Not sure that this quite fits into Meaningless Drivel (although it is a tough call - if a Sherrif wants to move it, I won't complain).
Here at JavaRanch we generally take a soft approach to our two major rules (the naming convention and being nice). When we notice that someone is breaking a rule, we generally point out the problem to them in either the message they have posted or in a private message. It generally takes a lot before we even start to consider more drastic measures.
So it is with interest that I read an article in Melbourne's The Age newspaper, talking about wikipedia - another site that relies on contributors behaving nicely. A quote from the youngest of wikipedia's administrators struck a chord:
"If I see someone is publishing shit, maybe by swearing or not making sense, I warn him," he says.
"The second time he turns on, I block him."
Phew! I can certainly understand why they need to enforce the rules, but it does make me appreciate our softer approach here more.
So I guess thanks are due to Paul for setting up the nice environment, and to all the members of JavaRanch who help keep it nice.
Over at Wikipedia I think that blocking someone usually is for a specified time period, and typically they start with a 24-hour block. I suspect that's what the quoted person meant. I've seen a few edit wars at wikipedia, in which people repeatedly vandalize an article while others restor it. Many times the vandalism is just so obviously mean-spirited that a mere 24-hour block seems pretty darn light, even for a second offense. Users are often anonymous anyway, so attempting a permanent block would be pointless - they'd just get another account. A 24-hour block just slows vandals down a bit, allowing others to perform more constructive work with less interruptions.
I like an approach that I remember having read in a post by either Kent Beck or Ron Jeffries:
- at the first violation, explain what behaviour you want/need to see, and why
- at the second violation, explain what behaviour you want/need to see, why you want/need it, and what the consequences will be if the violation persists
- at the third violation, install the consequences
The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus