[svlug] with heavy heart, and a sigh - take II

William Teeple bill at macgod.net
Sun Sep 16 19:31:19 PDT 2007

I have been part of this distribution list and community for only 1  
1/2 years - so I will not pretend to understand the complexities of  
your relationships.

But the short story is this.

This mailing list is for the Silicon Valley Linux Users Group.  It  
should pertain to matters of LINUX - not personal feuds or fights -  
not organizational fights or struggles.  I suggest you all take this  
offline from this distribution list or please create a new  
distribution list for SVLUG-POLITICS or SVLUG-FEUDS or something like  

I am sure my response will warrant a discussion and explanation from  
the parties involved - but if you do - please reply just to me and  
not the list.

HOWEVER - if anyone in the group (besides me) is tired of these  
attacks and lack of discussions of LINUX then I urge you all to show  
your support for ending these flame wars and reply to the list to  
show your support.


On Sep 16, 2007, at 5:06 PM, Heather Stern wrote:

>   I understand now what Rick Moen's friendship has been worth -  
> what he
>   will choose to see of things that I say, and what he will tell  
> himself
>   in order to paint himself in the best possible light, and more
>   importantly, what he will manage to say when he knows that I have  
> stepped
>   away to be involved with a conference for some short while.
> There is a man named Ian, whom Mr.Moen hates approximately as much as
> tornados hate mobile homes, give or take a post office.*   I believe
> that Mr.Moen is utterly incapable of sanity or reason when it comes to
> any mention of this man.  In the name of supporting his favorite  
> dose of
> unreason, he will say and paint absolutely anything.  It is a true  
> thing
> that Ian kicked him off a list last year - before various bylaws were
> changed and how who rules what happens, the president alone could  
> do that.
> For the same sorts of poison as he's spent on the Picnic this year, he
> spent last time, and the methods have been different for the rules  
> have
> been different too.   This year, the president can't do things alone.
> He doesn't like that either... this year's president would have  
> been as
> unfairly kind to him as last year's might have been unfairly  
> critical and
> it's all a complete wash because the actual group of individuals,  
> several,
> that were making things happen, made a decision that neither the  
> machine
> admins nor the glorified President chose to override, and which the  
> active
> Coordinator for the year supported.
> * Yes, I'm aware that forces of electricity and wind have no  
> emotions.  The
>   destruction comes naturally.   This doesn't make it good.
> Principles that I honor and he does not don't make either "side"  
> evil -
> merely differemt.  If those differences are inescapably  
> incompatible, then
> someone's not going to like the results.
>    Fancy how he ended up on the list for the current year, no problem
>    being aboard, as long as he could enjoy his presence there he was a
>    happy go lucky guy.   (Apparently not.  Excuse me,  my cat is  
> laughing
>    at me.)
>    It is the active abuse of people getting work done this year,  
> carefully
>    done on other lists in order that he could enjoy rules-lawyer  
> status on
>    the picnix group itself, however, that actually got him a *fresh  
> request*
>    for removal!  From someone besides his arch nemesis even.  And then
>    there was a vote.  My golly, we're so evil I could just piss blood!
> Odin's rules allow you to eat the high horse you ride in on, as  
> Sleipner
> awakens anew, to face the morn.
>    I believe I prefer the tabula rasa.  I do not know this man, have
>    not met him.  There is some rumor that he's kind of well known  
> around
>    the group.  There's some mild bits of evidence around the  
> volunteers
>    list that he's actually helpful now and then.  I wonder if he'll
>    ever show up at a meeting.
>    I will not any longer ever read his email, however.  There's this
>    unfortunate jackalhead who looks just like him and occasionally  
> makes
>    all these bollixed up statements about how un-communitylike I am.
> I will no longer play any Queen Of The Hive games with Mr.Moen no  
> matter how
> many bees he brings to help me play.  Any of you who are my  
> friends, if you
> catch me reacting to him, please do me the kindness of distracting  
> me by
> asking if I have eaten lately.  I may be short on sodium and not  
> thinking
> straight.
> Whenever I meet new people, I will hope for friendship, let the  
> world bring
> what it may.
