Feedback Needed: System Crafters Community Guidelines

Hey Crafters!

We’re in the fortunate position to have a growing community so it seems like an appropriate time to define a set of community guidelines that help new members understand how we prefer to collaborate.

I’d love to get your feedback on these guidelines to point out anything I’ve missed or to add clarity to the things discussed here. Feel free to leave comments on this post! If you’d prefer to provide feedback privately, feel free to send an email to david at systemcrafters.net.

Here is the draft:


System Crafters Community Guidelines

The following guidelines are designed to foster a friendly, collaborative environment in the System Crafters community.

1. Be Excellent to Each Other!

Treat all members with respect, kindness, and empathy. Respect diverse backgrounds, opinions and viewpoints. Any form of harassment or discrimination is not tolerated.

We are a diverse community, not only in our choice of software and tools, but also in the identities and backgrounds of the people who are part of it. We want all newcomers to feel welcome!

2. Encourage Learning and Growth

Our community values learning and personal growth. Encourage others in their learning journey. Remember, everyone was a beginner at some point.

Engage in constructive and positive communication. Avoid negative remarks that could harm the community atmosphere. Offer constructive feedback and be open to receiving it.

3. Avoid Divisive Topics

Steer clear of topics that are typically divisive and unrelated to our core interests. This includes, but is not limited to, discussions on politics, religion, and other sensitive social issues.

Our focus is on building and learning about custom computer configurations, programming, Free Software, and related technical subjects. While these other topics are important, they often detract from the collaborative nature of our community.

4. Respect Personal Privacy and Boundaries

Recognize and respect personal boundaries. Understand that everyone has different levels of comfort in interaction, and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Also respect the privacy and confidentiality of others. Do not share personal information without explicit consent.

5. No Tolerance for Malicious Mischief

Disruptive behavior, such as trolling, spamming, or inciting arguments, is prohibited. Focus on contributing positively.

Enforcing the Guidelines

Our guidelines are designed to ensure that the community remains a safe and welcoming space for all members.

It’s important that they are applied consistently and fairly to maintain the trust and respect of the community members.

Here is the process we will follow to handle any violations of the guidelines:

1. Report Violations

If you see something that you feel violates the guidelines above you should feel free to send an e-mail to moderators@systemcrafters.net to let us know about it.

Reports sent via this channel will be kept confidential and will be taken seriously.

On the forum, you can also report posts using the flag icon at the bottom of the post.

2. Assessment

When we receive a report, we will look into it. This may require contacting the parties involved to understand more. The identity of the reporting member will be kept confidential.

We will first attempt to discuss the issue with the reported party to provide an opportunity to correct the action without further consequences.

3. Consequences

Based on the assessment, appropriate consequences may be administered. These may include a warning, temporary suspension, permanent ban, or other actions deemed necessary.

Consequences will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the member’s history.

4. Communication of Decision

The decision and any consequent actions will be communicated to both the reporting and reported members.

Details of the decision may be kept private, depending on the nature of the violation.

5. Appeals Process

Members have the right to appeal decisions. The appeal must be submitted within 1 week after the decision.

An independent review by a different set of moderators or community leaders may be conducted for appeals.

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I suggest the one thing that should happen is that you remain the sole moderator. I know that could be extra work for you but I’m just so tired of watching communities being taken over from the inside with oh so subtle bias and hypocrisy.

The rest looks good to me for whatever that’s worth. I’m not here to criticize people’s life choices or anything like that, just to nerd with some fellow nerds. I’ll talk about anything if asked as long as it’s clear that learning and understanding is the goal.

I’m going to wear my hat as a copy-editor.

I would add the applicable places for these guidelines, e.g., the stream chats, the #systemcrafters IRC channel and the forums. Something like

The following guidelines are designed to foster a friendly, collaborative environment in the System Crafters community, including the livestream chats, the #systemcrafters IRC channel, forum.systemcrafters.net, the System Crafters GitHub and Codeberg repositories and other places under the System Crafters name.


I believe that we not only want newcomers to feel welcome, but also regulars, so maybe something like:

Treat all members with respect, kindness, and empathy. Respect diverse backgrounds, opinions and viewpoints. Any form of harassment or discrimination is not tolerated.

We are a diverse community, not only in our choice of software and tools, but also in the identities and backgrounds of the people who are part of it. We want every crafter to feel welcome!

Feel free to replace every crafter with everyone, or maybe use this opportunity to call the members of the System Crafters community Crafters (with a capital “C”), e.g. “We want every Crafter to feel welcome!”.


This one is tricky: the last topic before statement (B) is actually on-topic, that is: we want the Crafters to talk about (A). We don’t want them to tackle (D) within these forums. The order of sentences should therefore be (D)(B)(A), e.g.

3. Avoid Divisive Topics

Steer clear of topics that are typically divisive and unrelated to our core interests. This includes, but is not limited to, discussions on politics, religion, and other sensitive social issues. While these other topics are important, they often detract from the collaborative nature of our community.

Our focus is on building and learning about custom computer configurations, programming, Free Software, and related technical subjects.


