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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:02 pm 
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it is supposed to be a place of expressing opinions on the situation by everybody, not only "the oldies"? If yes, then I think, banning Brendan was not a right solution. nobody is happy. this is not a masochist community, so it's not a solution. nobody is happy, nobody wins, nothing improves.
just thoughts - being offended by everything is too hard to live with. better to ignore or respond reciprocally to the offender. sharp discussions on topic are a more fun than crying and pushing "report" button. turning that into drama was redundant, honestly.
on the other hand I don't like banning at all. But this site has an administrator, if he thought Brendan abused his privilege, wouldn't it be better to just undo that exact action? with some "moderator" only chatting after on what to do to not face this kind of stuff in future - establishing/rectifying some policies/rules, adding more people to moderate (for balancing overexcited in banning Brendan :mrgreen:) etc.

Brendan has been answering questions of newbies here one of the most. Banning him not only looks like a spit in his face but really is very bad with respect of this forum being helpful for newcomers.

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:22 pm 
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It's a pity it had to end this way, but as brendan was totally unrepentant over his abuse of moderator privileges, I can't see how he could be allowed to keep them,


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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:38 pm 
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I agree that Brendan's banning of bzt was an abuse of power which should be reversed. However, I also see no need to ban Brendan - it should be sufficient just to relieve him of the power that had blinded him. He simply lost perspective, in the way that so many people with tendencies towards megalomania do when put in such a position, and that's a common human failing. We shouldn't just throw people out when they come unstuck in this way (even if they literally ask for it). There are few people so generous in sharing their extensive knowledge and ideas, and he has long been one of the most valuable assets of the forum, despite his prickly side. I don't see any evidence of him ever intending to do harm to the forum - the harm that he has done was simply the result of him holding too much power and not being able to remain impartial, while the longer he got away with making bad decisions, the more it reinforced his beliefs that his decisions were acceptable. I think he genuinely believed he was doing the right things.

I'm trying to be impartial in this - he has no time for me at all, but I'm not good at holding grudges. (When people are unpleasant, I can just walk away, but they're trapped with themselves for life, so I always think pity is the most appropriate feeling.)

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:57 pm 
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No, this was not "only" about abuse of moderator privileges. Before it even came to that, lines were crossed that even in a heated discussion should not be crossed; I am frankly appalled that this is not seen, or discussed, by anybody.

I currently do not have the energy to elaborate about it the way I would like to. I think it is very much evident that this discussion needs to be held in this community, but unfortunately I am not in a condition to lead that discussion at this point.

Discussions can be heated. Opinions can become pointed. I've been there, and done it myself. It's not something I am proud of. But when it stops being about the subject matter entirely and escalates into intentionally dishing out hurt on a person that has signalled having been hurt, because of those signals and because, apparently, it's something you can get away with in this environment...

Yes, I am hurt. I am hurt by what happened in that other thread. I am even more hurt by what did not happen in this thread: The whole matter turned into a discussion of moderator rights pretty much exclusively. The question of user conduct did not seem to matter to anyone except myself.

This discussion is even more important, IMHO, than a discussion about moderation rules. Actually, it needs to be integral part of that discussion as well, but it also needs to become part of the forum rules, because apparently it is not self-explanatory to everyone.

I thought that osdev.org, for all the opinions and disagreements and sometimes heated discussions, was -- ultimately -- a "safe" place. Where, if push came to shove, everybody could appeal for moderation. Not in the "I remove spam" or "I lock a thread" kind of way, but in the "OK you two, behave yourself -- what's the issue here, let's settle this like adults" way. Where users can get protection until an issue is resolved.

When it's not about "there there, let's all calm down and carry on" anymore, but about what we accept as "par for the course" behavior.

I would be happy to provide a more detailed write-up, but right now a community that has been a "virtual home" for me for over 15 years feels about as hostile and "unsafe" as a room of people pointing fingers and laughing at me, so I'd rather not be forced to do this at this point.

Perhaps the above is already enough to make some people realize what happened there. It was not a "vendetta", it was not "created drama". Perhaps I held up the facade of "I am strong and just speak up on general principles" for too long, but I don't think signalling "I am really hurt now" would have done me any good either. Perhaps I did not want to admit to myself how much I was hurt. I definitely expected it to end quick and by some decisive statement, either by others in that thread or, at the very latest, by the moderators.

