Add trolling to CoC, or expand definition of harassment

F fugata Public Seen by 67

I have been noting some patterns of behavior in certain users, both in the main room and in the off-topic room -

1. Constant repetition of dubious or frequently-debunked claims

For example -

  • characterizing Meta/WhatsApp as possessing great "integrity" and being some force of social good

  • parroting right wing FUD/talking points

    Discussion/education of these users seemingly has no effect, and it becomes tiresome and irritating for all the participants of the channel.

2. Rude, dismissive, and insulting messages.

You are in a bubble 😌

[without any explanation of why]

That thing you linked is full of insane stuff

[again, without any explanation of why]

...or calling participants "freetards".

3. Mischaracterizing others' messages

You care more about free software than actual privacy and security

<bvul5> Lol >le social media bad for democracy

<bvul5> They just show what people really want to see

<Snehal Shekatkar> That's not just wrong but way off!

<bvul5> So they should censor and shadow ban more?

<contrapunctus> bvul5: That's nothing close to what Snehal Shekatkar said. [...]

<Snehal Shekatkar> [to bvul5] This is moving in a completely wrong direction. [...]

4. Arrogance

i.e. "I alone am being factual/telling the 'truth'/aware of 'reality', others are 'thinking with emotions'."

You are only thinking with emotions, and don't actually care about privacy and security, only freetardism

Why you want to ban me? I only spoke the truth

Suggested action

I recommend that we either add "trolling" to the CoC, or expand the definition of harassment to include it. Trolls should be informed once or twice, but once they have established that communicating with them is not yielding any results, they should be banned.

I have mixed feelings about Praveen arguing with the trolls. On one hand, it prevents others from falling for the troll's talking points, which may help them when they encounter these points elsewhere. On the other hand -

  1. it clogs up the channel with endless and fruitless debates

  2. it may discourage other users from keeping up with the channel or even participating in the future

  3. the expectation that trolls have to be constantly refuted (rather than banned) creates emotional burden on the participants and the moderators, and is a drain of everyone's time and patience.


Pirate Praveen Wed 3 Apr 2024 8:51PM


  1. I don't think 100% agreement with our views is a reasonable expectation from all the participants. So we are not really educating a prescribed syllabus here. There can be ongoing disagreements due to different personal philosophies (like left vs right). We have to see if their involvement is distracting too much. If we see many people finding the participation problematic, that can be an indicator. But obvious personal attacks should not be allowed.

  2. I think these are philosophical differences and not based on identity. They are challenging the ideas.

  3. This can happen sometimes, but not enough to warrant a ban I think.

  4. This also can happen sometimes, but not enough to warrant a ban I think.

Anyway these seems borderline and subjective depending on tolerance level of people. Lets see what other people who were observing these discussions think about it.

I did learn some things through these discussions and it looked to me they agreed with some of my clarifications. So I don't think they were totally dismissive when engaged constructively. We cannot demand a 100% compliance with our philosophy from everyone. Some level of disagreement and questioning is healthy, but if things go out of hand and more long time community participants feels the behavior is troublesome, we can consider action. Some level of foolishness we have to tolerate as well. We need to take action when it turns into more malicious actions I think.


Pirate Bady Wed 3 Apr 2024 10:12PM

first of all, i haven't gone through the full discussions on fsci matrix room which led to this thread. also, it looks like matrix side has a broken history of messages from xmpp. it seems like some messages are lost in between and some messages don't appear to be in chronological order.

in general, i don't support outright banning without strong reasons. having said that, let me share my opinion about each point raised.

1. Constant repetition of dubious or frequently-debunked claims

this can be considered as a valid reason to ban only if the extend of repititon becomes annoying such that they repeat same stuff over and over than engaging in any meaningful discussion. this is already covered in the CoC: "Sustained disruption of discussion.”

also, i don't think anything can be debunked for once and for all. "get convinced or get banned" doesn't sound so good.

2. Rude, dismissive, and insulting messages.

name calling comes under harassment and this is already covered in the CoC: "We do not tolerate harassment of participants in any form.”

what counts as insult and rude may vary depending on the level of tolerance of people. but calling names that are generally considered as offensive (like freetard) warrants a ban if continued even after warning and without apoligizing.

3. Mischaracterizing others' messages

this again sounds like "get convinced or get banned". imo, not strong enough to warrant a ban.

4. Arrogance

erm, more than labelling something as "arrogance" or not, imo the focus should be on how their behavior is making the place less inclusive and unsafe for others.

@fugata (assuming you're the same person i think who you're), i like the way you approach things rationally. i also appreciate the efforts you take to convince people. but we can't insist that everyone should think and act like us, people do behave irrationally and can even choose not to get convinced regardless of the factual information provided. imo we should accept that we can't simply change that with CoC.


Pirate Praveen Wed 3 Apr 2024 11:04PM

@Pirate Bady specifically about freetard - it may be insulting, but isn't it insulting a philosophy and not based on personal identities? Shouldn't challenging beliefs and ideas fair game in rational debates?


Pirate Bady Thu 4 Apr 2024 2:44AM

@Pirate Praveen it becomes offensive because of its association with the term "retard", it becomes offensive not because of criticizing some philosophy but because of how it uses a neuroatypical condition as an insult. it is clearly a violation of CoC.


Pirate Praveen Thu 4 Apr 2024 1:21PM

@Pirate Bady ok I think we can start with giving a warning.


Pirate Praveen Thu 4 Apr 2024 2:13PM

I have given a warning to bvul5 on the use of "freetard" as an abusive term. We can take stronger measures like ban if they continue like this.


bvul Tue 9 Apr 2024 10:34AM

contrapunctus has been on a harrasment campaign against me when I never said about these things which I don't want to associate with

asd_: Nah, bvul5 believes in corporate monopolies, [implicit] dictatorships, price gouging, environmental destruction, worker exploitation, surveillance capitalism, and billionaires getting richer while people starve on the streets. I guess I don't need to say anything more [sic] 😅
Banning him is necessary


Pirate Praveen Wed 10 Apr 2024 7:11AM

@bvul for now your ban is lifted and @fugata requested mod access be removed from him and we have removed it. But going forward, please use when we can't build consensus on any issue. This interface has threads and people can easily mute threads they don't want to engage.


fugata Fri 12 Apr 2024 10:53PM

@bvul Throughout my discussions with you, I've taken a serious tone and avoided sarcasm (as I'm sure is there for all to see in the logs). And the one time I speak sarcastically, you cite it as justification that "banning him is necessary".

But you have established a consistent pattern of trolling (i.e. unconstructive and low-quality discussion), and you conveniently forget all about it.

As I wrote in another thread -

Repeatedly parroting one's beliefs and ignoring/mocking/talking past others' questions/responses is antithetical to constructive discussion

I repeatedly tried to get you to understand what constructive discussion is. I saw no willingness to improve, no "I'll try", no attempts to change, nothing. When others complained about the same behavior, I banned. Other rooms are even faster at banning your kind of low-effort trolling, with me you got a very generous chance to improve.

Since @Pirate Praveen failed to understand the issues involved with trolling, I have decided to leave the room as long as trolling is tolerated in FSCI.

(@Pirate Praveen It's once again a little strange that you don't address his mischaracterizations here, either.)


Akshay Sat 13 Apr 2024 3:39AM

Attaching the logs from March 28 to April 12