[aur-general] Being an asshole to package maintainers is a bannable offense, and that's okay

Niels Egidius Johan Meijer niels-meijer at kpnmail.nl
Thu Jan 16 10:39:13 UTC 2020

Hello everyone,

this is my first time posting too, I hope nothing went wrong.

To demonstrate that it is the presentation of the comment in question but not the content that some experience as inappropriate, I tried to re-write it for myself in a less 'emotive' way. It is usually really hard to properly express emotive content in a written text without creating ambiguity about the intention of the original poster, which I feel underlies most controversies about 'unwelcomingness' on the Internet:

> Hi people, there have been a large number of complaints about the testing this package does, such as validpgpkeys checks. This package is doing the correct thing, and several previous pinned comments [have attempted to] explain why these complaints are not valid. Please refer to those before posting any additional comments.

The text in []s would make the message a bit more polite, as not including it might make what other might consider a subjective claim. I put it in brackets as I it might change the content of the message a bit.

The final sentence prevents users from bringing up the stale arguments that the original message tried to prevent, but does not assume anything about the intentions of the reader, which is more polite IMO. If the poster wants to be a bit more explicit, it could be replaced with the following.

> Please refrain from posting any additional comments [that are already addressed by this discussion].

I feel that this is probably rude to say without the parts in brackets (as it forbids a reader who might bring up a valid point from participating), but that part might change the content a bit, hence the brackets.

So far the message politely asks the reader not to do something, which might make any willing violation of this request against the implicit expectation of civilised behaviour one can/should assume in a public 'medium' such as the AUR. If somebody does this anyway I am pretty sure everyone can agree that banning could be logical next step.

However, to not change the content: to make the threat of a ban explicit one could add the following line: 

> Please note that Moderators/TUs might [need to] resort to banning users to minimise additional noise in the comment section.

However, I really think such a consequence should already be clear from the previous text. Including it might therefore make the message more hostile than it needs to be in order to achieve the desired goal (no more spammy complaints), and also slightly implies that the writer is just pretending to sound polite. (Is it called a 'comment section'?)

I'd like to mention that I am not too sure about the mentioned technicalities. I also tried my best not to 'censor' the message in any kind, just change the presentation.

Switching to a more formal (less-emotive) register is my go-to approach when a discussion might get heated, and I wanted to add my two cents. I hope they are of some use in any future considerations!

Kind regards,

Niels E. J. Meijer

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