I'm aware this is likely to be uncomfortable, but bear with me for a bit. Hopefully, a timeout of 1.5 years is enough to have a normal conversation about this.
So, reflecting on my own behavior and having remembered about https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/issues/27244 and https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/issues/27711 and the censored/deleted thread on this discourse named "Censorship issues" (Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>) by @Coretemp, I started to wonder, just for future reference, what exactly was the "tipping point" before the ban of 0xABAB?
I looked over a bunch of comments and reviews by 0xABAB archived in my Maildir and, while sometimes harsh, I could not find a single one that was not on point (including intersections with your truly in https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/24703, at which I myself look back with humor, not with spite, btw).
Was it https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/issues/27258? From which point on 0xABAB's comments in that thread become unacceptable?
As another instance, I suppose "Another instance of a negative conversation in a Pull Request: #26924" Cannot comment anymore · Issue #27244 · NixOS/nixpkgs · GitHub especially noted by @Profpatsch refers to https://github.com/NixOS/nixpkgs/pull/26924#issuecomment-314026957\. But what exactly is the problem with that comment (except for the fact that the author got "annoyed by the unsolicited disparaging comments about the software that [he was] packaging", which, for me, was actually kinda surprising, since 0xABAB, in my opinion, didn't even say anything too harsh in that instance)?
- Shouldn't there be at least a warning mechanism for stuff like this? Some discussion beforehand? It would be nice to know that some "disparaging comments" are not welcome before getting banned for them. E.g. should I fear for my safety if I were to ever mention something disparaging about PulseAudio in NixOS org again?
- How should the appeals be made? The only similar mechanism we have at the moment is RFCs. So, I would think, to get an appeal you would have to make an RFC, which is both ridiculous and technically impossible if you are already banned from the organization.
- What should be the acceptable level of harshness? Smugness? Any guidelines? Which culture should be a reference point? Having lived is several countries I'm painfully aware that cultures differ widely on the acceptable level of direct criticism. E.g. it is normal to get a harsh straight-in-your-face criticism of your work in Russia and Post-Soviet states (and in scientific peer-review, and on anonymous message boards, etc), while in a similar situation in Western Europe and US you are likely to get an "okay" in person and then silently ignored from that point on.
A related historical note from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrates:
[...] One of Socrates's purported offenses to the city was his position as a social and moral critic. Rather than upholding a status quo and accepting [...], Socrates questioned the collective notion of [...] that he felt was common in [...] during this period. Plato refers to Socrates as the "gadfly" of the [...] (as the gadfly stings the horse into action, so Socrates stung various [...]), insofar as he irritated some people with considerations of justice and the pursuit of goodness. [...]
Socrates, as history teaches us, was executed for his "annoying" criticism. Should NixOS organization follow Athens in regard to harsh critics (i.e. "let's shoot the messenger!") or is the consensus somewhere else?
Note that I'm not saying that there's no fault in the conduct of any above-mentioned persons (including myself), but, personally, with respect to the above I wish everyone involved would have read and internalized GNU Kind Communications Guidelines - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation, especially
Please recognize that criticism of your statements is not a personal attack on you.
Please respond to what people actually said, not to exaggerations of their views.
on one side and
Please do not take a harsh tone towards other participants, and especially don't make personal attacks against them.
on the other.
As to the method of guidance towards these objectives, with respect to 0xABAB, I would have preferred something more gradual than a immediate complete ban (which still can be fixed, just saying). Because, personally, I think banning contributors that make valid technical points is counterproductive (which, btw, sometimes makes me wish GitHub reviews could be made anonymously, similarly to how the normal scientific peer-review is usually done).
Ideally, I would like this issue to come to some consensus, which would then be formalized in some documentation, and the appeals process should probably become an RFC.