[Internal] [Discussion] Paul M Jones

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Michael Cullum

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Jun 23, 2016, 3:53:03 PM6/23/16
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Hi all,


Over the past 8 weeks, we [the secretaries] have had a number of voting members, former project representatives and well known community members alike approach us regarding a situation they believe is being detrimental to the continued success of the FIG and the harmony in the group. It is, essentially, the impact of Paul M Jones on the harmony of the mailing list and the impact his contribution is having on making this group welcoming or pleasant to be involved with.


To avoid putting words in mouths but still convey the common grievances, we’ll quote from those who have complained:

  • This individual is toxic to the group and is therefore directly affecting the ability of the group to perform its aims

  • I believe this individual is the sole biggest cause of loss of respect and members for the FIG

  • I stepped down as a voting representative due to this member”

  • The presence of this individual makes me not want to contribute or get involved with to the PHP FIG

  • My main problem with him is that every time I opened a threads lately to read up, he's getting into some tantrum with other over small meaningless things. Sometimes he might even be right but honestly I don't even care whether he is right or wrong. They is just plainly disrupting the FIG at this stage. He used to be annoying, but I was fine with that, this is just disruptive though.


The following complainants said they are happy to be named (Nobody asked not to be named, but some we never asked if they were happy to be named):

  • Ross Tuck - Community figure

  • Larry Garfield - Drupal project representative

  • Graham Daniels - PHP League project representative

  • Fabien Potencier - Symfony project representative

  • Mike van Riel - PHPDoc project representative

  • Jordi Boggiano - Composer project representative

  • Anthony Ferrara - Community figure

  • Phil Sturgeon - Former project representative and community figure

  • Christopher Pitt - Former project representative and community figure

  • Rafael Dohms - Community figure

  • Marc Alexander - phpBB project representative

  • Cees-Jan Kiewiet - ReactPHP project representative


In total the number of complaints about this individual totals about 20 however there have also been other concerns aired about this individual publicly and a number of individuals who contacted us said they in turn had heard complaints about Paul from others; as a result of this, and being explicitly asked what we can do/to do something about this situation, including requests of this specific course of action we are starting this discussion on PMJ’s membership. It is not the role of the secretaries to handle this kind of thing or pass judgement on member projects so we are posting this topic to invite discussion from both sides of the table out in the open.


We believe having this discussion going on for too long will not be conducive to the FIG so a vote [to request a new representative from Aura, which will result in Aura’s expulsion unless a new representative is provided] will then commence unless a conclusion has been reached agreeable by all sides before that point. That vote should then put an end to the current situation.


To clarify further, this topic does not indicate the opinion of secretaries that this project representative should be expelled, but that we have been asked by a significant number of voting members and community members to do something about it so we are moving those complaints into public for discussion by voting members as we can do nothing but move the discussion and complaints to the mailing list for the attention of voting members.


I know this is a difficult discussion to avoid making personal, but please try and keep it civil and respect self-throttling. People have requested we ensure we always have two week discussion periods before voting on matters which means that we will not lock this topic unless we have no other option open to us but will be issuing temporary mailing list bans on anyone not respecting rules about civility or self throttling; more than 3 responses in a 24 hour period will result in a 24 hour temporary ban, as will repeatedly making posts that cross boundaries into flaming. If rules are broken multiple times, we will increase the time period of bans.


Many thanks,

The Secretaries

Larry Garfield

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Jun 23, 2016, 4:16:39 PM6/23/16
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This is an important moment for FIG, as we look to hold one of the group's founders accountable for his actions.  I therefore want to lay out why it is imperative that we do so.


"The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate."

-- Gruenter and Whitaker (undated), as circulated widely on the Internet in the past year


By design, FIG doesn't have a single leader.  It was founded as unstructured as possible.  That means that all FIG representatives are, collectively, "leaders", for better or worse.  That means the culture of FIG is defined by the worst behavior we are willing to tolerate.


Let's review some of Paul Jones' recent behavior:


* Repeated passive-aggressive snarking at Secretary Michael Cullum about not commenting in voting threads[1][2], specifically when...


* Being called out by the Secretary about claiming to speak for a series projects that are not FIG members, but simply small libraries he happens to maintain.  As has been stated dozens of times, FIG's bylaws are very clear that, at this time, projects are represented by people; People aren't members by virtue of having a long resume, although Paul routinely declares his intention to ignore that fact.  The call out was on the voting thread as a correction of Paul's presumptive behavior.


* Repeated, continued harassment of the Secretaries over a minor procedural point, even after an apology was given within hours of the original point in question.  For the record, I believe the Secretaries did make the wrong call in the Roman Tsjupa expulsion vote as excluding the individual in question is not supported by the bylaws, even though it ought to be in the future.  But that does not justify the repeated haranguing that resulted, led primarily by Paul.  (I count 37 posts, just by Paul, on the relevant threads in the span of about 3 days.)


* Paul's primary objection to the FIG 3 proposal was an oblique claim that more rules == bad[3].  In itself that is not a crime.  In the past, he has been a proponent of letting reasonable people make judgment calls rather than having lots of rules[4].  That sounds great on the surface, because it gives the maximum leeway to the calm bully to seem "reasonable" without accountability.  Of course, as soon as the Secretaries exercised their authority to make a judgment call, his response was to call for "more rules" to force more minutia into a public discussion and vote, where it is easier for a reasonable-seeming bully to get his way.  That is, Paul is a hypocrite.


* His ongoing feud with Phil Sturgeon (which is certainly bidirectional) has spilled onto the list repeatedly; I cannot recall seeing Phil post of late without a snarky or insulting response from Paul Jones.


* After the inappropriate and off-topic attack on Secretary Samantha Quinones by an anonymous party[5], his response was to obliquely attack... well, anyone who spoke in favor of Samantha[6].  His claim to the contrary notwithstanding, his post was, in essence, a hypothetical strawman against everyone present.  (For the record, I do not believe the anonymous individual in question was Paul. I do not know who it was.)  Of course, that isn't surprising given that...


* He openly attacked Secretary Candidate Michael Cullum as "against freedom of speech"[7] for daring to speak out in favor of the proposed PHP Internals Code of Conduct.  Since he saw it fit to drag Internals into a FIG process, I will note that Paul's own behavior in the Internals Code of Conduct discussion was abhorrent and insulting.  Declaring anyone who even remotely supported a CoC as "fascist", "anti-freedom", etc., repeatedly, is not conducive to a mature discussion.  Disagreeing with the PHP Internals CoC is fine, and Paul or anyone else is entitled to that position. Vitriolic attacks in the name of that position are not appropriate.  Those are the actions of a bully.


And the above is only going back to the start of this year.  Going back further, we see the same pattern of behavior: seemingly calm passive-aggressive bullying that technically stays within the letter of the law, such as it is, but is clearly designed to intimidate and belittle opponents, and objection to any structural changes or actions that would restrict his ability to do so.


His passive-aggressive behavior extends to technical discussions as well.  For instance:


* Apparently Paul feels it's appropriate to slam those who are trying to improve FIG's process[8], based on feedback from the community that he even sought[9], when complimenting a technical proposal.  Yet if you look at his own activity on this list in the last 6 months, it is 99% process/politics, not technical discussion.


* "Intellectual self-stimulation" is his description for activity on PSR-12 that doesn't follow the process he considers preferable. That's on top of, in the same thread, attacking Korvin Santo (PSR-12 Editor) for the same, not doing precisely the tasks that Paul saw fit to demand[10].  When called out for it, his response was that he was "exhorting the PSR-12 team to excellence".


* Going through my mail archive, I think the last time Paul actually commented on the technical content of a PSR proposal, rather than the meta process around it, was in August, when talking about PSR-11 (containers).  (More recent nods to technical content would be arguing if non-PSR-7-using projects like Symfony mattered when discussing middlewares, when talking to Fabien Potencier, the project lead of Symfony.)  So despite his exhortations that we need more tech, less process, he appears to be as much of a problem himself as anyone.  It is possible I missed another more recent example, but the difficulty in finding more examples should be telling.


The net result is people being driven away from FIG, including leading members of the PHP Community.  Several of them have spoken out above. I hope that others that have remained silent will do so.


Such behavior contributes to a toxic and hostile atmosphere in and around FIG, discourages participation, and generally contributes to a flippant and contemptuous attitude towards FIG in the community at large.


The bylaws permit FIG to eject representatives who in their judgment, are "acting inappropriately and to the detriment of PHP-FIG's ability to meet its objectives"[11].  I believe the preceding paragraph demonstrates that such behavior does exactly that.


None of the above should be taken to dispute that Paul is a sharp, intelligent developer.  He is, and I actually agree with him on most technical issues.  Nor is it to suggest that Paul has not also contributed positively to FIG over the years as well.  He has.  However, that does not excuse inappropriate and toxic behavior.  The phrase here is "Jeremy Clarkson Effect":


https://blog.vanillaforums.com/help/how-to/dealing-with-toxic-community-member/


Paul Jones is, at this time, a net-negative for FIG.  It is indeed possible that he doesn't realize just how damaging he is, and that the above behavior is unintentional.  I do not know if that is the case.  In the end, it doesn't matter.  The behavior is real, the toxic effect is real, and our responsibility to state that we will not tolerate it is real.


I will be voting in favor of Paul's removal from FIG.


