CoC / procedural abuse
I received a rather dismayed email from Zenaan Harkness last night, saying
that he's been blocked from posting to any Debian mailing lists as a result
of his emails to debian-project regarding the recent CoC discussion.
While I thought his points were entirely valid - the actual "offense" noted
was never brought up, and frankly, the context here was important to
understanding the nature and the character of the complaint - the larger
point is that evidently there is quiet censorship of dissenting opinion, and
presumably this censorship was itself skirting the bounds of the CoC.
The relevant section, in its entirety:
6. In case of problems
While this code of conduct should be adhered to by participants, we
recognize that sometimes people may have a bad day, or be unaware of some
of the guidelines in this code of conduct. When that happens, you may
reply to them and point out this code of conduct. Such messages may be in
public or in private, whatever is most appropriate. However, regardless
of whether the message is public or not, it should still adhere to the
relevant parts of this code of conduct; in particular, it should not be
abusive or disrespectful. Assume good faith; it is more likely that
participants are unaware of their bad behaviour than that they
intentionally try to degrade the quality of the discussion.
Serious or persistent offenders will be temporarily or permanently banned
from communicating through Debian's systems. Complaints should be made
(in private) to the administrators of the Debian communication forum in
question. To find contact information for these administrators, please
see the page on Debian's organizational structure.
It's difficult to think that Zenaan hasn't been a net positive in the
discussion. Looking through the list in my mail folder, including the email
that's been expunged from the list archives, there is only one email that
includes things that could be considered particularly poor form in public, of
eight posts in the thread.
Was there process involved with his expulsion, or did the person who told him
he had been blocked acting alone? Is there record of this action?
Debian solicits donations and on its face tries to be a public organization -
it exists to promote social good and to enhance the direct experience of
freedom for computer users - and it's extremely difficult for me to
understand how what's happened is even vaguely appropriate.
Frankly, I think that unless there is documented process followed and a
record of the administrative action - if this was a person in power acting
alone - the person who banned him should be removed from any position of
administrative power. There is ample room for technical contribution to
Debian without this sort of despotism.
I'll note that one of the things that dismayed Zenaan the most was that this
action was taken in private, which is wholly at odds with what Debian is
Having contributed a not-trivial amount of money to SPI, earmarked for
Debian, I might have an unreasonable expectation regarding its transparent
operation, but I have this expectation nonetheless, and I want all of us to
know what has happened here. I do *not* want a private response - that would
also be inappropriate. The people who need a response are the ones who have
contributed to the discussion at hand.
Mason Loring Bliss email@example.com Ewige Blumenkraft!
awake ? sleep : random() & 2 ? dream : sleep; -- Hamlet, Act III, Scene I