Mailing list moderation and community openness

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Mailing list moderation and community openness

Michael Palimaka
I see that in bug #650964[1] Council is pushing forward again with
implementing user whitelisting on this mailing list (ie. anyone that is
not "approved" will have their mail rejected).

Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
core tenets of an open and inclusive community?

1: https://bugs.gentoo.org/650964

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Kristian Fiskerstrand-2
On 03/20/2018 01:17 PM, Michael Palimaka wrote:
> I see that in bug #650964[1] Council is pushing forward again with
> implementing user whitelisting on this mailing list (ie. anyone that is
> not "approved" will have their mail rejected).
>
> Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
> core tenets of an open and inclusive community?
>
> 1: https://bugs.gentoo.org/650964
>

The correct place to have pointed this out would have been during the
previous ML discussions, and in particular ahead of either of the two
council meetings on the matter where it was clearly put on the agenda.
The bug in question is just a technical matter of implementing a final
decision.

--
Kristian Fiskerstrand
OpenPGP keyblock reachable at hkp://pool.sks-keyservers.net
fpr:94CB AFDD 3034 5109 5618 35AA 0B7F 8B60 E3ED FAE3


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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Lars Wendler
In reply to this post by Michael Palimaka
On Tue, 20 Mar 2018 23:17:52 +1100 Michael Palimaka wrote:

>I see that in bug #650964[1] Council is pushing forward again with
>implementing user whitelisting on this mailing list (ie. anyone that is
>not "approved" will have their mail rejected).
>
>Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
>core tenets of an open and inclusive community?
>
>1: https://bugs.gentoo.org/650964
>

+1

This is ridiculous and council should be ashamed of this decision.

--
Lars Wendler
Gentoo package maintainer
GPG: 21CC CF02 4586 0A07 ED93  9F68 498F E765 960E 9B39

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Gregory Woodbury
On gentoo-dev list: k_f
points out that this should have been talked about during previous
discussion periods...

It was discussed "to death" over and over, and many argued against it
till they were blue in the face.
Their concerns were ignored, and Gentoo lost a lot more of the "Free
and Open" reputation it theoretically
prides itself on.

--
G.Wolfe Woodbury
[hidden email]

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Matthew Thode (prometheanfire)
In reply to this post by Michael Palimaka
On 18-03-20 23:17:52, Michael Palimaka wrote:
> I see that in bug #650964[1] Council is pushing forward again with
> implementing user whitelisting on this mailing list (ie. anyone that is
> not "approved" will have their mail rejected).
>
> Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
> core tenets of an open and inclusive community?
>
> 1: https://bugs.gentoo.org/650964
>

While I personally do no agree with mailing list moderation infra has
been tasked with moving forward on it.  In that vein, this is what we
are proposing.

Install and configure mailman3/hyperkitty/postorius once they all
support python3.  Specifically we wish to use docker-mailman for this so
we can easilly redeploy this on diferent machines as needed.

mailman3 gives us two good things, it has support for moderation (for
better or worse) and it handles senders using dmarc.

There are still some issues with it infra side (archiving will still
have to use the old system) and moving mailing lists is going to be fun,
but them the breaks.

--
Matthew Thode (prometheanfire)

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Alexander Berntsen-2
In reply to this post by Michael Palimaka
On 20/03/18 13:17, Michael Palimaka wrote:
> Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
> core tenets of an open and inclusive community?
It's fairly simple to produce a justification of the decision. I can
think of several ways of doing so. One is through an appeal to some
notion of community health improvement from impeding toxic contributors.
In this strategy, the argument would be something pertaining to how
allowing these toxic posters free rein on the mailing list would
contradict the core tenet of an open and inclusive community. There are
several more ways to rationalise the decision.

