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KiwiNZ
April 2nd, 2008, 10:21 PM
Something has concerned me for some time now, that is the way we ban members from this Forum.I am uncomfortable with the current process,
I feel in some cases it goes against the principles Natural Law.
My main issue is the right to be heard or ‘ audi alteam partem’. When someone is banned that right is eliminated as their permissions to post have gone.

There is some cases where immediate ban is justified, eg Porn spammer. , however in many cases the need for immediate ban is not appropriate and is unfair, so I am putting forward a proposal for discussion. This comes from KiwiNZ forum member, not Forum Council Member.
So here it is …

We issue notice to a member our intention to ban and why. And invite them to apply through the Resolution Centre for review .This is in line with the principles of Natural law.

The member’s permissions are edited to allow posting in the Resolution Centre only.

The member is given reasonable time to prepare and present a defence.

The Forum Staff are given the same time to prepare their case.

The Forum Administration will make a decision , however in keeping with ‘nemo judex in sua causa’ one cannot be judge in their own case , the staff member bringing the charge cannot be part of the decision

Now this thread is not intended to be a vehicle to discuss cases from the past or to attack any personel present or past. Please keep discussion to the above only. And keep it in accordance with our rules. This thread will be open for one week for discussion.

LaRoza
April 2nd, 2008, 10:38 PM
We issue notice to a member our intention to ban and why. And invite them to apply through the Resolution Centre for review .This is in line with the principles of Natural law.

The member’s permissions are edited to allow posting in the Resolution Centre only.

The member is given reasonable time to prepare and present a defence.

The Forum Staff are given the same time to prepare their case.

A few procedural questions.


How is one notified? A special type of infraction? A PM?
How are these permissions edited? Will it have to be done manually by an admin?
There is that word "reasonable". In all law that I have seen, it takes case law to determine what is reasonable. Perhaps a more hard coded time period, perhaps relative to log in times.
Exactly what standard is used? Will the staff have to present a case to prove willful intent, or that just a breach of Forum CoC was breached.


While your suggestion is good in theory, it has some procedural issues IMO. For one, Forum Staff that do not have the time to present a 'case' will likely not try, or certain members will be given the burden.

I am very hesitant to allow "case law" to affect the decisions of the staff. This procedure introduces many reforms of the current system, which may be in practice.

If, say Resident Troll wishes to say that his/her statements on a certain forum staff member are not a breach of the Forum CoC, and is able to prove it, a future case will cause a smart member/troll to use the facts of that incident to support their conduct.

Or would the administration not be bound to precedant?

Perhaps more procedure is good, but I do not think this is the best way to do it.

My suggestions

Make the method of notification and restrictions as simple as possible. A complex solution won't be used
Make the guidelines clear cut, even if it means be less reasonable. Specifically, the time to defend yourself. Have it timeout, and automatically default to acceptance if not defended in that time period
Make it clear that cases may be treated differently, and past incidents are not binding on future decisions. This may be a little unfair, but the Ubuntu Forums Code of Conduct is the set of rules, not past cases, that we follow
Put the burden on the defendant, not the staff, to prove their case.

-grubby
April 2nd, 2008, 10:41 PM
That does make sense and sounds completely fair to me. Though Users can take it up with the Forum Council for a "trial".

Also, please stop using that font. I can hardly read it

LaRoza
April 2nd, 2008, 10:42 PM
That does make sense and sounds completely fair to me. Though Users can take it up with the Forum Council for a "trial".

Also, please stop using that font. I can hardly read it

Is Times New Roman not installed for you?

-grubby
April 2nd, 2008, 10:45 PM
Is Times New Roman not installed for you?

I suppose not. I never install fonts. How would I install it?

p_quarles
April 2nd, 2008, 10:46 PM
Is Times New Roman not installed for you?
Serifs and LCDs can be a recipe for eye-strain sometimes.

EDIT: @nathan:
sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

Forlong
April 2nd, 2008, 10:48 PM
Do we have to install msttcorefonts now to read forums posts?

KiwiNZ
April 2nd, 2008, 10:50 PM
@ LaRosa

If the principle is accepted then the nuts and bolts will need to be taken care of.
Such as a template for the Notice, reasonable time determined , my thoughts are one week , but that is my thoughts only.
The permissions are easily edited in the ADMIN console.

remember this is just an initial proposal that needs a lot of work

overdrank
April 2nd, 2008, 10:51 PM
Something has concerned me for some time now, that is the way we ban members from this Forum.I am uncomfortable with the current process,
I feel in some cases it goes against the principles Natural Law.
My main issue is the right to be heard or ‘ audi alteam partem’. When someone is banned that right is eliminated as their permissions to post have gone.

There is some cases where immediate ban is justified, eg Porn spammer. , however in many cases the need for immediate ban is not appropriate and is unfair, so I am putting forward a proposal for discussion. This comes from KiwiNZ forum member, not Forum Council Member.
So here it is …

We issue notice to a member our intention to ban and why. And invite them to apply through the Resolution Centre for review .This is in line with the principles of Natural law.

The member’s permissions are edited to allow posting in the Resolution Centre only.

The member is given reasonable time to prepare and present a defence.

The Forum Staff are given the same time to prepare their case.

The Forum Administration will make a decision , however in keeping with ‘nemo judex in sua causa’ one cannot be judge in their own case , the staff member bringing the charge cannot be part of the decision

Now this thread is not intended to be a vehicle to discuss cases from the past or to attack any personel present or past. Please keep discussion to the above only. And keep it in accordance with our rules. This thread will be open for one week for discussion.


Hi
* implement a user agreement that must be signed before posting in the forums
* maybe lessen the amount of points per infraction
* before the limit is reached invite the users to a meeting to discuss the issues before banning.
*Also maybe limit the ability to post for a period of time before banning.
But as I think upon it that is the way it is now from reading the resolution center.

Edit for KiwiNZ

-grubby
April 2nd, 2008, 10:51 PM
Sorry, even after installing that, it still hurts to read. It is a little better, but not much.

LaRoza
April 2nd, 2008, 10:52 PM
@ LaRosa

If the principle is accepted then the nuts and bolts will need to be taken care of.
Such as a template for the Notice, reasonable time determined , my thoughts are one week , but that is my thoughts only.
The permissions are easily edited in the ADMIN console.

remember this is just an initial proposal that needs a lot of work

I know, I was trying to point out a few issues to be noticed, not rejecting the concept.

LaRoza
April 2nd, 2008, 10:54 PM
Do we have to install msttcorefonts now to read forums posts?

Any font can be specified on a web page. The fonts are not actually part of the web page, in fact, the font used to write a web page doesn't matter at all, only the style sheet, and the browser settings.

As noted, serif fonts can be a strain in certain conditions. Times was designed for news papers, not screens.

Forlong
April 2nd, 2008, 10:58 PM
I know how web pages work. I just find it weird that an administrator would use Times New Roman to post something on a web forum.

KiwiNZ
April 2nd, 2008, 10:59 PM
Font changed with sincere apologies

LaRoza
April 2nd, 2008, 11:01 PM
I know how web pages work. I just find it weird that an administrator would use Times New Roman to post something on a web forum.

Probably just an oversight. (I use the simple text box for all input, so I am not sure, but I think the graphical editor for this forum includes a drop down for fonts and styles)

-grubby
April 2nd, 2008, 11:03 PM
Font changed with sincere apologies

Thank you, don't feel too bad :)

KiwiNZ
April 2nd, 2008, 11:04 PM
Back to the topic .

Can I ask , if anyone has suggestions for alteration or enhance ment of the proposal could you list them at the bottom of your posts .

This would be easier for an old mans eyes to see them and review them later when I go through everyones posts again and again.

Joeb454
April 2nd, 2008, 11:07 PM
I think it's quite a good idea.

Funnily enough I've just noticed xhux was banned (not 100% name spelling). Either way, I think the proposed way is better, because it allows people to argue their case against the banning :)

LaRoza
April 2nd, 2008, 11:10 PM
Back to the topic .

