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Re: Additions to the FAQ and a Community Statement

by educated_foo (Vicar)
on Apr 16, 2013 at 01:07 UTC ( #1028788=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Additions to the FAQ and a Community Statement

I neither blame nor praise TPF for anything on this site, except dumb things like this. Apparently Schwern harassed you enough that you felt required to do a bit of CYA. It's a web forum -- don't bother.

Just another Perler interested in Algol Programming.
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Re^2: Additions to the FAQ and a Community Statement
by Ya'akov (Initiate) on Apr 16, 2013 at 09:19 UTC

    Your point is sensible, behavior in web forums often fails to meet standards we apply to in-person interaction. People should include that fact in their analysis. However, not everyone is sensible, and so explicit statements are sometimes required.

    There is additional content here that I wish you wouldn't ignore, and that is that while such behavior might occur, it's not really OK that it does. People shouldn't feel free to abuse anonymity (particularly when it is clear they do so to preserve a community reputation, and not to protect themselves from non-self-inflicted harm, such as in genuine political dissent). Apparently, PerlMonks allows anonymous posting for what the community considers good reasons. But can this be one of those? It seems unlikely.

    So, people did complain about the thread, including aspects of the content. However, as I said in my original post, my rôle as Community Advocate makes my personal opinion one voice in that debate, like every other voice, excpet insofar as it deals with mistreatment of community members by one another. Where that is the principle in question, I have an obligation to speak out about it.

    So, the post wasn't simply "CYA", and the disclaimer component wasn't addressed to sensible people who already discount deviants as outliers. It was addressed to the sensible people who can see there is a problem with abusive interaction here, and all over the online Perl community, by a loud and small minority. This minority doesn't comprise one or another side of any given issue, they are just willing to use hurtful rhetoric against one another, or even casual attempts to engage them.

    As I said, I am aware that PerlMonks culture is particular and enjoyed by the participants. As it turns out, the reason I am not a regular member of this community is that I don't enjoy it. Nonetheless I a not not referring to the intense and often challenging tone, or the demand for rigor in answers. I am talking about outright attacks, and those, it seems, even here, require a mask.

      my rôle as Community Advocate makes my personal opinion one voice in that debate, like every other voice, excpet insofar as it deals with mistreatment of community members by one another.
      As a (fairly insignificant) member of the Perl community, you don't speak for me. You speak for yourself, only and always. We're discussing a fairly standard flame-war, and flames on Perlmonks are far less frequent and vicious than they were on Usenet, back when the Perl community was there. Perlmonks is a pretty friendly place compared to most of the Internet -- its existing mechanisms work better than most.
      Just another Perler interested in Algol Programming.

        I am certain that I don't speak for you, not directly. You speak for yourself quite clearly. I speak as best I can for the community in aggregate. The consensus, which is no individual.

        The place where I might speak for you is in rejecting demands that your opinions be ignored in deciding on what the community consensus is. There is nothing about what you say that should make that true. You represent an individual solidly in the mainstream of the Perl community, and your ideas need to be integrated into what is called "consensus". Sometimes, that consensus will not agree with your opinions even if those opinions are part of how it is arrived at.

        The project of articulating a consensus is fraught with difficulties. It is, nonetheless, important from the larger perspective. I don't enjoy appearing to be an intruder, and I don't enjoy being accused of acting from ulterior motives. I am not here to speak for you. I am here to speak for the overlapping communities of which PerlMonks is a highly visible and important member.

        If it was possible to do something simple like take a survey, or hold a vote to determine the consensus of the community on civility in discourse, I would be overjoyed and immediately set out to do it. Unfortunately, that is untenable. Consensus is a complex thing not amenable to something so binary as yes or no voting.

        I am fully aware that PerlMonks, as a community will do as it sees best. My goal here is to provide a voice for people who don't normally speak or aren't here, directly, yet are still affected by what happens here. Even if I could change the rules here by fiat, I wouldn't see any value in doing that. It wouldn't change anything important, just appearance, and even that wouldn't last.

        Please consider my appeal here sincere, because it is. I don't think I know better than people here, I think I might have some more information about things outside the community, and I know I have a different viewpoint than has been generally expressed.

      It's a web forum -- on-line interactions have their own mechanisms and illegal postings are deleted as soon as possible.

      Nobody closes a crowded street because people occasionally bounce into each other.

      The potentially "mistreated community members" know this and I'm quite sure they would rather prefer solutions w/o external lawyers getting involved.

      I apologize if you are just expressing your opinion as a simple community member.

      Of course you are welcome to join and attribute to our social system.

      Cheers Rolf

      ( addicted to the Perl Programming Language)

        Hello, Rolf.

        I agree that tolerance for the sort of thing that is equivalent to being jostled on a crowded street is a necessity in some places we choose to go. I've said as much in my posts here.

        I respectfully disagree that the mistreated community members here are necessarily able to find a solution without some input outside what has become a sort of resonant chamber, amplifying the louder voices (on any side of an argument) and droning out the reasonable.

        From my communications with various active PerlMonks, I know that not everyone here shares your view. But, it is hard from someone who'd rather just get on with things to wade into disputes like this one, and the result is generally that moderate voices aren't a material part of the debate. The shouting down of these people is a heckler's veto, that is, they can cut off debate by harshness rather than deal with the substance. This is true of both sides of a polarizing issue such as this one. It there is any merit to the content from either viewpoint, and I believe there is merit to both, the light is lost in the heat, and nothing endemic here offers a way to change this, hence my appearance.

        I feel forced to reiterate that my concern is not the correctness of any argument, nor the famous culture of PerlMonks but the need for civility in the Perl community in general. It is disingenuous to say that what PerlMonks does isn't a reflection on the Perl community (not accusing you of this, just making the point), whether it should or not. "Should" doesn't decide what is, unfortunately.

        To the extent I have no standing here, it is at once a weakness and a strength. It is a weakness because I have no special reputation here, it is a strength because I have no axe to grind. I am not here about history but the present. I don't want to remake PerlMonks in some notional image, I want to have PerlMonks reflect, it its unique way, what it means to be "an affiliate of TPF" and a very important and high profile part of the Perl community.

        One more note, I hope that it is clear I am not a lawyer. I am the Community Advocate for TPF, and yes, advocate can mean "lawyer", but that is not the sense here.

        noun |ˈadvəkit|

        a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy: he was an untiring advocate of economic reform.
        • a person who pleads on someone else's behalf: care managers can become advocates for their clients.
        • a pleader in a court of law; a lawyer: Marshall was a skilled advocate but a mediocre judge.

        I am an advocate in the first and second senses of that definition but not the third. My rôle with the TPF is to provide a conduit, bi-directionally, between TPF and the greater Perl community. I am also tasked with finding ways to foster health and growth in the community. It is my belief, reflected in the work I am doing, that the community consists of many smaller, overlapping affinity groups. PerlMonks is one of the most visible, and most important. I believe that for the community to be healthy, each group must be able to have manifest the Perl community in its own way. An analogy might be that The Perl Community is the genotype but PerlMonks is the phenotype.

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply, and pleasant tone. And thank you for the invitation to join you. I appreciate it.

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