Re: What's the alternative to "snarling"?

Bron Gondwana <brong@fastmailteam.com> Wed, 21 April 2021 03:49 UTC

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Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2021 13:49:06 +1000
From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@fastmailteam.com>
To: "Jay Daley" <jay@ietf.org>
Cc: ietf@ietf.org
Subject: Re: What's the alternative to "snarling"?
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On Wed, Apr 21, 2021, at 13:07, Jay Daley wrote:
>> On 21/04/2021, at 1:41 PM, Bron Gondwana <brong@fastmailteam.com> wrote:
>> I believe there are good participants who will get out if they see a trust-and-safety secret court established which can judge them as having snarled, and tar and feather them as happened to Jeremy in that blog post above, with no recourse and no fair hearing.
> 
> I don’t recall seeing anyone suggesting that.

Nope, but it's a persistent end-state .  The particular good thing which Jeremy called out was:

Some of these issues are discussed in an excellent presentation <https://files.frameshiftconsulting.com/codeofconducttraining.pdf> from Valerie Aurora, who explains that “a code of conduct should contain” “behaviors which many people think are acceptable but are unacceptable in your community”, and that “If you want to list good behaviors or describe the community ideal of behavior, do it in a separate document”, and in particular “Do not require politeness or other forms of ‘proper’ behavior”.

>> We had an induction for my kids' school a couple of years ago, and the principal talked to us about bullying, and about how bullies often know the rules the best - they are intimately familiar with the rules and able to weaponise them against others, poking and needling at the other person until they break and lash out back, at which point the bully proudly shouts "look, the other person aggressed me" and points to the chapter and verse of the rule that was broken.  And looking back at the bully's actions leading up, they were all within the letter of the rules, while quite clearly also goading on their victim to impale themselves.
> 
> That’s behaviour I’ve observed too but I struggle to see the relevance here - are you suggesting that by the community trying to manage down bad behaviour all it is doing is creating opportunity for clever bullies to exploit the rules?

If the community starts enforcing "proper behaviour", then yes - that's where there's an opportunity for bullies to say "X snarled at me, CoC them".  And it's really hard to tell who's the bully in the general case - often both parties have some "instigating" blame to be apportioned.

>> But "assign tasks to old-timers" - in the re-educate all the old bad people who need showing that they're wrong sense?  That's how you drive people out - by their involvement no longer worthwhile to them.  We'd want to be really sure there's newer, better people waiting to take their place before embarking down that route!  That's where I was getting at with the "disuade existing customer base in favour of chasing a theoretical new customer base" analogy.
> 
> Again, I read that quite differently.  To me this was someone suggesting that old-timers are the best choice for documenting all the "discussed ad nauseum" ideas, which newcomers can then read to avoid falling into the trap.  Sounds like a useful section for the new wiki being planned [1].

I found a good one over in one of the other threads, which is very not much IETF specific, and is the assumption "company X is big so they can implement my idea / test my idea easily".  For sure, documenting both "discussed ad nauseum" and "fallacies about how the standards work" (hello protocol police) is useful.

In the degenerate case, once you remove the politeness angle, what's left of snarling is "outright dismissal of input without showing cause"... which is still tricky because when the Nth person shows up proposing that we drop all other work to implement IPv100-over-QBITS, it becomes a DoS to be required to fully educate them to their satisfaction.  In the anti-spam email world it got to the point where somebody built a template for rejecting ideas:

https://craphound.com/spamsolutions.txt

And sometimes a list like that is necessary to allow you to quickly dismiss distractions and get back to work!

Bron.

--
  Bron Gondwana, CEO, Fastmail Pty Ltd
  brong@fastmailteam.com