[uf-discuss] Unjust banning of Andy Mabbett

Michael Smethurst Michael.Smethurst at bbc.co.uk
Mon Mar 10 07:57:26 PST 2008


On 8/3/08 21:45, "Manu Sporny" <msporny at digitalbazaar.com> wrote:

> I just got back from vacation, otherwise this would have gone out
> sooner. It has come to my attention that Andy Mabbett has been banned by
> the admins for 18 months[1].
> This is an unjust punishment, especially considering that he is one of
> the largest contributors to our community. Rather than make sweeping
> assertions and accusations, I'm going to back this post up with hard
> data. Here are the statements that will be addressed:
> - Andy is one of our most prolific contributors, this community will be
>   harmed by such a long-term ban.
> - An 18 month ban does not fit Andy's behavior - it is an unjust
>   punishment.
> - Andy was tried as guilty, without complete documentation.
> - Andy pushes the limits in this community, and because of him, we know
>   what is and is not acceptable in this community.
> - Andy says what some of the rest of us are thinking, and he shouldn't
>   be banned for such an extreme length of time for voicing his opinion.
> Andy is one of our most prolific contributors
> ---------------------------------------------
> Maybe most of you are unaware of Andy's contributions to this community.
> I took the time to write a script to download and analyze the entire
> history on Microformats.org's mailing lists (the script is attached to
> this e-mail). Here are the top contributors to the microformats-discuss
> mailing list:
>         andy mabbett - 1133 posts - 9.68% of contributions
>            ryan king - 885  posts - 7.56% of contributions
>         tantek celik - 833  posts - 7.11% of contributions
>         scott reynen - 504  posts - 4.30% of contributions
>           brian suda - 467  posts - 3.99% of contributions
>          david janes - 432  posts - 3.69% of contributions
>        chris messina - 388  posts - 3.31% of contributions
>    charles krempeaux - 233  posts - 1.99% of contributions
>        mike schinkel - 193  posts - 1.65% of contributions
>  dr. ernie prabhakar - 188  posts - 1.61% of contributions
>          danny ayers - 171  posts - 1.46% of contributions
>          kevin marks - 145  posts - 1.24% of contributions
>       ciaran mcnulty - 135  posts - 1.15% of contributions
>     frances berriman - 134  posts - 1.14% of contributions
>             ben ward - 126  posts - 1.08% of contributions
>        bruce d'arcus - 120  posts - 1.02% of contributions
>         paul wilkins - 119  posts - 1.02% of contributions
>      dimitri glazkov - 110  posts - 0.94% of contributions
>        benjamin west - 107  posts - 0.91% of contributions
> Here are the top-10 contributors to the microformats-new mailing list:
>          manu sporny - 298 posts - 19.13% of contributions
>        martin mcevoy - 238 posts - 15.28% of contributions
>         andy mabbett - 182 posts - 11.68% of contributions
>         scott reynen - 148 posts - 9.50% of contributions
>           brian suda -  62 posts - 3.98% of contributions
>         tantek celik -  37 posts - 2.37% of contributions
>          david janes -  36 posts - 2.31% of contributions
>     guillaume lebleu -  27 posts - 1.73% of contributions
>     frances berriman -  26 posts - 1.67% of contributions
>       julian stahnke -  20 posts - 1.28% of contributions
> It is quite evident from this data that Andy has produced more than
> anyone else in this community, even assuming that 10% of the threads
> that he starts result in a ban on his account. I know of no other
> community that would treat one of their primary contributors in this manner.
> An 18 month ban doesn't fit Andy's behavior
> -------------------------------------------
> Banning somebody for 18 months is quite a serious amount of time, and
> while the admins might not have come to the decision lightly, I do
> question whether the punishment is justified. If you look at the
> documented rules that were added/changed due to Andy[2], you will note
> that a whopping 13 of the 17 are EDITORIAL rules. The other 4 are
> behavioral rules that Andy has broken in the past (as have several
> others on the mailing list). I am not defending bad behavior, just
> noting that part of the reason that Andy is being banned is due to these
> EDITORIAL rules that he has broken and I don't think that an 18 month
> ban is justified for breaking editorial rules.
> His behavior as of late has been much calmer and more respectful, so I
> see no reason why this ban has appeared, seemingly out of the blue, at
> this time.
> Andy was tried as guilty, without complete documentation
> --------------------------------------------------------
