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Author:  chase [ Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

JAAman wrote:
actually, I often spend hours crafting, previewing, editing, posts... and then close the browser without posting it!

Lol, at least I'm not the only one.

Author:  Qbyte [ Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

This is all too reminiscent of the recent debacle that lead to Linus Torvalds standing down as the Linux BDFL, and it's becoming a rather disturbing trend. We all know he invested an incredible amount of time and hard work over decades creating a product and community which then got torn away from underneath him in an instant by a mob of professional victims crying over what amounts to a bunch of petty insults. Politics is taking precedence over common sense here. Brendan in no way deserved to be banned for his exchanges with other users. Say what you want about his personality, but he's been arguably the single most valuable and active member of this community who has made countless lasting contributions and quality posts that have no doubt helped many people in their quest to create or understand an operating system. It's rather insane that so many people here are complicit with seeing him go, when what he was all about is the reason we are all here. The only reasonable thing to do from here is to have Brendan reinstated within the forum.

Author:  StudlyCaps [ Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

Qbyte wrote:
...professional victims...

Take a hike with this rubbish.

Brendan could easily have stepped down as a moderator, or stepped back when it was obvious he was getting personally involved. Instead he played a stupid game of brinkmanship to try and force chase to support him, individually, over the rest of the community. The only person responsible for Brendan's departure, was Brendan.

As far as I can see Brendan and Linus are both getting a long overdue reminder that arrogance will only be tolerated so far. The damaging trend I see is people letting their ego do the talking and a bunch of dyed in the wool boot-lickers rallying around them and as a result communities are split between ones who are willing to work together and then ones who are only there to fluff themselves.

Author:  Solar [ Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

Qbyte wrote:
...a mob of professional victims crying over what amounts to a bunch of petty insults. Politics is taking precedence over common sense here.

I will talk about the world outside of OSDev only, because I don't want to come across as adding fuel to the fire of the specific case here. But I welcome this discussion, because I think (and have pointed out before) that it is the much more important discussion than what a moderator may or may not do with a moderator's privileges.

Part 1 -- "Tolerable behavior" is not a stable state, but a process.

The boundary between "tolerable" and "intolerable" is constantly being redefined; the mechanism here is "what you can get away with". Something may be perceived as "intolerable" by a huge majority, but if transgressing that tolerance has no or little negative repercussions, transgressions will continue to occur, and over time, what had been "intolerable" has become everyday behavior. Kissing in public, wearing a t-shirt, or admitting to homosexuality are among the things that would have caused outrage a couple of decades ago.

It works the same vice versa: Things that might have been common occurrence before could start being sanctioned by society, be it by law or public perception. What had been "tolerable" becomes shunned. Smoking in a restaurant, domestic violence or racial segregation spring to mind.

This is a dynamic that we should be aware of, and realize that it is not something we can or should leave to politicians, media or other "influencers". It is something every single one is actively involved in, whether we realize it or not. At the workplace, at a party with friends, at home with our family. And, of course, on the internet.

Every time we hold our peace when someone does or says something questionable, we allow the border of the acceptable to be pushed that little bit further out. Sometimes that is a good thing. You don't want to confront someone and have a shouting match at your friend's wedding over something that was said that had been mildly offensive. Sometimes that is a bad thing. When two people in a bar engage in openly racist diatribe, and every decent person in the bar that couldn't stand it just gets up and leaves, it surrenders the field to the offenders, and they will feel justified in going on as they were.

Social rules are made, enforced, and retired by us, by our everyday behavior. "Higher ups" might be opinion multipliers, but they, too, define and redefine their point of view by what they experience in their everyday interactions.

Part 2 -- Taking offense is not a sign of fragility.

Where there is a transgression into the intolerable, there's a victim, which has experienced real hurt. Whether that was intended, objectively justified or whatever, and the exact extend of the hurt inflicted does not matter. The experienced hurt is very real to the victim, and denying them the reality of their hurt is in itself a very cruel thing to do.

Consider a child that feels unfairly treated. Even if the treatment was entirely justified, the hurt experienced by the child is very real. A parent can rationalize the treatment with the child (if it listens), but you should not deny the child's emotions. And while we probably all grew up with lines like "be a man!" or "man up!", that doesn't change that adults, and yes, even men, can be hurt. We just "learned" to suck it up, because admitting to hurt is not "manly". We're being cruel to ourselves, and once we end up on a psychologist's couch, we have to unlearn it all and admit to our hurts and weaknesses because denial has made us ill. There's a lesson in there.

Then there might be the person unwilling to tolerate the offender's behavior, as per Part 1. That might be a bystander, or it might be the victim itself. There is a lot of range from someone in complete outrage to someone who is able to very calmly confront the offender. Every point on that range is as valid as any other, and we should consciously resist the temptation to judge the amount of hurt experienced by the victim based on the amount of emotional reaction, or lack thereof.

