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Re^3: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)

by tye (Sage)
on Jan 10, 2007 at 19:09 UTC ( #593981=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^2: How do janitors get fired?
in thread How do janitors get fired?

Yes, it was sneaky. That is part of why it worked as well as it did. Although it risked some false positives (catching good, active janitors who happened to be out of contact with the site during the window), the alternative had greater risk of false negatives (alerting inactive janitors to jump in and request continued membership). Given previous attempts to cull inactive members from privileged groups, I think the level of sneakiness was appropriate.

Also, given the number and activity level of those who did respond in time, it was decided that no second chances would be given to those who missed the time window. This was not so much a reflection on those who missed the window, as it was that we had sufficient janitors and we don't want to add more at this time, even if the sample of janitors that remained was obtained somewhat at random rather than strictly on merit, and thus not as fair as desired.

Privileged access is, not surprisingly, a privilege. Loss of privilege requires little justification, perhaps unfortunately. In some ways we would prefer to have good reason for removing privileges (in some ways, not). Privileged membership had previously been granted sometimes with too little care, guidance, and oversight. This means that some people will be losing privileges without damning evidence that they need to lose the privilege.

There has recently been a shift in attention to policy; I complained about some long-standing shifts away from policy and pushed to get responses and found that much of the silence in response to my previous complaints had been silent agreement rather than apathy or silent disagreement and this resulted in several people pushing for changes. A shake-up among janitors is one result of that.

I'm sorry that you missed the opportunity to remain in janitors, jeffa. But we're going to keep with our decision to not give second chances in this case. Thank you for your years of service, they were appreciated.

- tye        

  • Comment on Re^3: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)

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Re^4: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)
by Melly (Hermit) on Jan 10, 2007 at 19:57 UTC

    Hmm, IMHO this is a little extreme - I understand the points you make, but if an ex-janitor can show they have been an active and conscientious editor, and participated appropriately in the wiki, I do feel they ought to be allowed some route of appeal.

    I make no comment as to whether jeffa would pass such a test or not.

    map{$a=1-$_/10;map{$d=$a;$e=$b=$_/20-2;map{($d,$e)=(2*$d*$e+$a,$e**2 -$d**2+$b);$c=$d**2+$e**2>4?$d=8:_}1..50;print$c}0..59;print$/}0..20
    Tom Melly, pm@tomandlu.co.uk
Re^4: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Jan 10, 2007 at 20:59 UTC
    tye,
    Although it risked some false positives (catching good, active janitors who happened to be out of contact with the site during the window), the alternative had greater risk of false negatives (alerting inactive janitors to jump in and request continued membership). Given previous attempts to cull inactive members from privileged groups, I think the level of sneakiness was appropriate.

    It seems to me that reducing the false positives (you are a bunch of smart folks with access to logins and what not) would supercede culling inactive members as a top priority for obvious reasons. I am more than a little suprised to see that a no exception policy is being made and that this was done with the foreknowledge that people would be affected for no good reason.

    Things would have to get a lot worse for me to leave the site but this change in behavior seems wrong to me. I fully admit more may be happening behind the scenes that would warrant this attitude but I am confused as to why that behavior would remain hidden from the general populace but acts to correct it would not. Whatever. Thanks for all your years of service.

    Cheers - L~R

      My take on it is that the announcement was made in the janitors' wiki which is supposed to be read frequently by janitors. The implication is that if you didn't see it there then you aren't an active janitor so it is reasonable that you should be droped from the list.

      The "no second chance" decision is pretty much implied once the "only active janitors" filter technique for culling was selected and assuming that a large enough pool of janitors remained after the cull.

      It should perhaps be noted that even those droped from the list retained access to the janitors' wiki for a period after the cull to allow the discussion leading up to the cull to be available.


      DWIM is Perl's answer to Gödel
        Granted, but doing so during xmas holiday time was a bad decision. I, as a former janitor, was also pretty pissed about this and as a result I don't care for considerations anymore.