--Larry Garfield



[1] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/php-fig/6rZPZ8VglIM/uf3JHrgJNgAJ

[2] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/php-fig/f2-FppEpRJs/PvA5WZoKNgAJ

[3] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/php-fig/h3wrQePdzfc/3ryZCAtlCAAJ

[4] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/php-fig/FV4aL-noVZk/mg8qcuAtCgAJ

[5] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/php-fig/K9KyPzCNmss/HIEJG7YPAgAJ

[6] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/php-fig/K9KyPzCNmss/nkNG6vxnAgAJ

[7] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/php-fig/wPePxyC8vHA/Czwu80icEAAJ

[8] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/php-fig/vTtGxdIuBX8/dIG7KVCADQAJ

[9] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/php-fig/oqO1ZH5tJKU%5B76-100%5D

[10] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/php-fig/VVZe7eI0Clg%5B51-75%5D

[11] http://www.php-fig.org/bylaws/membership/#voting-representatives



Dracony

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Jun 23, 2016, 7:46:43 PM6/23/16
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Well, personalities clash, it's life. As long as it's not like outright aggression or whatever it should really not be expell-worthy at all imho. I think 90% of these problems arise from the fact that the medium for discussion is a mailing list and not e.g. a chat room. If these disputes, including all his arguing with Phil happened in a chat format, it would take far less time and bother less people.
I guess it would be better for him to just blog about his opiniions somewheree and link the post in a thread oncee and be done with it, then it would definitly not bother anyone. But I definitely won't support expelling oover these things. 

Glenn Eggleton

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Jun 23, 2016, 9:10:05 PM6/23/16
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I find this thread incredably offensive and unconstructive. While I do believe Paul can be a bit vigorous at timea in the end he is always trying to point us in the right direction.

I personally have found the administration on this mailing list to be subpar at best over the past few months and I often feel it has actively contributed to the problems. I think this thread is case and point.

This could have been handled in a much better way. I really hope over the next few years the fig can pull itself back together.

Shawn Stratton

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Jun 23, 2016, 11:12:25 PM6/23/16
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Non-FIG member here, but an ex "personality" on the Zendcon circuit and I just wanted to ask a question for clarification.  Is the purpose of your example to point out egregious behavior on the part of Paul or to point out that this is a vote based on politics and politics only?  I find no examples of poor behavior or poor interaction in the examples you post.  Further, the point you made:
Paul's primary objection to the FIG 3 proposal was an oblique claim that more rules == bad[3] - is specifically posted with numbers to support his hyopthesis and is phrased as a question/observation, rather than a statement of fact.  

I, for one, find that FIG seems to be more worried about internal politics rather than actually creating interop standards, as such, from an outsider perspective this group has survived past its usefulness and should be re-evaluated.  I also find that a community discussion on reddit that's currently ongoing is slowly drawing to the same conclusion.  Please consider both the public image and the usefulness with the mass of politics that are ongoing before proceeding.

/Shawn Stratton

Brad Ito

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Jun 24, 2016, 5:02:40 AM6/24/16
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Speaking towards open source leaders needing to foster community, I had a pretty negative experience myself with Paul M Jones:

https://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/2eh7c7/squirt_php_dependency_injection_with_parameter/

I had an idea on something I'd found useful, wrote up a library, and was mocked pretty hard by him. Seeing that he was part of the establishment (FIG), I figured he spoke for the community. It was really not fun to be immediately confronted with a condescending debate, when I just wanted to build something interesting and useful. Have since found folks more welcoming in the React.js community....

Dracony

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Jun 24, 2016, 5:34:11 AM6/24/16
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> Seeing that he was part of the establishment (FIG), I figured he spoke for the community.

Wow, really? What "establishment" ?

i actually checked that thread and there is nothing inappropriate in what Paul said there. If you post your project on reddit you have to be open to criticism, if you can't handle that, don't post it there. It's that simple. Actually you should appreciate that he took the time to look through your code, and comment on it multiple times, especially since all his points are actually valid. And if you are not grateful for that kind of contribution to your project you really should reconsider opensource involvement in the first place.

On Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 9:53:03 PM UTC+2, Michael Cullum wrote:

Lukas Kahwe Smith

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Jun 24, 2016, 8:07:35 AM6/24/16
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Hello,

First up I am not in favor of expulsion because even if you agree that Paul is “toxic”, I doubt that a standards committee will really remain relevant if it cannot deal with supposedly “toxic” people, ie. we would need to find other solutions for this. Also even if he is no longer a member of FIG, would he then get banned from all list?

Now I do agree that Paul’s communication style is collides with the discussion style with the vast majority of the rest of the members and observers. Which in turn leads to frustration and as stated people leaving FIG. And this is clearly not good.

I would urge (and have done so already in the past) that Paul (and anyone else) attempt to deal with “politics” or “administrative” concerns in a bilateral fashion first before launching a discussion thread here. As such the first thing I did when I read the original post was the ask Michael if there were off-list attempts as resolving or at least improving the situation. it seems there has been, which I appreciate quite a lot.

Now I of course do not mean that we need to play shadow politics by lots of off-list lobbying but minor issues (like the not counting of the vote) imho could have probably be solved by a direct message to one of the secretaries, they could have then posted a single message apologizing (potentially noting who informed them) and we would have saved all of us 30+ increasingly aggressive messages.

I would also urge Paul to invest a bit of time in reviewing his messages for simple courtesy and more actively self-throttle (it is sad that the secretaries need to threaten with temporary bans when people do not follow this, but I fear its necessary as a way to train proper behavior). I know this is a technical committee, we are not here to become best friends. But we are also humans who do not get paid to be here that are motivated to make the PHP world a better place but also have lots of other places we could invest our energy into. I have given Paul examples of this in a previous off-list exchange already. In the same way I also urge people to work towards accepting Paul as someone that communicates on a very technical and abstract level. he is driven by technology, not by making other people lives miserable.

regards,
Lukas Kahwe Smith
sm...@pooteeweet.org



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Adam Culp

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Jun 24, 2016, 8:31:22 AM6/24/16
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Brad,

I see nothing in that thread that would prompt me to think that was a negative experience. The conversation was very well thought out and helpful.

pedro.c...@sympla.com.br

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Jun 24, 2016, 8:43:01 AM6/24/16
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I think the main point is that Paul is an unpleasant person to work with. Demonstrably, some members want him out. The community has already lost a few contributors because of him, and the group is now calling for a vote to check if most members want him out, or if just a few do.

It's alright to start this discussion, IMO, even if he's done nothing technically wrong. Like some people said, he hasn't technically attacked anyone specifically, but people are just fed up with his attitude.

Also, note that if the members feel like he's being detrimental to its ability to contribute, he can be expelled according to the bylaws. We're all humans here, not computers, so we can detect the intended effect of some sentences, even if it's not explicit in said sentence. There is no need for names to be called for us to detect aggresive behavior. It's not like we have a blacklist of words that cannot be said and if we manage to take these words out of our vocabulary, then anything we say is ok. It's not.

Summing up, even if he's managed to get plausible deniability by avoiding slurs and name-calling, it is possible for someone to find his behavior aggressive, and IMO, that should be discussed.

@geggleto, I saw nothing offensive in this thread. Larry, who spoke for Paul's expulsion, was incredibly polite and even called Paul a very intelligent person (which is undeniable). His argument is based entirely on Paul's behavior within this list, not on his personal beliefs or even on him, as a person.

Adam Culp

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Jun 24, 2016, 8:43:58 AM6/24/16
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Larry,

I see nothing in the posts you reference that would lead me to the line of thinking you are outlining. In all cases Paul spoke very frank, non-confrontational, and in a very well thought out manor to facilitate the subjects at hand.




On Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 4:16:39 PM UTC-4, Larry Garfield wrote:

Gregory Wilson

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Jun 24, 2016, 11:57:17 AM6/24/16
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Given the documentation, discussion, reddit, and other aspects, there is one simple conclusion: this process has failed.

I am not a FIG member, but some of you know me (or think I am my brother for that matter) even though I mostly keep to myself. I have heard many of you speak at conferences, and had personal conversations with some as well. I first met Paul around 10 years ago. I do not know him very personally. I agree that he can be abrasive, but I have not seen him to be abusive. 

If Paul is a pain in the side (or other body parts) I would recommend you keep him on based upon the Argumentative Theory (https://www.edge.org/conversation/the-argumentative-theory) popularized in World War Z as the "10th Man Rule". A dissenting voice is helpful and productive, and I am sure he has a thick enough skin to absorb any abuse that gets thrown his way.

Greg Wilson

Adam Culp

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Jun 24, 2016, 12:32:56 PM6/24/16
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OK, this is going too far. This is wrong. But I will weigh in because silence creates the perception of approval, and I do not approve.

I would add the following to the discussion:
  1. Paul is passionate about the FIG. On a technical level he has added a great deal, and continues to do so.
  2. Paul is very active, and responds quickly and concisely. He is not afraid to dive in when emotions are high, or his view is controversial. This can inflame others that are passionate about a given topic. Comments made by Paul can "feel" confrontational when things are passionate. But upon reading many of Paul's comments, at a later time when emotions have subsided, they are not confrontational as originally perceived.
  3. Paul has been known to include politics and other topics in comments, generally instigated by others.
  4. There are bound to be personality conflicts in any group. Paul and some others in, and out of, the FIG have personality conflicts due to political concerns and otherwise. This is not cause for expulsion.
  5. Paul has political views that some disagree with, and freely shares them outside of the group. This is not cause for expulsion.
  6. We should be focused on what happens inside this group, and not be overly influenced by buzz from the general public. This is our decision.
  7. The fact that others have chosen to leave the FIG when small conflicts arose is more of a reflection on them, not Paul.
We are adults discussing passionate things, and there will be conflict. Expulsion should not be the answer, otherwise the FIG will become a group of muppets and like-minded people agreeing on everything which would carry no value.
    
