Re: What do you think of the foundation?


Sometimes people say inappropriate things in inappropriate tones on GNOME forums, irc, mailing lists, blogs, etc. Right now, the community just lets them. We don't enforce our Standards of Conduct.

Dave was pointing out what we do have the power to do something about it. If we decide to enforce our own Standards of Conduct, I expect there would be discussion about what steps to take. I don't think you should ignore the fact that we have a problem by attacking a proposed solution.
As far as I know is Luis among the very few people in our community who
has had a legal training. Appointing judges is not something countries
do without said lawyer having a lot of field experience.
We (the GNOME community) already have a lot of responsibility. We decide what goes into GNOME products, what's on our website, who can make contributions, who's on Planet GNOME, who's a member of the Foundation, who can have a email address, who's on the board, ... We can't get out of our responsibility by saying we don't have the training.


On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 6:07 AM, Philip Van Hoof <pvanhoof gnome org> wrote:
On Fri, 2009-05-29 at 23:42 +0100, Lucas Rocha wrote:


> I don't see the Board as community moderators. Really. I tend to agree
> that some communication channels (especially mailing lists) get a bit
> too noisy some times. This makes some highly active contributors to
> stay away from certain discussions because of that. But the moderation
> in those cases depends on the context.

I agree with this very much. Especially the "context" part.

> If this problem happens in the i18n mailing list, the i18n coordinators
> should do the moderation.


> If it happens on desktop-devel-list, maybe the release team should
> moderate the discussion.


> If things get *really* rough, then it's the case to take this to Board.
> But even in those cases, it's questionable what the Board is supposed
> (or even "allowed") to do on *community* level.

Exactly. I agree with you, Lucas.

May I add to this:

Dave's ten steps mean that as soon as you refuse to publicly apologize
for <insert something undefinable>, his foundation board will kick you
and your project out of GNOME.

Saying this is NOT aggressive. It simply IS my opinion. Snipping this
opinion away as <snip, aggressive rant> was disrespectful of Dave.

The items underneath item number two: imagine an actual situation. His
procedure will always end up at step ten. Every next step worsen the

Hypothetical case follows:

Maintainer of competing project X tries to get maintainer of project Y
to become angry, succeeding he now sends some silly mail to the board
and then, enacting Dave's ten steps, the board will ask for an apology.

Project Y's maintainer refuses that. This is *not* unlikely.

Here is how now Dave's list starting number tree looks (and DO take
Dave's list and compare. I'm not *just* making this up on the spot).

- Publicly embarrass the person

- Hope that after this public embarrassment he'll publicly apologizes

- Ban the person from the forum, hoping he wont suddenly be even more
 pissed afterward.

- Ban him from the foundation. Temporarily, but hey at this point
 everybody already knows what this means and what's next.

- Make sure the person can't use his git account anymore. He can't even
 commit to his OWN project anymore now.

- The dude still hasn't decided to go away with his project from GNOME
 by himself. Start the permanent actions.

- To keep the other members smiling and make it all look a little bit
 official, do some silly administrative stuff like saying that previous
 actions have now all become permanent.

- Equally silly as previous point now officially claim the expulsion of
 the person, and by consequence his project, from GNOME.

You kicked him out STARTING the public embarrassment. Why did you even
execute the seven other steps? That's even a waste of time.

You know, Dave, I could have added 700 such items to your list. So what?
None of the ones you added after number two make *any* sense whatsoever.

They don't change the purpose. Which is crystal clear to kick people
with whom more influential people disagree with, out.


HOW is the above situation unplausible? I can give you many X and Y
project pairs in GNOME whom maintainers compete with each other and
often have passionate disagreements.

What guarantees me such people don't end up becoming elected? Have you
looked at the current list of candidates?

Have you looked at previous board members?

Am I saying it's wrong that such maintainers end up becoming elected?
Certainly not!!

This reality means, though, that error from within isn't unlikely. Not
at all. Ignoring that means that you are ignoring a most important
aspect of humanity.

We *are* a species that come *with* errors. Whether or not that is an
error in biology is a question for Richard Dawkins that I wont answer.

> The Board can definitely take action on Foundation level.
> Example: the Board could decide to not sponsor a certain person
> anymore because of a really bad attitude inside the community.
> However, I don't see the Board prohibiting this same person from
> participating on daily GNOME development (banning from mailings,
> removing git account, etc).

I don't think making sponsorship decisions based on this is either
effective nor wanted. It only creates more friction.

Any proposal that doesn't have as core purpose to lessen this friction
is doomed to fail, to be ineffective and highly counterproductive.

Just the mere act of picking sides is *already* wrong. The board should
refrain from doing that officially at all times. It'll otherwise get
accused of bias. The board's track record on this is, atm, good.

As far as I know is Luis among the very few people in our community who
has had a legal training. Appointing judges is not something countries
do without said lawyer having a lot of field experience.

We too aren't in a position to act as judge.

[CUT - I no strong opinion about all other matters]

Philip Van Hoof, freelance software developer
home: me at pvanhoof dot be
gnome: pvanhoof at gnome dot org


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