But you won't buy into either of those purported vindications of this
decision. (I won't either.) So don't bother requesting them. Another
aimless (and thus endless) back and forth in Jackal language isn't
likely to achieve anything worthwhile beyond what the initial exchange
achieved.
--
Alexander
[hidden email]
https://secure.plaimi.net/~alexander


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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Pengcheng Xu
In reply to this post by Michael Palimaka
I can understand the need to reduce meaningless spams on the dev list,
but seems like general rejection of posts from non-developers would
distract the idea of this being an open mailing list: a list that one can’t
post to effectively decays to something like a bulletin board, and obviously
the developing process shouldn’t be kept in a showcase, which would greatly
discourage people who are not part of the dev team, yet still wanting to
get involved in the discussing, maybe even decision-making.

Pengcheng Xu



H30/03/20 20:17、Michael Palimaka <[hidden email]>のメール:

I see that in bug #650964[1] Council is pushing forward again with
implementing user whitelisting on this mailing list (ie. anyone that is
not "approved" will have their mail rejected).

Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
core tenets of an open and inclusive community?

1: https://bugs.gentoo.org/650964



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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

William Hubbs
In reply to this post by Alexander Berntsen-2
On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 04:44:26PM +0100, Alexander Berntsen wrote:

> On 20/03/18 13:17, Michael Palimaka wrote:
> > Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
> > core tenets of an open and inclusive community?
> It's fairly simple to produce a justification of the decision. I can
> think of several ways of doing so. One is through an appeal to some
> notion of community health improvement from impeding toxic contributors.
> In this strategy, the argument would be something pertaining to how
> allowing these toxic posters free rein on the mailing list would
> contradict the core tenet of an open and inclusive community. There are
> several more ways to rationalise the decision.
>
> But you won't buy into either of those purported vindications of this
> decision. (I won't either.) So don't bother requesting them. Another
> aimless (and thus endless) back and forth in Jackal language isn't
> likely to achieve anything worthwhile beyond what the initial exchange
> achieved.
As the council member who voted against this decision, I am going to
express my opinion, even though it will be unpopular with the majority of
the council and probably others as well.

I do feel that this decision reflects badly on us as a community and
should be reversed immediately. The proper way to deal with people who
have bad behavior is to deal with them individually and not put a
restriction on the community that is not necessary.

William


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Re: [gentoo-project] Re: [gentoo-dev] Mailing list moderation and community openness

Rich Freeman
In reply to this post by Gregory Woodbury
On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 9:41 AM, Gregory Woodbury <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On gentoo-dev list: k_f
> points out that this should have been talked about during previous
> discussion periods...
>
> It was discussed "to death" over and over, and many argued against it
> till they were blue in the face.

Indeed, it will probably still be discussed over and over up until the
point where those who disagree are either unable to post on the lists,
or told that it is off-topic and will result in them losing access to
post on the lists.

Seriously, everything that has been said today in this thread was said
in the last thread on this topic.  The whole reason we have GLEP 39 is
that there are simply topics that not everybody will agree on...

--
Rich

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Kristian Fiskerstrand-2
In reply to this post by Matthew Thode (prometheanfire)
On 03/20/2018 04:28 PM, Matthew Thode wrote:

> On 18-03-20 23:17:52, Michael Palimaka wrote:
>> I see that in bug #650964[1] Council is pushing forward again with
>> implementing user whitelisting on this mailing list (ie. anyone that is
>> not "approved" will have their mail rejected).
>>
>> Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
>> core tenets of an open and inclusive community?
>>
>> 1: https://bugs.gentoo.org/650964
>>
> While I personally do no agree with mailing list moderation infra has
> been tasked with moving forward on it.  In that vein, this is what we
> are proposing.
>
> Install and configure mailman3/hyperkitty/postorius once they all
> support python3.  Specifically we wish to use docker-mailman for this so
> we can easilly redeploy this on diferent machines as needed.
>
> mailman3 gives us two good things, it has support for moderation (for
> better or worse) and it handles senders using dmarc.
>
> There are still some issues with it infra side (archiving will still
> have to use the old system) and moving mailing lists is going to be fun,
> but them the breaks.
Switching to mailman might have some good merits on its own, but as I
understand it it isn't necessary for the proposal at hand, that can be
solved using access control lists in mlmmj-process?