When the vote starts I urge folks to not simply join the pitchfork mob, but weigh the accusations and evidence from a non-emotional point of view.

Thank you for reading.

I will self-throttle now and not post on this thread unless addressed personally.

-- Adam Culp


On Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 3:53:03 PM UTC-4, Michael Cullum wrote:

grey...@gmail.com

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Jun 24, 2016, 1:08:29 PM6/24/16
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My name is on the list of supporters of this action, so it's pretty obvious where I stand, but I'll explain it anyway. 

This isn't about Paul's politics, or SJWs, or CoCs. This is about civil discourse or the lack there of. When people talk to me about the FIG recently, and even not so recently, it's usually to talk about drama and Paul. It has gotten to the point where this is no longer constructive (if it ever was). It's hampering the ability of this group to do the things that we're supposed to be doing. 

People have left this organization because of this (Chris Pitt comes to mind, but I believe there have been others). People who aren't in this organization have lost respect for it over this. People have come forward saying that they do not participate in our discussions because of this [https://groups.google.com/d/msg/php-fig/gMnU02lU1D0/f_iT_ChMDQAJ]. 

The PHP community as a whole watches what we do and what we say and because of our inability to communicate with each other and actually get things done we're losing effectiveness and respect. 

No one is claiming that Paul does not have great technical merit (he does), or that he hasn't done good things for this group (he has), but he has done and continues to do a great amount of harm, in my opinion. For that reason I think this discussion is warranted and will hopefully have a constructive outcome. 

-- Graham Daniels


On Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 3:53:03 PM UTC-4, Michael Cullum wrote:

Roman Tsjupa

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Jun 24, 2016, 2:04:22 PM6/24/16
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Here goes:

When people talk to me about the FIG recently, and even not so recently, it's usually to talk about drama and Paul.

People talk about drama because they like talking about it, and it is way more entertaining. Sans the drama a lot of people wouldn't have much to say about the FIG anyway.

People have left this organization because of this (Chris Pitt comes to mind, but I believe there have been others).

Well, that was their choice. If you come to a party and see somebody you don't like (idk a former ex) and you leave that party, that is your choice alone. It should not be a reason to ban that person from attending that party the next time.

The PHP community as a whole watches what we do and what we say and because of our inability to communicate with each other and actually get things done we're losing effectiveness and respect. 

By that logic, please, lets also ban all the other people who argue a lot on FIG. Having a heated conversation is normal.

Also, riddle me this:

You want to expel Paul because he is arguing a lot, etc. How will this be fixed by him not having a vote? Everything he says, he can also say without being a voting member, so there is no win for you either way. 
Unless of course your end goal is to actually ban him from the mailing list altogether? And that is a whole new level of stupid tbh.


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Michael Babker

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Jun 24, 2016, 2:12:56 PM6/24/16
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From the outside looking in, because I honestly can't find it in myself right now to be a bigger part of the PHP community, here's my two cents.

Paul is a smart guy, and you could probably call him rather stubborn.  His opinions are strong and he lets people know it.  In reading some of his posts, I honestly get some of the same feelings others have expressed of me in how I communicate online sometimes; that I'm a bit abrasive, only see things one way, want things done a specific way, am not open to arguments or opinions another way, etc.  In general though, I don't think Paul's actions have malicious intent.

I do think though that the perceived issues with his personality might warrant the two parties (Paul and FIG) taking a break from one another.  It's obvious there are folks here who think Paul's involvement is more disruptive than productive, and to some extent I can't disagree with that opinion.  I don't think Paul or Aura/Solar/whatever-he-represents need to be voted out of FIG.  A temporary suspension, perhaps, only to enforce the suggested break.

This might not earn a lot of popularity points, but in some ways when reading Paul's online posts you kind of need to grow some thick skin, in part because of his strong opinions and manner of communication.  At the same time though, I feel like Paul could tone it down a notch to convey what he wants to without causing the personality conflicts that have come up.

Long and short, I don't think FIG or PHP are better off without his involvement.  I do think a cooling off period and a willingness to make small changes would help things.

Woody Gilk

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Jun 24, 2016, 2:55:29 PM6/24/16
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Initially I resisted responding to this thread because I have avoided the politics of FIG as much as possible. However, I do have strong feelings about this topic and feel the need to take a stand. I'll save those that want a quick quote the trouble of trying to paraphrase what I am about to say:

tl;dr: It is my opinion that PMJ should be expelled from FIG.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, this is why...

The link that Larry put in his response [1] is very good and generally covers why I think PMJ hasn't already been removed. He has a lot of knowledge, he's active, and he maintains a lot of open source projects.

For those of us that have been reading the list for a long time there is a clear pattern of antagonism, bullying, and condescension towards other members. PMJ regularly complains about the drama but is also a significant source of it. Things that should be totally unimportant immediately get called out, such as when Graham opened the voting thread to remove PHPixie and used the wrong word. Yet PMJ himself has told others that "commenting in voting threads is not allowed". The drama over secretary selection was, in my estimation, entirely a product of PMJ making a stink out of something that had already been resolved privately and amicably. It isn't hard to find more examples of this.

In addition to issues with communication style, I don't think that PMJ is the type of person that we want to be considered a leader in the PHP community. I suspect that PMJ would say that he favors meritocracy in open source. I do not, because meritocracy is an excuse for all kinds of bad behavior and doesn't acknowledge the real problems that come from lack of diversity and support for said diversity [2]. PMJ is entitled to his own opinions but that does not mean I need to respect those opinions. In my professional life, I would not be willing to work alongside someone who was openly a misogynist or racist, no matter how smart they were. I'm not saying that PMJ is either of those things but several of his blog posts about non-technical subjects have made me very uncomfortable. As a white male with many advantages, I can only imagine what less advantaged people feel about the same material.

Many people are commenting (see r/php) that FIG has been consumed by drama and is no longer producing anything useful. I would not hesitate to say that PMJ is the reason for this. Despite that fact that he is listed as a sponsor on both PSR-15 and PSR-17, which I am editing, he has contributed very little in the way of actual feedback or suggestions. From my point of view, it seems PMJ wants to be part of FIG more for the drama and less for actually contributing anything of technical value.

Ultimately, this is not about whether PMJ shows technical merit. Everyone should be able to agree that he does. I think PMJ is an extremely good programmer. However, that is not sufficient for leadership and working with others. At the end of the day, we need to acknowledge that we are all humans and we need empathy and trust to collaborate effectively. PMJ has not shown that he cares about either of those things and therefore I think he should be expelled.

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Stefano Torresi

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Jun 24, 2016, 3:33:23 PM6/24/16
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Hey list,

FWIW, this issue was briefly discussed during the FIG meeting held at PHPDay (time context: during the "phpixiegate"), and no one disagreed when Paul M. Jones' behaviour was generally deemed unconstructive, if not unpleasant. The discussion was quickly dismissed to avoid further "drama" talk, though.

Furthermore, not that it matters much, during that same period I personally confronted Paul on this very list [1]; predictably, his reply looked quite dismissive and arrogant to me, which made me not want to interact with him any further [2].

A few weeks after that episode, I briefly expressed some concerns on this issue with one of the FIG representatives, during a private email exchange regarding the summary of said PHPDay FIG meeting, between some of those who were present at the meeting itself. The comments about Paul were eventually left out of the summary because they held little to no relevance in comparison to the other topics (i.e. Simple Cache PSR and FIG 3.0).

Having said that, I've been following the FIG since not long after its inception, and Paul has undoubtedly given a lot of useful technical input to this group; nevertheless, this shouldn't grant him the right to drive people away with this sort of "deal with it" attitude, nor to flood the list with 40ish email in 3 days, deliberately ignoring every single warning about self-throttling.

Now, opinions about behaviour are very subjective of course, but the fact that we've come to this thread should ring a bell. In fact, if this discussion has been brought up, there are probably legitimate reasons.

Ultimately, though, I don't think he should be voted out; I hope this matter can be addressed without resorting to such measure, and I hope Paul will acknowledge that there is a problem with his contributions to the group, both in form and - as of lately - in contents.
This doesn't mean that he should always agree and be cheerful, it just means "please stop being abrasive and be more constructive", which is basically what I wanted to express when I confronted him in the first place.

Also, for the record, I hold no personal grudge, and no political/social beliefs/ideas have any involvement whatsoever with these opinions, I just want to this group to thrive and be successful in its mission to improve the software ecosystem I work with.

Cal Evans

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Jun 24, 2016, 3:36:50 PM6/24/16
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Greetings FIG members and interested parties,

I am no longer a member of this group so I am posting as nothing more than member of the PHP community. 

I find the idea of ejecting Paul Jones on the grounds that you have given to be a very bad idea. 

I will be honest, after the FIG failed to reach a consensus on ejecting a member for fraud, I disengaged. Up til that point I had read many of the emails and most that Paul has posted. So I went back and read some of the recent ones.

