[theme-reviewers] Censorship must not be tolerated
darrenslatten at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 21:54:11 UTC 2011
Two of the people entrusted with the responsibility of moderating this
mailing list...apparently believe:
1. A unique opinion is inherently invalid. The value of an idea is
directly proportional to the size of the mob that follows it. Innovation is
a distraction. 
2. It is acceptable to prevent this mailing list's subscribers from
engaging in any discussion that they (the administrators) personally believe
is useless, is unlikely to be resolved, or falls outside the scope of [their
definition of] WordPress theme "territory." 
These attitudes conflict with everything open source stands for, and they
are a threat to the fundamental rights and freedoms that WordPress is
Edward and Chip, I sincerely hope that your responses were fueled in part by
your selfish desires to "put me in my place." Because if you *truly* believe
that open discussions must meet your *personal* criteria in order to avoid
being terminated, then this entire mailing list is nothing but a cancerous
blemish in the WordPress community.
Chip, virtually every response you've written in these last 2 threads has
contained flawed reasoning or provably-false statements. And each time, I
have corrected you. It is understandable that you have feelings of
resentment towards me. But if all it takes is one stubborn smartass
disagreeing with you...to completely break you--and by that I mean:
frustrate you to a point where you basically plug your ears and go "la la la
la la la la la..."--then honestly, do you really think you're the best
candidate for the position you're in? With respect to the millions of
WordPress users around the World, do you think it's better to provide themes
that were created based on principles derived from logic and facts...or
themes that were created based on how Chip Bennett was feeling that day?
Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means volunteering for your position nor
implying I could do any better. I'm only mentioning this because I think *
you* can do better. Step 1 is to stop taking things so personally.
That being said, I'd now like to discuss why--in your newest
response--you're wrong. So wrong in fact, you nearly proved yourself wrong.
First you say:
*The purpose of this mailing list is for discussion of review of Themes
> submitted for inclusion in the WordPress Theme Repository.
Then you say:
*When [endless] discussion and debate begin to detract from the purpose of
> the mail list, then they are no longer encouraged.
Do you see how *that doesn't make sense*?
The purpose of this mailing list is to allow discussions...but we do not
allow discussions that detract from allowing discussions?
This isn't the WPTRT's personal think tank--it's a mailing list for
discussions about the theme review process. Nobody owes you anything. The
previous thread made it pretty clear that, hell, no one is even obligated to
follow the basic principles of logic--true equals false, as long as the
majority says so!
The point is...WordPress provided a venue for theme reviewers and theme
developers to discuss theme review-related topics, that is exactly what was
happening in the previous thread, and you took it upon yourself to shut it
down. That was a wrong decision and you were wrong for making that decision.
No matter how many people agree with your decision...no matter how
obnoxious, annoying, or arrogant Darren Slatten was acting at the
time...regardless of whether or not the discussion was useful to you or
seemed likely to become useful...you still made the wrong decision, and as a
consequence, the mailing list failed and its subscribers were denied of the
fundamental rights you were supposed to be protecting.
Mailing list admins,
If you don't want feedback from theme developers...don't invite them into an
If you don't allow feedback unless it makes Chip, Otto, and Andrew feel good
about themselves...then post that rule where everyone will see it.
If participants are expected to know the names, email addresses, and
contribution history of everyone who has contributed to WordPress...then
distill that information, post it somewhere, and tell us to read it.
If you want discussions to focus on "who agrees" instead of "what makes
sense"...then don't publish mailing list etiquette guidelines that include
"Discuss ideas, not people." 
According to the information that's been published on official WordPress
channels, this mailing list failed. This failure wasted everyone's time and
caused a lot of frustration. I'd like to help prevent a similar failure from
happening again. However, if the administrators of this mailing list are *not
willing* to operate in the spirit of WordPress's community-driven,
open-source philosophies, then I propose that it be removed from the WP
mailing lists and resume its operations under private management.