--
Kristian Fiskerstrand
OpenPGP keyblock reachable at hkp://pool.sks-keyservers.net
fpr:94CB AFDD 3034 5109 5618 35AA 0B7F 8B60 E3ED FAE3


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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Benda Xu
In reply to this post by William Hubbs
William Hubbs <[hidden email]> writes:

> I do feel that this decision reflects badly on us as a community and
> should be reversed immediately. The proper way to deal with people who
> have bad behavior is to deal with them individually and not put a
> restriction on the community that is not necessary.

I agree with William.  Dealing with individuals makes more sense.

It boils down to an attitude of assuming outsiders are good (blacklist
to ML) or bad (whitelist to ML) by default.

Benda

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Rich Freeman
On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 7:54 PM, Benda Xu <[hidden email]> wrote:

> William Hubbs <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> I do feel that this decision reflects badly on us as a community and
>> should be reversed immediately. The proper way to deal with people who
>> have bad behavior is to deal with them individually and not put a
>> restriction on the community that is not necessary.
>
> I agree with William.  Dealing with individuals makes more sense.
>
> It boils down to an attitude of assuming outsiders are good (blacklist
> to ML) or bad (whitelist to ML) by default.

Actually, I think it is more of a technical constraint.  It is
basically impossible to blacklist somebody on a mailing list, since
all they need to do is roll up a new email address.

I can think of various arguments for whitelisting or not whitelisting,
but it seems silly to blacklist.

--
Rich

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Paweł Hajdan, Jr.
In reply to this post by Michael Palimaka
On 20/03/2018 05:17, Michael Palimaka wrote:
> I see that in bug #650964[1] Council is pushing forward again with
> implementing user whitelisting on this mailing list (ie. anyone that is
> not "approved" will have their mail rejected).
>
> Could someone please explain how this doesn't directly contradict the
> core tenets of an open and inclusive community?
>
> 1: https://bugs.gentoo.org/650964

This is a controversial topic which continues to be rehashed.

I think it'd be good for people opposing it (I share at least some of
your concern) to make sure they read the following resources and suggest
the best means to keep our community a nice place.

<https://www.slideshare.net/vishnu/how-to-protect-yourhow-to-protect-your-open-source-project-from-poisonous-people>

<http://lesswrong.com/lw/c1/wellkept_gardens_die_by_pacifism/>

Paweł


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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Eray Aslan-2
In reply to this post by Matthew Thode (prometheanfire)
On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 10:28:48AM -0500, Matthew Thode wrote:
> While I personally do no agree with mailing list moderation infra has
> been tasked with moving forward on it.

You can always resign from infra.

That was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment but not wholly.  You cant
cop out by saying it was an order from council.  I understand if you
dont but do consider it.  Fight the good fight.

--
Eray

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Rich Freeman
On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 1:36 AM, Eray Aslan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 10:28:48AM -0500, Matthew Thode wrote:
>> While I personally do no agree with mailing list moderation infra has
>> been tasked with moving forward on it.
>
> That was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment but not wholly.  You cant
> cop out by saying it was an order from council.  I understand if you
> dont but do consider it.  Fight the good fight.

Interesting.  When exactly should we all start ignoring the Council,
and when should we do what they say?  And what is the likely result of
that?

For all the complaining of "cabals" in Gentoo it seems odd to suggest
putting the final decisions of the one group that is about the least
democratic in the organization.

(That isn't really intended as a criticism: there are a lot of
practical reasons why infra operates as it does and I've yet to come
up with any better approach.  With the council/trustees the authority
comes from the collective, and nobody would pay attention to a
directive that didn't have a majority backing or the appearance of due
process.  With any other project the decisions are appealable to
council.  With infra one guy with the root password can cause a lot of
havoc, and the computer isn't going to stop and question what they're
doing.  That creates a lot of incentive to minimize the number of
people who are trusted.  In any case, I think it makes the most sense
to do the decision-making in more open/democratic processes, and then
minimize the execution footprint that requires "cabals.")

