Looking for a moderation process to enforce the CoC


I suspect that nominations of candidates to strengthen the moderation team, so that maybe others can retire from the position would be more than welcome.

If you propose replacing them with nobody, I don’t agree with that.

I don’t think that’s the only thing that it can point to.

In fact, I think that that’s such ridiculous hyperbole that I’ll have difficulty taking your opinion on anything in this discussion seriously.


While I agree with most of your message, I could not disagree more with your statement that moderation is about excluding “wrong thinkers” – it’s about wrongdoers! I don’t know exactly what you mean with “wrongthink”, but I’ll just assume you mean dissent, and we’re talking about voicing it.

It should go without saying that the CoC does not keep you from expressing a dissenting opinion. However, not everything one could potentially say is “just an opinion”, and to me, the CoC is concerned with the distinction between opinion and hurtful behavior. It matters how you say it.

Criticism is an essential part of any intellectual undertaking. I do not understand the CoC as aiming to suppress it, as long as the criticism addresses the idea and not the person behind the idea. On the flip side, it’s important (and challenging) to not equate our egos with the code or the ideas that we produce, so that purely technical criticism hurts our feelings regardless of how it’s delivered.

When criticism is delivered thoughtfully and with empathy, the recipient should reasonably be expected to welcome it as an opportunity to learn and improve (or simply to disagree). It’s not easy to criticize thoughtfully, and it represents an intellectual investment that should not be ignored. Some people thrive on conflict, and criticism can be delivered “raw” to them – many do not, and so it’s best to err on the safe side in your delivery.

As an example, it may be your opinion that I’m an idiot, but what good (for Scala) does expressing that do (catharsis aside)? Thoughtful criticism would single out an actionable reason for why you think that and, ideally, explain how I could address it. Before you even go there, it’s also good to consider alternative interpretations for the evidence you’re basing your opinion on.


It has been my impression that snark is not acceptable, about any topic. It is possible I have not been around long enough, but I don’t think I have seen much of any snark that is just allowed and ignored by moderators.

That’s funny, because Seth has repeatedly said himself that his snark is acceptable. Do I have to dig back in the chat logs for this?

I cannot articulate a response to this, other than abject confusion.

“I’m sure this statement will provoke disagreement; I’d like to hear some disagreement from people who aren’t either involved in Lightbend, involved in the compiler’s development, or trying to be one of those two.”

however the phrase “we need these people away from the public” does not have great connotations in my mind

Sure, that’s fair. Doesn’t detract from my point, though.

I don’t think that’s the only thing that it can point to.

Well, I’m listening. Any other suggestions? I am still flabbergasted that the conversation could proceed this long without the obvious being suggested.

Regardless, I’m done with this conversation; either we get results here, or we don’t. I don’t have any nominees. I don’t have a full proposal for fixing anything. But I just wanted to make it clear that what’s happening here is a conversation mostly taking place without the people affected being able to participate, and as long as that’s the case, any “measures” taken can only improve the appearance of the issue.


Well then.


No need, that was perfectly clear and very helpful, thanks.


On the additional/replacement moderators suggestion, to be actionable we would need some people willing to do that. Any volunteers? Moderation is often a thankless job, I am not sure many others actually want to do it which would kill the idea in it’s tracks, but in case I am incorrect it would be helpful to see some people raise their hand or that idea may be DOA. Not it.


(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 24 hours unless flagged)


Unfortunately, while it may be more empathetic to warn the person privately, in most situations, it is paramount that it be done publicly (and especially in the case of a chat room, quickly). If someone makes an unwelcoming general comment, or worse a rude or hurtful comment directed at another user, the victim is likely to feel unwelcome and leave. In such a situation, if the moderator publicly states that such behaviour is unacceptable, this can make the victim feel that, despite the behaviour of that one user, they are welcome in the community. However, if the moderator only speaks with the perpetrator privately, the victim will have no indication that others in the community welcome them and are behind them, and are likely to leave and never return, even if the perpetrator stops their behaviour.

