Took place on 2018-02-05 16:00

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The meeting is held in the Python room. All members of the community are welcome to participate.


  • Overview of meeting
    • Purpose of meeting
    • Are we holding them frequently enough?
  • Life in room six
    • Have there been any problems we need to address?
    • Are there ways we can improve the room culture?
    • Do we have enough ROs, especially during non-New World/Europe hours?
  • Off-topic questions
    • Should we modify the rules to explicitly forbid “you’re my only hope” questions? That is, “this isn’t a question about Python, but there’s no one in the right room/there is no appropriate room/I’m currently spamming every room” events?
  • Over-policing behavior
    • Is it the best solution to avoid offering help for the sake of “this is not the right room”, “read the rules”, “don’t do xy”? Could we increase the perceived friendliness of the room, and reduce the policing noise by simply being less focused on our rules?
  • Image policy

    • How should we handle animated gifs? Lots of people find them irritating.
    • Do we need exceptions for the type of creations that room members make themselves, many of which are very pretty and would be a shame to lose?
  • Any other business

Why do we hold these meetings?

We like to be open with what we do in the sopython community and with what plans we have for the future.

As such we like to hold these open-house meetings every once in a while for the development team to let everyone know what they’re up to, as well as letting anyone voice any opinions they have to the community at large (be they positive or negative). If you cannot attend the meeting but would like to be involved within sopython then you are of course welcome to bring this up with one of the room owners at a more convenient time.

Cabbage, everyone!

Welcome to the Winter 2018 general meeting. I'm DSM, one of the room owners, and I'll be chairing this meeting. Everyone
is welcome, whether a regular or a visitor or just an interested guest from another room who's curious about how we do
things here in room six.

Since it's been a while since our last General, I'll go over a few ground rules.
The first is that for the duration of the meeting, please keep non-meeting-related conversation to a minimum.
Unfortunately chat doesn't have a lot of support for running meetings -- we can't restrict speech temporarily to a certain
speaker -- so we'll have to police it ourselves.
The agenda can be found on the starboard -- we're going to keep
pretty closely to it, and the meeting is going to take less than an hour, so we'll need to keep things moving.  Remember
that we're free to keep talking about any interesting thoughts that come up for as long as we like at another moment.  From
past experience it's usually a bad idea to carry on those conversations immediately after the meeting, although of course
everyone's welcome to take their conversations to private channels.  For this reason, we might have to move on from a topic
even though you're not done talking about it: please accept this.
An important point, and one I am willing to enforce even using kick-bans: please remain civil. In particular, be as polite
as you would be with a stranger whom you're asking for an important favour, not as you would be with a friend you've known for years
(which is the case for many of us).
Chat is a very flat medium, which loses a lot of information people rely on (like tone and expression)
to interpret meaning, and so it's a good idea to err on the side of courtesy. This includes granting the presumption of good faith
to people who might have a different view from yours.
Remember that this is the Python room's General Meeting, not Festivus -- I'm not interested in your Airing of Grievances. Please concentrate on policies, not persons.
"The word 'bespoke' is annoying and we should avoid it" vs. "The word 'bespoke' is useful and we should embrace it" is acceptable;
"DSM always frustrates me because of his childish complaints about the word 'bespoke'" is not.
I'm going to give everyone a minute to read what I just wrote before we get on with the meeting business. Anyone who doesn't think
they can abide by those policies is invited to go earn some rep for the next sixty minutes.
staring at all those slow readers out there.....
Okay. Let's begin!
First up: the meetings themselves. I called this one because it seems like it's been forever since the last one. We used to have them pretty regularly -- should we bring them back? Or are they still needed?
I think a more regular schedule would make sense.
Maybe try to at least have them once per quarter?
As a first timer, I feel like I'd be better able to gauge that once we've had the meeting.
I don't think I was even a regular here the last time there was one, and that was 2(?) years ago? Unless I just missed the last one
Agreed. More frequent would be good.
When was the last meeting? indicates 2016-04-13 but maybe we just forgot to update that page.
We used to do them every quarter. Fizzy got too busy, I think he was the one organizing them all.
If we don’t have anything to discuss, we can always make them shorter, but having the opportunity, especially for new users, is good.
@Kevin No, that was the last time we had one I believe. 2017 seems to have been a slow one for room 6
@Withnail I second this.
@Withnail I agree. I am too new to the room to decide on if one is enough. Might be worth asking again after the meeting. Possibly table the question?
Reserving the time for them would be good at the very least, and if there's nothing really to discuss, you don't need to have it at all.
same as Withnail.
Side note: naming quarterly meetings after seasons might be inconsiderate to people of the Southern hemisphere ;)
(only half joking)
File under "things I've never thought about" because it's winter outside my window..
@AndrasDeak We could named them after the moon cycles.
Agree. Just name them after the month
Let's try using the equatorial seasons "dry" and "rainy" in the interest of neutrality
@wim yup
^^ what Wim said.
Well, I disagree, there's this thing called the Winter bash :P
sorry for the bike shed
No, it's reasonable enough, and the month suggestion has merit, IMHO.
We should name it after the datetime module
sorry I'll stop the jokes
We're on record in Meta as saying we have meetings from time to time, so I kind of figure we should have them at least more than once every few years.
We can create an agenda page for June or July, and add it the schedule around the same time as this one.
You could probably also take a vote in advance to determine if a meeting is needed for that quarter
Half the difficulty is just putting the schedule up and worrying about who can make it.
But for the vote to make sense we'd need a premeeting anyway.
I would like to have meetings more frequently, if for no other reason than because it's good for morale if users have a voice
I agree we should have meetings more regularly, eg 4 times / year. I think using the month name is a good idea, but really, it doesn't worry me if we continue naming them after the northern hemisphere seasons.
Would it help to have a running agenda for the next meeting?
@DSM decision time
More regularly also helps with adapting the room for the better.
