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Re: [all candidates] discussions in -devel

On 2013-03-19 17:00, Serafeim Zanikolas wrote:
Our usual approach of darwinism (whereby a single hacker's solution gets gradually adopted) does not work here because any attempted solution (social, technical or both) requires some kind of upfront policy change (and, for
technical measures, some kind of infra change).

How do you propose that we go about dealing with this issue, keeping in mind that it's imposs^Wchallenging to get to consensus about non-technical and
potentially controversial policy (moderation) changes?

I've already made some comments related to this, see the previous
thread starting at

More generally on unproductive -devel threads:

I think problems usually arise from the style of a thread,
beyond just one or two loud people.  Enrico's Debian Community
Guidelines contain some good material related to your question, see
in particular http://people.debian.org/~enrico/dcg/ch02s05.html#comm-howto-longthreads

A few points that I think people too often forget:

- Make it clear why you're replying, and what course of action you are
advocating with respect to the overall problem under discussion.
While "me too" replies aren't generally useful, if you're replying at
all it's good to point out things that you agree with, not only state

- Try to separate discussion of goals from discussion about actions.
If you are replying to disagree, be clear if you are disagreeing about
the proposed goal or about the proposed actions to reach it.  If you
are starting a discussion, be aware that it may be easier to agree on
a set of goals first before discussing the best technical path to get

- If you disagree with the proposed goal, be clear whether you want to
keep the status quo, or are advocating some other outcome.

- People should try to make their contributions to a thread build on
what has gone before, not just steer discussion towards a minor point.
If the bigger picture is being lost in a subthread, try to help things
by summarising what had been said so far, and the main points of
discussion, before offering your own view.

- Consider that not all readers will be as familiar with the issues as
you are.  Don't be patronising, but try to help anyone in this
position by stating things clearly.  Perhaps someone who disagrees
with you is just missing some important information.  Don't treat them
as malicious, but explain your own reasoning and see if it changes
their mind.  But remember that it might occasionally be you who is
missing important information.

- Realise that other people may assign different weights to the
arguments in favour of each option.  Perhaps they know the same facts
as you, but have different priorities from you -- if so, try to
understand why this is.

- If someone seems to be suggesting something stupid, consider the
possibility that you have interpreted the words they said in a
different way from the one they intended.  You should probably still
seek clarification and perhaps state your opposing point of view, but
avoid starting by attacking their apparent stupidity.

- Changing your mind in the course of a discussion, after hearing new
facts or new arguments, should be seen as a sign of wisdom, not a sign
of weakness.


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