> Life must go on.   Brie needs to be working sooner, not later;  the  
> old
> server that SVLUG's living on may as well be named swiss-cheese  
> instead
> of gruyere considering how stable it's been lately.  I understand  
> there's
> some guy named Rick who has been bailing the old tub with his own  
> bucket to
> keep it afloat.  Serious work and good attitude deserves support.   
> I have too
> much work to do and this day has spare enough time to try to do  
> some of it.
> As Karsten would say, Peace.
>   . | .    Heather Stern          |     (408) 374-7623 land
> --->*<---  star at starshine.org   - * -   (408) 761-4912 cell
>   ' | `    KG6ZYC                 |
> . . . . . . .
> Exact reason for phone call:
>    To expect to have a human conversation with a friend, instead of  
> fancy
>    formal emails with "the list-admins" - I felt he might be  
> interested in
>    the whole reasons, the discussion, the wheres and whys, after  
> all, this
>    is Rick, he loves to know details.
> The details I would gladly give to him over a cup of black coffee  
> included
> the following points, but there were two phone calls.  The first  
> concluded
> abruptly on his end when he decided he'd get back on the list;  he  
> didn't
> seem++ to actually *want* the explanation he'd demanded - just the  
> result he'd
> wanted.  I have the power to put someone back on a mailing list,  
> but the
> reasons are important, and the timing of me calling a Food Shelter  
> before
> their front-daytime office closed had some effect on the timing of  
> calls I
> was going to be making.
> ++emphasis: seem.  I have no idea what Rick wants anymore :(
> Duncaan MacKinnon is (and remains til everyone finishes turning in  
> their
> reciepts and/or a few months pass and someone else with a cheery heart
> steps up to the plate - look out for the lightning rod, it's a doozy)
> the picnix Coordinator, but he knew he couldn't always be at hand.
> There's a Picnic Steering Committee, which has been mentioned on that
> Picnix list he doesn't read until Friday before the picnic.  There are
> a handful of people on it;  either I or Ian could have been outvoted
> easily... if there was dissension.
> There was *some* dissension, but it was in the meat of why and what  
> to do.
> THe decision of the Committee, as spurred more than three emails in
> private to the list-admins at some days distance before, was that
> Rick's personal attacks on other group mailing lists (not just SVLUG),
> of both the Picnic itself and of some of its most visible  
> volunteers, was
> sufficient to violate the List Netiquette policy against personal  
> attack
> and dead-horse topics;  that his presence made willing and active  
> volunteers
> distinctly uncomfortable and if he spoke to the list were likely to  
> prevent
> real work from being done.
> I really do find myself wondering that if I had been as formal
> myself as his request was, and said only that, if his reply would
> have been to take it like a netizen and run off to other things,
> satisfied that the Law was being followed.   My suspicion is no.
> I am one of the votes in the Committee;  I am the one who knows  
> everyone's
> phone numbers.  Because some of the mails were private, we had to  
> bounce
> them at each other.  I had several reasons for my own vote:
>     * we've been asked to help out our volunteers, give them a  
> comfortable
>       environment to work in.  Having been asked, the question  
> cannot be
>       left alone, it must be answered.
>     * Rick has oft expressed that he's not a volunteer to the Picnic.
>       Sometimes this has been in good cheer;  often it has not.  My  
> best
>       guess *was* that he is either bored or annoyed with it.  Rick  
> has
>       been a friend of mine;  boredom he can handle in silence on  
> his own;
>       annoying my friends is not something I actually like to do -  
> if he
>       found involvement with the Picnix so annoying as to stir his  
> blood
>       so, he'd be happier gone from it.
> This was where my reasoning began, with compassion.  What I got to  
> say on
> the phone was much shorter - he grew angry -
>     * if he stays he would either be silent or he would not.  If he  
> were
>       dropped, he'd be silent and probably unhappy.  Happier?   
> Unhappier?
>       There are all the linuxer who *are* helping, who are already  
> unhappy.
>       There's only so much I can do for my friends - helping them  
> make a
>       lot of people actively unhappy doesn't score well in it.   
> Sorry Rick,
>       but that's the way it scores.
