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Re: Question for Sam Hocevar

Sam Hocevar <sam@zoy.org> writes:
> On Sat, Mar 03, 2007, Russ Allbery wrote:

>> You seem to be a frequent contributor to a site associated with GNAA,
>> which is a trolling organization that has had past run-ins with
>> Wikipedia and other volunteer projects.  Could you clarify, first,
>> whether that's actually true or whether it's just a case of mistaken
>> identity?

>    I don't know what site you are talking about. If you are talking
> about lastmeasure.com, I have never touched it and I don't even have any
> idea who hosts it or how it is managed.

Oh, okay, the whole thing is a case of mistaken identity and a tempest in
a teapot.  Thanks, that clears it all up for me.

>    I also approached professional spammers and other "black hat" hackers
> for the same reason and I do not think there is anything wrong with
> that. It is fascinating how they work and use their skills and there is
> much to learn from what they do (including in terms of protection or
> retaliation, of course).

>    I stayed on the GNAA IRC channel when they became "interested" in
> Wikipedia, so as to keep an eye on their actions, and I think I managed
> pretty well to dissuade them from ruining Wikipedia. I have not taken
> part in any of their destructive actions or hate propaganda floods,
> which I find quite questionable (and are illegal where I live anyway).

This is great.  This is, I think, an excellent attitude to take towards
this sort of thing if you have the emotional energy for it.

>    Short answer: it's bad and no, it would not be appropriate.

>    However I am well aware of the state of self-denial Debian is in. We
> are so terribly convinced that we are the best and/or that we are doing
> it in the best way that we are not accepting criticism. Please look at
> http://www.gnaa.us/pr.phtml?troll=gnaa-sarge and tell me there's not
> some truth in every sentence. Again, I am not advocating such offensive
> material, it's just that when I read it the first time I thought "wow,
> they pretty much got the point, we should try to suck less in this and
> that areas" instead of dismissing it as "trolling", and the project as a
> whole could help with more self-criticism.

I don't disagree.

I have a very strong gut reaction to people who claim to be improving
things by trolling because of past experience with other volunteer
projects where trolling and the refusal to recognize the impact that
trolling was having on the volunteer community basically destroyed the
community and robbed all of the fun out of the volunteer work.  So I have
a very strong knee-jerk reaction to the destructiveness of it.  But I see
nothing to disagree with in what you said above, which is a huge relief to
me given that I really liked the rest of your platform.

Thank you very much for answering!

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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