[tor-project] Moderation for new tor-users@ mailing list

Moritz Bartl moritz at torservers.net
Thu Mar 10 22:11:30 UTC 2016

Hi everyone,

At the Valencia dev meeting, in the "take back community channels"[1]
session, we discussed how to deal with the somewhat degenerated tor-talk
mailing list.

The initial idea was to come up with some excellent, nice and reasonable
guidelines and explanations of what should be on tor-talk (and,
subsequently, what should be posted someplace else, and where), switch
tor-talk to be moderated, and then moderate users for a while until they
have shown to agree to the guidelines. Also, step up moderation a bit in
the sense that if a user starts to post off-topic things again to warn
them, or put them back into moderation.

A less aggressive approach was discussed, which involves the creation of
a new list called "tor-users". This new list will not ahve all the
thousands(?) of subscribers of tor-talk, which is a shame, but it might
be easier to apply a new moderation concept to a new list and sort-of
give up the old one, than trying to change the climate on the old list.
Also, the idea for the new list was to explicitly have a more narrow
focus than the broad "tor-talk" list, namely "(community) user support".

weasel suggested a set of scripts that they used at Debian for some list
moderation. It sure sounds great to use IMAP and mail move actions for
moderation instead of the mailman interface. It does not necessarily
require TPI to officially run an IMAP server; we could use an account
someplace else, and even run the scripts outside of TPI if we wanted to.

We did succeed in that we now have a number of volunteers who want to
help moderate. (Not enough, please let me know if you want to help,
too). I am the unfortunate volunteer that even agreed to "lead" this
effort! :-) What we still don't have is a nice and friendly mail that
explains the concept and the underlying guidelines, and points to other
potential venues (like cpunks maybe) if people want to discuss other things.

Does anyone want to come up with a draft for discussion? I guess ideally
we even have a couple of templates to use in mailman for rejection
messages, but we can come up with those while we go along. I don't think
I should be the one writing it, we have native speakers with better
writing skills amongst ourselves :)

Weasel, what's the status of those moderation scripts, and what kind of
suggestions do you have on moving that forward? Sorry that I didn't want
to talk about it back in Valencia when you wanted to, but I really
wasn't in the right mood... Can you dig them up so I can have a look? Do
you want to run them on TPI infrastructure? Do you wnt me to run them on


-- Moritz

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