After a little bit of time hanging out in this room, I still don't know what it's purpose is. The point of bringing that up is that frequency of meetings should correspond to what's required to keep the room on task. If the point is to be a friendly place for people to hang out and ask python questions, then I don't see how any more frequently than twice a year is necessary in order to maintain RO's and what not needed to keep things civil.
If we feel like something needs to change, we should have that frequency to adapt rather than letting any issues fester and get to a boiling point
@davidism: if meetings were more frequent not being able to attend a given one would be less of a problem.
Can we stop talking about the name please? That’s really not important at all. I think we can do this outside of the meeting…
I second DSM's statement about more frequent allows for lenience of missing some
something between twice a year or quarterly sounds good to me
What's wrong with Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 ? Aligned with the spirit of MCVE.
Okay, then, how about this: we switch to a presumptive once a quarter, with Q? naming, and at the end of a meeting we open the agenda page for the next one. Any objections?
@DSM You could restrict the vote to the current ROs. I believe you do meet more often anyway.
I think it would be helpful to establish a date for the N+1th meeting at the end of the Nth meeting. If we conclude the agenda with a general "let's pick a date later..." then that leads to two year slips
++ @DSM
seconded @ DSM
seconded @Kevin
My suggestion is basically a subset of DSM's, I think
@DSM gavel time
Good. Finalized. next()
Life in room six:
Have there been any problems we need to address?
Are there ways we can improve the room culture?
Do we have enough ROs, especially during non-New World/Europe hours?
I suppose we don’t have anything to say other than the topics that are still ahead.
There is something I can't figure out. So, I'll state it, and see if a conversation comes out of it
This is a pretty active room, and we go through different topics.
Hmm, if the non-New World/European users are asleep right now, we won't know if they've been having problems
When newer people join the room, naturally we will be more direct about them being on topic. But them as the observer will see us chatting about different things.
It is hard as a newbie to try to gauge how to be in the room.
Is this also a good time to discuss potential candidates for ROship?
@idjaw (the rules page would help with that)
YES! ^^^ @idjaw
@idjaw That’s somewhat related to the topic about rules enforcement that’s coming
OK. So, I can park that until we get to that.
I see it overlapping culture too, though.
cuts his text for later
(which I hope I’ll still be able to say something about it… because time…)
Regarding the room culture
It mostly comes down to communication skills. If you're new, you're welcome to jump in with whatever we're talking about, or ask a Python question. But if you just try to force some other topic, that's what causes friction.
I think it's too cliquey, to the detriment of the greater Python community on stack overflow
Hm, maybe my thing is relvant:
I'd agree with that. (Even though I've been here off and on for a few years now). There's a leniancy given to 'regulars' that's sometimes brutally not there for new people. But that's often counterbalanced by the regulars having seen a pattern of poor behaviour with newcomers, I guess.
@idjaw As a new user, it didn't feel hard to gauge to me. The usual chatroom culture, really.
@wim not disagreeing, but how would you identify cliquey-ness?
@Withnail It often is. I usually try to be friendly towards total newcomers who haven't demonstrated any ill behaviour patterns yet
@ArneRecknagel same here: I just sat around for a while, figured out what people talked about and how they did it, then started talking.
and there are quite a lot of users with gloomy communication histories here
@ArneRecknagel Right. I was able to adapt as well. There are other people maybe in different parts of the world, due to communication barriers, cannot read the "vibe" of a room. They might just be passing through wanting a Python question answered.
Maybe we can be "nicer" about that?
from small things such as the "salad language" that often has to be explained to anyone who ventures in here
If nothing else our use of Salad comprises an explicit clique, albeit one anybody can join if they take five minutes to read the rules
As a Python noob and Room 6 somewhat newbie, I haven't had any problem with the room's culture. Also a quick look to the room's guidelines is sufficient.
We're not debating salad again. It's optional and a funny thing to use. It is not a requirement, we don't care if you ask.
^^ which is an important indicator in itself, tbh.
to bigger things, such as the ROs all being buddies and therefore unwilling to call eachother out
@davidism you could instruct regulars (like I was instructed too) not to always jump on newcomers with salad necessarily
This is partially a microcosm of the issue with newcomers to SO in general: the perception (and perhaps "advertising"?) of what the room is for and what is truly is for is mismatched
@AndrasDeak I don't think they do?
I think the salad thing is a fun/silly thing that isn't causing any problems. If anything, I think as a newcomer it adds to the interest of the room in terms of an active community
Maybe we can mention salad and cabbage on the rules page to make it stand out a bit more. That also serves as an indirect indicator whether people have read the rules or not :P
salad language is great
We do mention it in the rules. Right at the top.
We should version salad with a deprecation warning that the only acceptable usage is now cbg and rbrb 😛
@davidism I mean, I've seen it happen. I know I used to intentionally greet newcomers with cbg, and when they wouldn't understand I could point them to the rules page. Then I was told not to, and I realized that yes, that's not something I'd want to happen.
additionally, whether intended or not, it gives room user the ability to see if a new user has read the rules
I still use 'pineapples', and I'm reluctant to give that one up.
Add a new rule: 'Type "cbg" in chats to indicate you've read the rules... ;)'
I personally don't find it great, I find it annoying and a distraction and often generates useless noise
kinda like van halen's brown m&m rule
so now when I see other people do the same thing I get a bit cringy :)
@DSM you are the only one I know who uses it and to me is forever associated with you. So, please, do continue ;)
@ArneRecknagel Pretty much the entire reason I tolerate its existence, personally
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ that would kind of make it mandatory
I think it adds fun to the room culture. IIRC I was greeted with cabbage when I first joined.
@AndrasDeak but would that yield more new comers to reading the rule page? Not disagreeing or agreeing with you, just a thought.
@wim: it's true that most of the ROs get along, but I disagree a little with the fact we won't call each other out (although you can't see those arguments, I assure you they happen.)
I really haven't observed a lot of noise from salad. I think occasionally a newish user greets a brand new user with it by mistake, but it only results in a link to the page.