Can I ask , if anyone has suggestions for alteration or enhance ment of the proposal could you list them at the bottom of your posts .

This would be easier for an old mans eyes to see them and review them later when I go through everyones posts again and again.

My first post is updated with my points.

OrangeCrate
April 2nd, 2008, 11:11 PM
Something has concerned me for some time now, that is the way we ban members from this Forum. I am uncomfortable with the current process...

<the sound of two hands clapping>

Thank you for putting this issue on the table.

LaRoza
April 2nd, 2008, 11:11 PM
I think it's quite a good idea.

Funnily enough I've just noticed xhux was banned (not 100% name spelling). Either way, I think the proposed way is better, because it allows people to argue their case against the banning :)

In that case, there were many accounts, some with variations on the spelling, and the accounts had bad pasts. Creating multiple accounts to bypass moderation is a bannable offense and is in the CoC.

Joeb454
April 2nd, 2008, 11:47 PM
Yeah I read the thread in the resolution center after posting that :)

Totally understandable :)

KiwiNZ
April 2nd, 2008, 11:57 PM
Can I respectfully ask that we keep this thread on the proposal and not discuss the merits of actual events .

Thanks

Kernel Sanders
April 3rd, 2008, 12:17 AM
I disagree strongly with this.

The ultimate responsibility for the forum must lie with the mods and admins, and they must be able to act where they see fit without their hands being tied. Democracy and fairness should be noble aims, but they should most certainly NOT be absolute rights.

In my opinion, this is a forum, not society.

Sorry KiwiNZ :(

pmasiar
April 3rd, 2008, 01:09 AM
If, say Resident Troll wishes to say that his/her statements on a certain forum staff member are not a breach of the Forum CoC, and is able to prove it, a future case will cause a smart member/troll to use the facts of that incident to support their conduct.

Good catch. Last thing you want is to provide clever trolls examples of how far they can go without raising too much stink. I had encounters with some such clever trolls (and infractions to prove it :-( )

When LaRoza says about law, rules etc, listen carefully: not many studied law as deeply as LaRoza. :-)

LaRoza
April 3rd, 2008, 01:11 AM
Good catch. Last thing you want is to provide clever trolls examples of how far they can go without raising too much stink. I had encounters with some such clever trolls (and infractions to prove it :-( )

When LaRoza says about law, rules etc, listen carefully: not many studied law as deeply as LaRoza. :-)

Yes, so I would have it each case open to the public, but a statement that they are not bound to follow precendent any more than they do now. The last thing we want is a smart aleck like me doing legal research.

There is a law student in our midst on the staff, so I am only "up" on criminal law possibly. K's are just for freaks.

Lord Illidan
April 3rd, 2008, 01:18 AM
I disagree strongly with this.

The ultimate responsibility for the forum must lie with the mods and admins, and they must be able to act where they see fit without their hands being tied. Democracy and fairness should be noble aims, but they should most certainly NOT be absolute rights.

In my opinion, this is a forum, not society.

Sorry KiwiNZ :(

I've also got to agree somewhat with this. We're a forum - and our main function is to help Ubuntu users. Guess what..if everybody does that and follows the CoC, we mods would be whistling Dixie, and doing nothing all day...perhaps even doing real work for a change!

Also, what you're saying about the resolution centre is already being done. When someone recieves an infraction, granted that it's not over 15 points, he can post in the res centre and argue his point.

Also, you know that we staff don't take the banning stuff lightly. I often act the devil's advocate, for example, and often intervene if I believe that a "punishment" was too harsh.

I've got to agree with LaRoza on this one, your idea is good in theory, but a tad impractical here, I think. Just my 2 euro cents :D

aimran
April 3rd, 2008, 01:22 AM
Good catch. Last thing you want is to provide clever trolls examples of how far they can go without raising too much stink. I had encounters with some such clever trolls (and infractions to prove it :-( )

When LaRoza says about law, rules etc, listen carefully: not many studied law as deeply as LaRoza. :-)

That's how it works in courts, would you want UF to be different? IE: If courts are taken as the best justice system shouldn't UF emulate them?

I suppose being fair can result in abuse. Subscribing to this thread.

KiwiNZ
April 3rd, 2008, 01:27 AM
I've also got to agree somewhat with this. We're a forum - and our main function is to help Ubuntu users. Guess what..if everybody does that and follows the CoC, we mods would be whistling Dixie, and doing nothing all day...perhaps even doing real work for a change!

Also, what you're saying about the resolution centre is already being done. When someone recieves an infraction, granted that it's not over 15 points, he can post in the res centre and argue his point.

Also, you know that we staff don't take the banning stuff lightly. I often act the devil's advocate, for example, and often intervene if I believe that a "punishment" was too harsh.

I've got to agree with LaRoza on this one, your idea is good in theory, but a tad impractical here, I think. Just my 2 euro cents :D


This is not about those with just infractions , but for those who are banned , be it due to 15 points or out right ban . They cannot post in the Res Centre. They have to use other means to be heard , like emailing Admins

LaRoza
April 3rd, 2008, 01:27 AM
Also, you know that we staff don't take the banning stuff lightly. I often act the devil's advocate, for example, and often intervene if I believe that a "punishment" was too harsh.

I've got to agree with LaRoza on this one, your idea is good in theory, but a tad impractical here, I think. Just my 2 euro cents :D

But I do think KiwiNZ has a good point, we don't, as far as I can tell, have a set procedure for bans. Infractions are easier to consider (unless it goes over 15), and there is a set process for them. Break CoC->Moderator Infractions->Post in Resolution Centre to resolve->FC looks at it

For a ban, a bean burn fest, it is somewhat less clear. It isn't very visible to the forum, or even us.

Perhaps and official notice, a chance to have a dialogue, and a final decision. Right now, I see that Admins (the only ones who can burn beans) do often PM or notify people when they are going over the edge and about to be burnt, but it is informal. Perhaps a more official and clear cut method would make it easier for the staff, and easier to understand to for those involved and those witnessing it.

Unlike you, I am not about to give up my national identity for the sake of an abbreviation, just my $00.02.

Lord Illidan
April 3rd, 2008, 01:28 AM
That's how it works in courts, would you want UF to be different? IE: If courts are taken as the best justice system shouldn't UF emulate them?

I suppose being fair can result in abuse. Subscribing to this thread.

But we are not meant to be emulating a court system.
Or should we start hiring lawyers to represent the trolls? And us, of course? Personally, I like the current situation.

1st, we hardly ever issue a full 15 point infraction, unless it's a major spam attack. In which case it's fully justified.

2nd, when a member gets an infraction less than 15 points, s/he is free to ask why s/he got it in the Resolution Centre. He presents his case. Staff discuss it. The infraction can be reversed, or left there.

3rd, wouldn't this lead to a lot more melodrama when dealing with highprofile members who for some reason or other, have to be banned? Again, we're meant to be a forum, not a mini scale US justice system, or a mini country.

LaRoza
April 3rd, 2008, 01:30 AM
That's how it works in courts, would you want UF to be different? IE: If courts are taken as the best justice system shouldn't UF emulate them?

I suppose being fair can result in abuse. Subscribing to this thread.

Yes, that seems to be the basis for the proposed procedure. However, unlike a court, we do not have full time staff and we are all entirely volunteers. If I had to prove that a troll was a troll beyond a reasonable doubt everytime, I would either not bother with it, or go out of my mind.

So I think the burden should be on the bannee to prove they are reformed/good.

LaRoza
April 3rd, 2008, 01:32 AM
3rd, wouldn't this lead to a lot more melodrama when dealing with highprofile members who for some reason or other, have to be banned? Again, we're meant to be a forum, not a mini scale US justice system, or a mini country.

Don't we have more people here than in your homeland? :-)

aimran
April 3rd, 2008, 01:33 AM
Alright I agree about the point that we can't really emulate a court, just putting forth a different perspective. Thank you.

