15 Nov 2006 boto   » (Journeyer)

The Freenode policy on staff behaviour

Or “Why do I regret making a donation to Freenode“.

Because I didn’t expect to support a team that include people that don’t know how to “fairly” use his powers.

First of all: the Freenode services are great. They have an open and explicit policy on many things, you see people working on improvements every time. They encourage “Real World” communication with groups. As fas as I see, the services are stable. And they are free. PDPC is a group that provide good free services for the community. And as a regular user of these services for many years, I think they deserved a small donation on the last year’s fundraiser.

But today I think it could be better if I had used my money on something else.

It is not because they don’t provide an useful service. They still provide an useful service. But it is because I don’t want to support behaviour that I don’t think it is fair.

I agree that the IRC network need to have a good policy on what is “desired behaviour” on the network. It is their right, they run the network, they spend their time maintaining it. The problem is when I see an “unfair” behaviour, and something that represents the network simply say that “it is not open to discussion”.

Today on a channel that I don’t use to join (but I used to join some time ago), somebody simply offended a network staffer:

04/02/2006 12:58:42 nerdwell    hey udk, pq vc não vai a merda? retardado
04/02/2006 12:59:56 UdontKnow   -carneiro.freenode.net- Added K-Line [*@200.204.86.79] to
        var/lib/dancer-ircd/kline.conf

Translation:

04/02/2006 12:58:42 nerdwell    hey udk, why don't you go to hell? retard
04/02/2006 12:59:56 UdontKnow   -carneiro.freenode.net- Added K-Line [*@200.204.86.79] to
        var/lib/dancer-ircd/kline.conf

Okay. It was a personal offense, and I think he really deserves some “punishment” for this “anti-social behaviour”. My question is: this was a personal offense to a network staffer. If somebody called me a retard, he would get a complete ban from the network, too? Anybody who offends anybody in the network will be completely banned, as it happened in this case? I don’t believe so. Then the given network staffer himself confirms what I’ve suspected:

04/02/2006 13:08:27 UdontKnow   topeira: eu diria... se voce nao sabe no que esta
        se metendo, nao faca acusacoes impensadas

Translation:

04/02/2006 13:08:27 UdontKnow   topeira: I would say: if you don't know what you are
        dealing with, don't make improper accusations

Well, I think it is a way to say “you must know who you are dealing with”. Or, in other words I understand this comment as “this is what happens to you when you offend a network staffer”.

Also, I guess the problem would be easily solved with a simple kick/ban from the channel. It would be simpler and with less harm. But it looked like that a network staffer wouldn’t use these “simple” soutions, if they can take stronger measures.

I don’t think this behaviour is fair. It isn’t unfair because the people that offended the staffer didn’t deserved a punishment. But because you simply can’t k-line everybody who offends someone in the network. It is pratically impossible. People won’t go to network staffers everytime someone offends someone. So we necessarily will end having an “unfair” policy: when a problem happens between someone and a network staffer, the consequences will be stronger because they can.

Obviously many people started to question the right the network staffer had to set this k-line. What happened? He said that “this is not open to discussion”. Simply this. So, people don’t have the right to discuss the actions of the network staffers.

It is OK: they have the right to define whatever policy they what. They run the network. The network is not a “right everybody has”, but simply a service provided by them. I understand this completely.

The problem is that I don’t want to support such behaviour. If they are supported by donations, I expect them to listen better to what people think, instead of taking some actions and saying “it is not open to discussion”. And, if the policy of the network is supposed to include “listen to our users”, I think PDPC should take a closer look to the behaviour of their staff team regarding their reaction and “openness to discussion” with the users of the network.

If I could, I would ask my money back.

(The relevant logs for the event are available at http://debianbrasil.org/irclogs/)

Syndicated 2006-02-04 19:35:56 from Eduardo Habkost / diary

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