[admin] Re: [uf-discuss] inappropriate behaviour (was: Discussion ofpublic domain declaration template usage)

Joe Andrieu joe at andrieu.net
Sun Aug 5 12:39:59 PDT 2007

Scott Reynen (Thursday, August 02, 2007 10:04 AM) wrote:
> On Aug 1, 2007, at 1:02 PM, Andy Mabbett wrote:
> > In message <sTsRdnHwr9pGFwfF at pigsonthewing.org.uk>, Andy Mabbett 
> > <andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk> writes
> >>> Frankly Andy, due to your use of the {{subst}} method, you have
> >>> now added
> >>> additional time cost to determining if any page *you* edit in  
> >>> particular is
> >>> consistently in the public domain or not with respect to all  
> >>> other public
> >>> domain contributors.
> >>
> >> Frankly, Tantek, that's bullshit.
> >
> > I have just received an e-mail, from Frances Berriman, subject   
> > "Warning
> > of inappropriate behaviour on mf-discuss", citing the above
> > exchange of
> > 26 July, in:
> >
> >   <http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2007-
> > July/010261.html>
> >
> > and telling me that:
> >
> >         Such an outburst (sic) requires (sic) a warning that if you
> >         cannot contribute with respect and in an appropriate tone
> > on the
> >         mailing list, you will receive a cooling off ban.
> >
> > Perhaps Ms Berriman isn't familiar with British English vernacular 
> > (which would be odd, I understand she lives here), but "Rubbish, 
> > nonsense" is in the Oxford English Dictionary, and means "rubbish, 
> > nonsense". In any case, that was no "outburst"; but a considered
> > and apt
> > description of the comment to which I was responding; and I stand  
> > by it.
> The microformats admins have decided to ban Andy Mabbet from this  
> community (both email lists and wiki) for one week, due to continued  
> failure to adhere to the "be nice" guideline [1] after a private  
> warning.
> [1] http://microformats.org/wiki/mailing-lists#Be_nice


Could you to provide the evidence that was used to conclude that Andy failed to adhere to the "be nice" guideline /after/ the
private warning?

I certainly agree that Andy's telling Tantek his opinion is "bullshit" is a failure to be nice and deserved a notice and potentially
some sort of censure. However, all subsequent posts by Andy were reasonable and professional. Your justification for the ban implied
that /even after/ being warned, Andy continued to act inappropriately, yet I haven't seen any evidence supporting that.  Am I
understanding your statement properly?

The only rule of "be nice" that I can imagine applies to Andy's subsequent posts is if you define "be nice" as being obsequious
whenever the enforcers of community standards tell you to stop acting up.  Or to put more concisely: it appears that Andy was banned
because he disagreed with Ms. Berriman and chose to express that disagreement publicly.

If that's true, it would be another case of abusive administrative policing. As other microformats.org administrative issues, it was
also apparently handled in a "secret meeting" in the "back room".  I reviewed the IRC archive where I know many administrators
gather and discuss issues, hoping to find some record of the discussion.  However, the only reference to Andy's banning is the ban

Nothing on the wiki. Nothing on the mailing list. Simply a summary judgment by you. 

You state--and is both believable and sensible--that you were acting in coordination with several other admins, and, I believe,
honestly in your collective judgment for the best of the community. I don't think there was anything particularly nefarious or
malicious about the decision, other than a possible personal bias by some administrators against Andy.  Yet, none of the process or
decision is documented anywhere.

Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

This continued "secret policing" of community standards is a problem. It is resulting--at a minimum--in poorly communicated
decisions and a loss of credibility in the community. This is why the term "cabal" is repeatedly used to describe the

Instead, it would be much more conducive to building an engaged community if such policing actions were, at least, clearly
documented with a public record of those administrators supporting it and why, as well as an opportunity for community members to go
on record with their opinions. While I agree the administrators must retain the final authority in such matters, the current
governance process is, by its nature, disenfranchising and a systemic invitation to abuses of power.

With authority comes responsibility. In creating this community, the admins should be held accountable to the community. Instead, we
have a stubborn refusal to support transparency, commitment, and accountability.

I believe this is doing the community far more harm than Andy's "bullshit" comment and certainly more harm than his rebuttal to Ms.
Berriman's private message.


Joe Andrieu
SwitchBook Software
joe at switchbook.com
+1 (805) 705-8651 

More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list