Anyway, regarding the cliquishness, there are so many active Python users that don't venture in here (or have ventured in, and left / decided not to contribute here) and I suspect it's because of the cliques and excessive rules
@MooingRawr "- What's cbg? - Please read the rules page and find out :)" <-- yes.
In terms of enforcement, there is an interesting dichotomy here: in community management, callouts are best done privately instead of publicly, unless necessary. ROs speak privately but conversations with others happen publicly.
Users come and go all the time, attributing that to salad or any other particular reason is really not possible.
@wim I think that is how an active chat works though. Several times when I join community chats, things are just happening and you have to actively jump in with your own effort.
@AndrasDeak Thats how I was introduced to salad.
This goes even for very professional communities on IRC that I have been a part of
@AndrasDeak What I mean is that would they read the whole rule page, or only the relevant part of the salad language. If salad languages promotes users to reading our full rule page, I don't see much of an issue about it.
Chair notice: I'm moving the rules topic into this session as they seem to be related and we have scheduling conflicts for people who want to say things.
Over-policing behavior
Is it the best solution to avoid offering help for the sake of “this is not the right room”, “read the rules”, “don’t do xy”? Could we increase the perceived friendliness of the room, and reduce the policing noise by simply being less focused on our rules?
what I've seen is that many people refuse to join the room because of the discussions they've read on meta
@wim I'd be interested in seeing whether that's typical of all rooms, or if ours specifically has fewer prominent users compared to everyone else.
i.e. it is the meta-discussion of the cliqueyness of the room.
@davidism agreed. Chat feels like a personal choice IMO.
And the room rules don't feel too off for a regular chatroom.
Meta view of our room is an interesting case, because one of the site moderators disliked the room so much he set up his own, which didn't seem to take off.
My perception is that most users don't use chat because they don't know it exists and/or it does not entice them, given no information other than the fact that it exists
It is too big to set up an alternate one
@DSM Although he did that before being elected mod, IIRC.
there are a lot of users on main who categorically say "I don't do chat."
@PM2Ring I believe so, yes
@PM2Ring: true. Maybe he'd have better luck in take #2.
Where is chat really advertised to get new users though? Im not sure how I even came across it in the beginning.
He'd need users.
The room is constantly evolving, it's just a slow process. If you want things to be better, then influence that through your interactions in a positive way.
Okay, this is the topic I added to the agenda because I have been seeing a pattern over the last few months of increasing policing behavior. Let me say first that I don’t disagree with our rules, they are there for a reason. What I don’t like is that we focus so much on enforcing them instead of just having a happy life here.
The rules are not really here to avoid off-topic questions (or topics in general). As noted earlier, we do have these anyway, and I believe it’s fine for a healthy chat room to have allow that.
the argument of "if you don't like it, set up a new room" is not a fair argument
The rules are more likely there to avoid having off-topic questions being asked in the first place, since it’s unlikely (although not impossible) to have them answered. So what is the problem with just ignoring asked off-topic questions instead of having N users post M posts about how that is not welcome and that people should read the rules and go somewhere else? Let them ask the question and move on. If someone wants to answer it, cool.
@Tunaki That's not a thrilling suggestion. There are de-facto semi-official rooms per-tag, with a supermajority of active users in that area. Creating a new room is a possibility, but it's preferable to resolve conflicts instead of splitting people up. — Jeremy Banks ♦ Mar 31 '16 at 19:53
But since it’s off-topic here, there’s no problem if it’s never going to get any attention. And if the user asks again, just point them to the rules to make them know that there’s no likelihood that it will be answered. And then move on. No need to explain it over and over, or even clean up the room from those “oh-so-bad” off-topic questions…
@ZackTarr (it's not. It's always been mostly hidden on main, with a few small links. I found it via a user's profile)
@ZackTarr If they pay attention, and once they hit 20 rep mark, they get notified. That's how I discovered it.
@wim: I agree with Jeremy that's it's not optimal, but I disagree that splitting a room if people like different customs is a bad idea.
@Kevin Indeed. I, and SO, would have been better served had I found chat weeks before I did.
I'm a member of several chats with very different policies, in the same way I have different groups of friends who I can't really imagine in the same room. Life's like that.
@poke +1
@poke IIRC I was the one that added that rule to the page to begin with, and my intent was absolutely "if you try this, it probably won't be very productive", not "we will punish you if you try this"
it's not desirable to split. better to unify.
not desirable != avoidable at all cost (this is not to say that I prefer splitting)
Yes. I think the direction of trying to split the room is a very sad/unfortunate path to take if there is an active push for that.
Whoops, misread. The "soliciting recent [but on-topic] questions" rule is the one I remember adding
Regarding the rules - my opinion, which I know will be unpopular, is that you should not enforce any rules that are not stack exchange rules.
I agree with poke. Let people use discretion about when to answer and when to disregard. We can offer feedback to those who answer questions that we know have had zero effort behind them.
The reason we stop off topic stuff, rather than leaving it sitting, is because otherwise other users who aren't familiar with what's off topic keep responding to it, continuing the conversation. Room owners moderate the room to keep it on topic.
If the mod's room had taken off, and people were happy there, why would that have been a problem?
e.g. let's start doing positive reinforcement instead of negative.
YES! ^
Maybe you can have some guidelines on etiquette. But I don't think it's fair to kick users out if they're not breaking any stack exchange rules.
We all have answered off-topic questions in the past. I’m one of the ones who gets most excited about when Kevin starts to ramble about his non-Python problems. So I would really appreciate if we as a collective start to accept this more openly – from all users, not just some regulars.
Positive reinforcement is a much better approach than negative.
If someone is being excessively annoying, use your ignore list.
Moving a user's comments to trash in their face may be an overly harsh way of telling them their actions are not welcome
@wim We should probably address the levels of severity in terms of how people should be kicked, and when
@poke +1
@wim the question is whether or not room owners should ignore abusers :D
Maybe the RO's need to have a more agreed upon explicit list of "when to..." for kicking
we should not ignore users
@wim: but then a new user who shows up, and doesn't have ignore on, will see all of my comments about bespoke, and get the wrong impression.
