[aur-general] About bullying in our community (Was: TU Application)

Adam Levy theadamlevy+archlinux at gmail.com
Tue Oct 30 13:06:11 UTC 2018

As an outsider sitting on the sidelines, with absolutely no dog in this
fight, I have to say that I don't believe that the messages you linked are
examples of bullying or personal attacks. The closest I saw to a personal
attack might be Eli saying that Konstantin is a control freak. I believe
that could have been said more diplomatically and professionally but it
strikes me as a legitimate consideration in the context of whether to admit
a new TU that all other TUs would theoretically have to work along side.

The emails included strong language. Nothing was sugar coated, and efforts
to be polite had ceased at that point in the exchange. We probably have
different definitions of bullying, but from my perspective those emails
should not qualify as bullying. Additionally two or more people agreeing
with each other and backing each other up doesn't constitute ganging up,
let alone violently. I'm not sure those are well defined concepts in this
context anyway. What is the difference between supporting each other's
positions and "ganging up"? How does one have a "violent" email exchange?
Those descriptions are metaphorical, to say the least, and I would go so
far as to say that they are hyperbole.

Trusted Users are in a position of power. I do believe that they should
strive to behave diplomatically and patiently. I think it is more fair and
accurate to say that Eli and Doug were less diplomatic and patient than
would appear professional to most outside observers. I don't think that
makes them bullies or violent, to borrow your language. If those
accusations are to be substantiated we need to agree on what they mean

I don't understand what you mean by bullying.

I was bullied as a kid. We're all nerds here. Chances are we all had a
bully as a kid. If my bully had been as articulate as what was displayed in
these emails then I'm not sure he would have even been effective as a
bully. Chances are we probably would have gotten along better because he
would have been talking to me directly using mostly logical arguments. But
no, my bully called me names and made fun of me. At one point he was
physically violent. That's not to say that I don't think bullying can't
happen over digital communication, I just can't reconcile my understanding
of bullying with what is being described here as such.

On Tue, Oct 30, 2018, 8:27 AM Baptiste Jonglez <baptiste at bitsofnetworks.org>

> Hi Santiago,
> Now that the discussion period is over, I am taking time to fully answer
> this, since it's much more general and important than the TU application
> itself.
> On 28-10-18, Santiago Torres-Arias wrote:
> > I've been following this email thread quite closely and without
> > participating as I was hoping to keep opinions to myself --- I don't
> > think I have much questions other than what's already asked for
> > Konstantin --- and make up my mind for voting.
> >
> > It's clear that it is time to take a step back and stop fanning the
> > flames. We are all passionate people, and sometimes this passion leads
> > us to the type of arguments we are having right now. I agree with Eli,
> > this is not a toy operating system and there are things at stake.
> > However, I'm completely convinced that no ill intention is coming from
> > everyone involved, and that, if we consider this optic, it's clear that
> > this is just a non-technical quarrel that should've been shelved a while
> > ago.
> >
> > Personally, I think this is a good opportunity to tone it down for a
> > second, leave the 10+ emails behind us and try to go back to the things
> > that make this community friendly and welcoming.
> >
> > Baptiste, Konstantin, Eli, and Doug. Please take a deep breath and
> > extend a friendly handshake. I'm sure everyone else following this
> > exchnage thinks this is the reasonable way to move forward.
> I understand that you want to calm things down and the intention is good,
> but you make it appear as if the animosity is symmetrical.  But the
> situation is actually not: we have two bullies ganging up violently on a
> newcomer, who has so far kept a very cool head and stayed polite where
> most people would have gotten angry.  On my side I reacted more angrily
> because I am getting fed up with this kind of repeated toxic attitude, and
> other people expressed dismay at the violent personal attacks we
> witnessed.
> Note that here I am not making any judgement on the validity of the
> arguments in the various technical debates: this is important but it is
> not the point here.  The point is precisely to be able to have interesting
> discussions and debates, without resorting to personal attacks, insults or
> abusing a dominating position, as both Doug and Eli have repeatedly done
> in the past and now again:
> https://lists.archlinux.org/pipermail/aur-general/2018-September/034287.html
> https://lists.archlinux.org/pipermail/aur-general/2018-October/034402.html
> https://lists.archlinux.org/pipermail/aur-general/2018-October/034408.html
> https://lists.archlinux.org/pipermail/aur-general/2018-October/034411.html
> This is not a witch-hunt: Doug and Eli, this discussion does *not*
> question your attachment to this community, the quality of your work or
> the quality of your technical opinions in general.  In fact your are both
> much more knowledgeable and active in Arch than most people including me.
> But that is certainly not a valid reason to start bullying people around,
> or else I am grossly mistaken about this whole community.
> As a general rule, when nobody stands up publicly against a bully, the
> bully will just continue bullying people the same way in the future,
> perhaps even more confidently.
> Of course, we can also bury our head in the sand and pride ourselves that
> our community is "friendly and welcoming" (I think this is still true on
> the whole btw) while leaving the bullies act unchecked.  Santiago, I don't
> mean this as a personal attack on you, I just think that it's a bad idea
> to sweep such unacceptable personal behaviour under the carpet as if
> nothing happened.
> Quite frankly, in the future I am considering taking whatever actions are
> necessary to make sure that this kind of hurtful behaviour doesn't happen
> again, including asking for the bully's resignation or resigning myself.
> I hope that we will find ways to work things out without having to resort
> to such extremes.
> Discussing these problems seems like a good start :)
> Baptiste

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