[UbuntuWomen] Non-members posting! [was] Re: Fwd: [Blueprint community-1311-ubuntu-women] Ubuntu Women Trusty Goals

svakSha svaksha at gmail.com
Mon Apr 14 11:15:50 UTC 2014

On Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 8:07 AM, Valorie Zimmerman
<valorie.zimmerman at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 8:58 PM, svakSha <svaksha at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hello All,
>> I've changed the subject line to reflect the discussion at hand.
>> On Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 8:05 PM, Elizabeth Krumbach Joseph
>> <lyz at ubuntu.com> wrote:
>>> As an aside: Since we need the mailing list to accept non-member
>>> postings in order for blueprint updates to work, I've asked svaksha to
>>> loosen the restriction on posting to the list so that emails land in
>>> the moderation queue. She had to restrict posting to members in order
>>> to handle spam, so we'll have to recruit more moderators to handle the
>>> spam queue, please contact her if you're interested in helping out :)
>> For any Foss team/project, its important to be open and transparent,
>> hence, I'm forced to post pleia2's irc message here as the
>> #ubuntu-women channel is not logged and I find her irc message
>> accusatory and insulting, largely based on fallacies which I'm trying
>> to clear below.
> Svaksha. Do you really think that Lyz would accuse and insult you? It
> is really distressing to see this technical matter get turned into
> something personal.

Exactly, I was surprised at her IRC attack too, right after I had
solved cprofitt's problem minutes after I came to know about it. I'm
sure you will agree that Lyz's irc message isnt polite, rather rudely
accusing me of something I was not even aware of, then jumping to the
conclusion that the delay was because of our incompetence was just
false. It created an issue where none exists.

The open and transparent way of doing things would be to write to the
*-owner addy and let them deal with the technical issue. This was not
done. Had she or Charles pinged me on the channel or written publicly
here or written to the *-owner addy, and _if_ nobody had responded, I
can understand her larting me about it taking 5 days. Instead of
directing Charles to the list owners, she choose to have a private
conversation, then accused me (as part of the admin team) of "bad"
work and incompetence, then single handedly concluded that more
moderators are needed and asked women to volunteer. How is that as far
as fallacies go? Would'nt you agree that that is not the best way to
encourage volunteers and thank them for their work? Accusing people
for no reason is definitely not following the Ubuntu CoC.

> Knowing both of you, I don't think it is personal.

I can agree to disagree because I am the one who has been attacked,
have been at the receiving end of similar accusations from Lyz in the
past. No two people experience the same things but this is deja vu all
over again for me. Pardon me for not regurgitating past list archives
but I dont wish to turn things any uglier than it already is, nor wish
to waste others time over false allegations. The curious are ofcourse
free to search their inbox or poke through the list archives circa
2010 and before.

> I see nothing here concluding that the admins have not done a good
> job. It would have been good if cprofitt had written directly to the
> listowner team, but not a lot of people know how to do that, or think
> of doing it.

Right, that is the proper way to do it and if he didnt know, Lyz could
have told him to email the admins. Why didnt she do that instead of
having private conversations? She knew the list is closed to
non-subscribers, its not a secret and is mentioned boldly on the
subscription page. Instead of emailing the "ubuntu-women-owner" addy,
or directing Charles to us, she indulges in accusing volunteers of
incompetence and spreading fallacies. That is a horrid way to thank

> Most people assume that when they email a list, *someone* will see the email.

I would not assume that because its clearly mentioned on the UW
mailman page that posts from non-subscribers is closed. Additionally,
how subscribers are supposed to set the options to NOMAIL is also
explained on the same page. Not many lists do that but I added it
there because it would be helpful for folks who are on multiple lists
and dont want to get mails. They can just post with any address they
listed there.

In this specific case, Charles/cprofitt is a long time Ubuntu
contributor and I would _not_ like to assume that he didnt know what
to do. Even if he didnt, Lyz should have directed him to email the
*owner" addy (at the bottom of each mailman installation) or ping
either jamfish or me publicly on the irc channel - we have two
channels, one logged and the other unlogged and I didnt see a ping on
either of them regarding this.