I'm not sure if this is relevant here, but we might want to discuss whether non-RO regulars enforcing the rules is something preferable or not. I know I do that a lot, but I try to be flexible and only bother users who deserve it. I think it makes sense as members of a community to enforce the local rules of the community.
kicking is major.
I don't think reinforcement of any kind influences the behavior of the hit-and-run users that most need it :> but I guess if it's useful even 1% of the time...
There's a chat guideline post form an employee that says "kick early, kick often"
it is sometimes hard when I come here to see a civil discussion and am greeted with a wall of garlic sauerkraut.
@AndrasDeak I would appreciate if no one, including room owners, would call out the rules about off-topicness unless there’s an actual problem with it that otherwise disrupts the chat.
People aren't kicked the first couple times they break the rules or disrupt the room, they're always warned first.
@poke I meant in general, like telling people not to paste too much text, or to format their code
I have to admit I've been known to answer garlic-y questions during that 6-7 PM hour I never know what to do with.
This room was placed in timeout for 15 seconds; are we talking about off topic, kicking, or something else
There's nothing special about my post-supper, pre-evening-adventure window which should grant me a pass from room rules.
Please let's try to talk about one topic at a time, I'm getting lost.
What is the current topic DSM
I think kicking is somewhat related to over-policing... right
bring us back dsm-kenobi
Good idea, davidism & wim, let's try to take these in order.
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ only the chair can tell
1) What, if anything, should we do about the impression the room is too much a clique?
Regarding off-topic questions: I think we need to add a short paragraph to the rules stating that we chat about all sorts of stuff here, including non-computer topics like food and music, and we even have discussions about non-Python computer stuff, but if you want to ask a programming question in here it should be related to Python. I guess generic, language agnostic questions can be ok too.
@PM2Ring maybe in a minute :-)
@PM2Ring I like that. Let us keep that on the side when it gets to the rules part. That can be a very nice addition to help understanding the rules and feel of the room
change the "rules" to guidelines / etiquette
@PM2Ring That was my impression of the room. If it's not written anywhere, maybe it should.
don't enforce rules that aren't stack exchange rules
within reason
I suspect this comment should be considered for a future meeting. But I think the concept of over policing is determined by what the purpose of the room is. I think that the room's purpose should be well defined and that will guide these discussions more clearly.
the room is currently very unwelcoming to new users
I agree with that to a certain degree TBH ^^
New users enter and chat all the time. They are welcomed. Some users have issues.
@wim I’d like that, and maybe add the word “expectations from users” somewhere to make it clear that this is something which we would like users to follow.
@wim we have plenty of new users here. The room might be unwelcoming to helpless new users.
@wim I don't agree.
> When talking in a room, it's polite to stay roughly on topic for the room, as defined by the room owners. If you find yourself consistently veering into other topics, you should consider taking it to another room.
@wim I want to disagree, we've gotten a few new users who have became regulars
We are friendly and nice, yes.
That's certainly a thing which could be done, refusing to enforce non-SE rules, but I wouldn't be in favour of it. I also think the idea that the room is too big to be split doesn't fit well with the idea that we're not getting new users.
I think as a new user who is a new programmer, it is hard for them to integrate
maybe it is an age thing for them?
@wim I don't know I entirely agree - y'all seemed friendly, helpful, and hospitable (what with all the salad) when I first ventured in here.
the quote above is from chat faq
@wim You have a very biased audience here
By the same argument that DSM made at the beginning of the meeting, chat/text loses information. It is difficult for new users to "see" friendliness.
How important is it to gear the room's atmosphere towards being welcoming to new users?
there are about 400 Python gold badgers
very few of them venture in here
something to think about.
But. A lot of them also maybe are not interested in this type of community integration
@wim no, the room is very unwelcoming to users that don't know about chat netiquette in general; as are all chats. As a regular chat user (SO or not), I had no trouble fitting in.
@wim Is that unusual?
Chat is not the main site. We are allowed to have other rules for our room. We are allowed to enforce them. This is officially stated:
I think it is unusual, yes.
A: A guide to moderating chat

bluefeetWhat tools are available to room owners? Room owners are users that have some elevated permissions in a chatroom. Typically, they will be the first line of defense when it comes to inappropriate content or behavior in a room. Users will look to the room owners to guide the room. The room owners...

I wonder how many gold users doesn't use their chat rooms either :\
@FlorianMargaine I was thinking along those lines.
This is something we could find out.
@FlorianMargaine Yes. This is what I was trying to illustrate too. When I came in as a new user, I followed the chat rules I learned from a young age on how to integrate in to a chat culture
Any objection to making that an action item, to see how different we are or are not?
This is why I think there is a bit of a lack of experience with chat etiquette in general to integrate
@DSM no objection
@wim lol; no. See JS.
@DSM how?
For someone to be so active on SO that they become a trusted user, gold badge, that's a lot of contributions and time to make. And if they don't go into room 6 chat, then they don't see chat as useful/fun or worth contributing to.
@DSM No objections
Is that because of the room culture, or because they don't wish to chat at all?
@wim you assume that they go to chat in general
@MooingRawr: divide.
@wim What do you suggest as making it fun or attractive for more gold badgers
The impression I get is that chat is small. Most users aren't in it. I don't think that's a problem, or related to anything about chat. I think it's a general property of all rooms and what different people do on SO.
@wim if you think that the current room culture is a direct reason for gold badgers to not show up, maybe you have an idea of what should change?
time to bust out the chi^2 tests
I'm all for being welcoming for seasoned users that contribute to the community and know their way around basic netiquitte. But "let's tolerate users that don't know not to post a fortran question in the python room" doesn't seem like it would accomplish that
@wim I disagree. I have met so many gold badge owners who don’t even know about the etiquette on SO, it’s ridiculous (e.g. answering really obvious duplicate questions instead of closing them)
Personally, I think it's more likely they just don't see it as useful enough, given they're probably on work slack, friend slack, etc.
