BDFL & Moderation

Despite the discussion resulting from my post yesterday, there continue to be individuals on the talk@ mailing list disrupting the community.

I would personally like to reach out to John Smith as one of the people who seems to have cooled off, and thank you.

I have posted Andy’s draft etiquette to the wiki

Specifically, I point to the basics of mailing list etiquette:

Mailing Lists
• Assume good faith
• Stay on topic
• No conspiracy theories
• No grandstanding
• If you’ve made your point already, you don’t need to tell us all again
• Nitpicking doesn’t help you or anyone else
• Learn to live with the reply-to setting. We’re not changing it, no matter what your opinion is and so on.

Having had deep discussions with many key people in OSM, asked for their advice and direction, I reluctantly appoint myself Benevolent Dictator For Life.

As BDFL, I hereby give warning that in 24 hours time I will begin enforcing these etiquette guidelines. Specifically, anyone who continuously and deliberately breaks the guidelines, despite warnings, will be moderated off the list for a 24 hour ‘cooling off’ period. If after this cooling off period, further continuous and deliberate breaches occur, despite warnings, additional cooling off periods will be enacted growing exponentially with each time. For example, 24 hours cooling off, then further breaches, then 48 hours cooling off, then further breaches, then 96 hours and so on.

This is not about squashing dissent. If you disagree with others license opinions, legal-talk is there for you. If you want to join a Working Group, you still can. If you want to create a PD OSM project, you have all the source and mailing lists are freely available around the web.

This is purely about restoring the mutual respect and balance of the talk@ mailing list, and not allowing a few to disrupt the main channel of communication to the point where the vast majority no longer find discussion worthwhile.

I plan only to moderate people (for 24 hours) after taking a poll of key people including Andy Allan, Matt Amos, Katie Filbert, Tom Hughes, Emilie Laffray, Frederik Ramm, Ivan Sanchez, Grant Slater and Richard Weait. If you think more than these would be good then let me know. Any moderation will be announced to those people I just mentioned, and not publicly. Why not publicly? On balance, it seems better to not call out individuals publicly which might only make things worse and make them feel more upset, which is not the purpose of a ‘cooling off’ period. Any one of those people I announce it to could announce it publicly if they want to.

I am happy to listen to a different panel, if one constitutes itself. If I have full confidence in said panel, I’ll consider handing over the power and stepping back.

As BDFL I still have limits upon my power. You can vote me out of the OSMF. You can convince the server team to change the mailman password so I can no longer moderate. I am also imposing a self-limiting, four week (28 day) period starting from when this warning period ends (in 24 hours) whereby, if I don’t exercise my BDFL powers during that time, I will step back.
So, please, have a think about what and where you are posting, and lets make talk@ a nice place to be again.