>> If LP members wish to post here, why not ask them to subscribe, set
>> their options to NOMAIL, which means they dont get list mail but they
>> can freely post as much as they like. There is a simple solution for
>> the problem you raised, for which Mailman has a technical solution but
>> you ignored this completely, instead you accuse the admins of not
>> doing their job. I find that very disturbing because a large majority
>> of linux-related mailing lists dont allow non-subscribers to post,
>> which cannot be twisted to mean their admins (some lists have just one
>> admin fwiw) are incapable or incompetent to handle spam. Why do you
>> think a women's list, being managed by women should allow random
>> people on the internet to spam the list as a free-for-all? There is a
>> technical solution in Mailman and yet you choose to ignore it. Why?
> There are other technical solutions in Mailman for what we need. One
> is to ask people to subscribe, one is to add alternate addresses to
> the accept list, and still another is to flip the switch to disallow
> postings from non-subscribers to be *automatically* discarded. This
> final solution does not allow non-subscribers to post, but instead
> moderates all emails from non-subscribers.

I am aware of all these technical solutions (thanks to having worked
with the Mailman systers code as part of GSoC) but before we get into
this technical discussion, a very important point is being ignored -
namely, does anyone have any statistics on how many LP members expect
to post directly to the mailman list based on their LP membership? I
asked this earlier because I have never heard any complaints, nor seen
a bug report from any LP member regarding this. Feel free to point me
if such a bug exists.

That said, LP and mailman lists are distinct installations and users
are expected to have distinct accounts and what individuals do with
their multiple email accounts is entirely their prerogative and
choice. Hence, its not a Mailman technical issue nor a (wo)manpower
issue and the NOMAIL suggestion is not hard for individual users to
setup and if people want help, I am more than willing to walk them
through the process. Subscribe with a zillion addresses and you can
post with any one of them and when Mailman gives so much power to a
user, why are we refusing to consider it?

>> Mailman has a bayesian filter for this technical problem and it just
>> works(TM). The main reason why non-members are not allowed to post is
>> their lack of enlightened self-interest
>> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_self-interest) in a specific
>> group meant for people interested in that group and its functioning.
>> Opening up the mailing list to non-members to post is not the solution
>> - the spam I mentioned on irc earlier was caught by mailman's bayesian
>> filter (which fwiw, does a very good job imho, a lot better than any
>> human ever could), so I have no clue how you jumped to the conclusion
>> that the admins are unable to handle the spam and hence closed the
>> list. Not true.
>> The UW list has always been open to posts from subscribers so the
>> accusation that the list is not open is false. Opening up the list
>> should not be twisted to mean "give spammers a free-for-all mailing
>> list to spam". Not allowing non-subscribers to post has been in
>> existence from the time I started this list in Jan2006. People can sub
>> and set their individual options to NOMAIL. We have had this
>> discussion some years ago too (happy to dig out the archives if you
>> wish) so I'll repeat, yet again, that allowing non-subscribers (which
>> essentially means the whole internet) to post is not helping us. Even
>> if I add moderators to help out, non-subscribers will not be given a
>> free-for-all.    If LP members (who will always be a small proportion
>> as compared to spammers) cannot subscribe and take out less than 2
>> minutes to set their individual options to NOMAIL in mailman, which is
>> a ONE time setting, then they are hardly interested in the group and
>> its functions, so why should admins/mods who are afterall volunteers
>> be forced to spend their time everyday dealing with spammers? That is
>> unnecessarily increasing a volunteers workload when a technical
>> solution already exists in Mailman. Additionally, if anyone wants to
>> be added to the filter (like I added cprofitt when jamfish alerted me
>> to the problem), I can do that but I will prefer to not do that
>> without obtaining their permission first. Some years ago, all LP
>> members were set to receive all the discussions and it ended up
>> annoying a lot of people so that feature was changed IIRC and you
>> could opt out or in, as the case maybe. Evenso, I am willing to
>> consider adding Pendulum (if she still wants to) as a moderator),
>> despite the fact that we dont need any moderators and non-subscribers
>> will still not be allowed to post. Hope that clarifies.
>> Finally, instead of alluding that the current admins are not doing a
>> good job pleia2, it would have been nicer if you had just asked (even
>> though you already knew that non-members are not allowed to post on
>> most Ubuntu lists. Your accusations (current team can't handle the
>> spam queue) is not polite and plain wrong and because you have done
>> this in the past, I find it extremely tiresome to have to defend my
>> team (and myself) again and again every couple of years. People expect
>> appreciation for their volunteer work but I dont expect that even, at
>> the very least I dont expect insinuations based on fallacies.  Granted
>> we (atleast I'm not) are not a noisy bunch but alluding that we are
>> not doing a good job because we dont allow non-subscribers and
>> spammers a free-for-all is misleading at minimum, and a logical
>> fallacy at worst. And personally, I find this depressing and sad
>> considering the amount of volunteer work I have done, and continue to
>> do, in various Foss communities, including Ubuntu.
>> Thanks ॥ svaksha ॥ http://svaksha.com
> This: "alluding that we are not doing a good job because we dont allow
> non-subscribers and spammers a free-for-all is misleading at minimum,
> and a logical fallacy at worst" is a straw man argument. There are
> ways to allow non-subscribers to post without opening the list to
> spam. Whether or not you wish to use them is another thing.