As uncomfortable as it is to be called out in public for making a mistake, it is imperative that the correction be public, for the sake of those harmed by that behaviour. I don’t think it necessarily needs to be a harsh correction (unless the behaviour was directed at another user), but it must be public.


It really does. It gives off the impression that you think that the current moderators are people to be ashamed of being associated with, yet who you want to exploit to do work for you.

That’s a really bad look, and honestly makes it difficult to consider that and other things you say.

I was referring to your suggestion that the community is “gagged and bound,” which is so ridiculous that, as mentioned, I actually cannot articulate a response. The community is not being held hostage. As with the aforementioned comment, saying things like that really does not help your point.

I would be hard-pressed to find a place where the people affected are more able to participate in the conversation.


Can you prove your words?
Can you be more concrete?

For example it is very rude to send examples in some chat. There is forums for that cases.

May be, It is a bad behavior, but we are not robots.
It very depends on context.

If team member upset in team chat it may be ok.


What? Are you serious? You consider posting snippets in e.g. gitter to be rude?


It seems there is no way to discuss this theme.

You may be right.
Or Your saying may be manipulative.

I see only that there must be more strong requirements on Scala chat rooms and repositories.
It must be clear for every reasonable member.
What is rude, and what is not rude and for whom :wink:


I do not set the rule for third chat. If I come to visit the owner I try to to comply with his rules.

But I personally do not want to interrupt my work to read some example.

So I just do not use scala gitter currently :wink:


While the CoC does indeed limit the discussion of previous bans in-channel, this forum and concretely this thread should not be considered “in-channel” IMO. It is my understanding that this thread is to discuss anything related to moderation (even though it focuses on discussion about new rules). If you want to point out any details regarding previous bans, you’re welcome to do so.


I think that

  • CoC should have some addition(bad practice list) which illustrates what is bad on real anonymous examples.
  • The team member can allow himself something more than external user, but the moderator must behave much more correctly

fommil has sent the conversation which had began this theme.

In my company it is a good example of bad practise for all sides.

The moderator wrote:

  • take it elsewere

It is bad answer. It were more correctly to give link to a rule which had been broken.

The user wrote:

  • The moderator is the moderator

Actualy it is spam.
But I think it is a less evil than the moderator`s answer

Because moderator should demonstrate etalon behavior.


That screenshot is misleading taken in isolation, since it doesn’t include most of the behavior that resulted in the warning. We can’t monitor the rooms 24/7, so often warnings end up being issued some minutes (or even some hours) after the original behavior occurred.

Regardless, if the criticism is that onlookers might be confused or put off, there’s definitely some truth in that, that is a real concern. Let’s discuss.

This is a real dilemma for moderators, with only imperfect solutions. We try our best, but it can never be perfect. See NthPortal’s elucidation on this, which I found helpful.

You really don’t want bad behavior to result in the Scala room erupting into a debate-about-moderation room. For people who just want to talk about Scala, having this sort of thing happening in-room is just as distracting and off-putting as the original behavior was. Hence the “Complaints about bans in-channel are not allowed” clause of the CoC.

We should figure out where to redirect such talk. On #scala IRC, this was solved some years ago: we redirect it to a separate #scala-ops channel (which is public, not closed to ops only, so anyone who cares can weigh in). On Scala Gitter, it’s not clear where we should redirect it. We can redirect people here to Discourse, but perhaps it would be better to create a new Gitter room for it. scala/moderation? scala/admin?

On IRC, when issuing a warning I normally add “we can discuss it further on #scala-ops if you like”. I don’t have any such phrase ready for use on Gitter, so I didn’t include one in this instance. I would like have such a phrase ready to use next time.

See also https://github.com/scala/scala-lang/issues/953, which overlaps with this.


I agree with Seth on this one. Full context was not taken into account with that screenshot. The individual in question had previously made the following snarkful statements in the Scala/Scala channel while explaining to an individual beginning with Scala the way function type inference worked.