I cannot find any that are toxic. I can't find any argument that he has made that would cause this group to lose respect. If you step back and divorce your feelings about Paul from the arguments, you find them to be well researched and well-reasoned opinions, almost always lacking personal attacks or emotion. You may not agree with all of them - I certainly don't - but you can't find fault in his words. You can find fault, however, in how they make you feel. That, is not Paul's problem.

So the real problem seems to be that some of you just don't like Paul. I do not find personal feelings to be a reason to eject any member of this group, much less one of the founders. 

In our industry, we talk a lot about diversity. Diversity of thought is just as important as any other form of diversity. You can't simply eject someone because you don't like them or their arguments. That's not diversity. 

I wish I was as eloquent as my friend Adam Culp. Since I am no, I will simply end by quoting him.

"Expulsion should not be the answer, otherwise the FIG will become a group of muppets and like-minded people agreeing on everything which would carry no value."

My two cents. 

By the way, I urge the voting members to ignore all outside input on this matter, including this email. Find your own way. This is purely an internal matter. How you deal with this will decide the future of this group. 

Sincerely,
Cal Evans

Mike van Riel

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Jun 24, 2016, 3:37:39 PM6/24/16
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Since my name is on the list as well and I disagree with some of the points that Adam made below I am inclined to respond and also to shine some light on how I perceive this situation.

First of all: my name is on the list as someone who has indicated that there is a situation that needs to be resolved; expulsion would definitely not be my preference since Paul is indeed an active member, even though his most recent contributions to this list have given me the impression that he is no longer active when it comes to furthering PSRs but rather some kind of political agenda.

Despite the current situation I would prefer to see the issue resolved without the need for drama but that a solid understanding of the issue and mutual empathy will bring us as a FIG closer together. I do however have to acknowledge that from my perspective some things need to change. At the very least an increased level of empathy (though in my opinion this applies strongly to Paul Jones but we can all benefit from applying a bit more of it).

On 24 Jun 2016, at 18:32, Adam Culp <thege...@gmail.com> wrote:

OK, this is going too far. This is wrong. But I will weigh in because silence creates the perception of approval, and I do not approve.

I would add the following to the discussion:
  1. Paul is passionate about the FIG. On a technical level he has added a great deal, and continues to do so.
  2. Paul is very active, and responds quickly and concisely. He is not afraid to dive in when emotions are high, or his view is controversial. This can inflame others that are passionate about a given topic. Comments made by Paul can "feel" confrontational when things are passionate. But upon reading many of Paul's comments, at a later time when emotions have subsided, they are not confrontational as originally perceived.
I am afraid I very much disagree with you on this specific item. Paul’s conduct in the PHP-FIG is indeed one where he seldomly crosses the boundary and starts to flame, interactions with Phil and outside this group aside, yet I find his tone, with an uncomfortable frequency, to be condescending and headstrong up to the point of being childish. 

The first example that comes to mind is where the Secretaries decided to not included the Dracony’s vote. Even though the Secretaries had given an explanation and even an apology Paul insisted repeatedly that more apologies needed to be made in a very specific way otherwise he would not be satisfied.

This is but one example where I concluded that his behaviour was not helping this group and it would have been more helpful if he would have taken this to a private channel much earlier. As far as I am concerned he didn’t even have to concede but indicate that he disagreed on the mailing list and start demanding his requested apology privately.

This type of, what I regard as, unprofessional and disruptive behaviour is not something I can appreciate and does not give me a feeling that topics can always be discussed in a constructive manner.
  1. Paul has been known to include politics and other topics in comments, generally instigated by others.
This does not match my perception. Within this group I experience that a topic arises that does not seem to match Paul Jones point of view in life he himself is the instigator of emitting his personal beliefs and on occasion gives off the impression that he attempts to enforce those on others without regard of the general consensus or with respect of others' beliefs.

  1. There are bound to be personality conflicts in any group. Paul and some others in, and out of, the FIG have personality conflicts due to political concerns and otherwise. This is not cause for expulsion.
  2. Paul has political views that some disagree with, and freely shares them outside of the group. This is not cause for expulsion.
I agree that Paul has the right to hold his own views and to communicate them to the world. I as well hold views that can be considered unpopular in some circles. Yet I do have my doubts whether the way these views are communicated or the, perceived, extremity of that conviction is desirable.

  1. We should be focused on what happens inside this group, and not be overly influenced by buzz from the general public. This is our decision.
  2. The fact that others have chosen to leave the FIG when small conflicts arose is more of a reflection on them, not Paul.
I find this last statement either condescending or insulting; I am not sure which one yet.

a) In the text above you declare that the conflicts arising to people’s resignation are ‘small’. I’m not sure whether you are qualified to provide a measurement of the impact that one conflict or the other has on people. By labeling the conflicts that other feel are important to them as small means seems to indicate that the views of others need to be diminished to a level that fits your frame of reference.

b) as someone who has decided to take a leave of absence because I valued my blood pressure more than others’ toxic behaviour (in this case I am not only referring to Paul; just to be clear) I find that this grossly ignores the effect that disruptive behaviour has on people. If you can cope with toxic behaviour for extended periods of times, good for you. But I implore on you to adopt a bit of empathy here; as I am sure you want others to offer to this situation.

We are adults discussing passionate things, and there will be conflict. Expulsion should not be the answer, otherwise the FIG will become a group of muppets and like-minded people agreeing on everything which would carry no value.
    
When the vote starts I urge folks to not simply join the pitchfork mob, but weigh the accusations and evidence from a non-emotional point of view.

As stated in my opening of this post. If anything I would like it if we can come to a resolution where expulsion is not the outcome. I do however wonder how we can come to a solution like this. The number of complaints that have been issued by members or former members are equally valid as your opinion and I think they should be taken seriously (and of course I am biased, being one of these voices but I hope that my point comes across).

I sincerely hope that we come to the point where we can hold a belief and feel the freedom to express it in a professional and constructive manner. For me this expression is equally valid for Paul and for those who now feel they cannot due to the way discourse happens.

The key phrases here are constructive and professional. Two terms that on more than one occasion did not apply to interactions between members of this forum. And unfortunately, in my perception, more frequently when discussions were not aligned with Paul Jones views.

And to be overly clear: one cannot expect to be an exemplary specimen of humanity, never to exceed bounds or become emotional (I recall at last twice where I crossed the boundaries of decency) but I do believe things should be in balance. 

Because of self-throttling and to prevent becoming to emotionally invested in this post I won’t be responding to public replies that attempt to call me out. Feel free to contact me privately if you have an issue with the way I perceived things or when I made one of the readers feel uncomfortable with the way I expressed myself or with the things I said. I do reserve the right to respond at a later moment if I believe that will make for a more constructive reply.

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Evert Pot

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Jun 24, 2016, 3:38:10 PM6/24/16
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On Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 3:53:03 PM UTC-4, Michael Cullum wrote:

For what it's worth, from an ex-member.

I fully stand with Lukas Kahwe Smith and Adam Culp. I must admit that I've also seen emails sometimes coming from Paul that seem inconstructive to the bigger discussion, and sometimes it feels that a focus on a byrule detracts from the bigger points in conversation.

However, I very much feel that if you don't feel comfortable in those types of discussions, you should disengage from them.
Dealing with opposing opinions is important in a group like this. You'll have to try to live with this.

I haven't really said anything on the matter of the code of conduct discussion from a little while ago, but my biggest takeaway was that on either side of the discussion was that nobody attempted to understand the opposing sides views. It was pretty shocking how unprofessional and emotional everyone became on either side of the bench.

Unlike Paul's behavior in discussions, I think a much larger problem within a democratic group is an inability to compromise.

I hope the undersigned think a bit harder about the precedent that you're setting when you're expelling someone who's tone you don't like.

Evert
 

Alessandro Lai

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Jun 24, 2016, 5:47:56 PM6/24/16
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Hey list,
I too was one of the attendees of the FIG meeting at Phpday2016 like Stefano. I'm not a member, but I'm following the FIG closely since nearly two years ago, and I do share the opinion that moved this topic to the surface.

I must state, to start with, that I'm opposed to an expulsion, if not, just for the sake of the fact that PMJ should be able to post here afterwards anyway, like anyone else, so that wouldn't resolve the main issue, that is profess and effective communication.

I do agree to the fact that some degree of confrontation is needed when a technical (and often difficult) decision needs to be made, but an async and written medium like this one warrants a special and additional level of care and empathy, due to the limited ways of expressions that we have at hand. On my opinion, PMJ has demonstrated not enough empathy and professional respect in this mailing list and the FIG repository on Github, as many others have pointed out in this thread already; and I say this even if often I agreed with his point of view; in fact, I was just made uncomfortable just by his way of express his ideas, without taking into account in any way how the other part would have received that.

In the end, I think that a change of pace from him would be the best solution for everyone, so we wouldn't have to loose someone with such competence, without having all this issues with him, that are like an handbrake on al the FIG's efforts on putting out new PSRs.

Thanks for your patience.

Robert Hafner

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Jun 24, 2016, 8:47:05 PM6/24/16
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> First of all: my name is on the list as someone who has indicated that there is a situation that needs to be resolved; expulsion would definitely not be my preference since Paul is indeed an active member, even though his most recent contributions to this list have given me the impression that he is no longer active when it comes to furthering PSRs but rather some kind of political agenda.



Could the Secretaries jump in here and specify which voting members on the list explicitly asked for expulsion? My understanding from reading the first message was that all of the people on that list explicitly wanted him out. I am sure that others on the list may have also misunderstood this, so I think it’s important to make this clear.

