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Re: List/IRC climate issues (was: What do you want to learn?)

On Thu, 2004-08-05 at 12:36, Matthew Palmer wrote:

> No, about the only thing you *really* need the DD badge for is uploading
> packages and direct access to the servers -- which is fair enough when you
> consider what you could do with that level of access, whether by accident or
> malice.

When I think about it - yes, I TRUST the Debian folks. So yeah, better
to have a thorough process for adding people who can actually get into
the serious code.

> Frank Lichtenheld has just posted his experiences of contributing to Debian
> -- and his case is fairly typical.

(Thank you, Frank!)

> Oh well, you've found your place to contribute.
> Please don't think that anyone (sane) will think less of you because you
> don't contribute to Debian in particular.

I don't. :)
But thank you for repeating it.

> > I don't want an @debian.org account. I was just confused about the
> > process of contributing. :(
> Identify something you think needs your attention, and attack it.  If you
> don't see anything that you particularly want fixed in Debian, then there's
> no need to contribute. 

Hrm. Are there still packages whose 'man' page is some version of 'this
man page will just point you to $otherdocumentationsource and only
exists because Debian folks insist on having a man page'?

If there are, that's one thing that annoys me when I find it. And I
write decent docs....

> I'll ensure I do that more visibly from now on.  Hopefully with a few
> others, the message will become more visible.  But relying on there being a
> Net.cop around is going to be a poor way to raise the image of Debian.

I appreciate that. :)
And yes, I know. It's not actually relying on there being a net.cop -
it's building peer pressure enforcement of 'be polite, be helpful' ....

.... er. Or that's how it works for the Chix.

> > How will banning them kill the community? I expect it would make the
> > community stronger, and more welcoming to actually useful people.
> Because once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your
> destiny.  <grin>

Ah, my young Jedi....

> If you've banned one person for being a twit, then it's a lot easier to ban
> the next person who annoys a couple of people.  Then when someone loses
> their temper a bit and goes on a bit of a tirade, you decide that they're
> ban-worthy.


> You can remove the possibility of getting lynched by carefully analysing
> everything you write for possible offensiveness to someone or other, but
> that gets to be no fun, and everyone leaves except for the ultra-obsessive
> few who get their rocks off doing that.

I read through this, and responded below. At this stage, all I can say
is 'it doesn't work that way for LinuxChix', which is kind of unhelpful.

I can express some of the rules we've found for having serious debates
on high-stress issues, with minimal tirade-ness:

1. The One Rule that Rules Them All: Be polite, be helpful.
2. Corrolory (sp?): Argue the Issue, Not the Person.

When these rules are broken once or twice, the list admin mails the
person privately and nudges them gently. They're reminded that the
debate itself is fine, but that their phrasing is coming across as
neither polite nor helpful. (Note: benefit of the doubt.)
If the rules are consistently broken, even after being reminded, the
person usually gets put on moderation. They can still debate, they just
have their phrasing checked by a third party before it reaches the list.

In the mumble-mumble years I've been running the 'chix, we've only had
to outright ban .. um .. less than ten people. Those people basically
earned it by becoming abusive. I can tolerate a lot of 'you're a
fuckwit', but once I get two solid weeks of it when I'm just saying
'your phrasing to the list is neither polite nor helpful, please rethink
calling your opponent an idiot', I tend to decide to ban. :)

Of course, Debian is a tad higher profile than LCX. :)

> > I know I sound like I'm being deliberately obstructive. I think my point
> > here is that you (the Debian community) have a choice to make: do you
> > want the loud abusive idiots, or do you want the people who avoid places
> > that have loud abusive idiots?
> I want good contributors, whether they be loud, soft, abusive or whatever. 

That makes sense.

> > LinuxChix chose the latter - in fact, we have to if we're going to
> > fulfil our purpose. We've found that once you figure out the methods,
> > it's almost self-sustaining.
> Well, if you can work out some way to retro-fit a dickhead filter onto
> Debian, please let us know.

I'll give 'how it works for LinuxChix' more thought. Right now, all I
can say is 'it doesn't work that way for us' .. and that's no help at


If I don't respond with a more complete 'how we make it work', nudge me.
I need to think it through.

We also have other LCX folks here, maybe they can put their oar in? :)

> > But .. well. That's what it boils down to. The real world doesn't let an
> > organisation say 'we're welcoming, just ignore the idiots'. If you let
> > them stick around, you lose people because of them. 
> OK, how do we get rid of the Krooger-troll without outright banning it? 
> Arguing with it or telling it to go away just makes it froth more, and
> likewise telling everyone else to ignore it doesn't work.

I missed the Krooger-troll.
If the list software allows, shove it on moderation? :)

Jenn V.
    "Do you ever wonder if there's a whole section of geek culture 
        	you miss out on by being a geek?" - Dancer.
   My book 'Essential CVS': published by O'Reilly in June 2003.
jenn@anthill.echidna.id.au     http://anthill.echidna.id.au/~jenn/

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