And we should not forget that it is quite normal behavior to avoid confronting the perpetrator altogether. Because it is "easier", because it's "quicker", because there is a good chance that there will be more where the original offense came from.

So, speaking up about perceived offense, either as a victim or as a bystander, is everything BUT a "sign of fragility". To the contrary, it means someone found the courage to admit something hit a nerve. This can, and should, be handled with respect and kindness; renegotiating the line between "tolerable" and "intolerable".

If the offender instead starts lashing out, calling others "insincere" about their objections, "fragile", "snowflakes", or "a mob of professional victims", that is denying them their reality.

We are human beings. None of us are superhuman, and everyone of us will be offended by something at some point. There is nothing wrong about it, as well as there is nothing wrong about bringing this out in the open and discussing it. The offender might make excuses for having transgressed unintentionally. The offender may be educated that others are unwilling to tolerate that kind of behavior. Or the offender may be unapologetic about what was said and done, and accept the consequences of it -- and it is up to every single one of us to decide what those consequences should be.

But denying someone their reality from a position of strength, calling someone "weak" for having a problem with something you don't have, is in itself a transgression, and a rather severe one. It's commonly called bullying. Dudley Dursley style.

Part 3 -- Same rules for everybody.

There are people who did great things for their respective communities. It's quite natural that people will judge a person not in the isolation of a given situation, but in the context of what else they know about the person in question.

But in the end, personal achievement is utterly unrelated to social behavior. Indeed, as prominent members of a society -- and our tolerance of their behavior -- are basically "opinion multipliers", if anything they should be held to a stricter code of conduct than "mere mortals".

Unfortunately, we tend to do the exact opposite: We tolerate behavior from "celebrities" things we (hopefully?) would not let e.g. our neighbor get away with.

Torvalds wrote:
...let's go back to one of the things where I think the designers of subversion were complete morons. Strong opinions, that's me, right? There are a few of them in the room today, I suspect. You are stupid.

"Strong opinions" you may have, but calling other people names like that should not be tolerated. This is a social cancer. We have come to accept transgressions in ever greater steps and in ever shorter intervals, basically giving in to the bombardment, becoming spectators in the deconstruction of decency.

Trump wrote:
And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the *****. You can do anything.

Nobody is doubting their achievements. But there is no "tearing away their community from underneath them". First of all, it never was "their" community. Mr. Torvalds might have been the author of the original Linux kernel, might have made invaluable contributions (or not). But in the end, a community is not "owned" by anybody but self-regulating (again, see Part 1). And also in the end, every single person in a community should be judged as a person.

The danger is as follows: Let's say we allow persons that have contributed positively in the past to "get away" with behavior that is harmful on the social level, because of the benefit of their contribution. How are we to judge the amount and quality of contributions that might have been made by other people, if they hadn't been driven away? How are we to judge the overall social impact that our tolerance of harmful behavior has? Inside our community, and beyond?


All the above is something I feel needs to be addressed by any community, large or small, online or offline. Perhaps I have made some of you reconsider how they handle themselves in the future, what they will tolerate in themselves and others. Perhaps I just made the world a bit a better place. Perhaps not.

But to come full circle back to the issue at hand, and with regards to this statement:

Qbyte wrote:
Say what you want about his personality, but he's been arguably the single most valuable and active member of this community...

Quality of contribution is hard to judge, and I don't really want to throw my person into the scales myself. But in this thread alone we see that he had antagonized Combuster in the past (who has more posts as Brendan and pre-dates him as moderator), he was on the way of de-modding Antti and Candy for disagreeing with his conduct. Adding to that any contributions that might have been made by others if this had been a friendlier and safer place, where does "valuable but difficult" cross into "all things considered, detrimental to the community"...?!?

And yes, I am quite willing to be held to the same standards. I have had my own share of heated arguments here, but I hope it stopped short of personal insults, or outright bullying. If it didn't, I'd be ashamed, and willing to make amends.

Author:  Schol-R-LEA [ Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

Qbyte wrote:
This is all too reminiscent of the recent debacle that lead to Linus Torvalds standing down as the Linux BDFL,

My impression was that he was looking for an excuse to do so anyway. He'd been blasted just as harshly for his words before, and used it as justification for getting even harsher himself, in the past. I just don't see him bowing to pressure like that - but I can see him wanting to do something different after getting sick of doing that self-created job for twenty-five years, sick of it for reasons unrelated to the back and forth over it. Few people choose to stay with something as long as he did. At least Guido van Rossum had the courage to admit that he was tired of being the BDFL of Python, that heavy lies the crown and that the position itself wore him down; Linus, I think, had too much pride to do the same.

