[aur-general] Being an asshole to package maintainers is a bannable offense, and that's okay (Was: EQ And Community Kindness)

Brett Cornwall brett at i--b.com
Wed Jan 15 23:07:05 UTC 2020

On 2020-01-15 17:09, Eli Schwartz via aur-general wrote:
>On 1/15/20 4:17 PM, michael Bostwick via aur-general wrote:
>> Hi,
>>     This is my first time writing the mailing list, to be honest I would
>> have preferred anther way of bringing this up, but *I didn't see an easy
>> way to bring my concern to someone who's empowered to fix this strong
>> comment or make it better.* I was looking into a package to solve a complex
>> programming task when I encountered a rather jarring pinned comment . (
>> https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/libc%2B%2B/#pinned-678768 )
>> "
>> Hi people, this is your regular reminder to SHUT UP about validpgpkeys
>> checks and complaints about the fact that test suites exist.
>> This package is doing the correct thing, and there has been a great deal of
>> pointless moaning and whining about it, but there is also multiple pinned
>> comments explaining why every one of those complaints is not only null and
>> void, but retroactively ridiculous.
>> The banhammer is ready and waiting in case you *still* want to ignore all
>> this on top of the Trusted User warning."
>> I really hope no one was banned by the writer of this comment,and I really
>> hope as trusted users in the future you guys would *be a little more kind*
>> to members of the aur community.
>The package in question has suffered to a very surprising degree from
>tremendous quantities of abuse heaped upon the maintainer.
>Since that pinned comment was added, users have stopped being mean to
>the maintainer. As a result, no one has needed to be banned.
>If you had moderator privileges on the AUR and could see the contents of
>the deleted comments -- of which there are many -- I suspect you'd
>rapidly understand why people are at the end of their tether.

The only directly mean comment I see is one from 2018-09-30 where 
someone elegantly wrote:

>Stop beeing arrogant <maintainer>, and help, if not shut up! Sometimes talk toa human is a lot better way of learning !

All the other comments seem to be the typical fare for those that 
expect Arch to support AUR helpers/make the experience "easier". Perhaps 
I missed some.

It appears that the pinned comment in question was indeed added after a 
small uptick in the undesirable comments. I have doubts as to whether it 
has actually stopped any sort of behavior - adding one more comment atop 
a pile doesn't seem effective to me, and comments have since occurred 
despite the new pin.

I'm not discounting the probable possibility that the maintainers 
received some nasty emails, but the deleted comments I can see are tame 
(if tiring to look through). The Arch Linux community has issues with 
interacting like human beings; however, I find the pinned comment in 
question to be tame (if colorful).

>> Many linux users may be familiar with
>> Linus Torvalds writings on his mistakes with EQ, I hope no one in aur has
>> to experience that.
>I'm not even sure I recognize the abbreviation "EQ", but given it's some
>sort of Linus Torvalds reference I'm fairly positive no one has been
>personally attacked or called names on that AUR page.

I came across https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence

>Some people who were behaving very impolitely indeed, were given an
>ultimatum that their behavior was not an acceptable way to treat people,
>but more on that later.
>Hmm, I wonder: does that make me the champion of community kindness,
>here? Is my attempt to enforce that, now being met with objections from
>you, who would like to defend the right of users to be as offensive as
>they want without having to suffer the consequences of being banned for
>their behavior?

While I think that your pinned comment is acceptable, I'm not sure that 
deriding a user from trying to help the community is. I see where this 
is going, and it'd be good to just stop it now before it becomes another 
drama train.

>> For those trusted AUR members that have been kind I say *thank you for your
>> hard work*, and for those that mean well but are harsh please keep in mind
>> when you see a package the first thing you see in the pinned comment (and
>> alot of context that is missed), and that speaks loudly to your impressions
>> of aur.
>I have been kind... to the AUR package maintainer. This is more
>important than being kind to users, because the package maintainer is
>the one who does the work, and therefore we would like him to continue
>doing the work rather than being chased away by ungrateful users heaping
>abuse upon him because he wrote a PKGBUILD for software that takes a
>while to compile, and users apparently hate maintainers that don't offer
>instant gratification.

>Futhermore: the so-called "unkindness" you speak of is simply a warning
>stating that users are not permitted to complain about two very specific
>things which are simultaneously correct to do *and* which the package
>maintainer has very patiently explained the purpose of and the makepkg
>options to disable them if the user optionally chooses that they don't
>wish these things to happen.
>Despite these very patient, thoughtful pinned comments by the package
>maintainer, we would periodically have like ten comments in a row
>discussing those two things, by people who did not read the pinned
>comments and were upset that the package "doesn't work", calling the
>maintainer stupid, demanding a binary repository for the package, or
>simply derailing the comments with some discussion about their needing
>to delete gpg.conf in order for the /usr/bin/gpg command to work.

Everyone in the world is in a consumption role at some point or another, 
including package maintainers. It's up to everyone to be civil - it's 
not "us" vs "them": For every one comment/email received from a 
bothersome user, ten/twenty other users are following rules and going 
about their day. It's like retail work: Lots of assholes abound in the 
public sphere, but not everyone's an asshole so don't treat them like 

What's important *right now* is not the pinned comment, but how those in 
leadership positions in Arch Linux treat the users that come forward 
with concerns. Consider Santiago's less intimidating demeanor in another 
thread to outright rejection of anything that Michael wrote - likely 
with some hesitation due to nerves or social doubts. I'm not saying that 
everyone's proposal needs to be considered, but everyone's 
communications should be treated fairly (so long as they're civil).

>Most people will not even see this warning, because they simply download
>the PKGBUILD with an AUR helper and neither see existing comments nor
>post their own.

This is not relevant to the discussion.
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