        Readmore tags, needed? Pff, I use Recent threads anyway.
        Code tags needed? If it looks disgusting I right click and look at the pages sourcecode.
        Title awkward? Who cares, there's Super Search.
        ...

        If this sounds bitter it is because I am. The blackamoor has done his part, the blackamoor can go.


        holli, /regexed monk/
            A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.

        Yes. I did not read the janitors' wiki during the last months of 2006, a time when i was working 60-70 hours per week. If fact, i wasn't at Perlmonks very much at all during that period, but now i have more free time and i would like to be more active here. This decision was made behind many backs. I would have appreciated being alerted to this request to remain in the group, rather than having people assume that i would remain inactive. Not being able to appeal my case is the wound, and being told "thank, but no thanks" is the salt on that wound.

        jeffa

        L-LL-L--L-LL-L--L-LL-L--
        -R--R-RR-R--R-RR-R--R-RR
        B--B--B--B--B--B--B--B--
        H---H---H---H---H---H---
        (the triplet paradiddle with high-hat)
        
        GrandFather,
        That is my take too. I am sorry if anything in my post implied otherwise.

        My concern is that it was done knowing full well that good, active janitors would be affected but no addditional steps were taken to reduce these false positives and no exceptions on being re-admitted (despite admitted years of good quality service).
        Small wording update

        Cheers - L~R

Re^4: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)
by shmem (Chancellor) on Jan 10, 2007 at 23:56 UTC

    Yes, it was sneaky. That is part of why it worked as well as it did.

    ...

    I'm sorry that you missed the opportunity to remain in janitors, jeffa. But we're going to keep with our decision to not give second chances in this case. Thank you for your years of service, they were appreciated.

    The decision to "not give a second chance in this case" is wrong, IMHO, and specially in jeffa's case.

    Why cut somebody from doing a service to the community they ardently wish to do, but keeping others that just happened to be logged in at some point within an arbitrary timeframe, and were able to express a "me too"? (which "me too" is only to illustrate, not that I think any of the janitors lack merit).

    What troubles me most is the sneaky part. Ostensibly, that worked well, but it might have done more harm than good. Isn't it okay for a cabal to be offsite for a couple of days (or maybe weeks) for some reasons? e.g. for serious holidays, which means no computer to some? or having to meet a really deadly deadline?

    This sounds a lot like coming back from holidays and having one's house demolished for a bypass road and an officer declaring "well,you weren't here when we knocked"... an Arthur Dent style of fate.

    Really, for a Perl related website, all this sounds very startling and weird to me. Isn't nearly all in Perl about context? and doesn't perl try hard to validate that and please both caller and callee? Stick to the wisdom of your language :-)

    If the decision to "keep with our decision" doesn't have an exception, the system likely will panic one day. And if even a monk like jeffa which is here since 2000-06-19 and number 13 in Saints in our Book doesn't get his exclusion reconsidered, I kindly ask for removal of myself from pedagogues and pmdev, reasons being:

    • I can't provide 365/52/7/24 service to the community
    • I'm new to internals and might not be quick enough getting fit to contribute
    • as a cabal, I didn't contribute anything yet (my policy ever has been "lurk, before you speak")

    But I'm sure, you'll be able to recruit somebody else which meets the criteria.

    On a personal note, tye, that back-patting "thank you" to jeffa comes across really as very disrespectful. I wonder if it really is. What's really up?

    --shmem

    _($_=" "x(1<<5)."?\n".q·/)Oo.  G°\        /
                                  /\_¯/(q    /
    ----------------------------  \__(m.====·.(_("always off the crowd"))."·
    ");sub _{s./.($e="'Itrs `mnsgdq Gdbj O`qkdq")=~y/"-y/#-z/;$e.e && print}

      To be clear, the intent was not to be sneaky. And it wasn't even particularly sneaky in practice. It was more sneaky than the proposed alternative of going to a great deal more effort to compose personal /msgs to each individual janitor.

      jeffa says he visited the site several times and so he was several times presented with a notice in the janitors' nodelet that updates had been made to that wiki and he chose to ignore these. The policy change was announced in the official document for dealing with internal janitors' policy. Every janitor got notice of a change to this document every time they loaded at page at PerlMonks. A private message does not necessarily provide any more indication of its presense than that.