Rob

Hari K T

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Jun 25, 2016, 1:18:48 AM6/25/16
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Hi all,

I am looking to find the problem.

X from country A sends an mail.
Y from country B disagrees with it and send another email.

X and Y are not from same country. So the wordings can be misinterpreted . If both of the parties are talking face to face they could have read from their facial expression or body language. Here mail is just text and we all interpret differently.

Looking back at many of your messages what I guess is most of them who disagree with Paul are from Europe ? So country / culture language all depends on communication.

How could we improve the process?

1. We should be strict about the self throttling emails
2. People can express their opinion in their email thread. If they disagree with others, they don't need to send many more mails regarding their expressed view unless it has changed or need proper explanation.
3. We are here to be friends and not enemies. If you disagree with someone don't send the email just after reading it. Keep it for a while and look back the subject if that make sense. 
4. If you consider the opinions expressed by someone is harmful consider not replying to those messages as if it is not received at your end.

This is my opinion about this thread.

We should not bother too much about expelling any of the leaders based on the arguments they are making. 

There are leaders in this group who have no opinion, for either they are busy or don't care about it. Those who don't have talked for a while can be expelled. But not people who are communicating for something they disagree.

We are wasting too much of time talking about a Person and how he can be improved rather than talking about standards. Our goal is about standard and there can be many people who disagree / agree on those. Eg : tab vs space , psr-6 vs simple cache etc. A coin itself have 2 faces so does humans.

Understand each persons weakness and power and lets utilize those.

I have worked with Paul on auraphp for a while. He has his own power and weakness. So does all of us.

Can we all forgot about these threads and look back to the things we need to vote / discuss about standards ?

Hari K T

You can ring me : +91 9388 75 8821

Skype  : kthari85
Twitter : harikt

Michael Cullum

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Jun 25, 2016, 5:07:42 AM6/25/16
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Robert,

Off the top of my head (without digging through every medium and logs of each instance we were contacted) I think almost all were asking explicitly for expulsion and almost all [including Mike] also saw the email draft to make sure it was not conveying anything they had not intended. It is intended to say these people complained as they believe there is a problem that needs a resolution (of some kind, an expulsion if it comes to it). The next step in that is having an open and honest discussion, which we are right now, and if it still cannot be resolved, we can have a vote on expulsion, which is the only thing we can really do if discussions do not resolve the issue here.

I'll let those listed clarify their own intent further as I do not wish to put words in mouths and I am aware many are currently at DPC and it is now the weekend so replies may take some time.

Thanks,
Michael

P.S. Sorry for the top post, I'm on my phone.


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Mike van Riel

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Jun 25, 2016, 6:14:17 AM6/25/16
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On 25 Jun 2016, at 11:07, Michael Cullum <m...@michaelcullum.com> wrote:

Robert,

Off the top of my head (without digging through every medium and logs of each instance we were contacted) I think almost all were asking explicitly for expulsion and almost all [including Mike] also saw the email draft to make sure it was not conveying anything they had not intended. It is intended to say these people complained as they believe there is a problem that needs a resolution (of some kind, an expulsion if it comes to it). The next step in that is having an open and honest discussion, which we are right now, and if it still cannot be resolved, we can have a vote on expulsion, which is the only thing we can really do if discussions do not resolve the issue here.

I'll let those listed clarify their own intent further as I do not wish to put words in mouths and I am aware many are currently at DPC and it is now the weekend so replies may take some time.

Thanks,
Michael

P.S. Sorry for the top post, I'm on my phone.


On 25 Jun 2016 1:47 a.m., "Robert Hafner" <ted...@tedivm.com> wrote:

> First of all: my name is on the list as someone who has indicated that there is a situation that needs to be resolved; expulsion would definitely not be my preference since Paul is indeed an active member, even though his most recent contributions to this list have given me the impression that he is no longer active when it comes to furthering PSRs but rather some kind of political agenda.



Could the Secretaries jump in here and specify which voting members on the list explicitly asked for expulsion? My understanding from reading the first message was that all of the people on that list explicitly wanted him out. I am sure that others on the list may have also misunderstood this, so I think it’s important to make this clear.

Rob

In an attempt to clarify and confirm: the e-mail as sent by Michael has indeed be proofread by me and in no way do I feel misrepresented. I consider my mention in the listing of people who complained to be as it is; a listing of people who complained. I also consider expulsion to be a very last resort and I do not oppose the situation as explained by the secretaries.

This does not change that I sincerely hope that we can all discuss this and come to a satisfactory conclusion without the need for drastic measures and as such my mention in the opening post is not, in my case, a de-facto +1 for expulsion. If another solution comes that will remove my complaints then I will be more than happy to accept it.

Corollary: contrary to what Cal presents; my complaints are not out of spite or dislike for Paul Jones. I do not share his world views and will actively campaign against various of them when asked to _outside_ of this group. Yet I will do anything in my power to minimise the influence this has on my behaviour within this group. So far Paul Jones has kept the views that I cannot in good conscience accept outside of this group and I honour him doing so. For this I respect him. It is his way of expressing himself and how he ‘resolves’ situations that do not align with his views that I find obstructive to the mission of the PHP-FIG.

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Roman Tsjupa

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Jun 25, 2016, 7:51:08 AM6/25/16
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As a side note, since throttling is coming up so frequent lately I just want to remind you guys that we're developers here. We can finally build a platform that enforces throttling on a technical level, like reddit does. Almost every forum software has this feature. This would solve ALL the problems with the flame threads really. And we could leave the IRC as a channel for politics wars.

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Alexander Makarov

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Jun 25, 2016, 10:37:35 AM6/25/16
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I'm trying to stay out of politics but since silence could be considered an agreement I'd voice my opinion.

1. Expulsion would not help in any way and is pointless. The only voting member extra ability is to be able to vote as a representative of the project so it has nothing to do with a person sending rough messages **at all**.
2. If Paul would quit the list, PHP-FIG would lose another technically proficient member who contributed and probably will contribute a lot.
3. If Paul would not quit but would be expelled, PHP-FIG would lose a vote from a competent person and that matters. Also it would not prevent him posting anything he likes.

So while the issue of people being offended by Paul's writing style and opinions is there, solution proposed is **plain wrong** and looks more like a political game.

Rafael Dohms

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Jun 26, 2016, 5:11:53 AM6/26/16
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Since my name is on the list, I feel the need to come here and at the very least make some of my thinking known.
Had not done so before because i was busy enjoying DPC.

I do feel Paul's approach, writing style, discussion style, way of attracting attention to issues and general attitude are counter-productive to the work being done by the FIG (and other places as well).
I agree he has the right to hold his views and even though i have publicly disagreed with some of his "non-tech" view that has nothing to do with that happens in here.

His approach, the dismissive attitude towards disagreements, and mostly the lack of self-throttling (especially during the Dracony discussions) need to be addressed.

Does this mean I vote to remove him? Yes/no, i think the first step in this process is exactly what I expected, bring the issue to light and let the greater group of people involved with the FIG discuss it and try to:
1. Isolate incidents
2. Identify people affected by this
3. Discuss and evaluate all opinions
4. Decide on whether the vote is the way out.

Can we solve this without removing Paul? I would sure hope so, I have more then once apologized for my own inflammatory, heat of the moment remarks on twitter and I have made myself an active effort to avoid sounding aggressive or dismissive on the internet.
I have accepted that I do not need to agree with other people's view of me, but it is my role as a functioning human to try and make all I do welcoming of everyone and not exclusionist or aggressive to anyone.
Even I fail at this and that is ok.

I think the ball is in Paul's court, if I was in his shoes I would really do some soul searching, talk to the people on this list and try to figure out what is really wrong, those conversations alone could help a lot.

Now if these 2 weeks do not end up with a viable solution, then the vote for removal would be another message.

I believe we all need to think about "the greater good" and that is not "passing PSRs" and "getting work done", which Paul is no doubt technically capable of doing.
The "greater good" is creating a safe environment, a collaborative group and a place where everyone feels comfortable participating. This does not mean holding hand and singing kumbaya, but it means we have a clean table to sit at and no one tossing carrots at the other people.

I had a chance to read the email before it went out and I agree with it, and I hope the outcome of this is positive so we can end up with a better community regardless of what happens.
As Mike said, I'm gonna self-throttle so feel free to reach out in private if you need clarification on any points.

Michiel Rook

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Jun 26, 2016, 3:10:52 PM6/26/16
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Adam, thanks for writing this, it describe exactly how I feel about this situation.

regards,

Michiel
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Larry Garfield

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Jun 26, 2016, 5:36:55 PM6/26/16
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On 06/24/2016 07:07 AM, Lukas Kahwe Smith wrote:
> Hello,
>
> First up I am not in favor of expulsion because even if you agree that Paul is “toxic”, I doubt that a standards committee will really remain relevant if it cannot deal with supposedly “toxic” people, ie. we would need to find other solutions for this. Also even if he is no longer a member of FIG, would he then get banned from all list?

A number of people have made similar statements here; I'm going to reply
to them collectively in this reply, as Lukas' line above is a good
poignant example, but it is not aimed at Lukas specifically.

"I doubt that a standards committee will really remain relevant if it
cannot deal with supposedly “toxic” people"

I find this statement, and the sentiment behind it, extremely
disconcerting and rather dangerous. It, along with other comments in
this thread, seem to suggest "FIG should deal with toxic people by just
sucking it up; if you can't stand the heat get out of the fire."

