Discussions on Zulip for governance discussions

This feels overly harsh: this will prevent people from joining for fear of accidentally being banned, and it will also prevent mods from actually handing out the bans liberally as the consequences are too dire. Was this meant to say “permaban from Zulip”?


The important companion point to the sentence about banning is this

To start off clean and give everybody a chance to participate in a civil way, we will consider allowing you to join even if you’ve been suspended from other community platforms before. You can send an email to one of the moderators with your appeal (along with a link to your contribution). If you’ve only been temporarily suspended you’ll definitely be allowed to join. If you’ve been permanently banned, the Zulip moderators will deliberate based on your appeal. Note that you’ll be watched closely, and if you violate the CoC on Zulip, you will be banned permanently from all platforms.


The zero tolerance policy only applies to people who have been banned before.


This feels overly harsh:

I think this is a good rule, actually.

this will prevent people from joining for fear of accidentally being banned



Are you going to slip, land on your keyboard, and mash some hateful message on accident? I don’t follow.


You’d be surprised by what some people consider hateful. So the answer is, yes.


The “we will consider allowing you to join” paragraph seems particularly to accomodate Jon Ringer. It is not good faith to allow him to participate but only if he says nothing a minority of powerful members disagrees with on the pain of a permaban. Any serious, good-faith governance discussion must have a wide allowable window of topics, even if you are an opponent of one of them.


In general, mistakes have non-zero probability. Policies that aim at absolute prevention of something inherently have substantial dead-weight loss.

In this particular case, mistakes seem quite plausible. For example, I can use a wrong pronoun, because I don’t know person’s preferred pronoun, or because I don’t recognize them on Zulip, or simply because I am not accustomed to using “they”. Will this be considered a CoC violation? Quiet unlikely! But it doesn’t seem completely implausible. Let’s say there’s a 1% chance that I make this mistake and it is considered a code violation.

Is 1% chance of permanent ban from the entire NixOS community worth participation? Probably not, as the cost is too high.

That’s the thing: the margin of error here is fundamentally uncertain, but the cost of error is certain, large, and irreversible.


I think it’s quite reasonable for them to say that he can participate so long as he adheres to the Code of Conduct just like everyone else.


Jon would be accused of violating this clause in the CoC if he participates. It needs to be suspended if there is to be any chance of a good faith discussion.

  • Disrupting discussions and disingenuous discussion practices, including derailing, concern trolling, sea lioning and other bad faith arguments

I think we can all handle the situation maturely. The Code of Conduct applies to everyone, including the section above that about trolling and harassment. If Jon has not violated the Code of Conduct then such accusations would be unwelcome.


So you haven’t learned how pronouns have worked your entire time in speaking the English language?

Only if you double down on your mistake instead of saying “Oh sorry, i didn’t know!”

If you’ve seen the kind of posts that have been getting removed lately, then it should be pretty obvious what is allowed and what is not, though you should not mistake “flagged” for “removed.”

You should send Jon some links on Brave/safe spaces, minority representation, and American social/economic power dynamics… maybe then he’ll understand? He seems to be spouting off the same kind of stuff that caused him to get banned here over on Reddit… so I don’t have a lot of hope that he can participate without incurring the ban.


In case you are worried about this, it’s not a big deal. If you do then the response is just a simple “oh, sorry my bad.” And then using the correct one going forward. It’s exactly what you would do if it happened in real life. Mistakes happen, it’s alright.

It would only be a problem if done repeatedly on purpose.


I think that was just an example. To me, a more worrying one is whether one would accidentally be considered to be causing derailing, concern trolling, sea lioning or bad faith arguments, since this can be very subjective and it can be used to shut down legitimate concerns.

I’m not saying that this has been the case so far, since I’m not deeply familiar with the situation, but I don’t think anyone can deny that there have been controversial moderation decisions in the past.

And again, my concern above is just another example. Most rules in the CoC can be at least somewhat subject to interpretation.

Edit: see also: “The moderation team has the right and responsibility (…) to ban temporarily or permanently any contributor for other behaviors that they deem inappropriate, threatening, offensive, or harmful.”.

Not only this can be highly subjective (e.g. anyone can be offended by anything), but it’s also not clear in the CoC that a ban would only be done after repeated mistakes.


So you’re not familiar with the situation but you’re super sure there has been moderation abuse in the past? Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t make sense to me.


I’m not familiar with the details of all the situations (which is why I said “not deeply familiar”). I also have other things to do in my life than keep reading endless hours and hours of debates.

Edit: and I never said that there was moderator abuse, much less that I was sure. I said that some moderator decisions were controversial, which is true. I would suggest you would read posts more carefully, to avoid misunderstandings.

The results of these discussions must be perceived as legitimate by as wide an audience as possible to have the greatest chance of perpetuating a functioning community. I would not perceive any result to be legitimate if the “sealioning” clause was used against any participant in the upcoming discussions. We can all tolerate a little irritation for a bounded period of time.


I don’t think someone should be granted the ability to derail the entire process for fear that they would be removed for doing so. Instead, we can engage in productive discussion.


I don’t know if this was in response to my concerns, but that was not what I was suggesting.

I was thinking more about making it clear in the CoC that you would only get permanently banned after repeated transgressions, rather than what it says now that the moderators will permanently ban you on (on all platforms!) at their discretion as long as they interpret your actions to fit any of those subjective rules.

Making it clear that it’s only after multiple transgressions would allow someone that has opinions different from the moderators to express them and, if threatened with a permanent ban, then leave the discussion before being banned. They would still be silenced but at least they’d have a chance to be listened to.

If we can’t agree to suspend the sealioning clause temporarily, at least populate the venue with a few known-reasonable dissenters or fence-sitters wrt the recent ban and mod actions, and agree that mod actions must be unanimous during governance discussions.