      In chatter, you seemed shocked that none of the janitors had searched jeffa's home node to see if his e-mail was advertised there and then sent a notice to jeffa in e-mail. I'm not sure what precident leads you to think that such is expected behavior. It is extremely rare for me to use e-mail to monks, and I only ever resort to that when the message is something impractical to send via /msg (and even then, e-mail is often not my choice).

      In hindsight, there are tons of different ways this could have been done. I don't think any of them would have completely avoided hurt feelings. It is extremely difficult to remove a privilege without hurt feelings. I prefer to hurt feelings by not granting the privilege to begin with.

      Why cut somebody from doing a service to the community they ardently wish to do, but keeping others that just happened to be logged in at some point within an arbitrary timeframe, and were able to express a "me too"? (which "me too" is only to illustrate, not that I think any of the janitors lack merit).

      You present a false dilemma. Why should I prevent someone from doing a service to the community that they proclaimed that they wanted to do in demonstration of their attention to official site methods for internal policy issues in favor of granting access to someone who visited the site but repeatedly put off taking notice of janitorial issues to be discussed?

      On a personal note, tye, that back-patting "thank you" to jeffa comes across really as very disrespectful. I wonder if it really is. What's really up?

      You really should avoid trying to infer emotion from text-only communications. What is really up is that you have invented some emotional content for my words that is completely off target. So far off target that I'm at a loss for much of what to say in response.

      Perhaps the biggest mistake was a great underestimation of how entitled people had come to feel about this privilege. I think going forward that we'll push a "I serve at the pleasure of the presidents" mantra. The vast majority of cabal members did very little to gain membership and yet several appear to think that what was given so easily mustn't be taken away. It was not taken away as easily as it was given.

      I'll repeat that I regret that so many hurt feelings have resulted. I'm sure some will find my statement of this to be a slap in the face. I can't prevent that so I'll just settle for knowing that I mean that sincerely.

      I'll also note that I acknowledge some specific mistakes were made that will be avoided in future. The "when" and "how long" will be more carefully considered in future. How the results are communicated and how those impacted are likely to feel will be considered more carefully. I hope that the prequalification of new members will be done much more carefully, noting that membership is a privilege that can be taken away for relatively little reason if deemed necessary by agreement of a majority of the gods, or something.

      But, for future reference, if one gets removed from a privileged group and hopes to get reinstated, then I suggest that one of the worst approaches will be to start by publicly raising a stink about how you were removed and then send ultimatums. And for those reasons, this particular ship has sailed, as far as I am concerned.

      - tye        

        Why should I prevent someone from doing a service to the community that they proclaimed that they wanted to do in demonstration of their attention to official site methods for internal policy issues in favor of granting access to someone who visited the site but repeatedly put off taking notice of janitorial issues to be discussed?

        For the moment I fail to parse that. I'll try again.

        You really should avoid trying to infer emotion from text-only communications. What is really up is that you have invented some emotional content for my words that is completely off target. So far off target that I'm at a loss for much of what to say in response.

        There's barely any communication without emotions, on either side. I guess my posts so far give evidence that I try to not heed them, but that depends on the matter at hand. This one is about the feelings of a demoted janitor, so I have a hard time doing it here. That said, I didn't invent emotional content - that's why I asked. I have been answered partly with your direct reply, partly with other notes you wrote in this thread. Thank you.

