I wondered, why Jolla (apparently represented by @vige for this topic: Jolla’s Discourse forum at forum.sailfishos.org (“FSO”)) exhibits the same pattern of reaction to every functional or behavioural flaw (i.e., bugs etc.) denoted by community members: Surprise / cluelessness (e.g., , ), followed by an explanation why this is likely intended or does not really matter (sometimes also describing workarounds).
AFAICS the reaction never was, “we will report this upstream” or re-configure Jolla’s Discourse instance in an appropriate way, although such reactions would be what I expect from a company with many IT engineers (who should be capable of doing so) primarily dealing with FLOSS, plus that Jolla stated repeatedly that this forum is their central, valued communication platform with “the community”. But obviously Jolla deliberately runs their Discourse instance without know-how (i.e., how it is configured and behaves) and technical maintenance (e.g., adapting problematic configuration, reporting bugs upstream etc.).
Because I perceive this apparent lack of interest in actively taking care about any aspect of this forum software and its configuration as more than awkward, rather disturbing, I pondered about and researched why this might be the case.
The first hint was that Jolla’s “Forum FAQ” is simply a copy of the Discourse’s FAQ.
Then I discovered that Discourse specifically promises / encourages that “zero admin” approach:
I also realised that while Discourse is FLOSS, it is also offered as a service (starting at $ 100 / month). So I took a look and “Bingo!”, its real address is at sailfishos.discoursehosting.net (126.96.36.199)!
O.K., now I understand that Jolla bought this Discourse instance with the expectation of not having to deal with its administration and moderation, simply to skim the bug reports which seem to be relevant for their customer(s).
Furthermore that “zero admin” approach the creators of Discourse are proud of is based on deploying a sophisticated set of socially steering and shaping algorithms.
They are calling this “We’re civilized.” and “Civilized discussion for your community”, but long before Discourse was invented, it was discovered that one cannot solve social issues by technical means (without resorting to oppression etc.: This quickly becomes machine-induced totalitarianism, i.e., rather the downfall of civilisation).
When one asks oneself which rules are to be obeyed, the creators of Discourse clearly state “These are not concrete terms with precise definitions; avoid even the appearance of any of these things. (!)”. Thus there deliberately are no rules, no terms and no definitions of what is allowed and what not, there is also no arbitration process (because no arbitration instance is named), it is all in a flux and “anything goes” at the mercy of anonymous flaggers.
All in all, former statements which denoted that some people are playing “forum police” to censor turned out to be way too soft: Discourse’s default socially steering algorithms encourage people to assume a “secret opinion and expression police” role at their discretion and with arbitrary criteria (or none at all) to suppress and eradicate any statement they do not like. And this is exactly what can be observed at FSO, recently.
@vige, please realise that this is a recipe for driving things downhill quickly and either ending up in hell (i.e., a defunct forum due to “flagging wars”) or in a pink heaven, where everyone critical has been silenced and only Yes-sayers stay. But IMO the Yes-sayers are not your most valuable forum members, rather the critical ones are, who are willing to clearly point out flaws, bugs etc., even if they are sometimes harder to bear.
Even more importantly the Discourse’s default socially steering and shaping algorithms create a climate, which lacks any tolerance towards different opinions, ways of expression etc. (by suppressing them) and is reigned by oppression.
It is “normal” for a forum thread to have 30 - 50 % only loosely related (i.e., more or less “off topic”) messages, almost all threads here at FSO do and this never has been an problem, but the censoring tool “flagging” is becoming one. Forum users are used to a certain amount of background noise, and many do understand when a sub-thread went too far astray, it just takes a while for some to realise; actually AFAIR the first heavily censored thread did show this, until people became angered by the censoring.
It is interesting to observe that aspects as tolerance, providing leeway to others, diversity in manners etc. are never mentioned in this thread and the documentation the creators of Discourse have amassed.
It is all about “crowd control” (EU administration’s speak), conforming to unwritten or fuzzy rules, suppression of divergence, creation of a “clean and safe” (attention: New speak) environment (while this world is mean and bad to the bone) etc.