[Osmf-talk] Enough is enough: disinfecting OSM from poisonous people

Gervase Markham gerv at gerv.net
Tue Aug 10 18:20:22 UTC 2010

On 10/08/10 17:19, SteveC wrote:
> I know this first hand. Many (if not most or all) of the key people
> in OSM are feeling drained, distracted and upset. Some are talking of
> hiatus or resign. These are the key people who write code, build
> things, maintain things and run our working groups.

This seems to me to be the key data point. If those running the project 
want to stop running it, then usually something has to be done about 
whatever is making them feel like that.

> Thus we need some kind of process for calling timeout on people in
> the project, blocking them for a limited time. This could range from
> electing individual mailing list admins with a remit of when to shut
> down discussions (much like an IRC chat admin(s)), to more clear and
> actioned policies on list etiquette (like forcibly keeping legal
> discussion to the legal list), to an ejection committee to me just
> appointing myself benevolent dictator and blocking people for a
> limited time out cooling off period based on advice from the
> community (a worst case option I'd like to avoid).

I'm not sure Benevolent Dictator is a worst-case option, but as you are 
the only candidate, if you don't want to do it, then we'll need to think 
of something else.

> I'm posting this to three places on purpose with different audiences:
> opengeodata, osmf-talk@ and talk at .

Are you expecting replies to be copied to all three, or would you like 
to try and keep discussion to one list, for simplicity?

> What are your ideas? How should we block people? For how long? What
> process should it be? What are the best practices from other projects
> you're involved in?

In the Mozilla project, we are fortunate enough to not have this problem 
too much. Most distractions are people not knowing rather than people 
being actively poisonous. We have the ability to ban from IRC, and from 
Bugzilla - which is occasionally used on people who can't keep their 
cool. This power is in the hands of a number of people, who exercise it 
unilaterally. I've never heard of it being used on a long-time community 
member, though.


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