Almost every single person I have spoken to about SO who happen to have a couple thousand rep never knew chat even exists
they are not aware that the SE world even has a chat
I can say that I have seen gold users join the room and welcomed them, and they've said, "yeah, I was curious, I just don't chat much"
this goes beyond room 6
it is an SE problem
@idjaw I guess being more friendly, first and foremost
(on the topic of more chat users)
as I've told, I've met some people who use a) chat, b) have goldish score in and c) refuse to come to room/6 because of second-hand information.
@idjaw Problem or phenomenon?
There is a distinct difference in those who SO for rep and w/e perceived gain they get from it and those who SO to contribute to a community. People in room 6 are much more of the contribute to community type. Lot's of gold-badgers are not
We can have a survey for this. But the trouble might be getting sufficient responses.
What specifically do you not think is friendly?
@wim do you believe that the room is unwelcoming to gold badgers?
In terms of things we can do, I'd be fine with renaming "rules" to "etiquette" but since I don't want to accept the idea that we can't enforce them I think that might be a cheat on my part.
@ArneRecknagel idea how to define it haha
We can say "be more friendly", but that's not really actionable, since from all the messages here it seems like a lot of people already have the impression that we're friendly.
I find it hard to believe that someone with 10k+ rep would be repelled by a set of guidelines
trashing peoples messages and throwing the rule book at them
this doesn't make it impossible, but I find it hard to believe none the less
it's not friendly
Well, one thing I wish we could fix is the large periods of silence on chats daily.
What difference is there between a gold badge or no badge when it comes to a chat room that happens to have its rules ? Reasonable rules, might I add.
I think that the way we address topic-based rules violations for newcomers could be improved. A standard template done via Terry, for example
And that comes around with no one wanting to contribute because nobody wants to step up to interact
@randomhopeful wim's point is whether the room represents the python tag on SO in general (as I understand it)
(making the room feel unwelcome)
@KevinMGranger: that flows into 2) should we revise the way we address OT questions?
I think we've diverged from cliquishness into rule enforcement/topc-ness, is this intentional-- Kevin'd
Devil's advocate: they might not be repelled by the guidelines themselves, but from secondhand stories about how "those guys in the Python room were mean and didn't answer my question [which I will not mention is actually a fortran question]"
I'm not bothered by slow periods in the room.
It's ok if nothing's going on.
Someone always comes in eventually.
I'm now lost
can we bring it together
what are we talking about
@wim Ive been put through that exact thing and no it is not friendly. But IMO Im not sure we can keep chat healthy without doing something along the lines of that.
@AndrasDeak That's [How well it represents the Python tag] open to interpretation. I feel it does, since it focuses on Python related questions.
We're talking about several things simultaneously, more's the pity. Taking the floor back:
@davidism Sure, it isn't bad per se. But I'd imagine it contributes to the "unfriendliness" in the room (what we were discussing upto now)
1) it sounds like we should find out if we are different from other rooms, to see if we're notably turning users off.
ok hold on
reference back to poke
18 mins ago, by poke
Okay, this is the topic I added to the agenda because I have been seeing a pattern over the last few months of increasing policing behavior. Let me say first that I don’t disagree with our rules, they are there for a reason. What I don’t like is that we focus so much on enforcing them instead of just having a happy life here.
that sums it up
2) at least some of us think we should enforce the rules more gently.
What should we do to enforce the rules, but not enforce them too much?
You said not to name names, but there is one room owner in particular who goes overboard with this
Even poke said: they're there for a reason.
I'm often online during the room's quiet times. But if there's no activity I don't bother de-lurking.
yes, as long as they are enforced as "rules" and not "optional guidelines to follow if you don't want to look like a jerk"
I think that sounds reasonable in any individual case but I'm worried how it will work at scale. I think people underestimate how quickly rooms can become nothing more but a stream of Qs.
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ you're saying we should enforce them as rules? I think we already do.
Could we try a short trial period with either relaxed enforcement or changed question-rules?
c# room reminds me of our room, just different regulars and new comers.
the problem is that for this soft rule enforcement to work we'd need reasonable estimates on when and when not to enforce what, which includes every regular
That translates into trusting RO/Mods. I trust all of them. None have shown anything but best intentions. What needs to happen is someone with decent writing skills to drum up some templates that gets general messages across without sounding... mean
@davidism People are suggesting they be renamed to "etiquette" which I was responding to
I think it's a very challenging thing to ask oneself "Would quietly ignoring this guy produce less turmoil than discliplining him?". It's absolutely not an easy question and requires a great deal of intuition
(notes down piRSquared trusts me......laughs maniacally)
I don't really care what they're called, they're still going to be used.
For new users there needs to be an automatic way to send them to the rules page, this would help them understand what they are getting into.
Again, I have no problem calling them "etiquette" but since I think they should be enforced, that feels strange.
@piRSquared I agree. The actions, even though harsh, might seem more user-friendly / less mean.
@wim Defining "overboard", if the policing measure (like moving messages to trash) creates more disturbance instead of lessening it, it is overboard
@Kevin And experience. Sometimes, letting it naturally go is better than confronting as I've seen a couple of times where a person mistakes rule-applying for hostility.
I'm not even really aware, on a day-to-day basis, who the ROs ar . It's only when something gets Rotating Knived that I notice.
@Kevin "they were mean to me by ignoring me" vs "they were mean to me by telling me to read the rules and deleting my question"
@Withnail there is one static list of's a matter of who is around
On that note-- can we just rename the trash room? That reduces the "meanness". I know the chat FAQ calls them trash rooms but we can be better than that
I think you can see the current list...hold on
@randomhopeful but this goes back to Poke's original point, let it go and slide unless they cause an issue through spamming their question
@Withnail ^^
Stop bikeshedding names. They're going to be interpreted by each individual no matter what they're called.