Qbyte wrote:
Brendan in no way deserved to be banned for his exchanges with other users. Say what you want about his personality, but he's been arguably the single most valuable and active member of this community [...]

Given what some of the mods are saying about what happened in the privacy of the moderator forum, it sounds as if the main reason for this was because he'd driven most of the other major participants away from the group. If so, then he was long overdue for being banned. I am not certain if if this is a fair reading or not - others may be able to confirm or discredit this notion, but I don't have enough information on it to be sure.

Author:  glauxosdever [ Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan


I think the truth is somewhere in the middle (see also my first post in this thread). Brendan indeed was one of the greatest contributors here. Probably no one else knows that much about architectural x86 stuff. Or has that much imagination about OS design. The problem however is that he started banning people he disagreed with. bzt was originally banned last year in July and subsequently permanently banned one month later. Solar was close to be permanently banned now. Do you think that's ok? Because I don't. However, I think it may be possible that Brendan could be allowed back here as a normal user (i.e. not a moderator).

There is also a difference between Brendan and Linus: Brendan isn't the maintainer of a community project where code quality has to be very high or otherwise everything may break, while Linus isn't the (super-)moderator of a forum where everyone should be able to express their opinion on technical matters. If some less-than-ideal code was committed to Linux, then Linux could possibly break. If some less-than-ideal opinion was said here in the forums, no one would really be concerned, unless it's hate speech or serious insults (Brendan has done the latter multiple times during the last years). The roles of a project maintainer and a forum moderator just don't compare.


Author:  Schol-R-LEA [ Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

Well put. I agree with you on this - Brendan was certainly one of the best contributors about both technical information and innovative design ideas. In that sense, he will be missed. However, I also agree that his increasingly arrogant and high-handed attitude was undercutting the group as a whole, and in that sense, this was a confrontation long in coming.

You are also right in that the two roles are quite different.

Author:  osdever [ Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

Just went on the forum after years of inactivity. Saw Brendan was banned.

Not really sure who's in the right here.

Author:  bzt444 [ Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

Quite a surprise I have to say, but definitely a positive one from the community's perspective.

Now that the liar gone, I'd like to kindly ask the Moderators, would it be by any chance possible to restore my 'bzt' account? I'd be grateful, and I'd thank that by contributing a lot on the wiki as well as helping out newcomers (just as I did in the last couple years until Brendan banned me).

I know that I felt hurt and I demanded to remove my contributions, and that may been not appropriate. So if you say no, I can fully understand that.

Thank you,

Author:  Octacone [ Fri Oct 26, 2018 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

Not that my opinion matters at all, but I would like to see @bzt back.
He was banned unfairly. I remember that filesystem discussion in which he didn't agree with Brendan and got banned.

Brendan might not have been the best moderator, but he was certainly one of the greatest forum contributors ever.

Author:  glauxosdever [ Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan


Concerning the topic of whether bzt should be allowed back or not, three people in this topic (DavidCooper, Octacone and me) have expressed opinions in favour, while no one seems to be against. It would be nice if (some) moderators officially stated their opinions.


Author:  thepowersgang [ Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

There is an open topic in the moderator forum discussing this, we'll get post back once a decision has been made.

An argument against unbanning bzt is that there's a (unofficial?) rule against ban evasion, and looking at the user list bzt wasn't very good at following that rule.

Author:  iansjack [ Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

Unless you provide some clear way of appealing a moderator's decision, that rule is patently unfair.

Author:  Solar [ Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

I was not "there" when bzt's ban happened (or at least I cannot remember), so I cannot judge what was appropriate and what wasn't.

But a rule that states "do not dodge a ban" is, quite evidently, assuming that the ban was issued legitimately...

When you're banned from the forum (which only takes one moderator), you are facing two options -- writing a mail to "the forum maintainer" (which, unless I am mistaken, would have in this case been the moderator who issued the ban in the first place), or "dodging" the ban and trying to appeal to the rest of the moderators (which you could not contact in any other way).

Unless there is some kind of "appeal board" (a subforum you might get limited to while your case is being reviewed, or a mailing list for the moderators?), blaming a user for trying to get an appeal heard is indeed unfair.

Author:  Love4Boobies [ Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: @Brendan

As far as I can remember, bzt was banned not because of a filesystem discussion but because he posted a lot about how he wants to revoke his permission to share everything he contributed to the wiki, which is obviously ridiculous. We selected CC0 particularly to protect the wiki. After arguing aggressively for this and being rejected by several members including Brendan, he started questioning Brendan's ability to moderate as he doesn't even have an OS to show off (???). I think this sort of stuff is poisonous and would rather have him banned.

If I'm wrong and this happened after the incident (on my phone, hard to check right now), I still don't think his attitude is excusable so same conlusion.

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