Re: What do you think of the foundation?

Hi Dave,

2009/6/2 Dave Neary <dneary gnome org>:
> Hi,
> john palmieri wrote:
>> I'm of the same mind here.  There are a number of people who I don't like
>> to read on blogs and whatnot but I would rather us as a community figure out
>> productive ways of dealing with it as opposed to lording our own views over
>> those who don't have as much pull in the community.  Red tape and draconian
>> censorship measures is not the way to handle the issue.  If our blogs and
>> mailing lists are no longer exciting and informative then there is something
>> more fundamentally wrong than who we give a voice to.
> Who talked about red tape and draconian censorship?
> I commend Philip for succeeding in framing this debate around the
> punishments rather than around the reasons why they might happen.
> Let me be as clear as possible:
> There are people in our community who are losing faith in the community's
> ability to have reasoned technical debate and design discussions because of
> vacuous 100 mail threads, and IRC being dominated by half a dozen people
> whose principal contribution to GNOME is to be on IRC all the time. Others
> are being driven away from the community for our tolerance of "he who shouts
> loudest" politics, flame wars and provocative and offensive blog posts.
> I believe that these people should have a group that they can turn to, argue
> their points, and ask for that group to do something about it. I believe
> that the task is the role of the foundation, and the board is well placed to
> assume that role now.
> When I say "do something about it", that may be simply to point out to the
> people involved that they're not being productive. It may be to publicly
> shame people for antisocial behaviour. It may be to tell the complainer that
> they're making a big deal about nothing. But right now if you are being
> driven away from GNOME forums or from the GNOME project in general, you have
> no-where to turn. How is that red tape? How is it draconian censorship?

IMO, there's a big difference between counterproductive behavior and
disrespectful behavior. People can be very counterproductive without
being disrespectful (moving focus of discussion to irrelevant
technical details, being against a proposal for personal reasons,

For example, I agree with Olav that d-d-l became too noisy and
counterproductive too many times lately. And I guess some highly
relevant contributors didn't participate on certain discussions simply
because the discussion was too noisy (dozens of messages from people
just giving random opinions) and lacking focus (someone picking on
something irrelevant, etc). In general, people are not being
disrespectful IMO. This kind of problem can be solved with stronger
moderation and well-defined guidelines on mailing lists (which I guess
depends on the type of discussion, dunno) which is just not happening
on d-d-l for instance.

IMO, disrespectful behavior includes being sarcastic or ironic, making
personal accusations in public, making pejorative comments about a
proposal instead of disagreeing with counter-arguments, etc. I see
this kind of behavior sometimes on our mailing lists but they are
exceptions, not the common behavior.

Maybe what I'm trying to say is: I think we're being counterproductive
too often, not necessarily disrespectful. And yes, this is a problem
that needs a solution. My opinion is that we just need stronger and
consistent moderation depending on the context.

Some examples (a bit stretched for clarity)

Example 1:
- Person A proposes a new module for GNOME 3.2 on d-d-l
- Person B replies with "This module is crap, ridiculous"
- Release team members (who are responsible for organizing the module
propositions) reply (in private?) to Person B with "Please, try to
keep discussion productive with actual arguments for/against the

Example 2:
- Person A proposes a new i18n guideline on gnome-i18n mailing list
- Person B replies with "You proposal is total shit"
- GNOME i18n coordinators (who are responsible for the team
coordination) reply (in private?) to Person B with "Please, try to
keep discussion productive with actual arguments for/against the i18n



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