Mayan community

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happyquark
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:21 pm

Mayan community

Post by happyquark »

Howdy! I've been using and following Mayan DMS for several months. Recently I'm seeing an increase in SPAM, and in distasteful behavior on the forum and GitLab from what appear to be trolls but also legitimate users.

It is a bit off-putting to say the least and if I'm thinking that others might be thinking so too. I think this might limit the reception and affect the long term acceptance of this incredible software. I've read that the creator of Mayan is opposed to codes of conduct but in my opinion the software might benefit from some simple rules or basic guidelines regarding the expected behavior of participants.

Please don't confuse this with displeasure with the software or team, they are doing and incredible job. Mayan's weak point is not the team but some elements of the community.

Just my $0.02 cents.

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rosarior
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Re: Mayan community

Post by rosarior »

Hi,

thanks for the feedback.

Posts like this are considered off topic, but with the increased levels of tension caused by the global health emergency and global quarantines it is something more people might be thinking about and not mentioning, so it merits a response.

Mayan has been going strong for 9 years now. Spam, trolls and undesirable behavior have always been there. It is part of the internet and human nature. Luckily the community behavior is admirable and what you might be seeing is just what escapes us for some time before we are able to take action.

You are correct, I'm opposed to codes of conduct. I tried my hand at creating one that focused on technical merit and not social points. That document alone caused me to be permanently banned from events, organizations, and platforms. Codes of conduct are very polarizing and end up having detrimental effects regardless of their initial intentions.

The lesson learned from all that was, that it is impossible to come up with a code of conduct that everybody (or even the majority) will see as fair and accept to abide to.

We do have guidelines and suggestions to help us help users. These are found in the FAQ and the contributor guidelines. If you read them carefully, you'll see they regulate technical aspects and not social behavior.

The internet, forums, and social media are not new technologies, anybody that needs a set of written rules on how to behave in a social setting should not be participating.

If I had to summarize our internal guidelines for behavior, it would be, "be civil". People that don't know or don't want to follow that, will have and cause problems not just on the internet but every aspect of their lives and that is something a code of conduct will not (and should not try to) solve.
On the very rare occasions we notice disruptive behavior that shows no sign of improvement, we do in effect contain it. As you mention, we do also see it as off putting to others and if left unattended, would be like a cancer and becomes the new baseline behavior of the project.

How to we dealt with behavior? Positive reinforcement first. We take many steps to promote constructive behavior. As one example, we go the extra mile to help users (paying or otherwise) that in turn have put the time to help the project and/or other users.

On the flip side, disruptive behavior is pretty much all the time organically ignored the community itself. The Mayan community does a very good job of regulating itself.

It is on very rare occasions that behavior becomes disruptive and results in banning or reporting users to a platform.

Behavior is a minor aspect, spam and trolls are another topic and one that requires more energy.

Mayan has been under a social media and negative SEO attacks for several years now by companies, projects, and certain individuals with economic means.

Examples we encounter daily:

- Click farms that work around our anti-spam and anti-bots measures. They register fake users that then post damaging content and issue a search engine indexing to lower our scoring.
- Another example are fake reviews: Posts reviewing Mayan and giving it a low score on aspects that are clearly false (it is full of bugs, destroy documents) or about missing features it clearly has. Again, once posted they issue a search engine indexing and those reviews score higher than real content for a brief time while we issue corrections.

These two examples work for some time and the spam will rank higher than actual home page links in places like Google sometimes due to their slow update nature. Once we identify the origin and take corrective measure, so far all search engines eventually come around and fix their scores for our content.

We've known those tactics (and others) and have been correcting them for about 5 years now.

We set aside from half an hour to an hour a day on social maintenance, delete fake accounts, ban spam email, disavow links, follow up on payment processor and hosting complaints against us, monitor the SEO of the web site, etc. It has actually gone down since we upgraded to the new version of re-captcha, but at its peak during last year, we were deleting and banning about 15 fake accounts and disavowing 30 fake links per day. Our current disavow file is 1,200 domains long.

We also learned from bans of our content not to rely completely on hosted services (free or paid). This is why now, almost every aspect of the project is either self-hosted, or has a self hosting backup in case there are more bans. An example of that is our recent suspension from Twitter and SurveyMonkey for no apparent reason. The Twitter account was used only to post new version release announcements. We managed to reverse the Twitter suspension but we are now updating our mailing list pipeline to be self hosted and we will using it more for announcements instead of using social media. Our announcements will be done in the documentation, the forum and the mailing list. Existing mailing list subscribers have been migrated and the website updated to use our new mailing list address: https://list.mayan-edms.com/lists/

The Mayan EDMS community is like an iceberg, you might be seeing minor bad examples, but if you examine it closely, it is one of the best behaved and professional ones in the current free and open source scene. Compare it to the infighting and personal attacks you see on GitHub tickets, Reddit discussions or social media sites like Twitter and you will see the difference. Mayan EDMS is a mature project, nine years strong, and so is its community.

gtrot
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Re: Mayan community

Post by gtrot »

Thank you for taking the time to explain it.
The internet, forums, and social media are not new technologies, anybody that needs a set of written rules on how to behave in a social setting should not be participating.
I agree!

Guillaume

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rssfed23
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Re: Mayan community

Post by rssfed23 »

I also wanted to add from my perspective, traditionally I was dealing with processing a lot of the forum spam/banning spambots and trolls etc, but since the COVID-19 outbreak, I've been dedicating 120% of the time supporting the villages in which I live (running our Call Centre for help requests, managing that team and setting up a LOT of IT infrastructure to handle requests for prescriptions/deliveries/shopping etc). This has to take priority for me at the moment over both my full time paid job and doing community management here (as our neighbours are suffering and dying), which is why some of the spam isn't getting binned as quickly as in the past. It'll improve in time once all this is running like clockwork.
Please bear with us during the current global situation. The team all have families and local communities to look after as well as the community here. Responses may be delayed during this time, but rest assured we will get to your query eventually.

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