Pub/user/woozle/2018/04/07/sketching a code

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Words have consequences.
All accusations should be taken seriously.
No accusation should be accepted as truth unless the evidence supports it.
Both accusers and accused may need some protection.
A lie often contains just enough truth to make it plausible.

Public Intervention Process[1]

Other instances may adopt this, modify it, or ignore it completely; I'm content to let the marketplace of kindness[2] decide whether such a thing is necessary or not, and to let the process of considered discussion refine it as needed – but tentatively, here's the way I think it should work for

If you have a grievance against another user[3] and would like me (as sysop of this instance) to do something about it:

  1. "@" me ( with a public[4] toot stating the nature of the problem and that you are requesting an Intervention.
    • The primary types of problem I expect to be addressing are: (a) someone has abused you, or (b) someone has falsely accused you of abuse – but others may emerge.
  2. This means I have your permission to investigate the situation and publicly post my findings on Mew (this wiki).
    • I will probably need to ask a lot of nosy questions, both to you and the other parties involved. Let me know if you anticipate any problems with this.
    • These discussions should take place on Mastodon[5] so as to be part of the public record, though I can make exceptions if there's a good reason.
  3. Once I have investigated sufficiently to satisfy my standards of evidence, I will post a preliminary determination for public feedback.
  4. Anyone may state objections to this conclusion at any time, and I will either answer them or reconsider my conclusion, possibly re-opening the investigation.
  5. Anyone may choose to go on record as supporting or opposing the conclusion. I will make these part of the public record to the best of my ability.
    • Please note that opposition is not the same as stating an objection. I won't reconsider just because you oppose; you need to make an argument for why it is wrong.

Please note that this is a good-faith process – i.e. one that depends on all participants being honest about their beliefs and intentions – and I will deal firmly with anyone I find to be acting otherwise. I have over a decade of experience spotting manipulation and evasion in online arguments.


  1. It seems entirely appropriate that this abbreviates to PIP, which is also the name of our very messed-up cat (Mastodon, HypertWiki), since it is only invoked when a situation has become very messed-up. It is my hope that this process will soon become informally known as "requesting a Pip".
  2. This is a reference to the semi-capitalistic "marketplace of ideas" concept, with an ironic twist since capitalists don't seem to place much (if any) value on kindness (so their marketplaces tend to squash it out of existence) and since most Mastodonians are staunchly anti-marketist. That said, the idea of having numerous instances among which users may freely choose to invest various amounts of their time and energy actually is a kind of marketplace that's totally compatible with anarcho-capitalism – except I think we'd all tend to agree that basically having one person who gets to decide pretty much everything about how the system works is kind of iffy.
  3. This applies whether or not either user is on, though obviously my actions will be more effective if one or the other is.
  4. You could also approach me privately (DM or whatever) to discuss it before stating it publicly, or you might need me to try to keep your name out of the public process. I'm willing to consider intervening less publicly, but I suspect it will severely limit any good I might be able to do; if this emerges as a frequent need, I'll probably need to write up a separate process for dealing with it.
  5. Tentatively, this should be public but "unlisted" or "followers only". I may need to set up a dedicated investigation account so people can decide whether they want the investigation in their streams or not.