I would like to raise my concern about a growing problem in our community.
GitHub has a mechanism to allow a user to block another from interacting with them. This is an important tool to allow people who feel harassed or threatened by another person to limit their interactions with that person.
As with all technical countermeasures to social problems, it is possible to circumvent GitHub blocks. (In fact, the GitHub implementation of blocking is so lacking that the blocked user might not even realise they’re doing this!)
The bare minimum we should expect from Nix community members is to not go out of their way to continue interacting with people they know have blocked them. (As mentioned before, it’s unfortunately not always clear, so I’m not talking about only situations in which the blocked person definitely knows they have been blocked.)
No matter whether anybody else feels the block is justified, it’ll work better for everybody involved for a blocked person to stay away from reviewing PRs from the person who blocked them. We are fortunate enough to have many capable reviewers, and even if no other reviewers were available, the damage done from one missed PR is highly unlikely to have a bigger impact on our community than the damage done by continuing to escalate interpersonal conflicts. If a blocked person has concerns they feel absolutely must be heard about a PR from somebody who has blocked them, those concerns should be relayed through a moderator or other another trusted third party. In any other situations where there are compounding factors, the blocked person should solicit advice from another trusted community member before engaging with the person who blocked them unilaterally.
Deliberately circumventing blocks by using a secondary GitHub account, or admitting to knowing about a block and deliberately ignoring it, are extremely damaging to the community and far beyond acceptable conduct.
I don’t mean to suggest that this standard should apply to policy discussions, or other important topics of conversation where it’s important that everybody’s voice is heard. The problems I have witnessed are almost always contained to small PRs that could have been reviewed by anybody.
I don’t have any more power than anybody else to say “this is the way things should be”. But I’m hoping that the very minimal set of standards I’ve described here are uncontroversial enough that we can easily find consensus on them. It’s a shame I have to bring this up at all (writing this post and monitoring for replies is not what I wanted to be doing all day!), but it’s important that community members know what behaviour is unacceptable, and our moderators feel empowered to act when they see this sort of behaviour.