As I've commented elsewhere [1] I think an issue here is that we just
don't have enough of a critical mass to be able to afford to split
along ideological lines.  The set of developers interested in a
source-based distro is barely sufficient to create a viable
source-based distro.  If you split it into the subsets who prefer open
vs closed mailing lists on top of this then the individual groups lack
critical mass.  And so we're forced to co-exist, and agree on one or
the other, or some kind of compromise.

1 - https://rich0gentoo.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/gentoo-ought-to-be-about-choice/

--
Rich

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Alec Warner-2
In reply to this post by Eray Aslan-2
On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 1:36 AM, Eray Aslan <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 10:28:48AM -0500, Matthew Thode wrote:
> While I personally do no agree with mailing list moderation infra has
> been tasked with moving forward on it.

You can always resign from infra.

That was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment but not wholly.  You cant
cop out by saying it was an order from council.  I understand if you
dont but do consider it.  Fight the good fight.

So when there is conflict its pretty often that you have 3 options.

1) Accept
2) Leave
3) Escalate

I'm not sure 3 is possible (the council is already the highest body). I also think that as a organization this is how we
arranged it to be. Speaking for myself, this is not the worst issue I've seen in Gentoo and so I thing doing 2 is probably
not very effective. Its also likely I can only do 2 once (because maybe I would not be welcome'd back or want to contribute anymore.)

That leaves 1 and one interests me for many reasons.

a) as noted earlier, decisions are not set in stone. Its possible we could turn on this whitelisting solution for a brief period and the decision is overturned at the next council meeting, or perhaps at the next council election once the existing council is replaced.
b) I am never afraid of making mistakes. I too think this is a mistake; but I don't think its a critical mistake for the organization. Maybe I'm wrong though.
c) I have a selfish interest to migrate off of mmlmj because I have an intense dislike (of the software) and I think we need a "modernized" list setup. So this effort is a driver to get some infra work done.
d) Infra as a organization wields a lot of power in Gentoo and I think its organizationally dangerous to wield that power in this way. For example, if the entire infra team retired rather than implement this solution; or even worse, refused to retire but just didn't implement it. Ultimately Infrastructure is here to meet the needs of the distribution and if we are not doing that then we have failed as an organization.[1]
e) In the past, infra *has* wielded its power in a fashion that had negative impacts on the distribution (e.g. arbitrarily removing commit rights for developers with no warning, process, or oversight). I think there is an additional focus in the the Infra team to avoid that sort of activity and "inaction is still action" and I think it results in similar repercussions.
 
[1] Which isn't to say that I would accept 'orders' to commit crimes, or other obviously bad things. I'm again asserting that this idea is not fundamentally bad. The community has a 'toxic people problem' and our previous attempts at resolution have not really produced great results. Will this also produce great results? Not sure. But willing to try it.

-A

--
Eray


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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Eray Aslan-2
On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 10:44:48AM -0400, Alec Warner wrote:
> [1] Which isn't to say that I would accept 'orders' to commit crimes, or
> other obviously bad things.

This is the crux of the problem.  There are certain lines you will not
cross.  I am saying that my line is different and by voicing that,
hopefully, making you re-consider yours.

> I'm again asserting that this idea is not
> fundamentally bad. The community has a 'toxic people problem' and our
> previous attempts at resolution have not really produced great results.
> Will this also produce great results? Not sure. But willing to try it.

Openness, transparency, inclusiveness.  Those are some pretty
fundemental values.  Reconsider.  But if you decide to go ahead, I am
not going to judge you.  You (or the council members who voted yes) are
not bad persons.  Just somewhat different values - which is surprising
in a sad way.

--
Eray

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Alec Warner-2


On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 12:31 PM, Eray Aslan <[hidden email]> wrote:
On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 10:44:48AM -0400, Alec Warner wrote:
> [1] Which isn't to say that I would accept 'orders' to commit crimes, or
> other obviously bad things.

This is the crux of the problem.  There are certain lines you will not
cross.  I am saying that my line is different and by voicing that,
hopefully, making you re-consider yours.

> I'm again asserting that this idea is not
> fundamentally bad. The community has a 'toxic people problem' and our
> previous attempts at resolution have not really produced great results.
> Will this also produce great results? Not sure. But willing to try it.

