Re: What do you think of the foundation?

On Tue, Jun 2, 2009 at 1:59 AM, Dave Neary <dneary gnome org> wrote:

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?

Setting up a commission for evaluating speech is red tape and will lead to censorship.  I would accept a self style group who goes out to evaluate the situation and recommend productive actions to take but if the group came back with your evaluation of the situation I would reject that as over compensation for the issue at hand. 

I commend Philip for succeeding in framing this debate around the punishments rather than around the reasons why they might happen.

Again we come back to crime and punishment.  If you read over my past posts on pgo when I felt people were out of line, I let them know but I didn't bring to bare some sort of higher power to do so.  Proscribing anything more than the most basic code of conduct goes against our nature as a free flowing community.  It may be trial by fire but the strong rise to the top and the bikeshedders eventually get bored and go away (anyone remember our two worst bikeshedders?) 

That is not to say that individuals should ignore others getting bullied, just that we don't need a commission to do so.  I encourage prouctive, not destructive ideas for dealing with the issue.  What thoes are, I'm not sure but I know it isn't a group of people policing our communication channels.  I would think it would have something to do with rewarding those who work to move GNOME forward instead of concentrating on chastising those who hold it back.  I can remember a few names who came off grating to me when they were new and inexperienced with the community (I was probubly one of them) but who's body of work in community had become invaluble over time.

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.

And there are those who rise to the top because they can navigate such noise, and those who settle down and recognise being productive is better than being destructive.  Again, I agree there is a problem,  I just think your solution is a dangerous road.

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.

The board should not mire itself in conflict resolution like this, just like it does not make technical decitions.  The boards role is to obtain and distribute resources and make sure those resources are used in efficent ways.  That is enormous power as it is.  Giving it a policing/judicial role would be a mistake.  I could imagine some extremist contingent getting a majority and then anyone who got fed up with their retoric and let slip a fuck you to them on the list would suddenly find their account disabled.  The door swings both ways there which is the problem with trying to control speach. 
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?

Red tape is the implementation of ridged formal processes to enforce some standard.  When you talk about it in the terms of speach, censorship becomes the elephant in the room because you open the door to someone eventually having that power.  How does the Kernel thrive when they probubly face the same issues we do?  I think you are looking at the symptoms and not the root causes.

Given that you and a colleague have had a run-in with the kind of anti-social behaviour I'm targeting here, I would have thought that you'd have more sympathy for the victims of the worst kinds of behaviour.

To assume I don't have sympathy because of my stance points to what I belive is your lack of indepth analasys of the situation and reenforces my belief that even in the most trusted hands such a commission would come to the wrong conclusions if their job was punishment.  I do not deny there is an issue or that we may have to do something about it, only that your solution has flaws which I find potentaly worse than the problem itself.  If people are leaving it is because the rewards do not outweigh the costs.  I think concentrating on the rewards would lead to a much better proposal.


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