Haven't we learned by now that is the worst possible way to deal with
hostile or toxic individuals? Have we learned nothing in the last few
years, as an Internet community?

"If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen", by its very
nature, rewards those who throw the most flames. It drives off
contributors and community members who, frankly, have better things to
do with their time than deal with flames, disrespect, and negativity.
We have people who have said they have been driven away from FIG because
of the negative atmosphere that Paul creates. (See Michael's initial
email.)

Harm is being done: Is the answer really "well so be it, only the
think-skinned will survive"? Do we really want to say "Well man up and
deal with it, bro"?

That's not an answer. That's a refusal to take responsibility for your
community.

Communities don't just survive on their own. They require maintenance.
They require weeding.

Do people really feel FIG would get more respect in the broader PHP
community if we said, explicitly, "we don't mind if you're a jerk,
people need to grow a thicker skin"? Really? I don't believe that for
a second.

Conversations can get testy, sure. The recent discussion about
middleware styles got strained in a few points, but at no point did I
feel like Woody or Rasmus were talking down to me. (And I certainly
hope they feel the same about my points in that thread, as that was
never my intent.) There's a huge difference between disagreeing
strongly on a point and belittling or demeaning someone.

If someone (a hypothetical someone) came on the list and spent their
time spewing racist epithets at people left and right, declaring
everyone's proposal a sign that they should have been euthanized at
birth, and generally just being abusive, I am reasonably sure we'd all
agree that person needed to be kicked from the list and forbidden from
returning. There is some threshold of behavior past which a person is
actively destructive to a community, no matter how smart or insightful
they may be on any given topic.

To not recognize the existence of that threshold, wherever it is, is to
create a magnet for toxic, hateful people.

See also:
http://anildash.com/2011/07/if-your-websites-full-of-assholes-its-your-fault.html

We could certainly dispute where that threshold is. That's a fine
conversation to have. We could discuss whether Paul's behavior is over
that threshold. That's the conversation we should be having. We could
debate whether an intervention is possible or if removal is necessary.
That's largely dependent on Paul, who has so far been silent in this
discussion.

But to say that it's FIG's responsibility to suck it up, "deal with"
toxic people by letting them continue to be toxic, grow a thicker skin,
and let people leave who can't take the heat (as a number of comments
have suggested) just because someone happens to also have useful things
to say is a actively self-destructive, self-defeating, and will drive
off far more people with useful things to say than it attracts, by an
order of magnitude or more.

A healthy and constructive debate atmosphere is our responsibility. All
of us. That includes the reformation or removal (as appropriate) of
those who cannot contribute toward that healthy atmosphere.

--Larry Garfield

Alexander Makarov

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Jun 26, 2016, 6:48:14 PM6/26/16
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Well said. Absolutely agree.

Anyway, revoking vote is irrelevant. What other options are there?

If it were forum engine, I'd proposed official rules that state that "Personal offense isn't tolerated. Each occurrence results in ban for a week. X repeating occurrences results in permanent ban no matter what". Could something like that be enforced in a mailing list?

Roman Tsjupa

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Jun 26, 2016, 7:56:02 PM6/26/16
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Larry, from your post, it sound like the actual topic of the proposed vote would be actually banning Paul from the mailing list altogether?

I am reasonably sure we'd all agree that person needed to be kicked from the list and forbidden from returning.  There is some threshold of behavior past which a person is actively destructive to a community, no matter how smart or insightful they may be on any given topic.

I'm sure phrasing it as a total ban instead of just replacing a representative is a whole new deal even for even those supporting expelling Paul.

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Alessandro Lai

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Jun 27, 2016, 3:48:11 AM6/27/16
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Banning Paul from the ML is a last resort resolution that would "solve" the problem, but it would do a great deal of damage, to us, to the FIG, to Paul and to the PHP community at large. 

I think that anyone here is advocating for a more easy and collaborative solution, something that can be done WITH Paul, not against him. We want to set up a threshold, as Larry called it, behind which the behavior of _anyone_ here on the ML should be stopped, for the sake of the FIG itself. Previously Paul got a 24h (maybe it was 48? not sure) suspension from the ML because he wasn't respecting the self-throttling rule; I think we should use those kind of enforcement to stop this kind of abusive behavior, but I also think that this thread is here to avoid using them, especially on Paul, so it doesn't become an ad personam rule.

I hope that Paul is professional enough to recognize that is causing some discomfort to many FIG members and non-members, and that he can talk to us and work with us toward a solution, without having to resort to any of those harsh enforcements.

Lukas Kahwe Smith

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Jun 27, 2016, 4:02:04 AM6/27/16
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> On 26 Jun 2016, at 23:36, Larry Garfield <la...@garfieldtech.com> wrote:
>
> On 06/24/2016 07:07 AM, Lukas Kahwe Smith wrote:
>> Hello,
>>
>> First up I am not in favor of expulsion because even if you agree that Paul is “toxic”, I doubt that a standards committee will really remain relevant if it cannot deal with supposedly “toxic” people, ie. we would need to find other solutions for this. Also even if he is no longer a member of FIG, would he then get banned from all list?
>
> A number of people have made similar statements here; I'm going to reply to them collectively in this reply, as Lukas' line above is a good poignant example, but it is not aimed at Lukas specifically.
>
> "I doubt that a standards committee will really remain relevant if it cannot deal with supposedly “toxic” people"
>
> I find this statement, and the sentiment behind it, extremely disconcerting and rather dangerous. It, along with other comments in this thread, seem to suggest "FIG should deal with toxic people by just sucking it up; if you can't stand the heat get out of the fire.”

It seems I wasn’t sufficiently clear:

Given that attempts were made my several people off-list (including myself) to improve the collaboration of Paul with others on this list and those efforts have not been able to produce a necessary change that a dozen of members + contributors felt that the off-list approach has been exhausted, I think its legitimate to bring up the topic here. For one to bring the scope of the issue to the public but also to allow both sides from the argument to present their point of view.

> We could certainly dispute where that threshold is. That's a fine conversation to have. We could discuss whether Paul's behavior is over that threshold. That's the conversation we should be having. We could debate whether an intervention is possible or if removal is necessary. That's largely dependent on Paul, who has so far been silent in this discussion.

As such I very much welcome the discussion we are currently having, as painful as it is for all parties involved. Indeed given the scope it is a necessary one to have. I do hope that Paul will eventually speak up on the list, but I find it also entirely reasonable that he waits a bit to see what the list at large thinks about this.

Where I disagree is that it makes sense to put up sort of an ultimatum with an expulsion vote.

regards,
Lukas Kahwe Smith
sm...@pooteeweet.org

PS: Of course its clear that for Paul it isn’t a nice situation to have your name associated in such a thread that will be there for all eternity on the internet. It should also be clear that several people that were listed specifically prefer a more harmonious collaboration, as such I do realize that for them such a “direct attack” must also feel quite uncomfortable. As such labeling this thread a “witch hunt” or similar has little basis imho.

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Damian Mooyman

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Jun 27, 2016, 4:13:36 AM6/27/16
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To keep my addition to the discussion at a minimum, I think I share Adam's views of this whole situation. I've found the evidence so far that Paul is "toxic" to be lacking.

I'd also much prefer to keep external political discussion out of the mailing list, lest it encourages people to treat this as a place to air their personal grievances.

Matt Prelude

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Jun 28, 2016, 9:39:26 AM6/28/16
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Speaking as someone who is not an insider or member of FIG, it is threads like this which have compromised my opinion of the group, and not the blunt opinions of people like Paul M Jones. The mass resignations, attempts to unseat projects and people, it seems as if the FIG has forgotten why it exists.

Joshua Drake

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Jun 28, 2016, 1:20:19 PM6/28/16
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Hello,

I am an outsider to this group but have been involved in Open Source for over 20 years. I only know Jones from Twitter but this thread caught my eye. Although the opinions I am about to express are my own and do not in any way represent other organizations, I am a Director for Software in the Public Interest as well as United States PostgreSQL. My experiences are vast in the community as a whole. 

There has been a movement recently in the Free/Open Source communities to sanitize and make it all about fluffy bunnies (provoke). The problem is that a sanitation will create a vacuum of intellect not unlike a snake eating itself. It is the heated metal, beaten in a forge and shaped through the sheer force of will, skill and talent that creates the beauty that is a hand crafted Katana, not bottled water and hand sanitizer.

That said, this entire thread boils down to this:

Does Paul disrupt the collaborative space? If so, then it needs to be discussed with him.

However, here is the problem. A lot of people who make complaints are the very same people that are actually the ones disrupting the collaborative space. They do this passively, likely without realizing it. They do it by:

1. Having thin skin
2. Taking umbrage because somebody doesn't agree with them
3. Having a chip on their shoulder about $X
4. Allowing #1-#3 influence their ability to be productive.

We do have is a list of people who are upset, perhaps rightfully so. However, doesn't it strike you as odd that those people weren't willing to stand up for themselves and instead asking a steering committee to deal with the problem? My experienced guess is that *most* (but not all) of this brouhaha is because of #4 above.