LaRoza
April 3rd, 2008, 01:36 AM
Alright I agree about the point that we can't really emulate a court, just putting forth a different perspective. Thank you.

But it would be a good idea, but for the lack of resources.

My suggestions are a mix, it shifts the burden to the defense and eliminates some procedures which could get complicated (precedent), yet gives some semblence of a court.

KiwiNZ
April 3rd, 2008, 01:44 AM
I am not proposing that we follow court proceedure etc . What I am proposing is a system that allows for defence and the chance to be heard before a sanction is imposed.

This is fair and will cut down the post banning drama's we see so often and have to contend with.

Also justice must not only be done , it must be seen to be done.

LaRoza
April 3rd, 2008, 01:46 AM
I am not proposing that we follow court proceedure etc . What I am proposing is a system that allows for defence and the chance to be heard before a sanction is imposed.

This is fair and will cut down the post banning drama's we see so often and have to contend with.

Also justice must not only be done , it must be seen to be done.

It sounds like an improvement of the system in place.

Would it make sense at all to have a special forum for this, perhaps getting the Jail moved somewhere (so it is easier to move posts there as stated in the Chit Chat) and have a "Court of Common Pleas" or something for these? Hopefully, used rarely, and read only to everyone but the OP and FC and involved parties?

loell
April 3rd, 2008, 01:47 AM
very commendable proposal :)

sloggerkhan
April 3rd, 2008, 01:54 AM
One thing I'd really like to see is public documentation of the specifics of the process/proceedings in situations deemed appropriate for this resolution method you're proposing. While I can respect that admins have authority, it makes me uncomfortable when major issues are resolved and the only record is obviously incomplete, missing, or bearing around the bush w/ respect to what issue they may be appealing...

Overall, how I'd like to see things:

While asking the reporting mod to not be a part of decisions is a good step, I think there should be a special subset of the community, maybe a forum judicial council or something, made of maybe 7 members or so, including both a few admins, a few forum users, and maybe a couple from the community council, whose job it is to review ban/harsh penalties. When a user incurs a penalty/ban, they get their account restricted to a judicial council thread/subforum where than can request that their case be reconsidered. It would then be the job of the judicial council to recommend any course of action based off information provided by mods, defendant, and community.
(Perhaps mods & defendant each get 1 statement of the situation from their perspective, and then may only respond to queries from judicial council?)
If the defendant didn't ask for review by judicial council in say 5 days, penalty (ban) automatically goes in place.

The reason I like this system is that I believe sometimes mods who are out moderating every day have the potential to let things creep into their judgments, and also because I think involvement and transparency for regular users is necessary for people to have faith in the system.

Just floating some thoughts.

ubuntu-freak
April 3rd, 2008, 02:13 AM
I like the proposal also. This place is a support forum, but it's honest and not hype to describe it as community also. That's why the proposal makes sense.

Nathan

popch
April 3rd, 2008, 06:42 AM
Also justice must not only be done , it must be seen to be done.

Right now, I don't have the time to properly go into this. In short: are we discussing 'justice' or 'forum hygiene'?

While thieves must be visibly prosecuted, teeth can be cleaned in private. The risk of cavities or halitosis is not influenced by the procedure being visible or fair.

chucky chuckaluck
April 3rd, 2008, 06:51 AM
allowing banned members to make appeal in a an area open to the membership, makes a lot of sense, for a variety of reasons. one might even suggest that making such a process transparent is metaphorically open source. practically speaking, it reduces the amount of 'he said/she said' discussion that has accompanied bannings in the past, as the membership can actually see the discussion between moderators and a member facing a banning. i do think it would be wiser to allow the process to organically find its own 'time allowed', in each case. to have a standard alloted time makes too much of a small case and too little of an important case.

wieman01
April 3rd, 2008, 08:41 AM
allowing banned members to make appeal in a an area open to the membership, makes a lot of sense, for a variety of reasons. one might even suggest that making such a process transparent is metaphorically open source. practically speaking, it reduces the amount of 'he said/she said' discussion that has accompanied bannings in the past, as the membership can actually see the discussion between moderators and a member facing a banning. i do think it would be wiser to allow the process to organically find its own 'time allowed', in each case. to have a standard alloted time makes too much of a small case and too little of an important case.
Well said, Fusc... aehem... chucky chuckaluck.

+1

wieman01
April 3rd, 2008, 08:48 AM
I am also in favor of a clear & transparent process which avoids conflict and discussion with other forum members who get to see only a fraction of the whole procedure. To them, banning might in fact occur unfair, simply because they don't get to see the whole picture.

Giving banned users the chance to appeal and to defend their case is the right approach in my opinion, the only thing we need to take into consideration is practicability. But the only way to find out is to implement such a process and see how it goes. I don't think many users will make use of their rights, since most of the time bans a very clear-cut. If they do, however, it's better than coping with hundreds of other users complaining that the process isn't transparent and that we are banning people at will, as was the case recently. It will reduce drama considerably and thus save time.

To cut things short, I would second your proposal, KiwiNZ.

matthew
April 3rd, 2008, 09:31 AM
I would like to point out that we have a process in place, one that is open and transparent. When a person feels they have been banned unfairly, they are invited to appeal to the Forum Council (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumCouncil) by putting an item on the meeting agenda (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumCouncilAgenda) and coming to the public meeting in IRC and stating their case. Then, all discussions are out in the open for all to see.

The only change I really see between how things are designed to work currently and what is being proposed is that perhaps we could do a better job of posting the existing process.

Artificial Intelligence
April 3rd, 2008, 09:43 AM
Isn't the proposal something similar to what we have regarding a person who have 10-14 infractions (which means every single post that person post have to be acceptes by the staff before it shows up).

When a person is on moderation wouldn't it be convinient (sp?) to take contact to that person and discussion his/hers future on the board?


On a similar topic; but more related to moderation for the staff - we need guidelines on how many infraction points are given for diffrent break of rules.

KiwiNZ
April 3rd, 2008, 09:46 AM
I concur with matthew.

However the Council should be an appeal point. My proposal is for the initial decision.

There is also the issue of the Council being in a different venue that is IRC. Not everyone has access or the desire to have access to IRC. I for example detest IRC for several reasons.

Lord Illidan
April 3rd, 2008, 10:20 AM
Don't we have more people here than in your homeland? :-)

Um yeah..but I doubt any of us is qualified to be a judge in here..

ugm6hr
April 3rd, 2008, 10:42 AM
Presumably we are talking about people banned for cumulative offenses rather than 1-off 15-point infractions for obvious spam?

Where there is doubt about the latter, I think a 10-point infraction is in order, which allows a response, and further moderated posts for anyone genuinely interested in being a part of the forum community.

With regard to what I see as the main issue here (former losted above), I think we should just make it clear to members that 10 points mean moderation, and 15 points mean ban (perhaps in the Code of Conduct that people have to view at sign-up).

This would be rather like the situation of driving bans (in UK). You know the rules. If you break them, you get points. When you've broken them too often, you get a ban.

You are entitled to appeal each individual infraction (read point), but once the total is calculated - the outcome is fixed.

Having an "open" discussion of a ban would require reviewing every infraction incurred some time after the fact, in addition to reviewing every warning and private communication regarding possible issues. Not sure who would be involved in this process, but I think this would be too onerous on "judges". And the idea of a "jury of peers" is obviously ridiculous here (in my mind).

So I believe the current structure which mimics a military rather than an independent justice system is much better for healthy functioning of the forum.

bapoumba
April 3rd, 2008, 11:40 AM
What I understand is that members with 15 infraction points cannot openly post their defense here on the forums (but can via the FC meetings on IRC) and are bound to privately discuss the issues with the FC members via emails.

If this needs to be improved (and I'm not really decided it needs to), would it be possible to create an intermediate infraction where the user can post only in the Res. Center? Say 14 is Res Center only (and mod queue for the other forums) and 15 ban?