> Regret at causing anyone pain would have given me the energy to  
> come up
> with an amiable solution, probably including lying to myself that he
> couldn't do much damage on a list that was only going to have traffic
> for about 6 to 8 hours longer in the current year anyway.   I know  
> now,
> that it would have been a lie even if I believed it - he's done plenty
> enough without being on it at all.
>     * I'd asked him personally to actually help make things work  
> rather than
>       complain about it before;  Duncan, entirely seperately, asked  
> him that
>       too.
> You've seen what flamage that was worth.  Rick moans of "groups  
> kicked out"
> but perhaps he means "CABAL kicked out" because he answered hell-no  
> rather
> than merely no and stomped off loudly of his own accord.   This speaks
> nothing to other groups Duncan attended and encouraged volunteers  
> from.
> Other voters had their own reasons.
> If my own vote had been geesh you guys, just give the viking a break,
> he's just being loud again and doing any specific thing will cause
> a specific hassle;  it wouldn't have won over.  The vote was a group
> decision;  the larger group was being hurt by his not-local actions,
> and the request was to prevent him causing local pain on an active  
> list.
> No, we don't - and didn't - kick off every non-volunteer.   Only  
> the one
> whose efforts to anti-volunteer cause such pain that action was  
> directly
> requested.  Think of it in the same vein as IRC's /IGNORE.   In the  
> same
> spirit as that, most people don't get to learn how many IRC clients  
> have
> actually *used* the IGNORE command and utterly plonked their text  
> forever.
> Silence about it was because we figured he'd just turn every nearby
> place into a stinkpot.  I actually argued this point; if he really
> was as utterly uninterested in the Picnix workings as he'd loudly been
> swearing much earlier in the year, he would never even notice.  And I
> actually believed Rick's claim of disinterest.  If he *honestly*  
> had no
> interest - nobody would hear a damn word about it anyway.  The best of
> all possible worlds.  Burgers ahoy.
> I believed in his honesty.
> He was not honestly disinterested after all - only almost.  But he  
> didn't
> notice until the Friday before it.
> And he did, indeed, turn SVLUG's list into a stinkpot about it.
> In a sense of friendship, I would have restored his access to the  
> email
> archives, let him read all he wants.  The exact vote was to prevent  
> him from
> abusing the *active* volunteers on the list *they* share to get  
> work done.
> It's almost lucky that some of the work is across irc and most of  
> it was
> across phone calls.
> If in speaking to him I could have believed that he really wanted to
> seriously volunteer a specific effort, I honestly think that I  
> might have
> put him back on the list in whole.   It would have been an abuse of  
> the
> group decision, but I probably would have managed to convince  
> myself if
> he was gentle enough that I believed we'd done him ill - and that I  
> was
> doing better rather than worse by the Picnic itself, for encouraging,
> rather than discouraging, a friendly sense of actual community.  At  
> that
> moment I hadn't seen the flamage he'd already raised about it on here;
> I only had his voice on the phone to guide my sense of what he wanted.
> It only occurs to me much later, that he never asked in good cheer,  
> hey I
> fell off the list, could you put me back on?  There was good cheer  
> that
> day - when he decided he'd won his prize - and he hung up before I  
> could
> tell him anything more.  I never get to say all of what I intend in  
> person.
> It's my curse.   In email I can say it all and I'm sure the world  
> makes it
> a blur past paragraph three.
> It's the same button that blocks one from mailing and blocks one from
> rejoining;  I'm sure these can be split, but also so can the  
> reading of
> archives.
> I'd never intended that he not be able to view, and had said so,  
> but I guess
> he heard what he wanted to hear.  He thought he'd have everything  
> just the
> way he wanted again spot-quick.
> The purpose of my second phone call was to mention that he'd have  
> archive
> access at the end of my workday, after I'd reached the shelter  
> offices and
> dug my not-often used admin passwords out of the corner I leave  
> them in.
> I'm sorry but my brain hasn't had rote-memory that's all that good  
> since
> I was about 16; it got burned out.  I don't know how many of you  
> remember
> more than two passwords at a time - I can't remember phone numbers  
> well
> enough to finish writing them down, and that day, I was writing a LOT
> of phone numbers down.   The purpose of this waste of time instead of
> jumping to his beck and call?   To make sure that any perishables left
> after a wonderful 400+ linuxer picnic, give or take some random kids,
> cousins, and spouses, would afterwards go to a proper Shelter.
