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

Ethan Rakoff ethan at ethanrakoff.com
Tue Oct 30 14:51:38 UTC 2018

Just thought I would cap this whole shebang off with this:

Remember that as technical people working on a project that spans the world, we communicate almost exclusively through text, and it can be easy to misinterpret the tone of someone else. We should all make an effort to remember this in writing and in reading.

Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to ignorance or misunderstanding.

It doesn't matter who was right or wrong, it's always good to behave diplomatically.

Ethan Rakoff

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 2:43 PM, Konstantin Gizdov <arch at kge.pw> wrote:

> I will make this as brief as I can, even though I feel there is a lot to
> talk about.

> On 30/10/2018 13:06, Adam Levy via aur-general wrote:

> > 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.

> Even if you are 100% correct, there were a lot of other messages, not
> just the linked ones. I think you should try and make a broader argument
> based on broader observations, but I do understand that you can still
> end up with the same conclusion. It's just not fair to judge the whole
> situation like this, I believe.

> > 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.

> So me being a blatant liar, having some sort of dark agenda, being a
> whiny baby and passive aggressive are not personal insults, etc.?
> Whenever, I tried to make a point I was assumed to have nefarious
> motives and was insulted and my character attacked.

> > The emails included strong language. Nothing was sugar coated, and efforts
> > to be polite had ceased at that point in the exchange.

> From the first email answer to me there were no efforts to be polite
> (from the people in question). I actually tried to respond to bring the
> discussion about the questions I asked rather than what the discussion
> suddenly turned to.

> > 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.

> While I would normally agree that just because two people being in
> agreement is not ganging up, in this case, persisting with increasing
> intensity to attack me, call me names and imply horrible things about
> what I stand for cannot possibly be about anything else.

> > 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
> > first.

> To this moment I have kept quiet about this, but I think I cannot do
> this anymore. I have been emailed privately by people who have
> experienced the same sort of things from the same people. They emailed
> me just to comfort me, because I think they understand how it feels and
> what it does to you. Thank you, to those ones, for lending a shoulder.
> They did not say anything publicly on the list for fear of the same
> persecution and lash back. I call for them to say something now as I
> cannot in clear conscience call them out and put them into this myself.

> > I don't understand what you mean by bullying.

> I think what he means is the weeks on end attacks at my character and
> not actually discussing my initial email - which was about what the
> available, correct and appropriate ways are to pass on what I know about
> a package I depend on in my daily life. Please read my initial email and
> tell me if you would have responded the same way they did and then say
> what would be the correct way to respond to anyone, not just me, in that
> situation.

> > I was bullied as a kid. We're all nerds here.

> I am sorry to hear that happened to you. It really should not happen to
> anyone. But what exactly is your point? Are you claiming that because
> you were bullied then you can decide for everyone else universally if
> they are being bullied? Or nerds can't be bullies? I don't mean to
> offend or attack you. I just don't understand your point. If you are
> trying to sympathise/empathise, I personally do not think you have
> understood how I feel. Possibly clarify.

> > 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.

> Smart and articulate people make the best bullies. They can really get
> you where it hurts and lasts. I think that's been proven many times.

> > 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.

> That's exactly what happened here.

> > 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.

> Now I will take the time to say something.

> I have never imagined myself in this position and do not wish it upon
> anyone.

> I sent an email in which I specifically said I did not understand how
> things work and was asking for advice. Now I am here. I did not claim I
> was being bullied, other people made that observation. But if anyone
> thinks that it did not hurt to the point where now I am barely able to
> hit the keys as I type this and shaking, then you are wrong. Deeply
> wrong. I will not say whether or not the whole situation qualifies as
> bullying or anything else, this is not the point I think. All I know is
> how I feel.

> I say this:

> -   I did not initially intended to apply as a TU, was just looking for a
>     way to make sure stuff works as-is or better; I think as a person one
>     has to be pretty insecure to think this means I am attacking anyone's
>     abilities

> -   I applied for a TU as no other alternative was presented to me that I
>     felt was enough in the particular case; that does not mean I am
>     dismissing the current available ways in any way

> -   I do not pertain that I deserve the post, that's left to the voters
> -   I do claim that anyone should be able to apply regardless of how good
>     they are, the rules only require a sponsor

> -   I do not want to introduce friction in the internal team, I want to
>     bring something to it

> -   I am not complaining about the current team and their expertise and
>     never implied otherwise

>     Regardless if I get accepted as TU or not, regardless of the fact I have
>     "the stuff" or not, regardless if people think I have "problematic
>     behaviour" or however it was called, regardless of anything else, I will
>     not stand for this and as this emailing list is public I will try my
>     best to make sure it does not happen to anyone else. Until things
>     change or I get banned, of course

>     I am dropping this thread now, I leave it to everyone to take it as they
>     will.

>     Regards,
>     Konstantin

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