[License-discuss] [License-review] Evolving the License Review process for OSI

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat May 25 16:37:57 UTC 2019

Quoting Lawrence Rosen (lrosen at rosenlaw.com):


> But now, perhaps, you can appreciate my disappointment when I first
> learned, several months ago, that you have been representing OSI in
> their open standards activities. There are several others on this list
> (including me) who are more knowledgeable and experienced than you in
> this arena. For example, Scott Peterson is an expert at this, and his
> skills at this are more than those of the two of us put together –
> despite the fact that I occasionally consider his opinions to be
> absurd, and vice versa. It is important for OSI to let us know who
> speaks on their behalf. That is another reason why I liked Pam's
> recent email.

At the risk of AOLing, I thank you for this, Larry.

There have been times, in recent discussion, where I've deliberately sat
on my hands and not spoken because I feared I might be unable to speak
in a spirit of charity or would contribute to the noise problem.  One
such occasion was when Pam Chestak (whom I'm not yet had the privilege
to meet, whereas I have a longstanding if sometimes contentious
friendship with Bruce) spoke of the problem of 'bullying' on (IIRC) l-r.
I'll be frahk:  I raised my eyebrows a bit, but carefully kept my peace,
because _sometimes_ in current Internet rhetoric -- in my opinion --
this concept has been inflated in scope past reason.  I doubt any of us
here is a tender shrinking violet, and the notion of anyone in present
company being pummeled into silence by nouns, adjectives, and the
occasional verb or adverb seemed... a stretch?

But, anyway, one of the reasons I didn't hasten to say so, and
absolutely had no desire to even imply a conspiracy to oppress or
anything like that, is the desire to assume good faith absent strong
evidence to the contrary.

Personally, I have no problem with OSI staff trying to keep things civil
and move discussions along to keep them productive, and I applaud the
effort and wish it well -- and I say that as someone who occasionally 
fails to avoid venting pique at what he perceives as tiresome and
obstructive posts, and then regrets having done so.

Whatever bad blood has been behind this confrontation, I hope the
assumption of good faith and constructive intentions can be maintained,
as I see no reason to believe otherwise.  And, well, see my .signature 
block at the bottom -- if your dodgy e-mail client will let you.  ;->

> As for list moderation, I believe that this and other open source lists 
> go way too far when they impose strict codes of conduct.

While we're on the subject of the word 'moderation', I'll just mention 
(as a GNU Mailman listadmin in a number of other places) that the term
'moderation'/'moderator' has problematic and misleading aspects because
of overloaded usage, and some lack of clarity is likely.

Most GNU Mailman mailing lists, on technical level, are set to be
_unmoderated_ in the sense that, by default, participants do not get the
'moderated' flag set on their subscriptions, and therefore their
postings go through without landing in the administrative queue for
manual approval (or not).  Call that Type A.  

A minority of such mailing lists _are_ moderated (Type B), such as
announce-only mailing lists.  With that background, when, as frequently
happens, someone talks about a Type A list's moderation practices, this
ends up being confusing, because in a literal-minded, operational sense,
there is no moderation.  In the jargon, we sometimes call a Type A
mailing list 'retromoderated'.  (I'm not urging that rather painful
neologism, however; read on.)

That term means that, say, on one of my mailing lists, there are social
norms you're expected to follow as good behaviour, and, I as listadmin
judge you to have transgressed, I may (depending on the level of force
required) mildly chide you, or give you a warning, or set the 'moderated'
flag on your previously-unrestricted subscription so you will have adult
supervision for a time, or kick you off but permit you to come back
(having cluebatted you and gotten your attention), or kick you off and
prevent you from coming back.  That's 'retromoderation', but a less
jargon-ey alternative would be 'listadmin intervention[/supervision]'.

So, what I'm saying is, I _believe_ (correct me if I'm wrong) that l-d
and l-r are operated Type A-style like most Mailman mailing lists,
and the problem with talking about 'moderation' practice on a Type A
mailing list is that it suggests this is a Type B one, where all
subscriber postings are blanket-held for listadmin approval (if any
approval then occurs at all.)[1]

As a further fine point, on account of the potential for confusion, I
make a habit of referring to 'listadmin' activity rather than
'moderator' activity (unless it really is a Type B medium).

> I also want to commend Pam Chestek for her calm and reasoned
> explanation of OSI's new license approval process. It is far more
> helpful than the mysterious processes that preceded it. I wish OSI
> success with this new protocol.

Hear, hear.  (And, glad to make your virtual acquaintance, Ms. Chestak.)

[1] An example Type B mailing list would be Silicon Valley Linux User
Group's 'svlug-announce', intended for official announcements _only_.
On that mailing list, even I as listadmin keep the 'moderated' flag on
my subscription, so that if a fellow subscriber forgets it's
announce-only and tries to respond to an announcement, thus sending me
a direct offlist copy plus one (inappropriately) onlist that lands in
the admin queue, I won't inattentively reply-all and accidentally commit
noise on-list, not noticing the svlug-announce target.

Cheers,              "I am a member of a civilization (IAAMOAC).  Step back
Rick Moen            from anger.  Study how awful our ancestors had it, yet
rick at linuxmafia.com  they struggled to get you here.  Repay them by appreciating
McQ! (4x80)          the civilization you inherited."           -- David Brin

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