And there were more examples of uncouth behavior, such as routing questions from users regarding integral Scala libraries to experts in the library, but mentioning such names too often in a 48-hour context (be warned: twice in 48 hours will receive a warning, and demeaning comments from moderation):

Both of these were not just warnings, but full bans, and the individual has not sought unbanning due to the aggressive nature of the moderation’s response, in which she was asked to speak to the moderator’s superiors, but was neither told who that was, nor how to contact them.


They are both helping a beginner, why can’t they also include their opinion (or in this case it seems more like a fact)?

So helping

And again, passing a user to a more knowledgeable person which could answer his/her question(s). What is wrong with that? It is same thing I find infuriating on e.g. stack overflow - I can’t have 2 questions in half an hour? Why can’t somebody redirect someone to a same person in a span of two days if it would help the one who asks?

[quote=“emilypi, post:44, topic:2330”]
Both of these were not just warnings, but full bans, and the individual has not sought unbanning due to the aggressive nature of the moderation’s response, in which she was asked to speak to the moderator’s superiors, but was neither told who that was, nor how to contact them. Everyone is left confused, and nothing is gained, [/quote]

What? A ban? This seems ridiculous. Good to know, I am not going to visit this kind of place with moderators (mis?)using their powers at whim for their pleasure. I am not a native speaker and could easily write something with double-meaning or meaning which I didn’t even intended to voice. Meh, what a “welcoming” place for beginners…

I don’t see gender/sex (or any other inherent trait) being of any relevance in this context.

To the CoC, please don’t make the same mistake as Linux did (and now is on fire). Don’t accept politically charged/motivated CoC, or you are risking fragmenting community and even losing valuable/key members with very uncertain prospect of getting new members, because they would no longer feel unwelcome.


I chose to amend that last bit, opting to edit it out, but on some level, it does matter if you want an inclusive community.


Perhaps I can make a couple of suggestions for moderators. There are people who have managed to avoid Scala’s polarization and keep a cool head who I believe should be considered. The goal would be for responding in official Scala channels to feel less like dealing with the PR branch of a Fortune 500 who can’t deal with losing a cent off of criticism.

These people are already very busy - naturally, because being active in the Scala community without being very busy working on code is very difficult. However, I think that with some combination of them, we can have sufficient coverage.

Jason Zaugg, the compiler engineer, springs to mind. I don’t know of anyone who has ever had a negative interaction with him, ever.

Paolo Giarrusso, the PhD student, who is admittedly mostly involved in dotty but who has the necessary demeanor to defuse conflicts.

Jon Pretty, I mean, do I even need to explain? Everyone loves Jon Pretty.

Dale Wijnand, lovely guy, friendly to the bone.

Matthew de Detrich. We’ve had our disagreements in the past, but I believe he’s got exactly the right sort of personality to do this job.

To be specific about the things I want not to happen, and actually use real names: I don’t want another Simon Ochsenreither situation (https://groups.google.com/d/msg/scala-internals/r2GnzCFc3TY/x3PmIq4cAgAJ), where he was essentially bullied out of Scala when he was just trying to contribute. I don’t want to personally need to stay banned from scala/scala, just because I feel uncomfortable helping people there with Seth moderating (I’d link, but it’s been a long time. Anyone who was in that channel back then can vouch for my not being a disturbance in the slightest). I also really don’t want people (especially Lightbend-affiliated) to keep telling functional programmers to “use another language if you hate Scala so much.” Is it really so hard to understand why I stick with Scala? Or why Simon put what must’ve been days into improving the documentation? Because we care. We care about the technology beyond the money it can make us, we care enough to keep coming back. And is it any surprise that, if you care about something and can’t contribute to it anymore because of the people involved, you might get a little bitter? Is it really a surprise that there are some people who won’t just “go program in another language”?

None of these things need to stay the way they are. They can be fixed. Consider these candidates. I can try coming up with more if this isn’t enough.