On Sun, Dec 03, 2017 at 12:18:04AM +0100, Michał Górny wrote:
> Hello, everyone.
> This is something that's been talked about privately a lot lately but it
> seems that nobody went forward to put things into motion. SO here's
> a proposal that aims to improve the condition of our mailing lists
> and solve some of the problems they are facing today.
> Problems
> ========
> Currently the developer-oriented mailing lists gentoo-dev and gentoo-
> project are open to posting by everyone. While this has been generally
> beneficial, we seem to be having major problems with some
> of the posters for more than a year. Off hand, I can think of three:
> 1. Repeating attacks against Gentoo and/or Gentoo developers (including
> pure personal attacks). While it is understandable that some people may
> be frustrated and need to vent off, repeating attacks from the same
> person are seriously demotivating to everyone.
> 2. Frequent off-topics, often irrelevant to the thread at hand.
> I understand that some of those topics are really interesting but it is
> really time-consuming to filter through all the off-topic mails
> in search of data relevant to the topic at hand. What's worst, sometimes
> you don't even get a single on-topic reply.
> 3. Support requests. Some of our 'expert users' have been abusing
> the mailing lists to request support (because it's easier to ask
> everyone than go through proper channels) and/or complain about bug
> resolutions. This is a minor issue but still it is one.
> All of those issues are slowly rendering the mailing lists impossible to
> use. People waste a lot of time trying to gather feedback, and get
> demotivated in the process. A steadily growing number of developers
> either stop reading the mailing lists altogether, or reduce their
> activity.
> For example, eclass reviews usually don't get more than one reply,
> and even that is not always on-topic. And after all, getting this kind
> of feedback is one of the purposes of the -dev mailing list!
> Proposal
> ========
> Give the failure of other solutions tried for this, I'd like to
> establish the following changes to the mailing lists:
> 1. Posting to gentoo-dev@ and gentoo-project@ mailing lists will be
> initially restricted to active Gentoo developers.
> 1a. Subscription (reading) and archives will still be open.
> 1b. Active Gentoo contributors will be able to obtain posting access
> upon being vouched for by an active Gentoo developer.
> 2. A new mailing list 'gentoo-expert' will be formed to provide
> a discussion medium for expert Gentoo users and developers.
> 2a. gentoo-expert will have open posting access like gentoo-dev has now.
> Rationale
> =========
> I expect that some of you will find this a drastic measure. However, I
> would like to point out that I believe we've already exhausted all other
> options to no avail.
> The problems of more abusive behavior from some of the mailing list
> members have been reported to ComRel numerous times. After the failure
> of initial enforcement, I'm not aware of ComRel doing anything to solve
> the problem. The main arguments I've heard from ComRel members were:
> A. Bans can be trivially evaded, and history proves that those evasions
> create more noise than leaving the issue as is.
> B. People should be allowed to express their opinion [even if it's pure
> hate speech that carries no value to anyone].
> C. The replies of Gentoo developers were worse [no surprise that people
> lose their patience after being attacked for a few months].
> The alternative suggested by ComRel pretty much boiled down to 'ignore
> the trolls'. While we can see this is actually starting to happen right
> now (even the most determined developers stopped replying), this doesn't
> really solve the problem because:
> I. Some people are really determined and continue sending mails even if
> nobody replies to them. In fact, they are perfectly capable of replying
> to themselves.
> II. This practically assumes that every new mailing list subscriber will
> be able to recognize the problem. Otherwise, new people will repeatedly
> be lured into discussing with them.
> III. In the end, it puts Gentoo in a bad position. Firstly, because it
> silently consents to misbehavior on the mailing lists. Secondly, because
> the lack of any statement in reply to accusations could be seen
> as a sign of shameful silent admittance.
> Yet another alternative that was proposed was to establish moderation of
> the mailing lists. However, Infrastructure has replied already that we
> can't deploy effective moderation with the current mailing list software
> and I'm not aware of anyone willing to undergo all the necessary work to
> change that.
> Even if we were able to overcome that and be able to find a good
> moderation team that can effectively and fairly moderate e-mails without
> causing huge delays, moderation has a number of own problems:
> α) the delays will make discussions more cumbersome, and render posting
> confusing to users,
> β) they will implicitly cause some overlap of replies (e.g. when N
> different people answer the same question because they don't see earlier
> replies until they're past moderation),
> γ) the problem will be solved only partially -- what if a reply contains
> both valuable info and personal attack?
> Seeing that no other effort so far has succeeded in solving the problem,
> splitting the mailing lists seems the best solution so far. Most
> notably:
> а. Developer mailing lists are restored to their original purpose.
> б. It is 'fair'. Unlike with disciplinary actions, there is no judgment
> problem, just a clear split between 'developers' and 'non-developers'.
> в. 'Expert users' are still provided with a mailing list where they can
> discuss Gentoo without being pushed down into 'user support' channels.
> г. Active contributors (in particular recruits) can still obtain posting
> access to the mailing lists, much like they do obtain it to #gentoo-dev
> right now. However, if they start misbehaving we can just remove that
> without the risk of evasion.
> -- 
> Best regards,
> Michał Górny

I don't think this plan will have the effect you're going for, but let's
be honest here: the "RFC" is just a formality; the decision's already
been made.

If the "real leaders" of Gentoo want to divide and fragment the
community, it's their prerogative. As we tell users who do something
they're not supposed to: You get to keep the pieces.


Daniel Campbell - Gentoo Developer, Trustee, Treasurer
OpenPGP Key: 0x1EA055D6 @ hkp://keys.gnupg.net
fpr: AE03 9064 AE00 053C 270C  1DE4 6F7A 9091 1EA0 55D6

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