Let's torpedo the Private Leadership category

There is absolutely zero reason for any communication to happen in private. The recent post, currently in the Private Leadership category is what prompted this post, which has very little reason to private. I see no disclosure of private data, no sensitive information, nothing.

If we were to keep that group – all communication unless it will lead to something really bad happening, or it contains sensitive information should be public. That post was not even close to meeting that criteria. Moderation doesn’t happen by committee – we move posts all the time around here if it’s in the wrong place, and that post was in the wrong place.

I’ve been saying we need to be more transparent for months now.

I believe it was put in Private because the OP was concerned that the ensuing discussion would contain sensitive material, and thus it would fit your criteria.

You may be right that, as it played out, it could be made public. (Others may disagree.)

But one thing I’m pretty sure of is that, as long as there does exist a private group, its contents should be respected as private until those who already posted under an assumption of privacy* agree otherwise.

Jonathan *whatever that could possibly mean on an Internet forum.

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The way it played out – and the point at which I made it public, it did not even remotely meet that criteria.


I think I agree with you. We could disable any new posts to that category (i.e., keep it’s content as an archive). If folks need to share something privately, they could still compose a PM to the leadership group if they really needed to share something privately, but it would be more of a headache (discouraging it) and would also make it obvious that they were breaking from conventions (hopefully limiting it to justified usage). We risk having the opposite effect of our goal – i.e., driving communication through other mediums (e.g., email) where we may not see it and lose the opportunity to, when appropriate, redirect conversations into public forums.

In any case, don’t make any of these changes until/unless there’s consensus (we could discuss briefly on the next leadership call). And, as @jteich said, even if any of the few discussions that have been posted in the private leadership list over the past few months were inappropriate (could have been public discussions), it is inappropriate to unilaterally change the visibility of communications (whether in a private forum or PM) without the consent of participants. Two inappropriates don’t make an appropriate. :wink:

Understood. I’m not quite sure how to stop people from posting the private leadership group, there’s really no a way (that I know of – perhaps there is) to make it read-only.

It’s a permissions setting. Easy to change. We’ll see what folks think. If the majority want to keep the forum open, then we’ll just have to keep discouraging its use for anything other than the rare instance of sensitive/not-suitable-for-public information.

I’m really not holding my breath on that one…not to sound negative but…esp. considering how they handled that thread…I’m hoping it does end well.

I do want us to be more open…we’re an Open Source project – let’s keep it wide open!

I don’t think the private leadership Talk forum has any value. I am fine with it being made read only, or deleted.

More discussion needed before deleting, of course - I’m not encouraging unilateral action.

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More explicitly, I think all Talk forums should be public

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Let’s keep all the discussion on the topic here. I am feeling a tad more optimistic :slight_smile:

I agree that we should move to a place where Talk is a completely public forum. I think Talk has proven to be ill-suited for “private” discussions - the history of this thread being a perfect example. I do think that conversations that are visible to less than the whole world are valuable however, and that it is often necessary to be able to discuss sensitive topics within smaller groups. These, no doubt, can and will move to other forums. If explicit channels do not exist, they will evolve ad-hoc and will likely lead to even more private conversations, if for no reason than copying a dozen or so people on an email is a pain. So we should consider these implications as we change.


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@mseaton, I agree we need to be mindful of potentially making things worse rather than better (e.g., leading to more rather than fewer private conversation as people turn to emails or copying the Infra Team’s use of a private Telegram chat). But if you look at the history & usage of the private leadership forum, it was initially created as a private category (not sure why, but it was) when Talk was first born but when we reflected and switched to a public category — aside from a few months of adapting to it — nearly everything is discussed publicly. There was one financially-related discussion (could probably have been public discussion about a private document) and only a few posts that all could have easily been public discussions. It was looking at the history (and dropoff) of posts combined with the fact that one can easily PM (private message) the leadership group by addressing a PM to “@leadership” that convinced me the private leadership category could be archived. If someone truly needs to discuss something privately, they can either PM the group or use another medium (email).

In any case, we should continue to encourage everyone to have public discussions by default. This problem isn’t limited to people putting in effort in leadership roles to help guide the community forward. I see discussions that would benefit from being public everywhere (e.g., email chains between devs, implementers, some discussions with the help desk, discussions on Infra Chat, etc.). Rarely does a week go by where I’m not asking someone to repost their question on Talk or take an email thread to Talk so we can discuss within the community. Public discussions by no means guarantee others will get involved, but private discussions ensure nobody can.

I’d be willing to practice what I preach. I wanna move it anyways so we can get a link. However, we do need a private backchannel as we sometimes need to ask things that are sensitive.

Help Desk has a legitimate reason for being private.

Just want to go on record agreeing with the discussion so far. Talk is designed for public discussion and I am fine with that. We do need a way for there to be private discussions for rare sensitive topics and that just should not be done on Talk.

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we just closed the private leadership category. Thanks everyone!