As I said, I'm not sure that an open laundry or fest would be all that useful. Collateral damage may be higher than benefits. Please do not understand I fear anything, but I have seen many different situations, and going deep into an argument with a member will prompt other members to comment, stir, be unhappy, defend, fight (edit: both for and against Staff decisions, and user arguments). If the community will gain in the process, I'm all for it. But I am not sure..

And regular Staff members should then be allowed to discuss in the Res Center, provided they were not involved in the infraction process.
When needed, we do voice ourselves in the Staff forum regarding threads in the Res. Center, and that is not in the open air either.

No matter what, privacy guarantees honest opinions. This is also why the report process is not public :)

aimran
April 3rd, 2008, 12:03 PM
No matter what, privacy guarantees honest opinions. This is also why the report process is not public :)

Haha that's true, but it doesn't help reduce the he said/she said phenomenon in the process :D

ugm6hr
April 3rd, 2008, 01:25 PM
Haha that's true, but it doesn't help reduce the he said/she said phenomenon in the process :D

The only person's opinion important in a ban outcome is the person banned.

While the unfavourable outcomes of recent activities have sprouted various questions (i.e. rumours, debate etc), the outcome remained unchanged, and the forum continues unharmed.

While I believe an "open justice" model might be a nice ideal, it doesn't serve to benefit either the person who is potentially banned or the community as a whole (which needs the support forum here).

As stated by others, perhaps alternative mechanisms of communication should be made available to potential bannees (is that a word?), but the process is best kept private in the interests of both forum functioning and privacy of personal correspondence.

bapoumba
April 3rd, 2008, 01:25 PM
Haha that's true, but it doesn't help reduce the he said/she said phenomenon in the process :D

Okay, so we kind of get where I expected we would: trust.

When an account gets banned, either it is due to organized and deliberate spamming of the forums, or infraction build up over time and/or rude exchanges with other members or Staff, repeated breaking of the UF CoC etc., leading at an impasse. I guess no one contests the first case.
So we are left with the second one.

The "he/she said phenomenon" can be moot if we fully expose and discuss the reasons leading to a ban. Why have I seen only one appeal at FC meetings since I'm on Staff?
You could say members do not bother and walk away, which I agree is not fair. But would you, as a member, see exposed all your infraction profile to the public and justifications from Staff regarding your ban?

Infractions are not public. I have seen:
- members harassed due to the infraction profile when they were public (in one occurrence, we even had to change the user login). We only talk about infraction profiles when we are investigating. A long infraction history is not seen as a clear profile ;) Every regular member has the right to be upset or misbehave at least once, and usually gets warned before infracted. A vast majority of users do not even know about the Res. Center, infractions etc.
- members asking for clearing the expired infraction from their profile, before they realize they are not public.

So if we go for transparency in the Res Center (and the FC process _is transparent_), it has to be full transparency. Otherwise, it will just be hypocrisy.
I'm not sure humiliation (either of the member being exposed, or of a Staff member who finally got overuled) will help anything.

When new mods get in, they get full access to the forums, along with full trust from the team. Trust they will not abuse the system, disagree when needed, revert infractions when applicable, follow the team's decisions, leave the admins deal with heavier situations. Admins get the joy to discuss endlessly with angry users, back up mods or revert their actions if better for the forums, and ban when the end of the road is reached.

imho, the current process works well. If members do not trust their admin/mod team, the whole community is in trouble :tongue:

chewearn
April 3rd, 2008, 02:00 PM
I read this thread and will like to add $0.04 (2 cents for each point :lol:):.

1. Is current ban imposed indefinitely? In real life, there is no real life sentence (well mostly). You are jailed for a number of years, not until the end of your days. Why then do we have life ban? Granted, this point might be moot, because one can create a new account after a few years, and no one is wiser.

A young hothead break the rules. Later in life, he realised his erroneous ways, and want to come back.


2. If we go with the notion that one could defend himself in the Resolution Center, would it be prudent to institute a cool off period? Fresh from a heated argument, the offending party might not be in the right frame of mind to jump into the Resolution Center for his "trial". I'm not sure what would be a good cool off period, but maybe two weeks to a month.

bapoumba
April 3rd, 2008, 02:19 PM
I read this thread and will like to add $0.04 (2 cents for each point :lol:):. Ding ding ding ding! (only 1cent available? :D)


1. Is current ban imposed indefinitely? In real life, there is no real life sentence (well mostly). You are jailed for a number of years, not until the end of your days. Why then do we have life ban? Granted, this point might be moot, because one can create a new account after a few years, and no one is wiser.

A young hothead break the rules. Later in life, he realised his erroneous ways, and want to come back.
Some accounts I know of have been restored, unbanned, after discussions with the FC.



2. If we go with the notion that one could defend himself in the Resolution Center, would it be prudent to institute a cool off period? Fresh from a heated argument, the offending party might not be in the right frame of mind to jump into the Resolution Center for his "trial". I'm not sure what would be a good cool off period, but maybe two weeks to a month.
What about in the mean time, during the cool off period? Is the account banned?

ubuntu-geek
April 3rd, 2008, 02:21 PM
Something has concerned me for some time now, that is the way we ban members from this Forum.I am uncomfortable with the current process,
I feel in some cases it goes against the principles Natural Law.
My main issue is the right to be heard or ‘ audi alteam partem’. When someone is banned that right is eliminated as their permissions to post have gone.

This is not entirely true. Normally by the time a user has reached the point of a ban their forum privileges are mostly likely already altered, moderation queue etc etc.

While their forum privileges are gone the user is always welcomed to add their ban to the FC agenda for a open public discussion of why their ban was instituted. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumCouncilAgenda

Perhaps this needs to be more prominently displayed.



We issue notice to a member our intention to ban and why. And invite them to apply through the Resolution Centre for review .This is in line with the principles of Natural law.


I just do not see how this can work in anyone's favor. The discussion should occur after the ban at a FC meeting. The FC meetings were setup for this type of situation. At this point in the ban the user should be attending a FC meeting if they wish to have their account reinstated, the RS center is not a vehicle for this.



The member is given reasonable time to prepare and present a defence.

The Forum Staff are given the same time to prepare their case.
This is why we hold FC meetings monthly. It gives time to prepare in a situation like this.

I suggest this be added to the FC for conversation at the next meeting. I feel we can probably improve some aspects of our process but I am not sure I agree with the proposed idea unfortunately.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumCouncilAgenda

I wish I had time right now to comment further and I will soon.

rune0077
April 3rd, 2008, 03:27 PM
This is not entirely true. Normally by the time a user has reached the point of a ban their forum privileges are mostly likely already altered, moderation queue etc etc.

While their forum privileges are gone the user is always welcomed to add their ban to the FC agenda for a open public discussion of why their ban was instituted. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumCouncilAgenda

Perhaps this needs to be more prominently displayed.



I just do not see how this can work in anyone's favor. The discussion should occur after the ban at a FC meeting. The FC meetings were setup for this type of situation. At this point in the ban the user should be attending a FC meeting if they wish to have their account reinstated, the RS center is not a vehicle for this.

This is why we hold FC meetings monthly. It gives time to prepare in a situation like this.

I suggest this be added to the FC for conversation at the next meeting. I feel we can probably improve some aspects of our process but I am not sure I agree with the proposed idea unfortunately.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ForumCouncilAgenda

I wish I had time right now to comment further and I will soon.


But KiwINZ had a good point here: What if I don't want to use IRC? What if I'm thirteen years old, still living with my parents, and not allowed to use it? What if some bug in Ubuntu means I can't get it set up properly? It makes very little sense to me, why a "trial" about ones right to use this forum should take place any other place than here, on the forum. It's a bit like charging a man with murder, then telling him he is welcome to defend himself, but the trial is on the moon and he has to find his own spacecraft to get there (yeah, IRC is that alien to me). The current procedure seems more designed to prevent anyone from making an appeal.

justin whitaker
April 3rd, 2008, 04:49 PM
Interesting group of opinions on this.....I'm going to argue for transparency.