Openness, transparency, inclusiveness.  Those are some pretty
fundemental values.  Reconsider.  But if you decide to go ahead, I am
not going to judge you.  You (or the council members who voted yes) are
not bad persons.  Just somewhat different values - which is surprising
in a sad way.

I think of my aim is just playing a longer field here. I've been a part of Gentoo for a long time. I've considered leaving numerous
times for a variety of reasons; yet I remain.

I don't disagree that the issue is important, but leaving an organization really changes the velocity and direction of influence one
can have on it. Traditionally I have not seen external contributors have a strong influence in Gentoo; so leaving to me implies a
loss of influence. If my goal is to have a good outcome; I'm not convinced leaving accomplishes it. If I leave, will the council change their mind? Why would they?

Perhaps you think myself (and other developers) should do more and I think that is a reasonable thing to advocate for; but I'm also fairly happy with a timeline
of:

1) We add moderation in ~April.
2) Council election happens in summer (I expect something of a strong reckoning here, in terms of council makeup.)
3) Council` repeals the previous decision and we undo the moderation[1].

I tend to like this approach because I feel like its how the organization was designed to work. I think alternatives involve essentially 'protesting'. E.g. I could propose the council discuss this topic at every meeting. I could try to use my developer-ship to force extra council meetings (emergency meetings perhaps.) I could collect signatures. I'm still not convinced these things would be vehicles for change though.

[1] There is of course the risk that this doesn't come about, either because the same council is re-elected or because the new council chooses not to repeal. But I accept this risk willingly.


--
Eray


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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

R0b0t1
In reply to this post by Alec Warner-2
On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 9:44 AM, Alec Warner <[hidden email]> wrote:
> The community has a 'toxic people problem'

Maybe certain people who feel they are being attacked are idiots and
don't like hearing it? I can't tell, and I suspect other people can't
either.

Respectfully,
     R0b0t1

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Re: Mailing list moderation and community openness

Rich Freeman
On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 12:55 PM, R0b0t1 <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I can't tell, and I suspect other people can't either.
>

This is the crux of the issue.  Decisions involving people issues are
made behind closed doors, which means that others are not free to
confirm for themselves whether those actions are correct.  This tends
to lead to ongoing debate over whether those decisions were
appropriate, with everybody arguing from their own knowledge, and the
only ones who know the information used to make the decision are
barred from talking about it.  This is basically a debate where
participation is limited to the ignorant, at least as far as the
particular details go (the general principles are debated by all).

That said, even if the decisions were made in the open I wouldn't
expect all to agree with them.

Ultimately though there are pros and cons to making these kinds of
decisions in the open, and there is not universal agreement regarding
how these situations ought to be handled.  We can either fight about
it until the end of time, or we can agree on some way to determine
what approach we are going to take and then support it (perhaps
begrudgingly).  Right now the mechanism that we have in place is the
Council.  The only other mechanism I could see that would make any
sense would be a referendum on the issue.  That gets unwieldy if we
try to apply it to every little decision, but maybe for the big
picture issues it would make sense.

However, I think a lot of people would be surprised at the outcome.
We all assume that we're all here for the same reasons, but as I
commented on my blog Gentoo is a bit unique among distros and many of
us are here for very different reasons, and have different priorities.
Also, there is sometimes a tendency to assume that all FOSS projects
work the same way.  When I was listening to a talk about how one of
the BSDs dealt with these kinds of issues I was shocked to discover
that much of their dev communications happens on completely closed
lists (not just closed to posting, but to reading as well).  Gentoo
has the gentoo-core list but it is very low traffic and it tends to be
used for things like swapping cell phone numbers before conferences.
When anything substantive comes up there are usually several people
who chime in to rightly point out that this talk belongs on a public
list.

Bottom line is that there are a lot of different ways projects can
run, and they all have their pros and cons.  A lot of the FOSS we
depend on actually gets built or discussed behind closed doors.  I
doubt many of us want Gentoo to go that far, but I suspect there is a
lot of interest in taking smaller steps in that general direction.

--
Rich

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