NixOS Foundation board announcement: Moderation concerns

@dedguy21, both of your replies are marked as This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

@nixnewb’s post, which is about the same topic as @dedguy21’s replies, is also hidden.

For some reason, it’s not acceptable to question about this particular matter according to the community, even though there is no offense in both of @dedguy21 and @nixnewb replies.


Though this discussion is off-topic here, I believe part of the community is still sensible to the numerous times “sealioning” happened over the past few days. What you see is part of the forum’s features where the community can self-moderate.


No offense need apply, if people don’t think this is the place or time:


Perhaps a good example of some of the concern I was talking about in a previous reply. The next two weeks are a good time for the foundation to consider how we can help this process be successful.


That’s not what I said is off-topic. That was a reply to @tenix’s message, though I forgot to thread it correctly. What is off-topic is discussing the meta-topic of how flags act on Discourse.

Be mindful about the combative tone of your replies. It’s bordering abusive. You might want to talk to the person you are defending before using hard words against other people. I wouldn’t think @edolstra would have worked for hours and applied his signature on something that “slander[ed]” him.


How would this be off topic in any way, shape or form? The statement those comments are based on is literally in the announcement.

IMO this seems very much on topic, but feel free to change my mind.


To be clear, I gave no judgement (and have not flagged anything in this thread). I just pointed out that flags can have meanings other than objectionability.

That said, I do feel like the announcement gave us pretty clear instructions about the kind of discussion it wants:

I have a sufficiently rich imagination to see how someone could read that request and feel like most of this discussion contradicts that request.





Sealioning is a objective term describing a behaviour.

Note that I don’t know why things are getting flagged. I was only offering a suggestion as to why maybe the community flagged the posts.

Though now it seems like you’ve started asking persistent questions from me, and that those questions are phrased in a way that may come off as an effort to learn and engage with the subject at hand, but are really intended to erode the goodwill of the person to whom they are replying, to get them to appear impatient or to lash out, and therefore come off as unreasonable.


That’s wild to me that this sentence exists.

Don’t use sea lioning

Sealioning being a strategy of constantly asking questions and demanding evidence to exhaust (or annoy) the target

without strong evidence


Thank you for demonstrating what sealioning is.


All I’m saying is that when possible please rephase sentences that contain “sealioning” in a more objective way because of the inherit subjective nature of the phrase “sealioning”.

@samueldr And thank you for demonstrating what ad-hominem is?


This is why I don’t trust a rule as vague as “no sealioning”. I agree with Poscat’s point, that assertions of sealioning can be used to shut down dissent, because sealioning and argumentation are pretty similar.


I split out the moderation concerns from the Announcement, so I can unlock the thread again. Since this is the first time I did something like that and other moderators are not here, I hope I pressed the correct buttons and everything will be fine :slight_smile:


I’m not trying to get banned so I will tread carefully.

I’m a black guy from the USA, I love using NixOS, want it to be the #1 Linux distro.

I don’t think anyone would use N-word here, it’s universal in any forum I’ve been a part of that derogatory language is an instant ban.

So my question about the particular use of the word “Protection” is sincere here. What am I being protected from here. Again I haven’t seen any threads where any verbal assaults occurred.

I don’t don’t want anybody to be afraid to debate me personally because they’re afraid that I’m a “protected class” or something.

Again, that’s why I was questioning the language personally. What are we protecting me from here?

The community is moving forward and I’m going to not talk about this anymore because let’s move forward, but as we move forward, let’s be careful that we aren’t making things more difficult for the entire community.


I tried my best, but uh… the software is preventing this from happening. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(Again, I’m not a moderator, just a “trusted user” in the sense of whatever that means for Discourse.)


This thread is a distilled microcosm of a lot that is going wrong within this community. And one of the big reasons why some people do not feel welcome or safe in here.

What privileged people often times miss, is that most of the time discrimination isn’t something obvious that you can just point at and have everybody agree “that’s bad”. Most of the time, it’s very subtle (at least to those who don’t want to see it). It’s the constant questioning of people’s existence, people’s experiences, asking them to justify themselves.

It starts with asking about “a verbal assault thread” or “any instances of such harassment to abuse”, or denying the very real experience mere hours later (“I don’t feel that is true in this community”).

And then when you point out to Jonringer’s horrendous thread about gender minorities, people won’t see the problem in there –because it’s not obvious “verbal assault”–, asking for what exactly is wrong with that, asking for more explanations, and always saying no that’s not enough, and implicitly, no your feelings and experiences are not valid.

And then it continues with taking away any means of protection: Putting abusive patterns like sea lioning in scare quotes or otherwise (“subjective terms such as sealioning without strong evidence”), instead of seeing that it precisely represents the “verbal assault” they asked proof for. When Jon Ringer finally got suspended for the harm he’s caused, they’ll say “been suspended solely after being attacked by people purporting to represent minorities without any justification for that other than his repeated statements trying to keep focused on the what these forums are for”.