This is the official forums for Ubuntu...if you go to the website, and look for support, this is one of the avenues they point you to.

As a result, you aren't just fostering a community, but are also the client facing arm of Ubuntu. You have a duty to not only keep this community running, but also to uphold the CoC and the principles of the distribution.

I don't think saying "we deal with this in the monthly Forum Council meeting" really cuts it.

If someone is banned, then that essentially cuts them off from one of the primary sources of support for Ubuntu.

No matter what you think of the individual, you certainly want as many people as possible using Ubuntu...so if you are going to ban someone, I think you need to do it in a transparent manner.

"Humanity to others" is our guiding principle. If you were going to be banned, how would you want it done? That should be your guide.

Artificial Intelligence
April 3rd, 2008, 05:08 PM
"Humanity to others" is our guiding principle. If you were going to be banned, how would you want it done? That should be your guide.

Does that include people who want to harm the community? I'm thinking of people posting "malicious" codes and the like?

Trolls that only joined to start fights and flames?

Regarding longterm members got/get banned:
In some cases maybe it could be transparent, but mostly those who get banned have some thing that they won't have out in the open. I think Humanity to others also include privacy. Some cases can be very not for everyone eyes and will only harm that person.

pmasiar
April 3rd, 2008, 05:20 PM
If someone is banned, then that essentially cuts them off from one of the primary sources of support for Ubuntu.


Nothing prevents offender to create another account and ask for help - and behave.

We do not live in ideal world - we have restraints of time and resources, and need to think carefully where to use them. I prefer use scarce resources on people supporting the community (answering questions) not on those attacking it. Everyone has right to use free software but everyone has right to my time.

rune0077
April 3rd, 2008, 05:25 PM
Nothing prevents offender to create another account and ask for help - and behave.


Actually it does. Banned means blacklisting your IP-adress as I understand it, so you would need to get to another computer to log on to a new account.

justin whitaker
April 3rd, 2008, 05:38 PM
Does that include people who want to harm the community? I'm thinking of people posting "malicious" codes and the like?

Trolls that only joined to start fights and flames?

Regarding longterm members got/get banned:
In some cases maybe it could be transparent, but mostly those who get banned have some thing that they won't have out in the open. I think Humanity to others also include privacy. Some cases can be very not for everyone eyes and will only harm that person.

I think most people in the community understand that obvious trolls, abridgers of the CoC, and Malicious code posters are going to be banned outright. Noone has a problem with that.

I think we are basically talking about Rav Tux and other long term members that got IP banned.

Ok, let's say I am in line for banning. I'm not, as far as I know, but let's say that I am.

To me, I want a trial by peers. I want to state my case publicly, within the confines of the CoC, and have the community have their say. It is the Community that we all ultimately serve by posting here, so they should have input.

Now, if I said "I don't want this out in the open", you respect that and say "Justin wanted this to be dealt with solely in the Forum Council. If you want to state an opinion, the next meeting is on X day."

That seems to be more humane way of dealing with the situation.

aysiu
April 3rd, 2008, 05:46 PM
Nothing prevents offender to create another account and ask for help - and behave.

We do not live in ideal world - we have restraints of time and resources, and need to think carefully where to use them. I prefer use scarce resources on people supporting the community (answering questions) not on those attacking it. Everyone has right to use free software but everyone has right to my time.
There are three types of bans, as far as I know: Temporary ban to allow an overly passionate member to cool off Permanent ban for those who have broken the rules too many times or broken a serious rule once IP ban for those who have banned but create new accounts to circumvent the ban and then repeat the bad behavior that got them banned in the first place According to the rules, you're not supposed to create a new account once you've been banned, even if you behave. Now, of course, if you do behave and also don't proclaim who you used to be, you can probably easily get away with returning with the new account, but... chances are, if you did something bad enough to get banned, you're probably not going to behave yourself.

Artificial Intelligence
April 3rd, 2008, 05:49 PM
I think most people in the community understand that obvious trolls, abridgers of the CoC, and Malicious code posters are going to be banned outright. Noone has a problem with that.

I think we are basically talking about Rav Tux and other long term members that got IP banned.

Ok, let's say I am in line for banning. I'm not, as far as I know, but let's say that I am.

To me, I want a trial by peers. I want to state my case publicly, within the confines of the CoC, and have the community have their say. It is the Community that we all ultimately serve by posting here, so they should have input.

Now, if I said "I don't want this out in the open", you respect that and say "Justin wanted this to be dealt with solely in the Forum Council. If you want to state an opinion, the next meeting is on X day."

That seems to be more humane way of dealing with the situation.

ok, just need to be sure what you meant with it :)

mivo
April 3rd, 2008, 06:08 PM
I believe transparency is generally desirable and a Good Thing. The one possible danger is that sometimes bad behaviour is, or can be, rewarded and thus encouraged by too much attention. It's a bit of a trade-off and a double-edged blade, I guess. The ability to appeal a decision is important and arguably crucial, but when it provides a stage to the person in question to further agitate a situation and continue to spread malcontent publicly, it may be much less desirable. Bit of a "damned if you, damned if you don't" dilemma.

It's probably worthwhile to take into account that the membership of a Linux forum is not "essential". A ban, even the strictest type of the ones mentioned, essentially only equals the loss of an established identity (the user name), but does not, in most cases, remove the ability to get help here. The permanency of a forum ban on the web is not really comparable with a prison sentence (or worse) in "real life".

(I do understand the importance of identity in a community, though, virtual or not. I'm also strongly in favour of giving second chances and allowing/enabling people to learn from their mistakes or suboptimal decisions. I don't know how quickly it is possible for an average board member to acquire the required number of infractions for an actual ban, though. Do the infractions athrophy over time?)

Nano Geek
April 3rd, 2008, 06:16 PM
Although I have not seen a case where I thought a member was banned unfairly, I think that KiwiNZ's idea sounds like a good one that will keep any unfair behavior out of the forums.

Saint Angeles
April 3rd, 2008, 06:18 PM
i demand banning power.

muahahahaha

bapoumba
April 3rd, 2008, 06:22 PM
Do the infractions athrophy over time?)
Most infractions automatically expire. 10 days is the default setup in the infraction panel. You have to manually set it not to expire, if you want it to be permanent. Only serious infractions are made permanent, usually after several expired ones and can still be manually reversed.
Any combination of infractions leading to 10 points will need a mod to approve the posts before they appear on the forums. 15 points is a ban. 0 point is a warning.

p_quarles
April 3rd, 2008, 06:31 PM
I had to think about this for a bit before I really developed an opinion. I guess if it were up to me, I'd leave things the way they are, along with posting more easy-to-find information about the existing procedure for appealing a ban. A lot of people aren't aware that FC meetings are public, and that anyone willing to attend can add an agenda item.

To respond to the objection that not everyone uses IRC: the explanation of the appeal procedure could include detailed, step-by-step instructions for connecting to the appropriate server and channel in both Pidgin and Kopete (the default IRC-capable clients included with Ubuntu distros -- anyone using something else shouldn't need such detailed help).

Finally, in cases where someone really cannot use IRC -- even with ample help -- perhaps a simple mailing list -- with publically accessible archives -- could be set up for the same purpose.

Het Irv
April 3rd, 2008, 07:01 PM
I don't know how VBulletin works, or if it will allow you to do this, but would it be possible to open another section of the forum, coded similarly to The Jail (so that regular users cannot read it), but Admins and people with burnt beans can post there. This would allow a first place for people to go to argue their case. I could also have a sticky giving those who have been banned a chance to read their options.

You might be able to do this by creating a "Burning Beans" category that would only have permissions to read the sticky, and create one thread in the new section.

More serious, or complicated issues could then be taken to FC meetings.

I don't know if this will work but it seems like a good balance of giving the banned a voice, and setting up thousands of rules.

