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Musings on "being nice"

 
Andrew Monkhouse
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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.

Regards, Andrew
 
Jim Yingst
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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.
 
Ilja Preuss
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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
 
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