> Not only was it *not* a waste of my time, but the shelter which  
> accepted
> the food could actually refrigerate and serve the food to people they
> house directly.  The sorts of poor that got the remainder, are the
> sorts who will find themselves apartments again once their insurance
> for burned homes and so on goes through.   That's *real* community -
> and that shelter expressed a very fervent wish that more big events
> would care the same to not waste what's still useful.
> I *needed* to prevent a recurrance of the worst fiasco we had for  
> cleanup
> last year, and I had to do it a lot sooner than I had to tussle with a
> password on a mailing list.  I felt it would be the honourable  
> thing to tell
> him that his results weren't going to be instant.
> Bad move.
> When he wouldn't actually participate in the give and take,  
> question and
> answer that makes up a normal conversation on the phone, and his voice
> was racing, raising in pitch, and growing louder, I knew with a  
> sinking
> feeling and growing panick that he had no interest in knowing the rest
> of anythign about why, what, or helping flip a burger, nor was he  
> making
> any rational effort to ask good sense of me, convince nor cajole nor
> offer anything of goodwill whatsoever.   I'd had my misgivings on my
> vote;  I was now forced to admit that the arguments of some of the  
> rest
> among the crew were right - at least at that moment they certainly  
> were.
> He was no longer himself.  He was too busy flipping out.  I quailed  
> and
> I did not expect that anything I could say any longer would be heard
> by him.  (That's his *no comment* - I never said "no comment" like the
> stupid talking heads say to the Press.   I tried to ask him something
> that would drop him out of his broken-record attack, and maybe help me
> understand why he was going so goddamn ballistic.  Waste of breath.)
> I fled his increasing volume and anger.  If he had been in person I  
> don't
> know what I would have done... I probably would have let him pummel me
> senseless... there is something in me that will not easily defend  
> myself
> from the anger of a friend, that finds it difficult to speak in the  
> face
> of such anger even if I thought I should.
> But there was no way in hell I was going to let him put that brimstone
> on our list with a halfday left to go and way too much work to do. 6
> or 7 people were doing an awful lot, a few others doing a bit, and  
> many
> others had promised merely to arrive early with ready hands.   A  
> couple
> of project groups already had their internal plans what to do and  
> where
> to show up, they had their own lists for those things though.
> The exact text of how I hung up was an If/Then statement.  Good
> programmers know that If/Then statements imply an Else clause, if one
> wishes to write one in.   That text was, with a dull ache:
> 	If you need to hate me, then we're done.  *click*
> Having left me no avenue to the kindness of friendship, I was left  
> with the
> painful chore of President, Sbay;  to enforce the decisions of the  
> picnix
> committee and the later approval by its coordinator of what had  
> been done.
> I swore when I took up the elected role that some of the things I  
> had to do
> would just plain earn me no thanks, and this is one of them.    
> Tomato me as
> you will; no change was made to the list status.
> Paul Reiber knows how I was immediately afterwards, because he was  
> my next
> phone call;  I feared how I can or can't be part of the hardware- 
> volunteer
> work I do for SVLUG, if I have to face this.   I will do no less  
> for SVLUG
> than I always have done for anyone - my best, when I can.   But it  
> hurt so
> damn badly.
> I did the greatest good, for the most linuxfolk, and it wasn't good  
> enough,
> and maybe never will be.  I wept.
> I don't deserve to be hated; not for a moment.
> I think he doesn't hate *me* - or he would say this - but he  
> doesn't grant
> me any credit at all for being any sort of positive force in Sbay.   
> What I
> feel is something else again.  I can't even express it.  His  
> presumption to
> rule the lives of people he swears up-down-and-sideways no  
> affiliation nor
> membership with...
> If Rick needs to hate Sbay, that's too damn bad for him.