 *"Simply put, it was your opinion against all others, and you were not
gaining any ground in converting anyone to your ideal.**"
 *"This specific instance did not involve lively debate and heated
discussion; rather, it was comprised of one person arguing a point to which
every other single voice involved in the thread disagreed.**"*
 *"...relevance is subjective; all other issues are more or less
understood as just cause to discontinue a thread.**"*
 *"If a conversation reaches a point of futility there is no purpose;
if there is no purpose there is no justification; if there is no
justification why should it continue?"*
 *"Should one person be permitted to terminate or prevent an irrelevant
discussion on the mailing list, of course they should.**"*
 *"...endless discussion and debate are not welcomed or encouraged.**"*
 *"Ending a discussion that has run its course of usefulness is not
On Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 9:05 AM, Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net> wrote:
> The purpose of this mailing list is for discussion of review of Themes
> submitted for inclusion in the WordPress Theme Repository. It is primarily
> intended for developers who are submitting Themes, and for volunteers who
> are reviewing Themes - although it is also intended to solicit input from
> other experts in the WordPress/Theme community.
> Lively discussion and heated debate are welcomed and encouraged; however,
> endless discussion and debate are not welcomed or encouraged. When such
> discussion and debate begin to detract from the purpose of the mail list,
> then they are no longer encouraged. This specific instance did not involve
> lively debate and heated discussion; rather, it was comprised of one person
> arguing a point to which every other single voice involved in the thread
> *So, yes: I absolutely disagree with your statement.* This mail list is
> not for general, Theme-related chatter. It does not exist to provide a
> sounding board for endless ranting. Ending a discussion that has run its
> course of usefulness is not censorship. (Your words on the mail list still
> exist in perpetuity; and you are always free - *in your own venue* - to
> continue expressing those words.)
> Bear in mind: the WPTRT has a task to perform, and the performance of that
> task does require making decisions regarding competing ideas - ideas with
> which not everyone will always agree. One of WordPress' guiding philosophies
> is instructive here: *Decisions, Not Options*. At some point, discussion
> of a decision becomes a distraction, and a detraction, and for the good of
> the project, it is better to make a decision and to move forward.
> We had clearly reached that point in your discussion.
> On Sun, Jul 3, 2011 at 9:40 PM, Darren Slatten <darrenslatten at gmail.com>wrote:
>> In my opinion, the discussion about output buffering that ended earlier
>> today was a complete failure on many levels. I personally spent many hours
>> responding to that discussion thread, and ultimately, I believe it was
>> terminated prematurely simply because a couple of individuals were extremely
>> frustrated with it.
>> I too was extremely frustrated with the apparent lack of progression, and
>> even more frustrated with the official outcome, but in my opinion, "pulling
>> rank" to stamp out a heated and lively debate...is *absolutely
>> unacceptable*. This type of censorship should not be tolerated in any
>> open-source project or community, and certainly not in a WordPress mailing
>> list, whose *defining purpose* is to facilitate exactly these kinds of
>> I'd like to contribute some ideas on how we can avoid similar failures in
>> the future, but first I think it's important to establish whether or not
>> everyone agrees that this is a problem. So my question is:
>> Should it be okay for some individuals to prevent everyone else from
>> engaging in certain discussions* on this mailing list?
>> *assuming the discussion is relevant, appropriate, not abusive, not
>> illegal, etc.
>> Some people mentioned in the output buffering discussion that my
>> stance/arguments are difficult to recognize, so I'll emphasize my point
>> *No one should be permitted to terminate or prevent a relevant discussion
>> on this mailing list, unless there is sufficient evidence to show that doing
>> so is necessary to protect the rights, freedoms, and/or safety of the
>> WordPress community at large, or doing so is required by law.*
>> Does anyone disagree with that statement?
>> Darren Slatten
>> theme-reviewers mailing list
>> theme-reviewers at lists.wordpress.org
> theme-reviewers mailing list
> theme-reviewers at lists.wordpress.org
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