^^ rephrased, to be clearer what I meant. It's not something I notice / think about much, as a joe-schlub-user.
IMO, the rules need to be actual rules, not just guidelines. But I guess it would feel more welcoming if we change the page title so it says "Rules and Etiquette".
A snippet from the RO that moves the post to trash on why that specific post was moved may help. As long as the tone in the reason is somewhat friendly.
@MooingRawr That's why it's fortunate* that Mods are human beings and not rigid bots.
Okay, everybody pause for a second, so I can write a potential close.
even just being more polite about it
pause game
the language used when trashing a users message is often brusque and rude
your opinions are important to us...please hold...a DSM will be with you shortly
I don't think you know what "pause" means.
life is a video game don't take this away from me
oh, sorry <paused>
disconnects player 2....
How about for now 1) we check the stats to see if we're different, 2) we look into renaming the rules and the knives room (it's funny but not worth the trouble), and 3) we see what we can do to make trashing -- when necessary, and sometimes I insist it is -- somewhat gentler.
4 mins ago, by piRSquared
That translates into trusting RO/Mods. I trust all of them. None have shown anything but best intentions. What needs to happen is someone with decent writing skills to drum up some templates that gets general messages across without sounding... mean
sounds good
coming up with standard ways to communicate the rules and actions is good
Sounds like a good path to take @DSM
what kind of stats?
where can we see the stats?
it's Data Science, probably
2) I thought it was funny and liked the name. I don't mind if the name changes but I don't believe rules (and names) should cater to people's insecurities (As in unable to take a joke).
looking at % of JS gold badgers in the JS room etc
Random question, but do new users get linked to the rules page when they first join a room?
(I mean the rules page on the sopython site)
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ Not automatically.
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ random questions go after the meeting:P They don't
I dont believe so, but that would help out.
They don't, it's a feature we asked for but SO doesn't really add features to chat.
We are rapidly running out of time, so I'm going to move to the last few items quickly.
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ no
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ I had the chance of being groomed by @PM2Ring
4) Image policy. Do we care?
Okay, thanks.
Images: I feel like it's less of a problem than it used to be
I want to say "I don't" but some people will eventually post something completely off-topic and uncalled-for thing
Users can use browser plugins to control what they do/don't want to see
(if one viewed it as a problem at all)
I usually have chat open in a window that I can see all the time. Really active animations are distracting.
as in "oh look at this meme I just found"
I really dont see images too often.
@DSM IMO It's not enough of a problem to warrant discussion. If the GIF is annoying, please trash/delete after a few seconds.
@davidism second this
And "toggle animated gifs" no longer works in Firefox.
I use the dark theme rlemon created which has a great folding feature so I hide things
I've probably embedded more gifs than any other single person, and will happily change my ways if the community so desires
I like gifs
I wish people didn't post ones which annoyed me, but I don't want to lose Kevin's pacman-eating-stars ones.
We should adopt rlemon's theme as the official theme of room 6 lol
changing oneboxed gifs to un-oneboxed links after a minute?
I am no to annoying animated gifs. I like to keep the chat open. I don't mind static images
"Embed, wait twenty seconds, then hotlink" is a policy I attempt to follow personally although sometimes I screw up the timing and miss the edit window
@AndrasDeak the chance of getting new features into chat is slim to none
I'm generally at work when I have this chat in the back ground and I wouldn't care for an active gif catching my eye, should I can get a plug in to stop them, but eh, why not add it as a link to the gif instead?
Unfortunately there's no "only let cool gifs through" userscript. Kindly get on that, @Kevin.
@wim I meant on the user side, out of courtesy to the readers
We could even have Rabbit detect and remind / ask users to do so
"when posting gifs please try to be considerate of others and don't post anything annoying, and edit the link after a minute to remove the one-box"
I think common sense should play a major role in a room like this one. Zingers and ongoing discussion related media should be tolerated.
If there's a userscript that stops animation or collapses gifs, I will instantly not care about distracting gifs.
this is a non-issue imo. there are browser plugin for this. don't make your problem everyone's problem.
No way I'm going to remember to edit every gif I post to a hotlink after some time limit
If we want more people (including gold badgers) to visit this room we can invite them via comments. I do that from time to time when I see newish people who look competent and look like they have a positive attitude to the community. They often come & take a look, but they don't tend to hang around long term. But that's ok, not everyone' into participating in chat rooms.
@excaza I guess
Okay, it sounds like there's definitely no strong enough opinion to change room policy which allows the gifs.
If someone fails to perceive the nuances, I fail to see how efficient it can be dealt with.
@KevinMGranger yeah, I'm following a github issues for it
there are no browser plugins for mobile chat say :F
Any other business: any other business?
I'm more annoyed with newcomers posting multiple out-of-context images than with gifs (doesn't happen often)
choosing new ROs
Just to close out the gif thing.
@PM2Ring Well put.
We did add this to the rules: "Inlined links, images, and animations may be removed if they are too big or distracting. Use them sparingly."
@AndrasDeak RO can trash those
fair enough :)
@davidism good
OK. Let's move forward
We hit the 60 minute mark and I think we still have topics and I'm hungry and might eat a finger
Since we're now officially over-time (although not by too much) let's try to keep this quick and restricted to actionable things.
@davidism Can ROs/Mods change the images to links? That would seem to be a more diplomatic solution, albeit more work.
@toonarmycaptain only mods but that's not feasible
@toonarmycaptain no. but they can make the link in their own name
How do you choose new ROs? Are they just chosen by existing ROs?
I think I once made a post on Meta regarding our RO-choosing process. I will go look.
Although "just" seems a little simplistic.
I think this is a problem because it creates a monoculture, and you will only choose people who agree with you already
@wim this ties in with the "how many rooms?" topic
A collection of ROs who don't agree on most (though not all) actions makes no sense.
you do want a consistent culture in a room
It wouldn't work if I'd ban someone for a comment that davidism would star.
