Roy Bamford wrote:
> Some interesting points ... control of any written channel can only be
> passive, in the sense that controllers are always responding after the
> event. The possible exception is a moderated mailing list.
> How are passive and active defined in this context then?
> Passive would have to be the controllers wait for a complaint before
> acting and active would be the controllers work in as close to real
> time as the medium allows, on things they notice for themselves as
> happens in IRC and forums. They are always reactive regardless.
I concur that it is only ever reactive. I take active v passive, in the
context of the mailing list, to mean the use of public mutes, similar to a
forum thread being locked because it has descended into flames vs allowing
the flames to continue and taking action via devrel, which rightly takes a
long time, since it is about a dev's conduct over a period of time, not
about one heated discussion.
(If you cover how devs will be moderated, the same can apply to users with
no issue. The inverse does not apply, unfortunately, due to the culture of
the group under discussion.)
> Most of the proctors actions were carried out in private, this seemed
> to work best since most people hate to be publicly asked to exercise
> restraint. We don't need a new project to continue this sort of
> activity, nor do we need to add to the scope of any existing project.
> Anyone can do it anytime. Curbing the worst excesses of friends is one
> of the things we can all do for one another.
> Continued poor behavior should be referred to the appropriate body in the
> normal way.
Yes that's the situation at present, and was the situation before the whole
CoC discussion. It didn't work before, and with respect, I don't think
it'll work in future, should the need arise.
> The -dev mailing list seems to have calmed down since the proctors most
> public action, when a number of users had their posting rights
> suspended briefly. I'm unsure if the creation of -project played a big
> part in this or not. Judging by the number of posts to -project, I
> think its unlikely. I'm more inclined to believe that the bloodletting
> on that particular thread was something that everyone was aware of
> and nobody wanted to risk repeating. Thus the proctors served their
By falling on their swords? I think that was unfortunate, to use a
euphemism. The problem is, there's nothing to stop the situation recurring
in the future, at a point where the people involved have no memory of that
I think the existence of project means people can be referred here (not just
told not to discuss something.) It's unfortunate that there is dev snobbery
wrt this list (I've seen "take it to project" used almost as an insult and
no-one has ever done so) but hopefully that'll change, when more
interesting discussions do take place on here. (Responding to non-technical
aspects by posting the reply to project instead of dev would help.)
I think the commit-reviews have also helped, since there is much more
technical discussion going on, and it's keeping people's minds on the
day-to-day business of maintaining the tree.
On the larger question of how to enforce, I think having a group that is
prepared to act publically, iff required, does two things: it takes the
onus off of individuals to challenge bad behaviour (which can be hard) and
it sends a signal that certain behaviour will not be tolerated-- that there
are boundaries, and they will be enforced if necessary. Both are vital to
It helps if the use of such a power is a) carried out as impartially as
possible (ie by a group suitably constituted for that purpose, not on one
dev's whim, with transparent involvement of all parties in the discussion--
*before* an individual is banned, should it come to it) and b) supported by
the Council when the team, as a team, has decided to act. The latter is of
course what killed off proctors.
Another helpful thing would be if it were not seen as such a major
imposition on people's freedoms for *one* thread to be locked. Users don't
get all melodramatic about it: why should devs?
Passionate discussion is to be expected and indeed welcomed, since that's
the nature of voluntary communities: people are involved because they want
to be. As such, it shouldn't be a big deal if discussions get heated, so
long as they stay civil. The behind-the-scenes activity you mention is
important, but there has to be the will to act publically when needed, or
unchecked flamewars *will* happen again imo, at some point. That's the
nature of the beast.
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