Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: R0b0t1 <r030t1@×××××.com>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o, rich0@g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-dev] Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2018 01:55:34
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-dev] Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness by Rich Freeman
On Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 6:21 AM, Rich Freeman <rich0@g.o> wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 2:33 AM, Martin Vaeth <martin@×××××.de> wrote: >> Rich Freeman <rich0@g.o> wrote: >>> >>> Fred is a community member. Fred consistently harasses and trolls new >>> contributors in private. >> >> Sure, it's a problem. But not a problem which can be solved by >> closing the mailing list, in no step of the issue. >> >> First of all, this happens in private, so you cannot prevent it >> by closing a mailing list. > > Certainly. Closing lists won't stop the private abuse, nor is it intended to. > > What it would stop is this particular thread talking endlessly about it. > >> >>> No mention is made of why Fred as booted out, because everything >>> happened in private. >> >> That's the mistake which is made in this example. Be open in the >> decisions. If you cannot be open in order to protect other people's >> privacy, be open at least by saying exactly this. > > In the example I can think of this was done, and yet people still > endlessly argued about it, because simply stating that you can't be > open about something won't satisfy people who want there to be > openness. >
As I have tried to explain, the reasons you have given are not consistent and even if they were there is no reason to believe they are based on a sound interpretation of the law. You simply ignored those comments, which tells everyone else you do not care whether you are making valid decisions. That is why these discussions have continued.
>> Closing a mailing list >> will not close such a debate; it will then just happen elsewhere. > > And that is the goal. > >> Anyway, such a debate does not belong to dev-ml. The correct solution >> is to continue to point people to have this debate on the appropriate place, >> not on the mainly technically oriented dev-ml. > > Could you take this debate to the appropriate place then? > > >> Making the posters silent >> by blacklisting even more is contra-productive and will give the >> impression that they are actually right. > > If the goal is to make them silent on the closed list it is completely > productive. > > Nothing can prevent people from getting the impression that there is > some kind of cover-up. Certainly the last time this sort of thing > happened having hundreds of emails posted on the topic on the lists > didn't do anything to convince the few posters that the right thing > was done. > > Now, I do like something that Debian did in this situation which was > to give the person who was booted the option to have the reasoning > disclosed or not. If they refuse and people question why they were > booted, you can simply state that all people who are booted are given > the option to have the reasons disclosed, and the person leaving made > the choice not to have this done. IMO something like this would tend > to reduce the legal liabilities. > >> >>> Ultimately the leaders just want Fred gone so that new contributors >>> aren't getting driven away. They can't explain that because then they >>> create potential civil liability for the project. >> >> Why not? Is it against a law to exclude somebody who is hurting a >> project? > > Not at all. Booting somebody from an organization like Gentoo creates > no liability, unless it was based on discrimination/etc. > > The liability comes from saying negative things about somebody. > > Kicking out Fred is fine. Stating publicly that Fred was kicked out > for sexual harassment would allow Fred to sue, and then you have to > pay to prove that he was sexually harassing somebody. >
Fred can sue even if you've done nothing. You would still be well advised to hire representation in that case to prevent Fred from winning by default. Agitating people by withholding comments on problematic behavior doesn't remove that possibility. As long as the statements were true only a token effort (if even that) needs to be made to dismiss the suit. In very rare cases, mostly where something close to malicious intent behind the release of the information can be shown, damages will be awarded. But seeing as there is a valid reason (effective project governance) for releasing that information I see no way that would be upheld.
>> >>> The problem is that >>> the debate goes on for over a year despite intervening elections and >>> now this becomes the issue that is driving new contributors away. >>> What solution would you propose for this problem? >> >> How would closing the mailing list solve the problem? It will give >> the impression that you want to close the debate by taking away the >> medium where people can argue. And the impression is correct, because >> this actually *is* the intention if you are honest. > > Certainly this is the intention, at least for my part. There is no > benefit in arguing about this for more than a year, especially if > those who made the decisions get re-elected to their posts. > >> Of course, it will not close said debate. The debate will just happen >> on another channel. (Which in this example might be appropriate, but >> pointing to the proper channel is what should have happened and not >> closing a mailing list and thus excluding random people from posting >> things about clompletely different topics which *are* on-topic on dev-ml). > > People have repeatedly pointed out the correct places for such > debates, though honestly if it were my call I'd not allow this debate > to go on further anywhere that Gentoo operates. > > People post this stuff on the -dev list for the same reason that > protesters block public streets. They want to make it hard to ignore > them. > >> >>> Sure, but we can at least force the negative advertising of Gentoo to >>> go elsewhere, rather than basically paying to run a negative PR >>> campaign against ourselves. >> >> Closing dev-ml will not help here. If people have a strong >> disagreement with a decision, this will happen on gentoo channels. >> If you want to prevent it technically, you have to close all channels. > > Agree. But, I don't make the decisions. If it were up to me this > topic would be closed everywhere. > >> BTW, I do not think that contributors are that blue-eyed that they >> will stop contributing only because one person does not know how to >> behave. > > The problem comes when the person is booted out and a half dozen > people keep arguing that they were innocent, that Gentoo is run by a > cabal in an ivory tower, and that decisions like this should be made > more openly. IMO this is the sort of thing that is more likely to > drive contributors away, because it has a veneer of legitimacy. The > arguments in favor of that position are simple, and the arguments > against it are nuanced and often rely on access to non-public > information. >
It has a veneer of legitimacy? Perhaps the complaints are legitimate? Imagine the outcry if a court made decisions in private and did not release names of the accusers and the accused.
> You can ignore their posts but then people assume they're right. So > either we get endless argument (more than a year), or we need to > exercise prior restraint. Neither is desirable, but I've yet to see > another option presented. >
Don't present a false dichotomy - you could begin releasing information. Every argument as to whether or not that is a valid decision has been ignored. Cheers, R0b0t1