RFC: #ubuntu op misuse or not?

Rohan Dhruva rohandhruva at gmail.com
Sat May 17 00:14:45 UTC 2014

Thank you everyone for your responses.

Someone on the channel said that there is no way I can come out
looking good in this whole discussion. Another person suggested that
while I had a point earlier, it has now been diluted by the ensuing
I agree with both of those verdicts. If the whole conversation is
going to be coloured by that, I fear it will devolve into the same
points that were hashed on IRC.

To pare down my email, the things I felt distasteful were:
* ops killing organic, non-insulting, non-inflammatory discussions by
silencing people
* ops basing ban decisions based on personal prejudice (e.g. towards
words like blitzkrieg and dictator, drawing conclusions of World War
II and Hitler)
* ops banning people in the main channel for discussions happening in
a completely separate channel (and to be banned by the same op who I
had the issue with is an obvious conflict of interest)
* general lack of responsibility towards IRC ops -- shown by an
attitude of "puppies don't die" if there are mistakes in judgement
* overall hostility in #ubuntu-ops, mainly with people's insistence to
leave the channel -- why is it so important to push people out of a

Happy to hear thoughts about this.


On Thu, May 15, 2014 at 11:45 PM, Rohan Dhruva <rohandhruva at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi ubuntu-irc,
> I hang on out #ubuntu as "rohan", generally a lurker -- once in a while I
> ask questions and answer things I know.
> Today, I encountered something I found disturbing. There was a
> misunderstanding between two users, and an op decided to silence one of
> them. The discussion was civil (no swearing or flooding), but also
> off-topic. I feel silencing a user in this case is overreaching and rude --
> especially a user who might have been new to the IRC community (and maybe
> new to Ubuntu itself).
> On complaining about this in the channel, I was directed to to talk in
> #ubuntu-ops, which I joined and then stopped talking on #ubuntu. On the -ops
> channel (which is logged), I had a few heated words exchanged with the op
> who originally took the wrong action (in my opinion). Eventually, it boils
> down to whether words like "blitzkrieg" and "dictator" are offensive or not.
> Since the logs are public[1][2], I'll cut a long story short: the op chose
> to ban me from #ubuntu for a week. This was without me talking in #ubuntu or
> provoking drama in the main channel at all. The reason given was that I was
> likely to misbehave in #ubuntu, without there having been any evidence of
> having done so. As the logs will show, I tried to make my point in various
> ways, sometimes being drawn out. In interest of list readers' time, I can
> summarise the ensuing discussion as unfruitful and borderline hostile -- in
> (large) part due to my own insistence of remaining in the channel. I was
> unequivocally told to leave the channel at multiple times, with various
> people suggesting I get a life, or my insistent complaining as pathetic.
> I apologise for an already long email (but as people in the channel will
> tell you, it's much shorter than reading the whole scrollback!).. but here
> are the things I wanted to request members' views and comments on:
> * Is it ok to stifle discussion by silencing one person when an argument
> seems to be happening in the channel, under the pretext of avoiding drama?
> ** This is also against the guidelines of when to ban/kick a person -- there
> was no flooding, nor were there any swear words or unappealing language.
> * Is it ok for an op to ban someone in the main #ubuntu channel for
> discussion happening in a completely separate channel?
> ** Especially when the discussion was exactly about the op overreaching:
> this seems like an obvious conflict of interest. Also, should an op's
> personal bias towards words like blitzkrieg and dictator be allowed to
> affect a user's ability to enter a channel?
> * What can be done to make #ubuntu-ops a more friendly place? The discussion
> was very obviously hostile, and I was penalised for speaking up against the
> very two ops I had a problem with, and in general the channel's attitude was
> "write an email and gtfo, you're just repeating the same things over and
> over". I don't understand the insistence to leave the channel, nor the very
> obvious ganging up of the "ops vs. users" -- at least I felt that way from
> the get-go. After I left the channel, the logs show people suggesting each
> other to skip reading the scrollback and offer sympathies for people who
> actually wanted to read it. If that can be written off as humour, I would
> like to ask why the same kind of humour leads to a ban in #ubuntu.
> ** This is especially important, because #ubuntu-ops is the first forum in
> the appeals flow, and the experience there was extremely elitist and
> hostile.
> * Why is it so bad to suggest an op be penalised? Why does doing that
> instantly evoke allegations of being childish and immature (as opposed to
> people claiming they themselves are intelligent adults)? If an op can ban
> someone for a week in a completely unrelated channel for discussion in
> another channel, why is it sacrilege that there should be at least some kind
> of disciplinary action?
> * Continuing from the previous question, the general feeling I got is that
> the accountability of ops in general is not up to the usual Ubuntu
> standards. Whereas packages in the repo are vetted in several different
> ways, there seems to be no similar vetting for the whole ops flow. People
> claiming that "puppies don't die" if an op makes mistakes shows that the
> general feeling of responsibility seems low. Another way of thinking about
> this is if that puppies are not going to die anyway, why go out of your way
> to ban someone for a joke here and there?
> * Turning the tables onto myself, was I annoying? In short, yes. Could I
> have done things differently? Yes. Feedback on my behaviour is as much
> appreciated as the discussion on the above bullet points.
> If you actually made it this far -- thank you! I am looking forward to
> hearing other points of view, and as someone on IRC suggested, I will try my
> best to ensure that this goes better than the discussion on IRC was :)
> Cheers,
> Rohan
> [1]: http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2014/05/15/%23ubuntu-ops.html
> [2]: http://irclogs.ubuntu.com/2014/05/16/%23ubuntu-ops.html
> --
> Rohan Dhruva

Rohan Dhruva

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