KiwiNZ
April 3rd, 2008, 07:53 PM
To Clear some points.

1. I am proposing a reviewof our entire system. And replace it with a new one . I know we have a sysytem in place ,but in my opinion it is out dated and unfair.

2. In my proposal the only bans put in place before the resolution centre are urgent bans. The vehicle to decide a ban would be the resolution centre.Using the belief that all are innocent until proven guilty.

3. My proposal would open the Res Centre for other staff to present.

4.My objection to IRC is due to....
A. Its a very hard medium to control and discussion is very disjointed and can be very difficult to follow.

B. It has security issues. Not all members have access to it .Example, for security reasons it is banned at my place of employment. I have also blocked it on my firewall.

C. Many members have access to the web only through Institutions and due to B. due not have this means of appeal.

5. The current process is that for many they are guilty until they prove they are innocent, that in my opinion is wrong . And is the breeding ground of discontent and dispute.

I have formed this opinion not because of any one incident or because of any staff member past or present. It ihas been formed after many years of being involved with this. I also believe that any system sould be subject to review , it is how we grow.

rune0077
April 3rd, 2008, 08:00 PM
To Clear some points.

1. I am proposing a reviewof our entire system. And replace it with a new one . I know we have a sysytem in place ,but in my opinion it is out dated and unfair.

2. In my proposal the only bans put in place before the resolution centre are urgent bans. The vehicle to decide a ban would be the resolution centre.Using the belief that all are innocent until proven guilty.

3. My proposal would open the Res Centre for other staff to present.

4.My objection to IRC is due to....
A. Its a very hard medium to control and discussion is very disjointed and can be very difficult to follow.

B. It has security issues. Not all members have access to it .Example, for security reasons it is banned at my place of employment. I have also blocked it on my firewall.

C. Many members have access to the web only through Institutions and due to B. due not have this means of appeal.

5. The current process is that for many they are guilty until they prove they are innocent, that in my opinion is wrong . And is the breeding ground of discontent and dispute.

I have formed this opinion not because of any one incident or because of any staff member past or present. It ihas been formed after many years of being involved with this. I also believe that any system sould be subject to review , it is how we grow.

I have no idea how much of this is doable, and how easy/hard it would be to change the entire system for you guys. But your suggestion sounds like a much better (read: fairer) way to do things than what is currently in place. So I'm saying, if this is at all feasible without sending the entire staff into stress-induced comas, then go for it. It sounds great.

ugm6hr
April 3rd, 2008, 08:00 PM
Now, if I said "I don't want this out in the open", you respect that and say "Justin wanted this to be dealt with solely in the Forum Council. If you want to state an opinion, the next meeting is on X day."

That seems to be more humane way of dealing with the situation.

Does that privacy clause extend to the mods / admins involved?

Unfortunately, a truly open situation would turn this kind of discussion into a popularity contest on the forum.

This is an obvious result, since the frequent users who are interested in these issues tend to read more cafe content, where the popular characters tend to post (and earn their popularity). To the average community member who relies on this forum for technical support (which I believe should be the primary purpose of the forum, given that it is linked and supported as "Support" from the Ubuntu.com homepage), most don't care enough about this kind of issue. They just want the forum to be an easy place to get help.

What they don't realise is that people who spam the forum, repeatedly bump their own threads, and abuse other users (i.e who violate the code) reduce the likelihood of their own issues being given fair exposure to the community. So they won't contribute to the process.

sloggerkhan
April 4th, 2008, 07:46 AM
Not sure what is meant by privacy for mods/admins above. I sorta think positions of leadership/authority require some level of public face by default.

Artificial Intelligence
April 4th, 2008, 10:57 AM
Not sure what is meant by privacy for mods/admins above. I sorta think positions of leadership/authority require some level of public face by default.

There you go: http://ubuntuforums.org/g/index.php?n=239

ubuntu-geek
April 4th, 2008, 02:58 PM
Unfortunately removing the FC meetings from IRC will most likely not happen. This forum is owned by canonical and falls under the governance and rule set of the Ubuntu community. Which means the FC will try to stay within the guidelines and operate the forums under the larger community scope. IE, using IRC for meetings etc.

Personally I dislike using IRC but I do use to attend the FC meetings, its something I have to do and its expected of me. Unfortunatly, we cannot cater to everyone.

If a user who is banned cannont attend a FC meeting on IRC they are more then welcome to add their claim to the FC agenda and then make their case on the wiki or in the resolution center. I don't see a issue with the FC then discussing this, however if questions arise and the user is not available no decision will likely be made and it will continue to drag the issue on.

I understand what you are saying Kiwi, however I disagree with the proposal. Its not logical for us to debate in the resolution center with the user who is going to be banned before we remove their access. If a user has reached the point were we are going to remove their access there is a reason, spamming, harassment etc. The appeal needs to be made after the fact.

Forrest Gumpp
April 4th, 2008, 03:32 PM
Thank you, KiwiNZ, for having the courage to open this issue to discussion.

There have been both express and implied views as to the undesirability of changing or complicating both the process of banning, and what effectively amounts to the appeal and/or redress process against such bans. In particular, the probably disproportionate amount of such contention arising, or likely in future to arise, from the Community Cafe and Backyard areas of the Forums has drawn adverse comment in this thread. One ground of such adverse comment is the moderation workload imposed in maintaining reasonable Forum discipline.

The very matter of what constitutes breach of the CoC in these discussion areas is often itself a justifiable subject of contention, and of itself therefore magnifying the moderation workload.



I propose a suggestion for automating a substantial part of this subjective moderation workload.



In the perhaps somewhat forgettable thread 'Thank Subtraction' at post # 18 (See: http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=4620536&postcount=18 ) I have suggested an adaptation of the vote-up/vote-down feature of Ubuntu Brainstorm as a sort of 'imposometer' that could provide real-time feedback and guidance to individual posters as to the perhaps more subjective forms of forum annoyance or impropriety they may be imposing.

The prospect of certain issues being decided by what might otherwise become a form of popularity contest could be avoided by having this feedback operate 'in camera', as it were. If the running balance of up and down vote was only visible to a poster in respect to that poster's own posts (and, presumably, under appropriate conditions, to moderators), then there would be no popularity contest visible to the rest of the forum membership or guests. There would exist a measure of the unanimity, or alternatively, polarization, of community view with respect to the content of particular posts, but forum members at large would not have it available to use as ammunition in contesting these sorts of Forum management issues with Forum staff.

Analogously with aysiu's suggestion with respect to having to give a reason for a vote-down decision on Ubuntu Brainstorm, it could likewise be that if a user wants to record an adverse 'in camera' protest against a particular post, then they must give a reason. Should a member's adherence to the CoC be questionably within a 'grey area', Forum staff would have an objective record of community feeling against which to make any decision that might lead, ultimately, toward a banning. At the same time, forum staff would not need to be seen in any way in an adversarial position to that of the community at large in sustaining any decision. To the member the subject of a prospective ban there would be a perhaps more objective record as to why things may have come to the point of requiring imposition of penalties ultimately leading to a ban.

Should a member that has become the subject of a ban that is in some way arguable choose to contest it in the resolution process, then at that point the 'in camera' record could become publicly viewable. It would be a record of the view of a user's peers, not just that of Forum staff, and would serve to enhance the apparent consistency of decisions in any given case.

Whilst I guess we should not all get too carried away with confusing Forum life with real life, forums like the UF are becoming both the last and best bastions of free speech, in contrast to the more conventional media. In the case of the UF, Ubuntu and issues impinging upon it relate to the usability of the very world-wide communication medium itself! It is consequently important that they be conducted if at all possible consistently with the maintainance and full use of that freedom. Just viewing the UF as a technical support facility may well leave the field uncontested to those who would wish to destroy the open source vision. There is, whether we like it or not, a 'political' aspect to the use of Ubuntu, and it is in the Community Cafe, and (presumably) the Backyard that such aspects may be discussed, and, on occasions, come into possible conflict with the CoC. There needs to be user feedback in relation to such discussion.