There was insulting and bullying, and there was no protection or respite to be had. Ask yourself how you would feel about it. Not in a moment you feel strong and on top of things because you're Spiderman, but in a moment where you are hurt, insulted, appalled, and thinking "how is this actually happening?".

Is that a bit "fragile"? Have I myself been "stronger" in the past? Maybe. But really, should it ever be about whether someone is "strong enough" to bear abuse?

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:24 am 
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Solar, I know what you're talking about, and I understand and appreciate your point of view. Reading his dismissive and hostile comments also made me quite mad, I think that attitude is a garbage one. However from my perspective as a reader you both overreacted to what initially started as pretty inoffensive comments.

You got offended by the insinuation you aren't a real programmer, which is a pretty lame insult, and one based on their opinion of your job, not of you personally. Brendan believed you were overreacting on purpose in order to win the argument by "tone policing" and so he responded to that specifically.

That may seem wrong, but that's what we see from an outside perspective. The issue between you two is personal, but a moderator abusing their power effects us all.


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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:19 am 
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OK.... please understand I argue this to point out where I think this community needs improvement; not as a defense of my actions or my case. Yes?

StudlyCaps wrote:
However from my perspective as a reader you both overreacted to what initially started as pretty inoffensive comments.


The point is, the only one who can judge the extend of offense taken is the one on the receiving end. Given what else I wrote about my job, and especially given that this is a programmer's forum, being accused of "not being a real programmer but a secretary" hit pretty hard on several levels. It was partially about his dismissive stance on DSL's, but it absolutely undermined my position, actually my "right" to even partake in the discussion.

Anyway, aside from reciprocating in tone in my next post, I was willing to let that one slide. I shouldn't have had to; that insult already was clearly out of line. But I did, because I am not that fragile. It certainly lost him points, but it wasn't the point.

The point came here: https://forum.osdev.org/viewtopic.php?p=286259#p286259 That is where the victim shaming began. Not only was I being accused of being "impractical", I was also accused of "trying hard to be offended".

That's the bully starting to mock the weakness he thinks he has perceived. He'd scored a hit, and he was setting up to exploit it.

I called him out for it, without really reflecting how much of it was about me being hurt and how much was outrage at just the kind of behavior I have seen too many people suffer from. And he immediately pounced again, calling me "fragile" and "chose not to think about what I was trying to say [...] for the purpose of avoiding issues and causing drama".

Keep in mind that he did choose to ignore all the rest of what I wrote about my job and call me a "secretary" for working on DSLs, to basically label anyone who would keep up my side of the discussion.

What we had here was someone pouncing on someone for "being weak", i.e. a bully. That's not some half-funny schoolyard thing. It's a real problem that causes real hurt to real people.

StudlyCaps wrote:
The issue between you two is personal, but a moderator abusing their power effects us all.


I think you are severely mistaken. The question is quite simple.

Does this community consider abusive behavior acceptable.

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Last edited by Solar on Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:21 am 
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I see two issues here, which are confused by the fact that they are intertwined.

First is the matter of bullying behaviour, real or perceived. As this is a technical forum this should be unacceptable and should be dealt with by the moderators - either a word with the offender(s) or a short ban might be appropriate. But I don't expect the moderators to be sentries, patrolling the forums looking for problems. They are unpaid volunteers. I expect them to be reactive when matters are brought to their attention, rather than proactive. As far as I can tell, in this case, another moderator was appealed to and the unreasonable ban was lifted. I think that, after the initial mistake, it was dealt with properly. Of course a big problem arises when one of the parties is themselves a moderator. It seems blindingly obvious that in such a case they should withdraw from the discussion and refer any complaint to other moderators.

Second, and this comes out as a result of the initial spat, is the apparent abuse of moderator's powers, which seems to be the question that - quite rightly - bothers people the most. I can only believe Brendan's account that he, in effect, took over the moderation of the forums, making himself sone sort of super-moderator. This is obviously not acceptable and could only result in removal of his moderator role.

This leaves the question of Brendan's ban. I'm not clear whether this is temporary or permanent. The former is entirely justified; the latter looks like overreaction. This begs the question of whether Brendan would wish to post in these circumstances; from what I have seen my guess would be that he would not. Undoubtedly he is an invaluable technical resource, but the forums are bigger than any individual.

I'm not clear how many of the current moderators actively carry out their duties. If it is most, or even half, of them then I see no need for new moderators. Hosw many do you need to manage a relatively small site? Perhaps those that don't really take part any longer should make this clear, and withdraw, so that the list of moderators reflects those who can be turned to if there is a problem.