        --shmem

        _($_=" "x(1<<5)."?\n".q·/)Oo.  G°\        /
                                      /\_¯/(q    /
        ----------------------------  \__(m.====·.(_("always off the crowd"))."·
        ");sub _{s./.($e="'Itrs `mnsgdq Gdbj O`qkdq")=~y/"-y/#-z/;$e.e && print}
Re^4: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)
by Errto (Vicar) on Jan 11, 2007 at 00:32 UTC
    Privileged access is, not surprisingly, a privilege. Loss of privilege requires little justification, perhaps unfortunately.

    To be honest, this is why I have failed to express interest in joining the cabal. I have nothing but respect for the work the gods do to keep the site and the community functional. Moreover, I will not deny that the gods have the authority to make such decisions on a basis which can be, to borrow a phrase, arbitrary, capricious, and final(*). But I have seen such decisions and what comes off as a certain accompanying smugness (possibly unintended but I can't be certain) which is, for me, enough to say "no thanks."

    (*) ChemBoy will doubtless give me a hard time about this for reasons not relevant here.

    Update: In case for some reason someone reads this node again I should add that the above was a poor choice of words on my part in an attempt to link in a stupid inside joke.

      But I have seen such decisions and what comes off as a certain accompanying smugness

      I looked up "smug" to see if my understanding of the word was flawed. I use that word to mean "great or offensive satisfaction with oneself or with one's situation". I certainly don't feel smug with regard to site administration. The site is poorly administered and, at least in some respects, barely runs. My involvement is minimal and usually not satisfying nor something I am proud of or smug about.

      But the dictionary also listed "self-righteously complacent", which isn't a meaning I've personally used "smug" for. This leads to "piously sure of one's own righteousness; moralistic", which isn't something I feel. However, I have certainly become "complacent", at least as I would use the word (which doesn't appear to agree with the dictionary's definition of "contented" or "self-satisfied"). So I guess I am more accurately "resigned". I am resigned but not because I am self-satisfied or content. And that feels "complacent" to me, which isn't a word I previously associated with being happy about the situation (which both "self-satisfied" and "contented" imply to me).1

      I do what I can when I can. There are quite a few other gods, so if I do something it is usually at least partly because none of the other gods did it (or whatever other cabal members have the required authority for that particular action). I got plenty of criticism for doing what I could when I could for PerlMonks long ago. I gave up beating myself up. I listen to the criticism and try to learn from it but I've mostly given up feeling bad about trying to do something and it not being appreciated by everyone. If I see suggestions that I think would improve things after my action (aka "mistake"), then I'm likely to follow them.

      And we have all learned that nearly any action isn't going to be to everyone's liking so we mostly do things in wishy washy ways (adding yet another user setting to let people keep every trivial aspect of the interface if they choose to).

      I try to express myself, but I am resigned that I will be misunderstood. If I see a way to correct a misunderstanding, than I am likely to attempt it. I have previously gone to considerable lengths to try to prevent being misunderstood and found no more success than when I went to my more typical short lengths to express myself. So I'm resigned to expressing myself somewhat bluntly, somewhat tersely, sometimes cryptically (sometimes by accident, sometimes intentionally).

      I'm resigned that I will be seen as arrogant by many. Since I have an administrative role here with pretty much no associated authority (I'm just some guy that some other guy gave the keys to), I'm resigned that I will be seen as capricious and arbitrary and worse. Pleading to the contrary won't change that. I try to be patient when it comes to condemning actions, including my own. And many actions can't practically be undone so I am more concerned with future actions than regret or "what if" once the bell has been wrung [sic], which almost always ends up having at least some negative aspects.

      So I'm not surprised that my resignation can come across as being arrogant, self-righteous, or capricious. I'm a bit surprised that it went as far as "smug". But inferring emotion from text-only communications is a particularly perilous activity.

      I try not to be arbitrary or capricious. I rarely try to be "final". This was a rare exception where I felt "final" was warranted. I try to take input, especially from the other gods and those who I see as involved in site policy and do that before taking action.

      As for not being interested in cabal membership, I say "good for you". More people should realize that cabal membership is mostly a thankless, frustrating experience, including those who grant such membership.