As a relatively new Forum member, I found it disconcerting to see a long-time member with a seeming extensive record of helping new users become subject to a ban. That is not to say that I am contesting the particular decision in this case. Its just that I have to wonder might I risk doing the things that led to it myself, without realizing a build-up of dissatisfaction, and for what precise reasons, may be occurring. I also note that Forum staff mentioned the issue of consistency with other decisions as being a significant consideration in arriving at a decision in this most recent disconcerting case. Perhaps that is itself an indicator that the process and/or the bases for such decisions is due for review.

saulgoode
April 4th, 2008, 08:17 PM
I support KiwiNZ's proposal and feel that it would prove beneficial to the community. One benefit that would be realized is the exposure of any flaws, ambiguities, or confusions that might exist in the forum's Code of Conduct and its interpretation.

My only reservation would be that the burden of implementing such an open process might be overly demanding of the staff's time (though I would hope that arbitrated banning is not too common an occurrence).


EDIT: I also agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed in Forrest's penultimate paragraph. Well said!

matthew
April 4th, 2008, 08:32 PM
My only reservation would be that the burden of implementing such an open process might be overly demanding of the staff's time (though I would hope that arbitrated banning is not too common an occurrence).
For the sake of data, we have over 540,000 registered users.

There are about 360 total accounts banned, approximately 75-80% of which are the result of spamming that occurred prior to the installation of the infraction system, that allows those accounts to be disabled immediately without a full ban.

What that means is that there are about 80 "real" accounts that have been banned. Out of those, about two-thirds are additional accounts which were created by banned users to post rude messages after their ban, often with names like "originalname-again" or "originalname returns" and the civil disobedience worthy "originalname-hey-we-banned-him".

In other words, since April 2005, we have banned about 27 real members.

We have never banned a real forum member lightly or without a great amount of discussion and agonizing and repeated attempts to solve the difficulties in other ways. The ban really is a measure of last resort that we have no desire to use.

Now, when a person has reached that point, where we feel like there is no hope of reaching an understanding and helping the person contribute to the forums in a positive manner, then it is appropriate to remove their access to the forums and prohibit them from posting. Again, this has happened to about 27 people out of 540,000.

I don't think it is reasonable to expect that in a case so extreme that we feel a ban is the only way to end a string of negative behavior to also expect it to be easy to regain access once lost. Making a public appeal before the Forum Council in an irc meeting, meetings which happen monthly in the same way that meetings occur for other teams within the official Ubuntu community, seems to me to be totally reasonable in these cases.

matthew
April 4th, 2008, 08:34 PM
As a relatively new Forum member, I found it disconcerting to see a long-time member with a seeming extensive record of helping new users become subject to a ban. That is not to say that I am contesting the particular decision in this case. Its just that I have to wonder might I risk doing the things that led to it myself, without realizing a build-up of dissatisfaction, and for what precise reasons, may be occurring. I also note that Forum staff mentioned the issue of consistency with other decisions as being a significant consideration in arriving at a decision in this most recent disconcerting case. Perhaps that is itself an indicator that the process and/or the bases for such decisions is due for review.I can understand these sentiments. Let me try to ease your fears by saying that in these cases the lines of communication are open and used over a long period of time with consistent and real attempts to find a workable solution. In every case I described above, the person knew precisely what the forum administration's stance was on the problem and was given ways to solve the problem that were reasonable and easily done. Only when all else failed was a ban discussed or enacted.

rune0077
April 4th, 2008, 08:49 PM
I can understand these sentiments. Let me try to ease your fears by saying that in these cases the lines of communication are open and used over a long period of time with consistent and real attempts to find a workable solution. In every case I described above, the person knew precisely what the forum administration's stance was on the problem and was given ways to solve the problem that were reasonable and easily done. Only when all else failed was a ban discussed or enacted.

But isn't this a good argument for more transparency? If what you say is true, and if that process had been readily available to everyone on the forum (rather than just those who wants to use IRC), then you wouldn't even have had to explain all of this just now, because we would all have known.

matthew
April 4th, 2008, 08:57 PM
But isn't this a good argument for more transparency? If what you say is true, and if that process had been readily available to everyone on the forum (rather than just those who wants to use IRC), then you wouldn't even have had to explain all of this just now, because we would all have known.It would seem so, until you realize that we are engaging in direct discussions with the forum member(s) in question in the hopes that everything will be resolved amicably without causing them any public embarrassment or shame.

If we did everything in public, then members who have the potential and strong probability of reformation would end up having their username/account dragged through the mud and their reputation destroyed.

popch
April 6th, 2008, 12:05 AM
I would advise against changing the procedure for banning.

First of all, I do not think that natural law is a useful yard stick for this issue. There exists no "unalienable human right" to being able to post in ubuntuforums.org. We're all here by courtesy of canonical, and the forum is being operated for one main purpose. Using the forum with this purpose in mind will not usually create infractionable posts.

The kind of ban being discussed is when a member manages to collect a number of 'banworthy' infractions within a certain period of time. Once the score has reached a certain level, banning is a consequence which is clearly communicated in the 'terms of use' of the forums.

The instrument to discuss individual infractions is already in place, although parts of those procedures is hidden from public view (when done by PMs).

Hence, we can apply two variables to each infraction:
(a) did the receiver of the infraction question the infraction
(b) did the discussion about the infraction end with the offender conceding any fault.

To keep it simple, let's assume that in all cases where an infraction was not contested it was in fact accepted by the member.

Hence, it suffices to look at the two extreme values of sum(b):

sum(b) = #Infractions: The member agreed for each infraction that it was justified. Why, then, did he or she not manage to keep the number of infractions down? How is an appeal to the CF going to improve his behaviour?

sum(b) = 0: In no case did the member accept an infraction as justified. How good are the chances of an agreement about a forthcoming ban?

I do not think that - after accumulating a number of infractions - any length or type of discussion will lead to a reasonable result.

Hence, I think that the system now in place is reasonably effective and fair. I also suspect that it might be the most efficient way under the given circumstances.

However, I do think that the communication after the fact could stand an improvement.

In contrast to Kiwi, I have no experience to guide me here and a few recent and highly visible cases in this very forum certainly influenced my opinion in that matter.

In the light of the reactions of numerous members I would think it fair for forum authorities to publish a very brief summary of the ban and the reasons for the ban. It can take the form of a list of the types and dates of infractions, but without any hints as to the contents of the offending posts.

In some cases the infracted (or banned) members also protested in very subjective terms about infractions received in such a manner that it was possible only for insiders to know what the fuss was all about. In such cases the member should face the alternative that either his accusations are removed from public view or that 'forum authorities' publish their arguments along with any salient facts needed to understand it all. I realise that this is not in every case a viable option.

Management summary (for elderly forum admins):

- I suggest not to change the banning procedure
- I suggest improving the communication about bans which are earned by accumulating simple infractions
- Forum authorities should claim the right to mention salient facts when discussing infractions in public.
- Where salient facts must not be mentioned in public, public discussion is not possible, will damage the forum and should therefore not take place.

LaRoza
April 6th, 2008, 12:08 AM
Management summary (for elderly forum admins):

- I suggest not to change the banning procedure
- I suggest improving the communication about bans which are earned by accumulating simple infractions
- Forum authorities should claim the right to mention salient facts when discussing infractions in public.
- Where salient facts must not be mentioned in public, public discussion is not possible, will damage the forum and should therefore not take place.

Well said (snipped the rest, but I am refering to the whole post)

I am sure the admins haven't committed any crimes against humanity, and a reform isn't needed. Perhaps a slight clarification of issues, but not a redo of the system.

popch
April 6th, 2008, 12:28 AM
I am sure the admins haven't committed any crimes against humanity, and a reform isn't needed. Perhaps a slight clarification of issues, but not a redo of the system.

