seneca look down ;-)

> I also happen to believe that this is currently not the status quo in
> Debian; and if it were, then that would be an even better reason why we
> need a code of conduct. We don't want bad behaviour; not from random
> mailinglist participants, not from Debian Developers, and certainly not
> from people in a position of power.

You missed the point. It was that the code of conduct can be used
against critical voices. Too easily.

> The draft explicitly confirms the possibility of different cultural
> backgrounds and different moods, and allows for some leeway with that in
> mind.

So at the end, how is anything decided? If this is just a leeway
wishee washee description, why do we need it? What it is for?

> In other words, if making a joke in bad taste were to get someone banned
> from our mailinglist, then I think we would have failed -- unless it is
> the Xth time someone does so, persisting in the face of people asking
> them to stop.

Again, a bad joke for you might not be a bad joke for me and the
other way round.

There is no "objective" in deciding good behaviour. And that means
that bad joke is also not definable. You agreed with the fact that
good behaviour cannot be defined. So how then do you define a bad joke?

> > The whole point of what I wrote is that
> > 	Good behaviour *cannot* be defined. Period. 
> Correct. I don't think I'm trying to do that.

See above.

> > That is the reason we have a juridical system.
> > Laws decide on breaking or following the law, but not 
> > on good or bad (behaviour). But laws try to be clear in *what*
> > is defined. All this code of conduct tries to look like a law
> This is where we disagree. I'm not trying to make it look like a law, at
> all. The point is for people to have a guideline of behaviour. Yes,
> there are some punitive measures in there, but those are only as a last

If it is a guide line, then there are no punitive measurements.

> resort: the draft only mentions "persistent" (i.e., people who persist
> in bad behaviour, even after being warned that their behaviour is

Undefined: "persistent"
Undefined: "bad behaviour"

WHy not write down:
	If the list masters feel that you are behaving badly,
	you might get banned.
That would be the *only* correct and proper way to state it.
Anything else is creating a wrong illusion.

> > The only standardization of "good behaviour" found in wide spread
> > use are religious based (8 folded path, 10 commandments, ...). Do
> > we want to go this way, becoming a religion?
> No.

Puhhhh, at least on that we agree ... or better, I don't want to see
going in this direction, so I hope we agree on that.

> > A short "Gedankenexperiment": What if someone in the upper ranks of
> > Debian (committee, delegates, secretaries, etc) decides to pervert
> > Debian and starts being *very* active, positively, acquiring a lot
> > of followers, and at the same time a lot of powers by combining
> > some of the jobs or distributing them between friends. Then, (s)he
> > uses this to silence those opposing further steps on grounds of
> > bad behaviour.
> I'm not sure what you're afraid of here, which makes it hard for me to
> produce a counterargument.

	... to silence those opposing ...

Which has happened in many places around the world, think NSA.

> acquires a lot of power. We are very much a meritocracy; this means you

Ahhh, here we are. "meritocracy", which boils down to "oligarchy"
in our case.

> can't acquire power without a lot of hard work. Once you've done the
> hard work, you get to decide how you do it, which could indeed be
> described as "having power"; but since it's you who needs to do the

Yes, but the meritocracy is only related to your working area. I guess
I am not the worst in maintaining my packages, and working quite a lot
for them. Still I have no interest *what*so*ever* to become a 
representative of Debian etc etc. So I will never have any factual
power within Debian.

Those working in a *very*specific* direction will obtain the power.
That is the reason why it is not a real meritocracy, but an

> the situation, off the top of my head I can think of: invoking the
> technical committee, having the DPL replace misbehaving delegates, a DPL
> recall election, or overriding a decision under constitution §4.1.4; I'm

Unless all of them have been taken over ... like the parliament in 

> Please try not to invoke Godwin's law.

Stop this, please! I am from this country. I gave you clear explanation
what I mean. I did *NOT* compare anyone here with Hitler at all.
I draw an analogon how it is possible to legally attain powers
and abuse them. Analoga are not bad. Comparison and Analoga are
different. Those who cannot follow them - sorry, I don't care.

Defending bad things on the basis of "ahh, once more Godwin's law"
is ridiculous, like last resort, I don't know anything else.

> > *************
> > Non-legal style documents that allow for punishment are dangerous.
> > *************
> Only if no human judgement call is made before such punishment is
> invoked. What is "good" behaviour is impossible to define, as you said;
> I therefore think it's better if a team of human beings makes that call,

Uhh, ohh, and how are those "humans"? Maybe some ultra-conservative
XXXXXX (insert your favorite political, religious or whatever direction)?
You and nobody can guarantee that the recourse to "humans will do it
right" actually worked out (see above, Godwin's law). Yeah, sure, the
US has the wonderful super-secret court (forgot the name) that should
supervise the NSA - and sure enough these humans are doing it right.
Bummer, they weren't.

No no no. If you write down punitive measurements, then you have to have
a *clear*, *uncontestable* definition of what is wrong or not.

> I'll also point out that in effect, this doesn't actually change
> anything; our listmasters _are_ already implementing temporary bans for
> people who are disruptive on our mailinglists. This would only make that
> officially their responsibility, which it currently isn't.

Well, then we do not need a code of conduct. A GR with
	The listmasters are free do ban each and everyone
	according to their will.
is what we need. It sounds tough, strange. But this is what it is.
Not some code of conduct. Not some nice-talking. Facts.

Thanks for staying with me till here. And again thanks for the
positive discussion, I am sick of unintelligent beings answering
just ignorant answers where you see that they haven't even read
and understood the original email.


PREINING, Norbert                               http://www.preining.info
JAIST, Japan                                 TeX Live & Debian Developer
DSA: 0x09C5B094   fp: 14DF 2E6C 0307 BE6D AD76  A9C0 D2BF 4AA3 09C5 B094

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