atom feed29 messages in org.apache.communityRe: At what point do you unsubscribe/...
FromSent OnAttachments
Jean T. AndersonDec 16, 2005 5:17 pm 
Noel J. BergmanDec 16, 2005 6:07 pm 
Roy T. FieldingDec 16, 2005 6:09 pm 
Jean T. AndersonDec 16, 2005 6:28 pm 
Noel J. BergmanDec 16, 2005 7:16 pm 
Roy T. FieldingDec 16, 2005 7:22 pm 
Noel J. BergmanDec 16, 2005 7:38 pm 
Martin CooperDec 16, 2005 8:03 pm 
Henri YandellDec 16, 2005 9:26 pm 
Antonio GallardoDec 16, 2005 9:37 pm 
Mark ThomasDec 17, 2005 2:33 am 
robert burrell donkinDec 17, 2005 7:01 am 
Stefano MazzocchiDec 17, 2005 7:10 am 
Noel J. BergmanDec 17, 2005 8:26 am 
Jean T. AndersonDec 17, 2005 9:07 am 
Mark ThomasDec 17, 2005 9:08 am 
Jean T. AndersonDec 17, 2005 9:14 am 
Thorsten ScherlerDec 17, 2005 9:49 am 
Mark ThomasDec 18, 2005 11:40 am 
robert burrell donkinDec 18, 2005 12:25 pm 
Sylvain WallezDec 20, 2005 3:50 am 
Jean T. AndersonDec 20, 2005 8:34 am 
Ted HustedJan 1, 2006 4:55 am 
Davanum SrinivasJan 3, 2006 6:17 am 
Will Glass-HusainJan 3, 2006 4:05 pm 
Ted HustedJan 4, 2006 7:35 am 
robert burrell donkinJan 5, 2006 1:10 pm 
Ted HustedJan 5, 2006 4:08 pm 
robert burrell donkinJan 9, 2006 2:12 pm 
Subject:Re: At what point do you unsubscribe/deny a misbehaving user?
From:robert burrell donkin (
Date:Dec 17, 2005 7:01:15 am

On Fri, 2005-12-16 at 19:22 -0800, Roy T. Fielding wrote:

On Dec 16, 2005, at 6:28 PM, Jean T. Anderson wrote:

For crying out loud, would you please supply links to the exact posts you consider to be in poor taste and the person's name? I just wasted 10 minutes trying to follow the bread crumbs. You have to make it easier on reviewers -- everyone seems to be painfully avoiding a pointer to an actual message.

sorry -- I'm not trying to frustrate folks. I considered posting specific links, but withdrew them at the end, even though they are links to public archives. The name at the core is Michael Segel.

Below are links to public responses to some of his posts (which are numerous enough that they alone would be frustrating to wade through):

Well, yes, but what I asked for was the posts that you consider to be in poor taste, not responses to those posts. But now that I know who you are talking about I could use the view-by-author and see that this person is better than the typical troll with diarrhea of the fingers. He is usually right, even when though he would fail miserably as a strategist, and most of his posts in October were both useful and normal. In others, he slides into troll mode on responses.


he's actually seems well behaved for a troll. he does a reasonable job of signalling when he thinks he's sliding into troll mode and does answer user questions.

not only has banning been generally very ineffectual for trolls (it only draws attention to them, gives them a grievance to use against you at some later time and prevents worries about their reputation from limiting their negative behaviour) but the presence of a manageable troll prevents other, nastier trolls from invading you list. IIRC the few times that banning has worked is against cross-marketing trolls (typically these need to post under their actual names).

The answer is to ask your community not to feed the troll when it gets grumpy and just ignore him, and to limit discussion to the topic of the list. Yes, he is an annoying troll, but on balance he hasn't done anything truly disruptive or offensive that I could find.


AFAICT when he gets grumpy, he starts going off topic for the user list. faced with a similar situation, i'd probably rename the troll part of each thread to [OT] and ask him politely to continue the issue on the dev list.

Personally, if I had been on the list when he started inventing big words about GPL and IBM, I would have flamed him to a crisp so badly that he would have unsubscribed (and I probably would have been banned outright).


all the flame retarding tags in the world wouldn't have saved him ;)

Your calls for politeness will only restrain those who care.

i think perhaps that this is an issues of strategic aims verses effective tactics. a good atmosphere on the user list is vital and IMO jean is right to be concerned that those who could be contributing to the community are being scared away by the troll.

IMHO this atmosphere is fostered best by the attitude of those developers who regularly answer questions on the user list. asking (or demanding) politeness will therefore probably be less effective than the developers demonstrating politeness even in the face of provocation. so, it's probably better to stop feeding the troll and to pointedly stick on topic (for a user list which is helping users solve their problems and not a critical debate about design). the energy saved can be more effectively used reassuring users.

but there is some OT FUD that does really need addressing. it may be necessary to tolerate some grumpiness in order to be able to effectively draw a line in the sand which is unacceptable to cross. however, some users can start to feel intimidated and insecure if someone who answers a lot of user questions engages in a flame war. so, it can often more effective for a relative outsider to handle an OT flamewar. (a little like good cop, bad cop.)

before jakarta was flattened, there were a number of people who were pretty good at spotting and tackling OT FUD. perhaps (as apache tries to scale) we need to start highlighting more OT FUD issues on this list...

- robert