Moderation [was RE: [uf-discuss] Andy Mabbet's moderation]

Joe Andrieu joe at
Fri Feb 2 08:22:00 PST 2007

Colin Barrett wrote:
> Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 4:05 AM
> To: Microformats Discuss
> Subject: Re: Moderation [was RE: [uf-discuss] Andy Mabbet's 
> moderation]
> On Feb 1, 2007, at 12:53 PM, Joe Andrieu wrote:
> > And to say that the community had a say in Tantek's
> > action is about as valid as saying the American public had a say in 
> > George Bush's recent troop increase.
> You are treading dangerously close to invoking Godwin's Law[1] here,  
> and a number of other places in your recent messages.
> I'd ask that you refrain from this sort of thing. It's certainly  
> possible to address these issues without comparisons like 
> that, and it  
> would certainly be welcome, I think, by all involved.
> Again, in general, I've found your tone to be disrespectful to the  
> integrity of all members of this list, by implying that we 
> would allow  
> a tyrannical "government" to rule over the unknowing masses, and  
> particularly to the outstanding  administrators of this list, 
> who have  
> been *extremely* measured in their response to many members of this  
> list, something for which I applaud them -- having been on the other  
> side of the coin it's extremely easy to just remove someone from the  
> equation, but they have bent over backwards (IMO) to 
> accommodate Andy,  
> calling them dictators totally unnecessary just plain incorrect on a  
> variety of levels.

I appreciate your point.  And certainly will recalibrate my comments to
help facilitate rather than inflame.

For the record, you will note that I haven't invoked either terms
mentioned in Godwin's law.  

A few points:
1. I was not the first to refer to the leadership of uF as a
2. The admin list is secret and they do police this list.  For any
reasonable observer, that makes them secret police.

> Is there room for improvement? Always. Is this the place to 
> talk about  
> it? Probably. Is comparing them to a secret police or to an 
> unpopular  
> sitting American president necessary or helpful to the debate?  
> Probably not.

The Bush reference was definitely more personal than merited. You were
right to call me on it. However, I stand by the point of that comment--a
simple assertion that the "community" participated in a decision doesn't
make it so, especially when members of that community voiced, and
continue to voice, opposition that remains unaddressed.  I also stand by
the secret police phrasing. As a term, perhaps it is inflammatory. I'm
ok with that. Let me explain why.

Here's a qoute from IRC yesterday[2]:
# [19:59:34] <sreynen> i'd like to get the membership of the -admin list
documented in the wiki so we can stop seeing hyperbole like "secret
# [20:01:13] <sreynen> This FAQ seems like the best place to put a list:
# [20:02:05] <sreynen> does anyone mind if i start a list there, without
including anyone who hasn't already publicly declared their
participation on the -admin list?
# [20:02:33] <sreynen> tantek, kingryan, bewest, briansuda, KevinMarks?

First, thanks, Scott, for initiating that change.

Second, why exclude anyone who "hasn't already publicly declared their
participation?"  There is a culture of secrecy here that is the core of
my issue.  Why such secrecy? Why should anyone be allowed to be an admin
in this community if they are only willing to do so secretly?

I want to be clear here. This is not about a witch hunt or empty
rebellion. The leadership has NO external checks and balances.  Even the
most private non-profit organization in the united states (I can't speak
for other jurisdictions), must hold to certain standards about their
leadership, their decision making, and directing the actions of the
group for the benefit of society.  Microformats has none of that.  It
is, rather, a private club that hasn't done such a good job at
transparency with its constituency.

Third, although few people like a gadfly, it appears that my efforts are
making some sort of difference, as evidenced by the IRC above and
changes to the wiki. Following Ben's argument, all evidence suggests my
opposition is "working".

That said, I do take your criticisms to heart and will make an effort to
be more diplomatic.  I think there is an opportunity for uF to thrive.
It is instead alienating, based on feedback I've received, not only from
Andy, and not only through this list. We can do better.


> [1]

Joe Andrieu
joe at
+1 (805) 705-8651

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