This is why:

1. Anyone can create a filter to just ignore Paul
2. Anyone can call Paul out, publicly and respectfully for behavior they don't think is appropriate
3. Anyone can chose to just not read Paul's responses/comments
4. Anyone can just take Paul with a grain of salt

But... #4

Does that excuse inappropriate behavior from Paul (if there is any)? Absolutely not. However, you must define what inappropriate behavior is before you can even attempt to determine where on the spectrum the behavior falls. Having strong opinions that are in conflict with someone else's strong opinions is not inappropriate nor is having to deal with the reality that someone may not agree with you.

Sincerely,

JD

Matthew Weier O'Phinney

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Jun 28, 2016, 1:57:21 PM6/28/16
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I'd really planned on sitting this thread out, but this last email...

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 12:20 PM, Joshua Drake <linux...@gmail.com> wrote:
> A lot of people who make complaints are the very same people that are actually
> the ones disrupting the collaborative space. They do this passively, likely
> without realizing it. They do it by:
>
> 1. Having thin skin
> 2. Taking umbrage because somebody doesn't agree with them
> 3. Having a chip on their shoulder about $X
> 4. Allowing #1-#3 influence their ability to be productive.
>
> We do have is a list of people who are upset, perhaps rightfully so. However,
> doesn't it strike you as odd that those people weren't willing to stand up for
> themselves and instead asking a steering committee to deal with the problem? My
> experienced guess is that *most* (but not all) of this brouhaha is because of #4
> above.

Your outline above is a classic example of victim blaming.

You and others have indicated that folks on the list should "grow a thicker
skin". This makes the assumption that the only people valued in the group are:

- those with strong, often intractable, opinions
- those willing and capable of defending their opinions vocally when
met with opposition

Additionally, those two points lead to another mentality: that every discussion
is an either/or situation, without compromise.

So, instead of drawing attention to behavior and attitudes that makes others
uncomfortable... you write these other contributors off as "just not being tough
enough"? Considering the prevalence of both the Dunning-Kruger effect and
Imposter Syndrome in tech workers, that seems like a recipe for an echo chamber
that many newcomers and skilled professionals will find unwelcoming.

You go on to say:

> Anyone can call Paul out, publicly and respectfully for behavior they don't
> think is appropriate

This makes the assumption that all people on the list are equally comfortable
with conflict.

Calling out behavior is difficult, because it's subjective and personal. At the
same time, it often opens up the person pointing out the problem behaviors to
attack by the other person, particularly if that person's behavior is combative.
I've seen many examples of these conflicts resulting in the stalking and
harrasing of the person reporting the behavior. If it were me, I'd walk away
rather than call it out - which does nobody any good, as silence is often
interpreted as tacit approval.

This sort of situation is incredibly unwelcoming to some people, myself included
(I shy away from conflict), and I think that's the point to realize about this
discussion: what should the group do if one or more members make contribution
unpalatable to others by being strong-willed, intractable of opinion, and
legalistic in every thread they participate in?

I absolutely agree that not everyone on the list will agree with one another on
every detail. The question is if disagreement can be done with respect, vs:

- passive-aggression, snark, ad hominem attacks, etc.
- legalistic interpretations of rules in attempts to reframe them to
suit one's own purposes
- questioning of motives as a basis for invalidation
- ridiculing designs one finds "inferior" or "flawed"

These are all behaviors I've observed on this list repeatedly, and, personally,
I left the group for more than a year because of them.

What this thread started off with is a list of many individuals who have made
complaints, or flat out left the community ...

over one specific individual's behavior.

Let that sink in.

You can make all sorts of aspersions about "fluffy bunnies," but the fact that
so many reports have occurred belies the fact that there's a serious issue to
consider here.

I've known Paul for 11 years now, and consider him a friend. But when I look at
this thread, I have to ask: is his continued participation worth the loss of
participation of *many*?

I'd like to see this resolved amicably. But I also think this is a good time for
all parties to reflect on what the group values, and who it wants to have
involved. I personally value a group that is welcoming of a diverse set of
backgrounds (both professionally and personally), and that is capable of
healthy, respectful debate that can lead to reasonable compromises.

--
Matthew Weier O'Phinney
mweiero...@gmail.com
https://mwop.net

pedrofr...@gmail.com

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Jun 28, 2016, 2:03:37 PM6/28/16
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I think this discussion has derailed. It's not about politics, it's not about technicalities. It's about the bylaws.

> If, in the judgement of PHP-FIG, a Voting Representative is acting inappropriately and to the detriment of PHP-FIG's ability to meet its objectives, a vote may be taken to request a replacement Voting Representative in accordance with the Voting Protocol bylaw or to expel the Member Project where replacing a Voting Representative is not possible.

It's not about technicalities or if Paul's political views are right or wrong. It's about members discussing whether he's acting to the detriment of their abilities to meet its objectives. It's quite simple, actually. So, all these "I don't find anything wrong with Paul's posts" are mostly irrelevant, because there needs not to be anything technically wrong with his posts, if the majority of members judge his overall behavior disruptive and detrimental to the group's ability to meet its objetives.

The only question is: how many members find his overall behavior counterproductive? If it's more than half, than the project should replace its representative. If it's not more than half, than Paul stays. Quite simple, actually.

Like I said before, if name-calling or specific slurs are needed for this to happen, then FIG should have a bot patrolling the mailing list and autobanning people saying those words. If the intelligent human beings that run FIG can't distinguish between productive behavior and behavior "detrimental to its abilities to meet its objectives", then this specific bylaw should be removed.

To whoever was saying "I couldn't find anything innapropriate", I'll leave this here.

1. Paul has been very sarcastic towards members in this list: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/php-fig/RwFMv1NokBQ/7XPPLEDJDwAJ
2. Paul has been very aggressive towards other members in this list: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/php-fig/RwFMv1NokBQ/Mkna9CLJDwAJ
3. Paul has flooded this list with irrelevant sarcastic/acidic remarks: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/php-fig/RwFMv1NokBQ/sfe47DfJDwAJ
5. Well, if name-calling is needed to ban a user from this group, there he is, calling Phil a "drama-queen" within this very mailing list: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/php-fig/cjLBp2weYaA/up8nw9fXDQAJ

Yea, I know Phil hasn't been restrained on his remarks about Paul either, but that's a whole different subject, as Phil is no longer a member here. If it takes banning Phil from this mailing list to improve things, ban him too.

I don't really care what members do outside this list as long as they don't bring their personal fights/agendas here. But IMHO, Paul has been provenly disruptive. Note that all these examples date from the last two months, and all these examples are from two threads alone. I didn't even have to dig deep to find those. Not to mention all the passive-aggressiveness, properly disguised as 'educated remarks', for plausible deniability.

Just to reiterate, I'll respond to Joshua:

> However, you must define what inappropriate behavior is before you can even attempt to determine where on the spectrum the behavior falls.

No, you don't. You just have to vote if the member is acting in detriment of the group's abilities to meet its goal. It's a subjective phrase for a reason. There is absolutely no way to define what is objectively detrimental and what's not.

Paul has avoided coming here to post on his behalf (and I do applaud his attitude on this, far better than Roman's). If you are all expecting a decision based on objectivity, you won't get one. Discuss, make the case for both sides, vote on the subject and get this over with. Calling for a vote is NOT dictatorial, it's NOT against freedom of speech. The secretaries IGNORING 20+ complaints because they had defined amongst themselves what is acceptable and what is not is what would have been dictatorial and against free speech. They made the right call here, opening the discussion and allowing members to speak their mind.

- Pedro.

Joshua Drake

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Jun 28, 2016, 2:45:52 PM6/28/16
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On Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 10:57:21 AM UTC-7, Matthew Weier O'Phinney wrote:
I'd really planned on sitting this thread out, but this last email...

On Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 12:20 PM, Joshua Drake <linux...@gmail.com> wrote:
> A lot of people who make complaints are the very same people that are actually
> the ones disrupting the collaborative space. They do this passively, likely
> without realizing it. They do it by:
>
> 1. Having thin skin
> 2. Taking umbrage because somebody doesn't agree with them
> 3. Having a chip on their shoulder about $X
> 4. Allowing #1-#3 influence their ability to be productive.
>
> We do have is a list of people who are upset, perhaps rightfully so. However,
> doesn't it strike you as odd that those people weren't willing to stand up for
> themselves and instead asking a steering committee to deal with the problem? My
> experienced guess is that *most* (but not all) of this brouhaha is because of #4
> above.

Your outline above is a classic example of victim blaming.

You have just proven every counter point in my email.

Have a very nice day.

Sincerely,

JD

Adam Culp

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Jun 28, 2016, 3:15:43 PM6/28/16
to PHP Framework Interoperability Group, linux...@gmail.com
Sorry Josh, I think you go too far. Though I feel Paul's actions do not warrant expulsion but communication, I DO NOT agree everybody needs to "grow a thicker skin" and would never advocate such. And I do not feel individuals asking a group to act on their behalf is a sign of cowardice or weakness. In fact it is proper to seek council.

This is not a time for extremes on either side, but rather understanding and learning.

Regards,
Adam Culp

James Watts

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Jun 29, 2016, 3:18:46 AM6/29/16
to PHP Framework Interoperability Group, linux...@gmail.com
The absence of Paul on this thread is a deafening silence.

I can imagine him chanting "a lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep".


My input can be summarized to this...


