On Fri, 2005-12-16 at 19:22 -0800, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> On Dec 16, 2005, at 6:28 PM, Jean T. Anderson wrote:
> >> For crying out loud, would you please supply links to the exact posts
> >> you consider to be in poor taste and the person's name?  I just  
> >> wasted
> >> 10 minutes trying to follow the bread crumbs.  You have to make it
> >> easier on reviewers -- everyone seems to be painfully avoiding
> >> a pointer to an actual message.
> >
> > sorry -- I'm not trying to frustrate folks. I considered posting  
> > specific links, but withdrew them at the end, even though they are  
> > links to public archives. The name at the core is Michael Segel.
> >
> > Below are links to public responses to some of his posts (which are  
> > numerous enough that they alone would be frustrating to wade through):
> Well, yes, but what I asked for was the posts that you consider to be
> in poor taste, not responses to those posts.  But now that I know who
> you are talking about I could use the view-by-author and see that this
> person is better than the typical troll with diarrhea of the fingers.
> He is usually right, even when though he would fail miserably as a
> strategist, and most of his posts in October were both useful
> and normal.  In others, he slides into troll mode on responses.


he's actually seems well behaved for a troll. he does a reasonable job
of signalling when he thinks he's sliding into troll mode and does
answer user questions. 

not only has banning been generally very ineffectual for trolls (it only
draws attention to them, gives them a grievance to use against you at
some later time and prevents worries about their reputation from
limiting their negative behaviour) but the presence of a manageable
troll prevents other, nastier trolls from invading you list. IIRC the
few times that banning has worked is against cross-marketing trolls
(typically these need to post under their actual names).

> The answer is to ask your community not to feed the troll when it
> gets grumpy and just ignore him, and to limit discussion to the
> topic of the list.  Yes, he is an annoying troll, but on balance
> he hasn't done anything truly disruptive or offensive that I could find.


AFAICT when he gets grumpy, he starts going off topic for the user list.
faced with a similar situation, i'd probably rename the troll part of
each thread to [OT] and ask him politely to continue the issue on the
dev list.

> Personally, if I had been on the list when he started inventing big
> words about GPL and IBM, I would have flamed him to a crisp so badly
> that he would have unsubscribed (and I probably would have been
> banned outright).  


all the flame retarding tags in the world wouldn't have saved him ;)

> Your calls for politeness will only restrain those
> who care.

i think perhaps that this is an issues of strategic aims verses
effective tactics. a good atmosphere on the user list is vital and IMO
jean is right to be concerned that those who could be contributing to
the community are being scared away by the troll. 

IMHO this atmosphere is fostered best by the attitude of those
developers who regularly answer questions on the user list. asking (or
demanding) politeness will therefore probably be less effective than the
developers demonstrating politeness even in the face of provocation. so,
it's probably better to stop feeding the troll and to pointedly stick on
topic (for a user list which is helping users solve their problems and
not a critical debate about design). the energy saved can be more
effectively used reassuring users. 

but there is some OT FUD that does really need addressing. it may be
necessary to tolerate some grumpiness in order to be able to effectively
draw a line in the sand which is unacceptable to cross. however, some
users can start to feel intimidated and insecure if someone who answers
a lot of user questions engages in a flame war. so, it can often more
effective for a relative outsider to handle an OT flamewar. (a little
like good cop, bad cop.) 

before jakarta was flattened, there were a number of people who were
pretty good at spotting and tackling OT FUD. perhaps (as apache tries to
scale) we need to start highlighting more OT FUD issues on this list...

- robert

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