> If there'd been no money left from last year there'd have been no need
> to have it lying about in an account somewhere.   There was remaining
> money because the companies who think they're part of what makes Linux
> cool, threw a few extra bucks worth of enthusiasm in.  That enthusiasm
> came from the efforts of the coordinators and friendly volunteers to
> make things work.  If there'd been no money left last year I'm sure
> someone would have started raising ire about what wastrels everyone  
> was,
> that there should be ways to carry things over, that things are wrong
> and someone must fall to blame.
> Sbay's Treasurer has been excurciatingly careful to make sure any  
> funds
> donated tagged for the Picnic are used for the picnic *only* - that  
> funds
> dinated tagged for specific other things are used for those other  
> purposes
> *only*.   Rick has throughout the year, regarding Sbay, merely been
> excruciating.
> You'd think it was his ex-wife or something.
> I do *not* think Justin's care and Jennifer's fervency to defend the
> honour of that money for the bay area Linux community have been a  
> waste.
> Yes, there have been people who looked at the pot and thought they  
> could
> spend it on other things.  It was not allowed.  Their wails did not  
> gain
> them the abuse they desired either.   Wailing louder got it noticed  
> as a
> desire for abuse.
> Abusing people who are actually getting work done isn't cool.
> When a cloud of blame and fear exists there is no possibility of  
> compassion.
> Nobody wins.
> The one *real* thing that was wasted last year - Henry's efforts to  
> bring
> Davis' contribution of all the burgers we could enjoy - the huge  
> pile of
> leftover food - wasn't wasted this year.  Or more accurately,  I  
> prevented
> the same fate for any of this year's leftovers.  I made sure the  
> drygoods
> he'd been custodian to all year got down here too.
> If individual penguins from three big LUGs and maybe a few little ones
> (people werent required to affiliate with a LUG just to help out),
> some opensource wireless group (that a few of you might recognize),
> a couple of big projects and a few little ones, about half of whom
> never even heard of Sbay since it wasn't mentioned on the picnic  
> flyers
> mailed to LUGs, throwing a damn fine picnic is a bad thing - well, I
> said before that I'd eat my red hat if people had no fun at the  
> Picnic.
> It's just a freakin' symbol.  It's just a freakin' picnic.
> That was Duncan's specific guiding mantra for this year's effort,  
> after
> reading the last few years' worth of notes about how they'd been run,
> aground or otherwise, and his memories of the one he'd been part of:
> 	It's just a freakin' Picnic, ok?
> *I* think it turned out a good Picnic.  I *know* that lots of you  
> helped.
> Folks who'd like any donation-thanks or reimbursements for their  
> contribs
> to this year, or any donation-thanks for helping deal with the Food- 
> Cant-Get
> Past-Four-Traffic-Jams fandango from last year, catch me or any of the
> LinuxPicnic core people seperately.   Since the 501c3 status came in
> positive the thank-yous are worth something in paper form, provided  
> you and
> your accountant care about such things.
> If, by any chance, Rick doesn't need to hate me, nor the projects I've
> poured love and life into, nor the many orgs and groups and  
> companies I
> do anything volunteerish for, then the rest is the future, unwritten.
> Which, to my mind, is how it should be.
> But I will *not* give up my honour* -nor that of Sbay- for the sake  
> of one
> phonecall worth of a wail from anyone.  I did what I must for the sake
> of the greatest goodwill, and I have failed, my friends, in preventing
> all possible ill will or sorrow.
> I genuinely considered never saying anything to this - typing it all,
> and hitting delete.   But I don't deserve what's been done to me,  
> Justin
> doesn't deserve the crap he gets given for agreeing to be a mailing
> address, and the Org that elected me has somewhere around 60 people  
> that
> don't deserve the sliming that's been offered it.  The other cry  
> raised
> against it, that it was Sbay's picnic only and not run by the real  
> linux
> folk of the Bay - I can hardly see how, for only the Linuxers among  
> Sbay
> came, as many not-from-Sbay showed up early to help unload trucks, and
> then everyone else arrived.
> I *will* defend the people who get real work done in my crews, for  
> any type
> of event I am part of, and it has got not one goddamn thing to do  
> with how
> manay badgenames or group affiliations they hang off of their own hat.
