Reasons for hall monitoring

Adam Williamson awilliam at
Fri May 7 19:05:51 UTC 2010

On Thu, 2010-05-06 at 17:46 -0400, Brian Pepple wrote:

> Normally, I'd be against it killing a thread, but the thread that
> started this discussion had already been done awhile back and this new
> thread added *nothing* new to the discussion. Frankly, it was more
> deserving to be on Slashdot more than the fedora-devel list. The Hall
> Monitors were totally justified in killing this one imo, and frankly if
> folks want more repetitive flame-bait threads like that I've got zero
> interest in staying subscribed to it.

I'm not actually particularly interested in whether this is true or not.
What worries me is that it was always my understanding, and I think the
understanding of others, that the hall monitoring policy does not grant
hall monitors the power to shut down threads they judge to be
repetitive. My understanding is it should only grant them the power to
shut down threads which violate the 'be excellent to each other' motto -
i.e., it's about the civility of the discussion, not the subject matter.

Whether shutting down repetitive threads is a good idea and they
_should_ have that power is a separate question; even if you think they
should, it's surely not appropriate for them to exercise that power
before it's actually been duly granted.

(if you go to the policy to check this, you may be surprised to notice
it's suddenly sprouted the following section:

"In addition to non-excellent individual behavior, there can be
occasions where a mailing list thread gets "out of hand", and is no
longer productive.  While simply being a long thread is not a problem,
threads with a limited number of people, repeating their same stances
over and over again with no forward progress, are also not beneficial,
and detract from healthy discussion.

* Hall monitors are allowed to send 'thread closure' posts to threads
that, after 50 or more messages, do not appear to be making any forward
progress. When this is done the subject line of the message will be
prefixed with [HALL-MONITORED] and a link to this wiki page is included
in the message.  This is intended to spur thread participants to
re-focus their discussion in productive manners, ideally in new and
smaller topic-specific threads."

This seems to have been added 'for review' yesterday, which to me is a
rather odd approach for a policy which is already in practical use,
however much the top of the page claims it to be a 'draft'. Proposed
changes for review should happen elsewhere, not in the 'production copy'
of the policy. But never mind. For the purposes of this email, please
refer to the policy as it existed when the thread was monitored, before
the above addition.)
Adam Williamson
Fedora QA Community Monkey
IRC: adamw | Fedora Talk: adamwill AT fedoraproject DOT org

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