Hm. This one is tricky because it might be very subjective. For example, some people count the simple “bump” of a topic after a week of inactivity already as spam, whereas other think that a chat-like discussion is completely fine.

It’s also the inverse of Rule #1. IMHO, this is already handled by rule 1 due to the excellency and rule 3. Instead, I would like to see a good-faith notion in one of the rules, e.g. “Please assume other participants are posting in good faith, even if you disagree with what they say” (taken from GDQuest’s Kind Communication Guidelines).


I would move that whole section into another post, if possible. While transparency is a great feature, it makes the Community Guidelines seem longer than they actually are. This might cause some readers to only skim them.


The one-week limit seems a bit strange. What should happen if someone only manages to appeal after 8 days, for example due to an accident? Also, where should appeals go? The same email address?


Those are all the points I found on my first reading, I will have a fresh second look tomorrow. There doesn’t seem to be something missing. Overall, they remind me of GDQuest’s “Be Excellent to Each Other” rule and their Kind Communication Guidelines, which are based on the GNU Communication Guidelines.

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I see what you’re saying here but I do feel like it’s important to explicitly (and early on) call out what the expectations are around new comers. These (technology/expertise/traditionally non-inclusive) places are hard to enter for some because things that appear as gatekeepy to regulars absolutely look/feel like gate keeping to newcomers.

Also, when I say newcomers, I don’t mean just to SystemCrafters forum, I meant to the whole technology/FOSS space. Unfortunately, the free software movement doesn’t have the best reputation between elitist egos, reply guys, “why don’t you just switch to” folks, and myraid other things that are off-putting to people that get referred to as “normies” not always in a positive light. So I think going way out of the way to welcome newcomers of all ilk is warranted, even more so that what was in David’s original guideline. I’ll think of some language… perhaps even calling out how this space isn’t tolerant of the hurdles I mentioned above.

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The guidelines look fine.

But how about creating an off-topic group. I often get irritated, when there is too much unrelated content in the on-topic groups. I myself sometimes get off-track on discussions, but I saw discord channels bearly unreadable due to off-topic scribblings. In case, one can ask others to switch to the off-topic group.

It is more a discord problem than a forum, but better be prepared.

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All great points, thanks! I’ll rework what I wrote using your feedback.

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Definitely agree about being explicitly welcoming to newcomers, but I also think that Ashraz is right in saying that all Crafters should feel welcome too, so I’ll find a way to work both in there.

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My goal with the forum is for it to stay mostly on topic. If people want to chat, they can come to IRC where it’s like a party around the clock.

The forum should be a more organized place for getting help, sharing useful on-topic information, and collaborating on projects.

It would be cool to see non computer projects that crafters are working on. I love Benoit’s house crafter posts :joy:

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True! We do need an area for that. Inspiring to see the non-computer stuff that people are working on!

I believe you skipped a word here, “cause” between “some and readers.”

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@ashraz has made some most excellent suggestions along with @shom and @ennoausberlin’s modifications @daviwil. Just my two cents worth, this is a nice addition to SystemCrafters, adding this forum.
Is there a way to “follow” others? I did not see one, I would like to be able to follow others.

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Whoops, thanks, fixed.

Good question! I don’t think it’s possible, I wasn’t able to find an option for it at least.

I think you’ve received a lot of great feedback here. I personally tend to favor the principle of “less is more”, and I think the law of Cardamom Town (a fictional Norwegian place) goes a long way:

That law states:

You shall never bother others, you shall be both fair and kind, and whatever else you do I shall not mind.

If you, @daviwil, would agree to serve as the merry constable, the issue of sorting out possible complaints is covered.

Finally, I want to mention that I find what you say here great:

Consider baking that into some “welcome to the forum” message :slight_smile:

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@daviwil, have you checked the built-in tutorial already? It has some good pointers and teaches about flagging, e.g.

This reminds me of some Discord servers, where users can only interact with the rest of the community after they accepted the guidelines. Not sure whether that would be applicable, but depending on the “Enforcing the Guidelines” part you might also want to change the bot’s tutorial messages.

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I had not tried it yet, I dunno if it skipped me because I started off as an admin account. Good point though!

Should I just get rid of the enforcement verbiage entirely? This community is generally cool enough to not need it, I just didn’t want people to feel like the guidelines are meaningless if not somehow enforced.

That would likely be the case anyway, though I will probably bring on a couple trusted moderators to help. Writing about our guidelines as general principles is useful, but enforcement logic may not be entirely necessary.

Good idea!

It’s actually sneaky: you have to interact with discobot, they tell you that on the your welcome message. If you don’t have one, then you can message @discobot with the help tutorial command, e.g. @discobot help tutorial (in a message to the bot).

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Seems good to me.

In general, people with good judgment and character don’t need rules about behavior, nor about how to deal with those who don’t behave. If anyone with poor character doesn’t like the consequences of their actions, they have the rest of the Internet to play in.

To minimize disruption (and time spent arguing), it’s important that policies don’t give miscreants a way to play lawyer and weasel their way out of trouble and into positions of authority. The “silver rule” might be, “If you don’t like it here, then–politely–follow the time-honored tradition and fork your own place for like-minded individuals.”