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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:39 am 
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iansjack wrote:
But I don't expect the moderators to be sentries, patrolling the forums looking for problems. They are unpaid volunteers. I expect them to be reactive when matters are brought to their attention, rather than proactive.


Totally agreed.

iansjack wrote:
I think that, after the initial mistake, it was dealt with properly.


Could you state, in your own words, what you consider the proper reaction that was being taken? That my ban was lifted? Because as far as I see it, the ban of Brendan only happened because Brendan escalated it to a "me or him". From chase's response, it is not even clear if the ban was actually about anything other than him making it into a "game of chicken" and moderating other moderators.

iansjack wrote:
This leaves the question of Brendan's ban. I'm not clear whether this is temporary or permanent. The former is entirely justified; the latter looks like overreaction.


I see I cannot really transmit how the whole issue registered on my end. I've been wrongfully accused of malicious behavior, ridiculed, and abused. It is also quite clear that he sees nothing wrong with his actions, or their extend. It is also clear that he would do so again, to me or other people (who might actually not be able to hold their ground and be halfway-coherently vocal about it).

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:25 am 
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Anyway. I feel like I should not contribute here at the moment. I hope you guys have a productive discussion on what might have to change with regards to forum rules, but please excuse me if I'm going to take a break for now.

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:49 am 
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The issue escalated as far as it did because of the "admin account coup" two years ago. There was no moderator with the technical or moral authority to control the situation, and as far as remaining authority goes, Brendan went after the one with kind of the most of it, just like he did two years ago.

And in that sense I feel sorry for Solar, as well as any unseen victim in between, for me not escalating it as far two years ago as Solar did now. The circumstances were terrifyingly similar and the outcome would therefore likely have been just as well. Between assault, actual threats, getting demoted, and no co-moderator showing willingness to back me up, my departure was the best of the then-conceivable options.

Enough about that. Fates like these is something I would not wish anybody to suffer. Brendan was obviously wrong here and if the privileges were still shared fairly between us I would've de-opped him without a second thought the moment the facts would have reached me. That said, I can tell from experience that by the time help from above is called in, a lot of damage is already done. I'm not even remotely an infallible moderator and I have made some very bad calls in the past, but the fact that I was corrected then did teach me a bit of where my limits are. The staff IMNSHO does not just have a duty to watch over the forum, but also each other.

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:20 am 
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Solar wrote:
I see I cannot really transmit how the whole issue registered on my end. I've been wrongfully accused of malicious behavior, ridiculed, and abused. It is also quite clear that he sees nothing wrong with his actions, or their extend. It is also clear that he would do so again, to me or other people (who might actually not be able to hold their ground and be halfway-coherently vocal about it).
No-one doubts any of that. But, if Brendan were just a normal poster I don't believe that any of that would merit a permanent ban - a temporary ban, sure, but not permanent. And if he kept on doing it on a regular basis then stricter action might be required. But you can't expect instantaneous action, so it is wiser to try to defuse the situation rather than playing to the aggressor.

If any ordinary poster treated me in that way then I would, of course, be rightly annoyed. I would either retire in a huff for a while (most likely) or else report the posts to a moderator and expect at least an apology or maybe a temporary ban. But I wouldn't demand a permanent ban for such behaviour. It is always true that it takes two sides to escalate an argument. If one is too immature to behave responsibly then the best course for the other is to take the moral high ground and not respond (or care).

The problem is that Brendan was not an ordinary poster, and that is the situation that has been dealt with. I don't know enough of what goes on behind the scenes to comment on what exactly was done and in what order. I don't know the full history. It doesn't matter - I am concerned with the outcome not the details. I'd welcome Brendan back as a poster who would be subject to normal discipline if his behaviour gave cause for concern.


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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:24 am 
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With a couple of exceptions, I haven't really been active on OSDev.org in a few years. It's sad to see that I randomly walked in when all of this was going on. I guess people are really passionate about esolangs, huh. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:13 am 
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I did not know that my subject Esoteric Programming Languages would be the cause of many problems.


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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:15 am 
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It didn't. It was just where existing problems happened to manifest themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: @Brendan
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:28 am 
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Love4Boobies wrote:
It didn't. It was just where existing problems happened to manifest themselves.


Why this problems manifested in my subject Esoteric Programming Languages?


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