> There is still no documentation as to what Andy has done in the past to
> warrant this type of ban. In the admin's post to the list, the following
> was mentioned:
>> As time permits, the admins will both hyperlink each of those
>> annotations to the specific email in the archives or edit in the wiki
>> history that caused it, as well as annotate any remaining rules with
>> their causes as well.  We believe this will help provide better
>> transparency and accountability.
> The time to generate transparency and accountability is BEFORE a ban,
> not after. This is why people are tried as innocent in most parts of the
> world - you may discover that what you think to be evidence against Andy
> falls down upon closer examination.
> This sends a dubious message indeed - "The admins can ban you and then,
> ex post facto, document the reasons why they banned you". This is backwards.
> Andy pushes the limits in this community
> ----------------------------------------
> I wouldn't expect that the people that have not started a company, a
> cause, or tried to change something for the better will fully understand
> this concept, but here goes.
>     First they ignore you.
>     Then they laugh at you.
>     Then they fight you.
>     Then you win.
>     ­Mahatma Gandhi
> Anyone that has tried to change the status quo knows that good people
> will fight you just because you are trying to enact change. They do it
> because they don't know what the world looks like with the change that
> you are attempting to impose. I know Andy well enough to know that he is
> fighting to change this community for the better, and while he may not
> always approach the problem from the proper direction, he does have this
> community's best interests in mind. Why else would he spend so much time
> as to become the #1 contributor as far as raw posts to the community go?
> This behavior to affect constant change should not be punished - it is a
> recipe for languishing in mediocrity. I've felt this pressure from the
> admins when working on hAudio and it makes it that much more difficult
> to volunteer to be treated as a pariah (also known as a new Microformat
> contributor).
> I have had more purposeful discussion with people off-list than on-list
> as of late - most of it revolving around how those that try to push the
> limits of Microformats are quickly beaten down instead of taken
> seriously. Writing off Andy Mabbett in this way is further proof, in my
> mind at least,  that the admins don't respect that particular aspect of
> doing something revolutionary.
> Pushing the limits should be rewarded, not punished.
> Andy should not be banned for voicing his opinion
> -------------------------------------------------
> Andy is best known for voicing his opinion quite loudly, and while I
> don't +1 everything he says, I agree with a great deal of the criticisms
> he has about this community - namely how the admins operate.
> You guys make Dick Cheney look downright candid at times.
> With respect, I have no idea how Drew McLellan, Eric A. Meyer, and Dan
> Cederholm became admins. Is there a secret handshake? Were they voted
> into the position? How are these things done?
> Andy has been a critic as to the somewhat secretive nature of the
> admins, and this looks like you guys are just beating up on him due to
> lack of progress made in Microformats over the past 18 months.
> In other words - he's being turned into a scapegoat for his criticism of
> how the admins in this community operate and for the lack of progress made.
> The problem isn't Andy Mabbett - it's the Microformats Process.
> Closing statements
> ------------------
> This ban turns my stomach. I'm starting to not enjoy working in this
> community - especially since you've gotten rid of one of the key people
> that argued with us about the future direction of hAudio.
> Personally, I butted heads with Andy on numerous occasions with regard
> to the hAudio uF specification. The result was a better specification
> because we actually listened to what Andy was saying, instead of taking
> his curt replies to be disrespectful.
> I'd like to see the ban on Andy reduced to a month or lifted completely.
> I do not see the justification for the length of this ban - no
> documentation has been provided to back up the claims for the ban.
> I'm attempting to understand the behavior of the admins - if you respect
> the members in this community, please make an honest effort in
> responding to each point in this e-mail.
> with respect,
> -- manu
> [1]http://microformats.org/discuss/mail/microformats-discuss/2008-March/011674
> .html
> [2]http://microformats.org/wiki/how-to-play

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