Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (911 mails)

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[opensuse] On forum mods (was: Re: The Post that got Carlos ER Banded !!)
I do feel it is inappropriate forwarding the mail to the list, to circumvent the ban.

Linda Walsh schreef op 26-12-2015 22:03:
Looks like this somehow ended up in my mbox, but was
intended for the list... so, as one who has been
wrongfully banned from groups, thought I'd pass
it on.

FWIW, note that many of the participants are in different
countries and may have been brought up with very different
views about expectations about 'correct' behavior. Really
doesn't seem very tolerant for an international list to
exact such penalties in such subjective & arbitrary cases.

Forum admins team - and

But I do feel forum admins are full of sh!t to be honest.

to be a productive contributor

when a user becomes problematic

second-guessing those who have stepped up to manage the community and ensure the standards of the community are being followed

We take banning users very seriously


after very long and careful deliberation

You know there has never been a forum team or any other person banning some other person who did not do it after "long and careful deliberation".

Once I had a row with a friend and it was a heated argument on the phone. I had known and been good friends with the guy for at least 16 years. After our fight on the phone, he wrote me an email about 3 hours later saying that he had "thought about it long and hard".

Any person who mentions that he has thought about it long and hard is full of shit.

This guy banned me from his life because he had become rather chagrined that I had pointed some things out to him, that he thought himself to be an awesome guy and I won the argument (on the phone) in saying that "I'm sorry, in this case, you aren't (or haven't been). You're wrong. What you did was not great".

Unwilling to admit or acknowledge that I had a point when I made a problem of his behaviour, I had screamed at him (as he was raising his voice) that he should quit it and finally admit it when some other person is right (about you, him). In the end he gave in and admitted to that thing, but it chagrined him so much that the moment I became happy, he quickly hung up the phone, and then 3 hours later sent me that email.

To which I've been incapable of responding. But that aside.

And "long and careful" is NEVER true. Maybe it's been long, but then it wasn't careful, or it's been careful, but then it wasn't long.

Forum moderators are usually extremely strict in enforcing incomprihensible rules of conduct that do not really serve to improve the forum atmosphere, but serve to either achieve some other goal or simply to win an argument against a non-moderator.

Many people are bad losers and a person in power will usually resort to that power while or when or upon losing an argument. Loses the argument? Sends you to your room.

Power corrupts they say and it is true.

It is true on every occasion.

Because people losing arguments who are in power will always use that power to win the argument, /AFTER ALL/.

You beat someone with the stick, you've won the argument.

Usually it is a combination of both:

- first the forum team member acts in the capacity of a regular user
- you post something that offends that forum team member, his ego so to speak
- you get into an argument
- the forum team member now assumes the role of moderator and warns you
- you say he is full of sh1t and he bans you ;-).

So on this occasion (an experience of mine elsewhere) we see the pattern of first the team member answering a question according to a certain assumed forum goal (such as that answers given must comply to a certain mindset)
Then you post something that doesn't agree with the mindset
The forum team member argues with you.
Loses the argument.
Assumes the role of moderator.
Warns you.
You go up in arms.
Bans you.

It has happened. It was on the WordPress forums. Regarding me.

And why did that conflict arise there? Because even though they are volunteers, there is a lot of money in the WordPress product. Perhaps irrelevant here, but it serves to indicate that there is always a goal that you are frustrating.

Linux distributions often have an image they want to maintain. In the case of WordPress, since a lot of people make a living using it, the image was more important than in any Linux distro you will come across, except perhaps Ubuntu.

You, as a forum member, are expected to behave in accordance with the product image.

You are expected not to spread information that the product maintainers do not agree with.

You are expected not to promote choices that the product maintainers do not agree with.

The product is meant, according to them, to stay concise and congruent, clear and easy to understand. Deviating thought, or deviating choice, is therefore often not welcomed.

Because such deviating thought also means divergence instead of convergence, and in order to provide a consistent, clear, good image, they are invested in convergence, not divergence.

There is also another statement or saying that relates to this: it is "keeping the dirty laundry inside".