> There are some among you who pitched in driving, who pitched in  
> buying the
> raw goods, who helped move stuff, who helped defend the pristine  
> honour of
> the Vegetarian Grill.  You deserve everyone's thanks and good  
> cheer.  You
> earned it.  Am I any more or less than any of you?  No - I show up,  
> I do my
> part, it's worth nothing alone.
> Do I honestly deserve bricks and bruises instead?
> I know that there are friends of mine who will see what I've written
> and be horrified that I actually graced this thread with my  
> attention to
> it; don't feed the fire, don't touch that stove, you'll burn yourself.
> I have even promised that I would not allow myself to burn out in all
> these things that I do.  But I have to be myself, be real, and what  
> has
> been painted of me, and of Sbay.... excuse me,
> (pesky state forms.  Don't *even* get me started.  The next person
> to claim it's really easy to file a nonprofit gets a soak in the dunk
> tank) ...is not real - it is merely what one man not getting his way
> wanted to see of me - and Sbay - and needed to paint.  If someone tags
> a car, you don't leave it that way.  You clean up, you stand up,  
> and you
> keep on doing what's right until the battle that should never have  
> been
> necessary in the first place goes away forever.
> I'ev heard it said that the fights in nonprofits are so bitter  
> because the
> stakes are so low.
> I don't care anymore if it's something besides hate that makes him  
> need to
> paint it.  I just need whatever mold this ooze is, to stop growing  
> before I
> get enough allergic reaction to find myself in hospital,  
> metaphorically
> speaking.   The sliming has to stop.
> I will throw the past I know of Rick away utterly rather than make any
> guess what to expect of him any more.  Tabula rasa.
> -* Heather
> * extra u's in honour and honourable brought to you courtesy of a  
> sack of
>   u's from HantsLUG, that they gave me some years ago.  They have a  
> meet
>   once a month called a Bring-A-Box which is very much like our
>   installfests.  I've been to exactly one of them, unless you count  
> all
>   the times I've made it to one on IRC.  Webcams are cool things!
> . . . . . . . . . .
> I wrote:
>> Thank you, Anne.  I've inquired with the three mailing list admins,
>> pointing out that I've always carefully followed the posted rules 
>> [1] on
>> both the main linuxpicnic and announce mailing lists, and asking for
>> an explanation.  (My address was apparently silently removed and  
>> banned
>> from _both_ mailing lists, at some point in the recent past.)
>> [1] http://www.linuxpicnic.org/twiki/bin/view/Volunteers/ 
>> MailListEtiquette
> After two e-mails, one to the suggested list-admin at linuxpicnic.org
> contact address, and a second follow-up to the admins' direct e-mail
> mailbox, Heather's eventual e-mailed explanation about why I was
> summarily removed and banned without notice from _both_ the  
> linuxpicnic
> and announce mailing list was that I mentioned not intending to be a
> picnic volunteer this year, and therefore she figured I'd "probably be
> either bored or annoyed" by seeing further mailing list traffic,  
> and for
> that reason she had removed and banned me without notice to spare me
> from being "annoyed" because, she says, "I'm not interested in  
> annoying
> my friends."
> I asked whether _all_ subscribers who aren't picnic volunteers get
> summarily removed and banned, preventing them from seeing new postings
> _and_ from visiting the back-postings archives, of both the discussion
> list and the ultra-low-traffic announce list -- or just me.
> A half-hour later, Heather telephoned me and reiterated her
> doesn't-make-sense-to-me explanation about "helping" me avoid being
> "bored and annoyed".  I repeated that I was confused by this.  She  
> also
> said the banning part was "accidental".  I said this confused me, too.
> Anyway, after being assured that I wasn't worried about being  
> "bored and
> annoyed", she said she'd undo the removal and the "accidental" ban.
> A few minutes later, she called back a second time and said she'd  
> taken
> the removal and banning action "to make a lot of people happy", and
> would not "find time" to take corrective action until quite a few days
> from now.
> I called her attention to the fact that her justifications were
> nonsensical and transparent.  She declined to comment on the fact that
> I'd not violated any of the posted mailing list rules and that
> apparently people get banned for violating unwritten ones.  She  
> said she
> guessed I'd "hate" her, and hung up.
> So, there ya go.
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