And once all of that is in place, one can finally start the actual harassment. Starting with “there appears a narcisstic trend today of many believing they should have a voice anywhere and everywhere simply because they are a ‘minority’, whichever of thousands that may be” and ending with “woke” power-grab fantasies.

Looking for proof for verbal abuse against minorities? Look in the mirror. People like you are the problem, and the people who defend that kind of behavior against moderation action.


@lassulus Thank you for unlocking.

@TLATER Thank you for providing the historical context. Leaving my thoughts below as a general principal, but will not be adding anything further to the discussion as I don’t have the complete background on why it was necessary to state in the first place.

I hope I didn’t misrepresented myself earlier. I am a minority. I’m an African American male in the United States. Even though I don’t think it should matter, this forum is pretty anonymous unless I chose to expose myself.

All I was pointing out is that most forums offer protection from hateful rhetoric already. My concern with the language specific to “Protecting Minorities” stem from my experience here in the US where there’s is a chilling effect in question the opinions of a “Protected Class” else this person maybe accused of bigotry.

Sometimes here, if a person “felt” that if they weren’t (input protected class) then there would not have been pushback or a person would not have debated their opinion and therefore don’t feel safe to speak and the person with the dissenting opinion is some how bigoted. Even if it isn’t true.

I debate ideas, I feel others should be free to pushback and debate ideas they don’t agree with. You can’t protect against that. I can’t help a person with an idea don’t agree with might feel the only reason I don’t agree with said idea is because they are (insert protected class).

I chatted with a Taiwanese member here, and was advised that maybe I need to consider that some people may not have been respectful of Pronouns in this forum on occasion, which I may have missed. To me that falls under the general guidelines of RESPECTING others. And we should call out explicitly that we DO respect people’s pronouns and will absolutely ban for disrespecting a person period. But I don’t see how demanding respect is somehow an additional protection.

I may not agree with another person regardless of their race, gender, political affiliation etc, I don’t want to withold my opinion else be accused of being insensitive or bigotry. Nor would I want some else not to pushback on me.

So I think again saying that we “Welcome and Encourage Minority Participation” is saying that this is a Safe Space, we call out explicitly what disrespect is, especially in regards to not respecting pronouns, and it is the world most of us live in.

I know it isn’t easy.

Edit: I grew up black, impoverished and very heavily discriminated against. I know what discrimination looks like. I know how people behave when they don’t want you in their neighborhood. I also know that isn’t most of the people here in this forum. And unlike my real life, no one here can physically or verbally assault me.

There isn’t a policy in place that will keep a bigoted person from being bigoted, but we can make sure that person will be respectful. Maybe because I am black, I already know it’s an impossibility, I can’t help it that some people just won’t like me, but all that matters is that they don’t have the institutional right to actively disrespect me.

I am failing to see where that isn’t the case with this forum already.

What does protection look like, what can this forum protect me from that it doesn’t already.

That’s all I am asking.


This reminds me: should genocidal slogans proudly featured on Github homepages (I am specifically alluding to a certain recently-departed prolific contributor, FTR) be construed as something that questions people’s existence & experiences (I mean, the specific slogan totally does all that, with bells on)? Because I’m fine with that: I consider myself a professional, I consider Nix* a professional setting, I can compartmentalize, and I think everyone in a professional setting should. Just stop politicising everything. Nix* is worse for that contributor’s departure.

[NOTE to the deliberately-obtuse: this is not an invitation to discuss the nature or meaning of said slogan here]


The current discussion is establishing that around the NixOS community. Rather than digging into this exact topic over and over as @piegames points out, it’ll be a lot more productive if people got into that constitutional discussion and talked it out once and for all.

People have been raising their concerns about potentially unjustly silencing folks ever since that person who linked to their socials where they were advocating for killing trans people was banned. Back then this was controversial because those comments weren’t directly on discourse, but just linked on their profile (which was no longer present after the ban), so at face value it looked like mods banned them after digging through their socials. They weren’t banned just for that, but also aggressive reviews and other such things.

This nonetheless resulted in lots of complaints about power grabbing from the mods, just like the current situation. Jon Ringer typically took part in these discussions, and was one of the main reasons they never ended. A code of conduct and the moderation log were suggested to give mods a way to be more transparent, only to be met with more threads announcing unjust censorship.

Ultimately this discussion kept going in circles for years, with people stating that they were uncomfortable, and others responding that it could be problematic to ban people for speech. Such as this very thread! That discussion is likely as old as humanity, and either side is correct in theory.

However, in practice, rather than a hypothetical “chilling effect” of shutting down opinions as bigotry, threads like this are referenced by several of the leaving contributors as the reason for why they actually left over the last week. This is why it is mentioned by the board.

That first ban several years ago, through years of domino stones including the anduril sponsorship and their employees’ comments landed us in this mess in the first place.

Anyway, my point is, people are clearly lacking historical context. Unsurprising, the discussion will be new for someone every time it happens, and it is politically charged, so everyone wants to chime in. But these threads have been had many times. I’m tired of this.

Please, just take part in the discussion where the board suggested it should be had, raise your concerns there, vote, and take the outcome. Then maybe all this can finally end.