When you have an image to maintain, you don't want people to know about the bad stuff.

Ubuntu has an image.
Kubuntu has an image.

OpenSuSE surely also has an image.

Linux distributions flaunt that "Using a computer has never been easier." Eh, really?

If you do any form of advertizing based on false projections, or non-truths, you will become invested in protecting an image like commercial organisations do protect their images.

It is nothing new.


But it is problematic.


Forums necessarily maintain an image.


This is not inherent in their format, but in their intended purpose. This purpose was revealed in this statement:

Our audience in the forums tends to run more towards end-users, so we tend to enforce a community standard that's less like the rough-and-tumble of development mailing lists and more like a user-to-user support forum.

Notice the word "enforce". It means you can't let people do as they please because you have a specific goal in mind and you are just USING your users as puppets in achieving that goal.

It is like managing children. This is what parents do, so moderating might be called parenting.

It can also be called Patronizing.


Or "Condescending". Yes.

So when any person starts to act naturally, this naturally conflicts with unnatural behaviours that are being enforced. Yes.

It is always unnatural behaviours that are being enforced, because natural behaviours do not /NEED/ to be /ENFORCED/.

So the forum team wants to enforce unnatural behaviour, and it gives rise to conflict.

There is nothing spectacular, new, or hard to understand here.

What is, of course, peculiar, is that the unnatural behaviour is considered decent, and the natural behaviour is considered threatening.


it is threatening
to a goal
that involves lying about who you are
which is the goal of maintaining an external image.

So when I hear a forum team speak these words, I know they are trying to enforce people's behaviour to answer to a goal they have, which does not agree with the goal of the users themselves.

They are also twisting the truth to make their judgements seem to agree with what is natural.

They will say you are problematic and not behaving well, when really you are being problematic to their goals and not behaving according to their wishes.

These goals are unnatural.

So naturally, whenever you are just being yourself, you get into conflict with the (forum) team.

Then they will create the sentiment of your moral deficiency to further their political goals.

This is an attribution of /moral flaw/ when really there is /political disagreement/.

Disagreement (on topics) turns into moral failing (because there was not really freedom of thought).

It usually starts with a disagreement on something factual or content-wise.

The moderators then enforce a certain model of thought.

The person stands up for himself and does this using anger.

This anger is considered indecent behaviour and reason for more warnings.

Eventually this pattern turns into a ban.

Because you have been a bad citizen and you talked back against your parents.

You disagreed with your parents so now they are locking you in your room.

Eventually it is always because /you were of a different mind/ than they were.

Eventually we can always consider this /deviating thought/.

And eventually, any form of police is thought police.

Which is why Orwell wrote 1984, to ridicule it, exaggerate it. Put it to its extreme.

But in general:

to be a productive contributor
when a user becomes problematic
second-guessing those who have stepped up to manage the community and ensure the standards of the community are being followed

These statements are not sincere.

These are mis-attributions.

They are attributions of moral flaw when in fact they speak of political conflict.

Let me translate:

to be a productive contributor ....becomes:

to be a contributor who agrees with how we want the forum to look to outsiders

when a user becomes problematic ....becomes:

when our attempts to control a user gives rise to so much rebellion that any form of attempting to control the user immediately results in issues


second-guessing those who have stepped up to manage the community and ensure the standards of the community are being followed


being in disagreement with those who for whatever personal reasons and interests have chosen to become members of the police force in managing users and ensuring a certain product and product image can be brought to market and protected.

See, usually the truth is not spoken.

I hope that what I have said today is 80% truth. At least that.

Regards, X.

ps. "content-light" and so on are not transgressions. They are only transgressions if the forum is used for a certain purpose, or is intended to contribute to a certain purpose. They are transgressions on the purpose, but not transgressions on human behaviour, decency, or morality, or conduct.

One such external criterium might be the way e.g. goolge indexes this mailing list.

"IMAGE". An image you want to protect. It's all about image. And all about success of a product. In a market that is apparently not allowed to know everything about the product.

We call this "image management". And that is what everything comes down to.
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