Ultima ratio regum (The final argument of kings)

Melissa Draper melissa at meldraweb.com
Sat Aug 11 04:46:34 UTC 2007

Anthony Vickers wrote:
> I was kicked from #ubuntu-offtopic today for the first and last time.
> I won't be back and, it has to be said, I won't be missed by some.
> I've kicked up a stink with you ops before. Maybe it's the rebel in me
> and I'll admit I do have a problem with authority. Not so much
> conforming, well, maybe a little bit but I do have a problem with by
> being told what to do, how to do it and how the world works, oh yes,
> and so rudely! I've been on this longer than some of you and, I think,
> I'm doing well to keep up with the changes. I never got on with
> academia, have very few and poor qualifications to my name but I've
> read a bit and been around long enough and lived enough to know a
> thing or two. I'm a good and conscientious, respectful and usually
> polite  person. Now, all of you, listen up.
> I don't often question ops decisions, I mostly agree with them. Just
> occasionally though. Ops are out of line. I invited my kick tonight. I
> fully expected it. The whole heat of the discussion and the manner of
> the ops with their @'s on screamed at me, "push this and you'll be
> kicked" but I went ahead and did it anyway. How, why? I pointed out,
> twice, where I thought the ops were bullying. I called no-one names. I
> did express an opinion on their current behaviour though. Explicitly,
> I told them each, in turn, that they were bullying.

Au contraire. Your accusations that the ops were bullying was, in fact,
bullying. Was your intent to intimidate us from acting, lest we lose
face? As a long-time regular, you would be aware that it wouldn't be the
first time it has happened. The "Let me do as I please, or you lose my
patronage" line gets used on us daily.

If intimidation was your intent, it is much the same card that motorists
try to play to parking inspectors, and we both know that rarely ends
well for the motorist.

> I can well understand when ops have a situation to deal with that much
> of the time it's difficult and it's just as important, I think, to
> understand the rules of engagement as much as the rules of the channel
> when exercising good judgement. I'll start with the latter. Let's take
> the use of the word Nazi. This word has become taboo, I'm sure, not
> through its contextual use but from its use as a slur. Using the word
> in context of a video game, especially one featuring Nazis, should be
> at at least tolerable and, in my opinion, only when used as a slur
> should invite chastisement and kicks or even bans for repeated
> offenders. The premise that "Rules is rules" especially when they're
> not written anywhere is quite obtuse and some blurring and
> understanding of grey areas is important if an Op wants or needs to
> lay down the law without revolt. Though some, unfortunately, love
> revolt and especially dealing with it. All that emotional upsurge and
> in the end, you win. I think, some of you really do invite the trouble
> you get and actually relish in it. This, despite your displays of
> displeasure and anger.

I find it quite offensive that you insinuate that we do this for fun. I
have the n-word in my highlights list so that if I am around, I can do
my best to discourage the abuse of it. Discussing it in terms of silly
video game characters (leather-clad n-word vixens) is highly
disrespectful, as this completely trivialises the terror that the
group's reign brought upon millions.

The initial intervention was a mere statement that the n-word was not
welcome in #*ubuntu* channels. The actions of yourself and others you
egged on, spiraled it down further.

Sure, the n-word may be in a game about those characters of history.
Mind you, I can find many books about that group and it's leader as
well, not to mention the reference in Seinfeld that also involves soup.
These references do not make the word ok. There are games around about
murder, gang-wars, and drugs too. Discussions about these are equally
frowned upon.

If there needs to be a discussion on these topics, there are *plenty* of
other places where it could be taken. There is always ##politics, or
#offtopic which is where general offtopic-for-offtopic discussion is

> So, on to rules of engagement. These are quite neatly laid out in the
> freenode guidelines. It discusses a lot about heat in the channel, how
> to and how not to deal with heated situations and still keep your
> cool. It's all a fairly good metaphor as I recall. Well worth a read.

We also have our guidelines, and these take the freenode guidelines one
step further. The Ubuntu channels, including #ubuntu-offtopic, are also
governed by the Code of Conduct with which I am almost certain you are

> Politeness costs nothing at the end of the day and impoliteness along
> with throwing one's weight around will only earn the disregard of
> others. Though it seems evident that the only regard of concern to
> many ops is that of other ops. You share the buzz. Such is the status
> quo of a two tier hierarchy. On IRC at least, it seems to do little in
> lending itself to the ubuntu philosophy.

I regret to inform you that this was *not* a case of 'throwing one's
weight around'. If you refer to the act of 'giving oneself ops', then
this is a kind of visual warning. We warned verbally, and when this was
ignored and the trolling continued, we op'd. It is out of politeness
that we gave these warnings.

The rebellious behaviour of those in the channel had turned to mob
trolling. In this situation, it would have been perfectly acceptable to
remove all those who were misbehaving. We did not even do this -- as we
would have been within procedure to have done. If we were 'throwing
weight around', we would have.

However, if you wish to discuss politeness, you may want to consider
your own actions. You knew you were stirring trouble, yet you rudely
continued. You accused us of bullying when we were merely doing our jobs
in keeping the channel sane. This was *not* polite.

> It's with a heavy heart I do this. I love to come in to
> #ubuntu-offtopic and have a fun time playing with the other kids until
> someone bigger enters the playground and starts pushing the other kids
> around. Ruins my day. The Ops that ruined my day today were Elkbuntu
> and Mneptok.
> So long and thanks for all the fish.
> anto9us

Melissa Draper


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