Nothing's preventing you from recommending someone for a RO position though
You may find this hard to believe, but we argue and discuss things fairly regularly. We are not all the same person.
@wim I believe you're not assuming enough good faith in the people here. If existing ROs chose incompetent ROs, it would show up pretty quickly.
How about a collection of RO who all agree on something that turned out to be not a good thing
That's certainly possible, but there's nothing particular about ROs there.
That's what these meetings are for. We take feedback seriously. That doesn't mean that all feedback will result in massive changes.
@wim If there's a better method that is to rigging, let's hear it.
Here's what I propose
@randomhopeful I don't think it's necessarily bad-faith to assume that like-minded room-owners will bias the culture of the room
the question is how you assess that bias
Of course ROs have disagreements. But we certainly don't fight with each other in the room, or not act with a united front, that would be lame.
I think it's both (1) inescapable, and (2) a good thing, so I'm not bothered by the claim.
I do wonder if our current system of "continue accumulating ROs once every 6 months or so, forever" is the best possible system.
if a user has Trusted Member privelege on stack and a Python gold badge, make them a RO. If they are trusted to make important decisions wisely on the main site (e.g. delete votes, closing, etc) they should be trusted in chat as well.
chat is not main, not even close
If anyone misbehaves, it is easy for you to revoke this
We also discussed this previously, I think it's in the transcripts.
Imagine in real life if every election you appointed a new president/PM/whatever, and they had to share an office with every living previous president/PM/whatever. Actually, that would make for a pretty funny sitcom. brb calling TBS
While I agree that's actionable, in that it's something we could do, I don't think it's very practical.
Any fgitwer with a gold badge can become RO then
@Kevin: I agree our current approach is kind of handwavy. It works in practice but makes no sense in theory.
I am strongly against tying it to gold badges.
Something does not seem right about providing that privilege so openly like that. The control around RO is not like SO moderator. You can easily just have people deciding to rage quit and remove people as ROs
just because
@wim But why? Do you think we don't have enough ROs? Do we need more of them?
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ yep
@AndrasDeak I thought @wim was hinting towards a self-promoting clique regardless of competence. As for the like-mindedness, it is as normal of a thing as it is irrelevant since the tasks of ROs seem pretty clear to me and the premise of the room is evident.
and that's not a bad thing
@wim I strongly disagree with you on that
You'll have a hard time convincing the existing ROs that it isn't :)
I fear for those who spam answers at the wee early hours that could be dup close just to gain RO access to a chat room, only to be removed x months later due to y reason; seems kinda redundant.
If you are a gold badger, you might want to hang out in the room for a while at least before asking to become a RO
@AshishNitinPatil I concur
I tihnk differing opinions here come down to a disgreement about what this room is / is supposed to be:
I'd be okay with someone setting up an "official" Python room and giving all gold badgers ROship, but I don't think it makes sense in a room like this.
So, how do you choose a new RO?
@KevinMGranger yup
Exactly. People think this is the official python room
And the fact that we call ourselves "sopython" doesn't help
Would you choose me, knowing that I don't fit in your "clique"?
Most users aren't even in the room. Why would we make them ROs?
@wim: see Kevin's link.
I don't completely hate the idea of merit-based RO-ness, but I've seen enough questionable gold badgers to know that the hurdle should be higher than that
How about "and have been active in chat for over a year"
you can see this in the chat search history very easily
There was once a room owner whose candidacy I had doubts about not because he wasn't qualified but because I didn't know if he could set his own.. peculiarities.. aside enough to be a good RO.
"...and in good standing with the chat community"
It worked out fine, but I don't think I was wrong to wonder about it.
@Kevin And different than that. There exist non-gold-badgers I trust with RO
for these special cases, you can revoke them
Define active.
Can you revoke them easily, or is there the risk of that RO de-RO-ing every other one?
@wim I think the "you can revoke" part is what we would like to avoid in the first place.
@KevinMGranger there is a risk but there are plenty of mods here
Don't think ROship is that big a deal
@KevinMGranger I think the chance of that happening is slim to none, and Martijn or some other site mod would sort that out if it ever occurred
And yes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.
To be fair, we have enough influence that we could get it resolved -- ahh, Kevin'd by wim.
but evil ROs could, say, erase all the stars or do something else which is harder to reverse
I don't think it's fair to push responsibility on to someone who isn't present to accept/reject them..
@wim However to many new RO's could begin to over rule the culture of the chatroom. It happens in Fraternities when you take a large pledge class. They soon become the majority and can make all the decisions
@wim If I may ask. Were you an RO here, how would you change things? Also, do you feel there isn't enough already to tend to this room?
@MooingRawr they already accepted responsibility by becoming a mod
@wim: we have had mods go dark in the past under unusual circumstances. Not destructively so, but surprisingly so.
There's also a split mindset right here: We're discussing ROs as enforcers and ROs as culture promoters
@randomhopeful I want to reduce the monoculture of the room
@KevinMGranger I don't think that's split
you enforce based on the culture
WITHOUT splitting the room
@wim is being a mod on SO also entailing, being a ref to chat rooms ? (genuine question)
@wim how would that work? If one of the current ROs kick someone where you disagree, you invite them back? Or when their messages are trashed, would you reverse that?
@AndrasDeak and I'd be willing to bet that some folks in here think that the culture is mainly dirven by enforcement
I don't care much about the alleged monoculture, though, because I don't see that as a problem. Every small group develops its own customs, that's simply what having groups of friends is like.
44 mins ago, by davidism
The room is constantly evolving, it's just a slow process. If you want things to be better, then influence that through your interactions in a positive way.
@wim Do you think of tangible occurrences of harmful monoculture that you may tell us about?
^ that comes back to the whole positive reinforcement thing from before. What proactive actions can we take instead of reactive?
I'm going to close the meeting in five minutes, so let's address @KevinMGranger's question with our remaining time. What can we do?
