[Volunteers] Undisclosed banned discussion topics (was: yum extender)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jul 14 18:42:39 PDT 2005

Quoting J. Paul Reed (preed at svlug.org):

> The term "officer" implies some duties and privileges that I'm not willing
> to give to others outside the structure defined for us by SBAY.org. I don't
> know the history, but unless we have a charter that allows "appointed
> officers," we're not going to be doing that, for all the questions and
> issues that Bill raises below.

Er, SVLUG has the power to establish (or continue, or re-establish)
whatever offices it pleases.  I don't know where you got the notion that
it must be "allowed" to do this or that by sbay.org, and I'm rather
alarmed (and perplexed) that you seem eager to surrender the group's
autonomy.  The association was intended (very generously on the part of
sbay.org) to allow the covered groups to enjoy the tax and incorporation
umbrella, and are constrained by those needs, and that's _it_.

> Having said that, I think it's clear, Rick, that you do a lot of the
> webmaster work (and we're all very appreciative). Chris, similarly, has
> been a "right hand man" for the LUG. If you'd like to give official titles
> to those positions, then I'm up for discussing it.

Well, you might get around to looking at the
http://www.svlug.org/officers.shtml and
http://www.svlug.org/teams/web-team.shtml , where those various
"Coordinator" positions are defined.  And, as I've said several times to
Bill, the term "appointive officer" (though not used as such) is not
mine:  It's the term that has been used for those posts by (to my
recollection) all of the group's prior presidents.  Don't take my word;
ask them. 

That is _also_ why almost all such persons were on the officers@ mailing
list, until you ejected them in March.

> On "killing the thread" and telling people to take it to volunteers@,
> I am 100% in favor of this, and I have not seen a situation where Bill
> has made that call that I would've disagreed with him.

If you are in favour of Bill posting derogatory claims about me on
public mailing lists -- especially erroneous accusations of having
"criticised" other posters (see below) -- and then abusing his officer
to order me to not rebut his assertions in the place where he posted
them, then we have a drastic, sharp difference of view on personal
ethics, and I regard what you say you're "100% in favor of" as an abuse
of office.

As I've now reminded you in private mail, the accusation of
"criticising" a fellow list-member was (rather irrationally) declared a
ban-worthy offence by SVLUG president Marc Merlin, and then, when I
asked his successor Don Marti last July if that particular overzealous 
threat were still in force, he said "Yes".  Therefore, given SVLUG's 
highly peculiar rules framework, I cannot take accusations like Bill's

> I do want to clarify that volunteers@ IS NOT a private forum, and it is not
> controlled by Bill and I.  Anyone is able to join at any time, and archives
> are available to members.

If this is the case, then it is so because you or Bill _changed_ the
setup of the mailing list from what it was initially.  

Perhaps you remember my private mail of May 9?  I had asked Bill (cc
you) when that subscription restriction would be disclosed:  His only
response was to ignore my question and say that "nobody had complained"
about the restriction.  Would I be correct in guessing that you or Bill
changed the setting after that?

> Anyone should be able to join the volunteers list at any time, period.

OK.  It appears that this is _now_ the case.  It was not for a very long
time, and the two of you didn't tell anyone you changed it -- any more
than you informed everyone of the restriction originally.

> And the volunteers list is a MUCH better place to have this sort of
> discussion. 

Again:  It is simply not OK to post derogatory claims about me in a public
place and then required me to rebut or respond only in private.  And, for
those purposes of personal ethics, it really doesn't matter what
uncontested election you or Bill did or did not prevail in.

> If the group makes a rule, and they got it wrong, then THE GROUP
> screwed up.

So much for accountability.  Me, I grew up knowing about the Stanley
Milgram experiments, and don't believe in evading accountability by
hiding one's actions behind groups.

> I don't think anyone can make the claim that Bill and I don't listen
> to input from the group, so trying to do this is a counterproductive
> endeavor.

You both do indeed listen to input -- but very often have not sought it
in the first place.  In the name of full disclosure, here's what I wrote
privately to Marc Merlin on March 29:

(For context:  This is immediately after you nuked without consultation
or notice all the teams' mailing lists, and then repeatedly blew off my
question about how/where to get a copy of the just-nuked web-team
mailing list's archive.)

  Privately from me to you:  Practically everything that's been
  happening has struck me as retrograde motion.  There's pointless 
  secrecy, there's work being destroyed pointlessly and without 
  consultation, there's censorship of mail sent to "webmaster", 
  people are mucking about in mailing list administration who 
  plainly don't know what they're doing, etc.  If I point this out, 
  I become the villain, so I'm inclined to just withhold comment.

(He replied that he agreed.)

> > Please note that all of the above refers to the Marc & Don
> > administration, so I don't think it's fair to use that as a criticism of
> > the current leadership of SVLUG.
> I didn't go back and read through the URLs, but I'm generally with Bill on
> this.

Bill seems to have summarily ignored my point on that matter, so I'm not
really impressed that you're "with him" on it.  I am obliged to regard
those "rules", confirmed by the prior SVLUG president as still in force
exactly a year ago, unless and until you or a successor says otherwise.  

Threatening members with summary banning just because you're declared 
to have "criticised" someone's _ideas_ would be laughable if it hadn't 
been posted as a serious threat.  Such things should either be properly
disclosed on the policy page, or declared void.

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