      - tye        

      1 I was somewhat amused to see "See synonyms at 'patience'" when I looked up "resigned". Also note that I feel that I am resigned not that I have resigned, though this thread makes me feel that several people wish for the latter.

        tye,

        Well, you are right in that I cannot read your, or the other gods', emotions from a web page, so maybe that was the wrong word. I guess what I was getting at more specifically is this notion that participation in the cabal, which as you note is a difficult and thankless task, and a worthy volunteer effort, should simultaneously be considered a privilege to be revoked whenever and whyever the gods see fit. Again, I appreciate those who do participate and enjoy the fruits of their efforts, but I just don't see myself, at this time, volunteering in such a manner.

Re^4: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)
by dws (Chancellor) on Jan 11, 2007 at 19:41 UTC

    Given previous attempts to cull inactive members from privileged groups, I think the level of sneakiness was appropriate.

    Previous attempts?

    I've been mostly inactive as a janitor for well over a year. A simple /msg noting a desire to cull the list, and I would happily have relinquished. (And a /msg after I'd been removed from the list would have saved me some confusion if I did see something that needed janitoring, felt so inclined, and then found that I couldn't any more.)

    The way this was done feels like one of those student government takeovers by the cabal who've figured out how to use Roberts Rules of Order to exclude everyone else. Being a janitor requires hanging around in the editors' wiki? I rarely did that back when I was doing a lot of janitoring.

    To my mind, you'd have been better off saying publicly that you were going to cull the list, and that decisions would be arbitrary.

      I have waited a few weeks to see if my feelings on this deplorable episode would change at all, given time. They haven't. I also wanted to see if ysth would respond, but he hasn't deigned to do so. That's a serious mistake, because actions of this nature have consequences.
      you'd have been better off saying publicly that you were going to cull the list

      It was said as publicly as it needed to be, which was in the editors wiki. IMHO, there is no excuse for an active janitor not to be current with what's on the wiki. And to be inactive for some stretch of time (a year, say, or even a couple weeks) and then resume janitorial activities without first catching up on the wiki would be prima facie reason for disqualification from the job.

Re^4: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)
by exussum0 (Vicar) on Jan 11, 2007 at 04:01 UTC
    Usually I look to you as someone who is fairy smart and wise, which is very hard to be, but you slipped up on this one. Big time.

    This isn't a job where perlmonks pays people to do a job. "Still want your job? Reply here!" Instead, you cut people off. I wasn't one of them nor do I want to be one of them. This is completely voulentary. In the end, you took the false positive and cut them off anyhow not admiting a mistake. Very bad exampe you've set for anyone who wishes to contribute in such a manner. "Sure, do some work for us, but we'll cut you off randomly without notification."

    Sadly, your generic, "they were appreciated" only shows contempt. I'm sure the same could be said of holli or whomever else has been "demoted".

    Then again, I never saw you reply on the wiki either. Were you given a second chance?

    Sorry, I can understand, "we need to reduce our numbers, trim some of the fat." Doing so in circumstances as it's been demonstrated.. ugh. This reeks.

      cut them off anyhow not admiting a mistake

      Oh, I fully admit mistakes were made. Note that I didn't do much of this. I stand behind what was done because I didn't object when the plan was proposed (none of the gods did; I did express some reservations but I certainly missed the mark on what the worst fall-out would be). My major involvement has been in trying to present some of the other side of the story (where I'm sure I've made several mistakes as well). You'll have to read more of the thread to get answers to your other questions.

      - tye        

Re^4: How do janitors get fired? (sneaky)
by Arunbear (Prior) on Jan 10, 2007 at 22:56 UTC
    GrandFather replied to ysth's announcement after the window had closed. You didn't reply at all.
      You didn't reply at all
      deliberately? because he just didn't care? Or was it that there were constraints? Anyone bothered to contact jeffa via mail? It is available via tinymicros.
      A reply falls below the community's threshold of quality. You may see it by logging in.

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