And at the risk of repeating my earlier question, when there exists a
technical option in Mailman for genuine subscribers to sub with
multiple email ID's, then set one or all their email options to
NOMAIL, why should ALL non-subscribers (who are usually spam bots) be
allowed to post? I would really like to know WHY you (and anyone else
advocating this) think this is the perfect solution for LP users with
multiple email ID's? As Jamesha/jamfish mentioned earlier, for one or
two individuals on LP, volunteers should not be inconvenienced because
one individual didnt wish to subscribe or bother to ask the admins to
add them to the auto filter.

Valorie, like you, I too manage multiple email lists, have worked with
Mailman code, and am aware of the technical solutions. For those that
dont know, all Ubuntu lists are high volume targets for the sheer
number of people they reach - you have to consider this important
difference before making technical decisions that will affect the
entire UW list.  So here is a usecase: If non-subscribers are allowed
to post, it is entirely possible that a spammer could spoof the
headers and repeatedly mail us, and a moderator could, inadvertently,
let the email pass because the address looks legit - I handled header
spoofs just yesterday. I also admin mailing lists where users have
gotten angry because one email that was spam hit their inbox, so rest
assured that this decision was not made without thinking.   Fwiw, bots
that can spam your mailman list 24x7 and they are a big business as
spammers have unlimited resources - cheap servers and programmers who
write spam bots (I know a few) which can be tweaked for minimal
changes and voila, you have an automated, subscription based, spamming
business quite easily.

How do you propose to stop such situations from occurring on the UW
list?  IMHO, stopping that is almost impossible because the admin/mod
does not have a limited list of mailman subscribers to work backwards
from - if a list member spams I can privately take them to task, but
if one allows spam bots to post, its harder (read, impossible) for a
human to be a good judge or replicate the human version of Mailmans
bayesian filter. Essentially, this change means I will be asking a
volunteer moderator to do work that is unproductive, and given that a
technical alternative exists, has been mentioned publicly, I dont get
why its not being considered, and more importantly, being advocated?

I mention this important issue because for a spammer we are a free
resource that can be easily and cheaply monetized using bots along
with a variety of other foss tools. Volunteers on the other hand will
always be limited, with limited time and resources, so even if you had
a dozen admins you _will_  be quickly flooded with messages 24x7.
Personally, by forcing this option, if feels like we are disrespecting
a volunteers time and effort. What works on smaller lists is not
always the best choice for larger public lists.

In toto, the argument that ALL non-subscribers be allowed to post and
throwing more people (read, admins and moderators) at the spam problem
because LP members are not using the same email addresses to post here
is the first strawman argument that started this thread.

> As I said in IRC, I'm willing to help. But more important than that,
> is to remind everyone that we all have the same goal: helping women
> integrate into the Ubuntu community. Please let us dialog about the
> best ways to do that, and remember that each of us is here for our
> common purpose.

As the founder of Ubuntu-Women, that was my first goal and still is. I
just dont see the productivity of a long thread on "lets allow spam
bots more freedom to post here" as a part of that goal. Correct me if
I am wrong but there are many other technical tasks and issues that
could use more volunteers, and like any other Foss project, Ubuntu too
needs more code contributions. It would be nicer if we could focus on
that, however, my interest in participating in those gets diminished
each time I am attacked over the same issue from the past and that too
by just one individual. I am honestly sad to even mention this
publicly but being attacked on IRC on a Monday morning is hardly the
best way to start your day.

We have already had two people unsubscribe since this thread started
and I'm mentioning this only because I feel terrible about losing
people in such situations. I did consider not replying to the thread
but then, I am afraid that my silence will be misconstrued. Both
situations are not ideal, so do excuse me for feeling quite cornered
at the moment. </thoughts>

॥ svaksha ॥ http://svaksha.com

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