"Do not tolerate brilliant jerks. The cost to teamwork is too high." - Reed Hastings, CEO Netflix

Mark Baker

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Jun 29, 2016, 3:02:30 PM6/29/16
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On 28/06/2016 18:20, Joshua Drake wrote:
> 1. Having thin skin
Yes, I know we should all have skins like rhinoceros, and I apologise
on behalf of me and any fellow victims that we don't. I guess I'll just
stick my head below the parapet again, and simply give up on following
the groups activities and not bother having anything to do with FIG ever
again. Because clearly I'm not wanted here.


--
Mark Baker

_________
|. \ \-3
|_J_/ PHP |
|| | __ |
|| |m| |m|

I LOVE PHP

Mark Baker

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Jun 29, 2016, 3:04:12 PM6/29/16
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On 29/06/2016 20:02, Mark Baker wrote:
> On 28/06/2016 18:20, Joshua Drake wrote:
>> 1. Having thin skin
> Yes, I know we should all have skins like rhinoceros, and I apologise
> on behalf of me and any fellow victims that we don't. I guess I'll
> just stick my head below the parapet again, and simply give up on
> following the groups activities and not bother having anything to do
> with FIG ever again. Because clearly I'm not wanted here.
>
>
Perhaps overly dramatic, but blaming victims isn't the solution to FIG's
current problems.

Roman Tsjupa

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Jun 30, 2016, 4:12:42 AM6/30/16
to PHP FIG
There are really no victims here besides from Paul who is being attacked.
Paul, while having strong opinions and arguing a lot, has not done anything that would warrant calling anyone a "victim". 
And yes, if you engage into a heated argument on the internet it can be taxing, of course. But calling yourself a victim is really over the top in this case.

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Phil Sturgeon

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Jun 30, 2016, 4:27:37 AM6/30/16
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I wanted to swing by and thank everyone for keeping this conversation so constructive. Many people like Larry, Michael and Matt have said exactly what I would have loved to have said, but done it far more eloquently. 

Sadly, I find the amount of victim blaming going on in here to be bizarre and gross. The FIG has lost so many good quality contributors, all because of one specific person, and none of them needed to be lost. You can have the thickest skin in the world, but eventually you get fed up with it and wander off. 

People always do this, and I understand that when somebody quits it's very tempting to say "Come on, don't take it personally, just get on with it!" but when that person is politebullying you with multiple acidic emails, battering his point home and patronizing you at every given opportunity, it soon becomes tempting to just work on other stuff.

Open source is hard, and time consuming. Whilst you certainly don't need everyone to agree on everything, and whilst I'd be the last person to suggest that every single email needs to contain a million bunnies and hugs, there is a limit. How you communicate with people is important, and I've tried to help Paul with this in the past. He often has a simple enough point, but he makes it in awful ways.

I've been working hard on my communication problems (Paul threads nonwithstanding) and I've been doing very well. Paul on the other hand seems uninterested in listening or learning when concerns are raised. Instead he uses snarky against anyone who has "wronged" him. I suffered this for god knows how long after withdrawing the PSR-4 vote and it's not pretty. 

Working with Paul on PSR-4 was a long way from fun. Despite that, Beau, Larry, Anthony, a bunch of contributors and myself managed to get the job done. I don't want others to continue to suffer through working in those conditions, and will be happy to see any other representative Aura has to offer.

Beyond just making his point poorly, Paul often makes that point over and over and over until you either agree or give up. He's not trying to explain it in a new way to maybe help you understand his point, he's just banging on the same drum over and over. That might work on Reddit, but it's not what anyone wants in the FIG.

"Really, posting too much?!" has been a common incredulous response by his supporters. Some people say "If you stop using a mailing list, then who cares about how much they post!" The point is, many people want to know whats happening, what is being worked on, what decisions are being made. It's this reason we even have a mailing list, and when two people need to work something out they go onto IRC and come back with their results. If everything was done on IRC we'd have a LOT of logs to scan through to find the signal in the noise, and that sounds awful. So we use a mailing list, and people need to respect that and keep their number of posts to something reasonable. 

Paul can't do that, and has been the first person to be banned by the new secretaries, a power that he continues to assert is being used selectively. It's not selective if you're the only one causing such a problem that it gets used on you...

Finally, this has absolutely nothing to do with some big gender politics conspiracy as so many have assured themselves. A CoC was proposed for PHP and it's still being worked on, but that has nothing to do with the FIG. Getting Paul booted from the FIG wouldn't make PHP have a CoC, and if you think anyone is doing this for revenge then... well we really do have better things to be doing. 

Paul is just one vote in many, so him disagreeing about CoCs, or global warming, or one of the 8 million other things we disagree about, has zero relevance. He's got a vote, other projects have a vote, so who cares. Having him replaced as representative literally only means that if he continues to post the ways he's been posting for the last few months, the secretaries can give him a ban.

If I were spamming out a bajillion emails, being passive aggressive to half the mailing list, causing ~20 complaints from a huge roster of past and present members, and forcing contributors out of the group, I'd expect to be banned too. In fact, just the spamming a bajillion emails part should get me banned. 

This entire thing is about fostering a productive environment, where people can get on with things without feeling bullied or constantly under attack.

If Paul can change his ways then that would solve the problem, but he has shown time and time again that he is completely uninterested in changing his ways, and is unable to even acknowledge any sort of problem on his side. I know I'm rude to him and that makes me look wildly hypocritical, but I have tried with him so many times that I just can't anymore. I'm not polite to bullies, and it makes me really happy to see other people attempting to solve the problem.

I put a lot of time and effort into the FIG when I was part of it, and I'll be happy to see it grow and improve. Most people understand that the FIG cannot do that without change, and this vote will be a huge step towards making progress possible. FIG 3.0 can then move forward, and the whole PHP community can benefit in turn. 

Mark Baker

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Jun 30, 2016, 8:49:03 AM6/30/16
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On 30/06/2016 09:12, Roman Tsjupa wrote:
There are really no victims here besides from Paul who is being attacked.
Paul, while having strong opinions and arguing a lot, has not done anything that would warrant calling anyone a "victim". 
And yes, if you engage into a heated argument on the internet it can be taxing, of course. But calling yourself a victim is really over the top in this case.

I rest my case

Pádraic Brady

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Jun 30, 2016, 12:05:31 PM6/30/16
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I'm alive? I'm alive! ;)

On 30 June 2016 at 09:27, Phil Sturgeon <pjstu...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I wanted to swing by and thank everyone for keeping this conversation so
> constructive. Many people like Larry, Michael and Matt have said exactly
> what I would have loved to have said, but done it far more eloquently.
>
> Sadly, I find the amount of victim blaming going on in here to be bizarre
> and gross. The FIG has lost so many good quality contributors, all because
> of one specific person, and none of them needed to be lost. You can have the
> thickest skin in the world, but eventually you get fed up with it and wander
> off.

Not a voting member anymore, but I'd urge folk not to fall into
thinking that hard work, a thick skin, and a keen intellect solves
everything. It's 2016 after all and we should know better. There are
lots of people with "thin skins", and that's just how people are. The
reality is that we all work with people who are widely varied across
personality and other characteristics. Some have mild to serious
mental illnesses or have other things which play on their mental
health.

The point is that "growing a thicker skin" is a nice convenient myth
when you spin it as applicable to the entire population of the planet.
Myths are not real things. They don't have substance simply because
you believe them.

Our mental health is as important as the physical side of the health
coin. Abrasiveness, disruptive behaviour, life's trials, bullying and
many more are the bacteria, viruses and cancers of the mental world.
All of them generated by people, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes very
wittingly. What you might call a "thin skin", others would call their
immune systems getting to work to protect them from harm. The
alternative is avoiding infectious bags of noxiousness entirely.
Quarantine works.

As Mike put it back in an earlier email "mutual empathy" would bring
the group closer together as a working unit.

So far, so good...

However, mutual empathy must unfailingly go both ways for everyone to
be treated fairly and I was, and remain, disappointed to see
complaints about a voting member being made public with the force of
FIG behind them in this manner. You cannot write an email without
input from an accused member and maintain a neutral position.
Appearances do matter. It therefore follows, that there is little
neutrality evident in this call for a vote. It presents one side, and
one side only. So we have a jury, but no judge, a prosecution, but the
defence is missing in action (well, here anyway) other than supporting
amici curiae. It's looking just a tad bit lopsided...

I know Paul and I do not agree over having Codes of Conduct. We're
probably complete opposites on every point about them! However, my
support for COCs in general does yet rely on being as fair as is
realistically possible in a community, and that carries over even in
the absence of a COC as a personal belief. So, how about some
clarification. Was Paul notified of this incoming bombshell prior to
the email? Were there any private interactions before a decision was
made to bring this public notice forward? Were complaints put to him
before being made public? Was he afforded some time to respond, and
how much? And yes, I assume you would have documented and summarised
this.

I could go on, but the point is: Was Paul given an informed
opportunity and sufficient time to defend himself in preparation for
this vote discussion?

I honestly hope the answer is a clear "yes, but of course". Lots of
private emails, etc. Bent over backwards to reach a private
resolution. I'm almost assuming it, but assumptions are devilish
things and better replaced with documented facts.

Finally, I would suggest that the group (at the risk of more "drama")
give some consideration to appearances. Public votes can be, in and of
themselves, a punitive consequence. If you're going to mete them out,
then document all the things you tried to resolve the problem prior to
such a vote. Don't provide fodder for conspiracy theories that should
be easily debunked.

Paddy

--
Pádraic Brady

pedrofr...@gmail.com

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Jun 30, 2016, 2:30:24 PM6/30/16