@pxc, I agree, which is why I haven’t responded here in a while and why I have decided to move my remaining comments on this into a blog post that I will release whenever I’m satisified I’ve addressed all my thoughts on the issue. It’s also why I moved my original rant from this discourse, as I acknowledge that it is somewhat off topic.
To put it bluntly. I was angry. For anyone that has been angry before, I could imagine you understand that I do not necessarily agree with all the statements I made while I was angry, or with how I made those statements. However, the point of all this wasn’t to try and make grandiose claims about society, it was to address concrete problems that have already manifest themselves here in this community. And while I don’t fully agree that what’s happening in wider society is completely unrelated here, for the sake of simplicity, I won’t go there.
Perhaps my biggest miscalculation was thinking these issues were obvious to everyone. Therefore, I will at least take a brief moment here to try and clarify why this is even such an issue for me in the first place.
To start, a technical internet community is just about the one place where, whatever your identity might be, it really doesn’t matter. If you’ve got the competance then I really don’t care who you are and what you do or do not represent, your contributions are welcome regardless. I also personally spent a lot of time on the outside of these tech communities because for a long time I wasn’t competant enough to participate. I never saw that as a problem, just as a reality. It just helped encourage me to get more competant.
But I digress, what concerns me is, I’ve seen other individuals in this community that have apparently gotten so radicalized in their thinking, that they have expressed exactly the opposite, i.e. that identity does matter, and that we should even go so far as to reject valid contributions from individuals with the wrong affiliation (and this statement went completely unchallenged when it was made, no less).
Considering that, it seems particularly disingenuous when individuals bring their identities into a conversation themselves and proceed to assume (without evidence in all the cases I witnessed) that their identity is somehow what’s at issue, even when the other party emphatically states otherwise. No, what’s at issue here is that those “minimum standards”, as you mentioned, are only being upheld on one side of the argument. A certain amount of uneven treatment is endemic to any system of moderation, but when it becomes a clear and decisive trend in a single direction it’s a whole other issue.
My RFC is, itself, further evidence of this. We really shouldn’t have factionalism in this community. There are a whole host of problems that it can cause (and is already causing) which apparently cannot be discussed because that very conversation will be derailed immediately by individuals claiming their identity is under attack. I don’t really care if my RFC seemed like a personal attack because it wasn’t. That said, I’m not completely unaware of the social climate. I knew it was extremely likely somebody would try and take the conversation there, but I can’t really see any way of avoiding that short of just not having the conversation all together, which I am not okay with considering the issues it continues to cause.
To put it simply, RFC 111 was an attempt to bring some sanity to an otherwise insane situation where standards are being doled unequally depending on your group affiliation. In a case like that, you essentially just create a rush to be with the “in crowd” to gain the advantages thereof, which appear to include complete immunity from moderation at this point. It’s a very unhealthy situation both for our minds as human beings, and for this community. Whoever this “in crowd” happens to be at the time is completely incidental and subject to change, and is therefore, really truly not the intended focus of the RFC.
Now I’m not a professional politician or psycologist, so perhaps I didn’t word it as carefully as I could have, and I knew it would likely be redrafted several times before the end. For example, I probably should have focused more on these factionalist tendencies in general and less on private rooms in particular, since there are valid situations for the latter that don’t necessarily contribute negatively to the former. Really, the main point is that, if we can’t stop factions from forming on the whole, we probably shouldn’t officially saction and endorse any one of them, for the sake of the wider community.
However, the intention seemed clear enough that at least a few people expressed surprise to me in private when it devolved so quickly in the direction it did. I closed it because it wasn’t going in a productive direction. Unless that changes, it will remain closed. However, I think the community is worse off for it unless perhaps we can codify some of these very concerns in RFC 114 instead.
Last I checked, programming was very hard, and constructive criticism is, in my opinion at least, essential to the process. Protecting peoples’ egos and offering that constructive criticism honestly are completely at odds. So which one should be more important? At least having that conversation would go a long way to reduce tensions on all sides.
It was mentioned before in this thread that a tech community should not be a debate club. This is a great point worth repeating. However, the very reason individuals feel compelled to “debate” in the first place is because these conversations and issues are not being addressed in a more structured and productive fashion, such as an RFC.
We should also bear in mind that this isn’t a cooperation where we can expect that mandating morality from on high without any logical discussion as to its effectiveness is gonna fly. People are going to ask questions, so if you really don’t want the debate club to continue ad nauseum then we need to provide clear and definitive answers.
Now I hope that clarifies a few things, but I should hope everyone is as tired as I am of this endless conversation going nowhere so unless we are ready to lift the taboo and actually have the conversation (in which case I will gladly reopen and redraft RFC 111, or add to 114), then I would kindly ask, in the interest of not taking this further off topic, that nobody else respond here.
If you have more to say, I’ll have a comment section on my blog when the time comes that should allow for a more liberal discussion on these topics. I also don’t mind if people wish to DM me, or I could even start an unofficial discussion group on Matrix if it seems warranted.