As everyone has probably seen by now, we are experimenting with using Fedora Discussion for the community feedback and review portion of our Change Process. This makes the process more open and transparent to all. That’s great — we want more visibility and participation. But, as we’ve just seen, conversation can quickly get unmanageable.
With something big and controversial, this could happen no matter where or how we have the conversation. We need clear guidelines so that discussion is productive, in line with our community values, and easy to follow and participate in. Some of these guidelines will be similar to those we already have for our mailing lists, and others need to be new for the new format.
I propose the following. I’d like to adopt this as soon as possible, for the anticipated upcoming revision to the recent controversial proposal. Of course, we should continue to learn and adjust as we go forward.
Topics in this category are for discussion as part of the official Fedora Changes Policy. Please read and understand that policy and process before moving forward!
All proposals here are just that: proposals. Anyone in Fedora can propose a Change, through which they hope to undertake some effort to improve Fedora Linux or the tools and process by which we make that.
The Change Wrangler makes sure submissions are complete and ready for discussion, but does not gate-keep them. Fedora doesn’t have a secret back room where we do some kind of pre-review, and we don’t want one. Innovation and experimentation are part of our fundamental values, and it is essential that community members feel safe in making even controversial proposals.
Many proposals are significantly adjusted as part of this process. Others are popular just as proposed. Others aren’t accepted at all. This is all okay. By taking part in the discussion as part of the Fedora community, you can help FESCo come to a decision
By participating here, you agree to follow the Fedora Code of Conduct. Please review that.
We’re all here because we’re passionate about Fedora. Sometimes, things can get heated, and in those moments participants may go outside of what they would normally know to be respectful and constructive dialog. When a proposal is controversial, it’s difficult for our community moderators to make judgment calls which balance keeping conversation civil with allowing dissent and disagreement. Therefore, the following policies will apply:
- Don’t make personal attacks. This is a zero-tolerance policy which applies even to posts which also make valid points. It is always possible to dissent respectfully. Moderators will immediately hide posts which can be perceived as containing such attacks, asking the poster to edit and rephrase. If that doesn’t happen, hidden posts will be automatically deleted after 30 days.
- Assume Fedora project members have positive motivation for participation, whether in submitting a proposal or in giving feedback. We don’t have room for conspiracy theories. If you truly believe someone is participating in bad faith, please raise that as a Code of Conduct ticket.
- Don’t use sarcasm, mocking language, or hyperbolic comparisons. Don’t take something someone else says out of context. Don’t attempt to read minds, or ascribe malicious hidden meaning. If you don’t understand what someone is saying, ask for clarification. Moderators will hide posts which do not meet these standards.
- Our community moderators are also Fedora project members and often have personal interest in these proposals. Moderators who choose to participate in a particular discussion must constrain their posts to stating their own views on the proposal. If a moderator wants to participate in greater advocacy (whether for or against), they should clearly state that they’re abstaining from moderation.
- This site allows community members to flag posts, and if enough people flag a given post, it will be hidden without explicit moderator intervention. Everyone should actively do this when appropriate, following the guidelines above. Do not, however, flag posts for disagreement. We haven’t yet seen any such abuse, but it won’t be tolerated.
These rules may seem strict, but they’re not meant to silence opinion. Rather, they are to make sure that we are able to truly hear what everyone has to say.
To help gauge community sentiment, the Change Wrangler will create a poll to accompany every proposal, like this:
- Strongly in favor
- In favor, with reservations
- Opposed, but could be convinced
- Strongly opposed
If you are in favor but have reservations, or opposed but something could change your mind, please explain in reply to the proposal.
We want everyone to be heard, but many posts repeating the same thing actually makes that harder. If you have something new to say, please say it. If, instead, you find someone has already covered what you’d like to express, please simply giving that post a instead of reiterating. You can even do this by email, by replying with the heart emoji or just “+1”. This will make long topics easier to follow.
There is no need to make posts simply saying that you agree or disagree with a proposal — even for controversial proposals, this isn’t like one of those corporate user-feedback sites where sheer weight of response is crucial.
Once you’ve made a point, please do not respond to every further post where someone says something to the contrary. It’s okay to engage in further conversation, but there are no points awarded for getting in the last word. Excessive argumentation like this causes topics to balloon, and makes them feel very unwelcoming to new participants. (Maybe even people who agree with you!) Moderators may issue warnings if they see this, and may escalate if necessary.
Trust FESCo to listen, and trust in the strength of your own argument.
This forum has a feature called “slow mode”. When this is enabled on a topic, anyone who posts to that topic must wait before posting again. If a topic gets many replies, moderators will enable this mode. If a topic seems likely to be contentious, we may enable it initially.
The wait period will usually be one hour, but may be increased if a topic gets particularly long.
As with all of these rules, the intent is to give everyone in Fedora a turn to be heard. This feature can help keep discussion from devolving into an undigestible deluge. If you have something important to say, use the time to think about how to say it best.
Our community-driven Changes process is a crucial part of Fedora. We welcome your participation, and we’re glad that using Discourse brings these discussions to a broader audience. Please help us make it work.
What do you think? (Particularly, @fesco — I’m going to ask for a fast-track FESCo vote to approve this officially.) I woke up this morning with this in my head and couldn’t get back to sleep before writing it down. There is surely room for improvement, but I’d like to have an iteration in place before we get into the next “phase” of the current proposal.