@wim based on a looser system of providing ROship, what provisions do you see to help protect any "loose canons" from just causing chaos
I see this as leading to a broken system
and unfortunately the SE-chat tech is &^%$ to help provide "nice" controls on this
Positive reinforcement is a good place to start I think
21 mins ago, by DSM
How about for now 1) we check the stats to see if we're different, 2) we look into renaming the rules and the knives room (it's funny but not worth the trouble), and 3) we see what we can do to make trashing -- when necessary, and sometimes I insist it is -- somewhat gentler.
This (especially 2, 3)
@DSM I think standardised polite response templates would be a great start
@AshishNitinPatil I agree as well.
I thought group participation in Advent of Code was fun. More things like that in which we can broaden inclusion would be a proactive measure.
I agree.
I'd love to have more shared events like Advent of Code.
I've been thinking of adding highlighted links to the sopython rules wiki, so that you could just point there (to be specific).
We did cryptopals for a while, it just takes someone to keep it going.
Could taking users into a private room be a better tactic rather than public chastisement/discussions?
^ please
can we dynamically add something to the agenda I think is very important to culture
I found cryptopals too non-entertaining as a layman
it was just mentioned and we should make it a thing.
more AoC type events
So, you could either just drop links to that, e.g. #be-nice or paste the apt. standard template response
@davidism +1
However, it's hard for people to notice they've been added to a private room. Also that's reactive, not proactive
we should actively look for fun stuff to do to liven the community here
RO should act upon the guidelines or rules or whatever you want to call them, not just on their own opinions or things that annoy them / disagreeable to them.
" - Contribute to sopython-site on GitHub" is sort of a "let's do this community thing" thing already, we just cut it from the agenda for time :-P
there are ongoing code challenge "stuffs" on the internetsss. We can find fun events to do these puzzles
That would be fun! @idjaw
@cᴏʟᴅsᴘᴇᴇᴅ I always thought The rotating knives name was pretty cool. I fail to see how it really can offend people. Especially when it doesn't discriminate. (I've seen a couple of ROs have their lines moved there).
@idjaw paddlin' is only fun when you are in a boat. :D
The first part-- Python Trash-- is the issue. I think we can let the RO's take care of figuring that out / deciding that
@randomhopeful it's probably the "Python Trash" part that offends
also cbg all
@randomhopeful Nothing wrong with the "Rotating Knives". It's the "Python Trash" that comes before it. Edit -- kevin'd :(
@KevinMGranger That's fair, I'm just personally feeling that someone PMing me that I'm coming across as a jerk, is better than that communicated less directly (or worse, directly) publically. shrug
I think these events would also help get new users as we can advertise it as an opportunity to learn. I know I would jump on board with something like that.
We could even try facilitating events specifically for new programmers
@randomhopeful Me too. Arbitrary deletion without warning/explanation seems very dictatorial/heavyhanded, however.
@toonarmycaptain I can't recall times when the messages were trashed before feedback and/or several warnings were given
@KevinMGranger Thats kind of what I was thinking. We need away to get new users informed of the event however.
Do we really want to go out of our way to get a lot of new users? That's a long way from "not scare them away"
We almost never (I say "almost" because I can't be 100% sure) trash without explanation.
Yeah, that's the problem. There's no real way to advertise
@AndrasDeak Agreed. I think we're getting carried away now.
I think we've had "let's organize a fun room event!" as an item in previous room meetings, and we just haven't been able to coordinate anything over the years. I fear this may say something about our organizational abilities ;-)
@tzaman I see. Alright, then. I still find it silly that people take it personally, but it's just a name. In the Python's spirit, let it mutate.
@KevinMGranger other than getting the main site onboard to help.
DSM. Bring it together for the final push. 😀
I think we're near the end now.
Where's that novelty gavel?
My one note on the events/AoC etc is that it's hard to find something that fits all skill levels, and some things quickly go well beyond what some (and we want new users, right?) are able to participate in.
The one that squeaks?
@toonarmycaptain I disagree with the heavy-handed aspect. But okay.
I'm going to bring the Winter 2018 = 2018 Q1 meeting to a close, and I'd like to thank everyone for their participation. (I'm also going to say some followup things, so please give me the floor for a second. :-)
@davidism oh... the squeaky one that looked slightly like a toy bone... well yeah... I ummm.... errr.... don't know - haven't seen it in a while... does puppy dog eyes...
@randomhopeful Not saying all the time, and I've had this discussion before, I'm just talking about how it can come across, especially for new room users.
@toonarmycaptain We'll put a pin on that and resume talking about it gladly a bit later. (:
This room was placed in timeout for 1 minute; pause for DSM to write
Wow, power!
Thanks again to everyone!

As in any group of people, we have opinions which vary, and I hope that everyone feels like they got an opportunity to be heard, even if the motion to ban bespoke didn't carry (or your preferred equivalent). I'm going to write a summary of what was discussed and follow-up actions and add it to the transcript page on the site.
We'll also open up the agenda for the next meeting, which as always can be edited by any user with >= 100 rep.
Yeah... so thanks chat notification system for reminding me at 1pm about a "meeting soon" and then not bothering again... :*(
Most of the time that stuff is moved to the Rotating Knives it's because it's a big slab of unindented code. I guess that some people may feel punished when that happens to them, so rather than telling them the their stuff got moved because they broke the rules, we should explain that we like our Python to be properly indented, and tell them to check Kevin's formatting guide if they need help.
I didn't even know I could do that.
that's ok @JonClements you can just rage and kick everyone out of the room and ban us all. 😛
and eat all my cookies too
@DSM Wisely bespoken ;)
Thanks @DSM for chairing the meeting.
@DSM room timeouts stop everyone apart from ROs talking :)
The puppy does have a higher grade of power..
@idjaw oh so he can take your food but I can't ? RO abuse /s
he's the ninja pup!
do you not understand his power?
I didn't want to bikeshed again, but if the trash room keeps the old name, perhaps linking the appropriate Monty Python sketch might clarify the choice of name
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