Gosh, you're fast. Here I sit on my chair chewing the end of my - er - keyboard? for half an hour. And you've digested the whole thing in two minutes flat.

I should have mentioned that I think very highly of Kiwi and all concerned for bringing this up, but that I still think as outlined above.

Forrest Gumpp
April 6th, 2008, 01:28 AM
What a joke! Freudian slip blows a MicroSoft deep plant's cover!



.... This forum is owned by canonical and falls under the governance and rule set of the Ubuntu community. Which means the FC will try to stay within the guidelines and operate the forums under the larger community scope. IE, using IRC for meetings etc. ......

Members all, the standard abbreviation for 'that is,' is the lower case 'ie.'. Ubuntu-geek has used the upper case 'IE', which, as we all know, has but one meaning in these circles - Internet Explorer! Is this evidence of mere treason against Ubuntu, or should it be the basis of a charge of High Treason against FLOSS? (How high does treason have to be before it is truly 'High'?) Surely, on the face of it, this slip calls for a ban on the member in question!

Sorry, Ubuntu-geek, Could not resist the opportunity.

End of joke.



Actually, returning to a more serious note, this quote from Ubuntu-geek's post makes clear a most important point in a broader context which I think indirectly emphasises the value of KiwiNZ's suggestion that only urgent bans be applied before any resolution or defence process occurs. Canonical owns the Ubuntu Forums, and neither the membership at large, or perhaps even the Forum Council, should expect necessarily to be able to exercise full control with respect as to how the Forums will operate or be moderated.

By deciding whether or not to impose a ban only after a member has had the opportunity to argue a case against such, an opportunity is available, should Canonical see the need, for policy guidance or outright direction in respect particularly of decisions in areas where the Forums Code of Conduct itself may be ambiguous or ill-defined. That way a diversity of view amongst perhaps the most knowledgeable and experienced members, the UF moderators, could be expressed without it being interpreted as a breach of solidarity in upholding a decision that is presently made in advance of any member's defence. Whatever the eventual decision, the membership at large will have heard, from the most knowledgeable (and largely volunteer) forum staff, the reasoning leading to, or even in opposition to, that decision. Should it be that Canonical has to over-rule or state a policy line in any circumstance, the entire membership will know that it is not the Forum staff with whom they may then have an issue, but Canonical itself.

Lest anyone think that I imply any conflict of interest may exist, or appear to be a possibility, between Canonical and the UF membership at large in this context, let me say quite clearly that I don't. What other OS or distribution has so facilitated interaction between users and the distributing enterprise like Canonical? It would, however, be a pity if well-intentioned maintainance of Forum orthodoxy was seen to result in the misidentification of somewhat radical expression in the Cafe context with contempt for the Forum's code of conduct. Fresh ideas and different approaches could come to be suppressed.

Just some thoughts. I must admit popch makes some good points, especially with respect to practicality, in post # 83.



BTW, as perhaps a 'chimp person', and only relatively lately a part-way competent computer user, I must confess to not yet having attempted to use IRC. I would be completely at sea if I suddenly had to use it in an important discussion. I particularly appreciate the IM facility the Forums offer, even though I have only had a few occasions to use it, all in reply to questions asked by other users. I don't know how many members would be in a similar situation, should any of them have to argue a cause before the Forum Council.

popch
April 6th, 2008, 01:33 AM
What a joke! Freudian slip blows a MicroSoft deep plant's cover!.


Go FLOSS your teeth; better yet, wash your mouth with soap.

ugm6hr
April 6th, 2008, 10:50 AM
... without it being interpreted as a breach of solidarity in upholding a decision [B]that is presently made in advance of any member's defence. Whatever the eventual decision, the membership at large will have heard, from the most knowledgeable (and largely volunteer) forum staff, the reasoning leading to, or even in opposition to, that decision.

As stated by popch, each individual infraction can be appealed, and is often preceded by a warning and then a time-limited (generally 10 day) infraction.

Only repeated behaviour despite multiple warning will generate permanent infraction points.

So, the argument that people are unable to be involved in defending themselves prior to a ban is void. The Resolution Centre is for just that purpose - and can be invoked regarding any prior infractions. Being aware that a ban is a potential outcome, and choosing not to appeal any infraction, as popch has stated, suggests that they either don't care, or agree the infraction was justified.

The purpose of infractions is predominantly to change behaviour without actually negatively influencing the member's access to UF. Unfortunately, some members choose to repeat the same behaviour, despite warnings to desist, so we have a choice of either allowing them to continue to commit multiple relatively minor offences (and make moderation of that user impossible), or subject them to restricted access (by moderation of all posts, or ultimately, a ban) in the hope that their behaviour changes.

Note that even "permanent" infractions are not necessarily permanent. If a user demonstrates a clear change in attitude and behaviour, permanent infractions have been reversed at the request of the user.

So, in summary.... For those of you concerned you might have to appeal a ban, and are unsure when that might happen.... Don't be.

The mods will give you plenty of warning about any behaviour of yours that is unacceptable. Your choices at that stage are simple: appeal each issue (in the Resolution Centre) to clarify it if you wish, and then adjust your future behaviour according to the outcome of the final decision; choose not to adjust your behaviour and get repeat infractions resulting in a ban.

At present the reasons for a ban are made very clear to the user concerned over a length of time. I do not see any benefit in making those reasons public, except to those other members interested in gossip and rumour.

kevdog
April 8th, 2008, 03:40 AM
Good to see the replies in this forum -- many different points of view and parts that I agree with.

How big of problem is this? I mean how many people are getting "burnt" on a monthly basis? I don't read all the forums, however I can only recall 3 people having received burnt beans. If its as infrequent as my personal experience would suggest, I would table the issue. Not that the issue doesn't have value or isn't interesting to think about, but its not like all small issues need to be addressed at the present time. I don't seem to recall a recent swarm of spam-bots etc.

LaRoza
April 8th, 2008, 04:10 AM
How big of problem is this? I mean how many people are getting "burnt" on a monthly basis? I don't read all the forums, however I can only recall 3 people having received burnt beans. If its as infrequent as my personal experience would suggest, I would table the issue. Not that the issue doesn't have value or isn't interesting to think about, but its not like all small issues need to be addressed at the present time. I don't seem to recall a recent swarm of spam-bots etc.

Users with histories? Very, very few.

Spam bans (15 infraction points) are issues for blatent spammers daily, burning beans happens rarely for users that have a history. There are some sites that allow for user account creation, and these site's automated users are burnt also.

kevdog
April 8th, 2008, 04:17 AM
Could you point me to a link of one of these spam banned posts so I know what they look like? Spamming the Ubuntu forums ... yeah the creator of that should be given a medal of honor!

LaRoza
April 8th, 2008, 04:34 AM
Could you point me to a link of one of these spam banned posts so I know what they look like? Spamming the Ubuntu forums ... yeah the creator of that should be given a medal of honor!




Yeah, I'm talking console games. I just got an Xbox 360 and am bummed it's just sitting there now. I can play games on my linux laptop but the gamepad and ease of use puts the xbox a little higher than the pc. I did research some last night and found there are a few other companies that do this too:

http://GameZnFlix.com
http://www.gamerang.com
http://www.gottaplay.com/

Are they worth trying, are wait times reasonable, are there other ideas to consider? down payments???


Like i said before I LOVE GAMEFLY AND I THINK ANYONE WHO READS THIS POST SHOULD GET GAMEFLY USING THIS LINK CAUSE IT GIVES YOU A DISCOUNT, 10-20% I THINK
<link removed> And wait times are 1-2 days, so its great! :lolflag: :lolflag: :lolflag: :lolflag: :lolflag: :lolflag: :) :)


They are often multiple posts on random threads. The user's name is usually the name of the service or site, or has a lot of numbers in it.

(That was copied from a post in the Jail)

That was a short one, often we gets lists of products (usually cell phones and such) and links to sites.

As you can see, a spam ban is for obvious cases of spam, and all moderators can do it. Bans for other reasons are not easily given out.