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So I don’t have an immediate need for this, but I’m curious: if I had some work that needed doing, and I had someone in mind who would be a good fit for it, my automatic reaction would be to reach out to them on here to see if they were interested. But it looks like that would be against the community rules? Is there any community-sanctioned means by which I could contact someone on here to see if they were interested in some work, or would I have to find some other way of contacting them?

Cora (she/her)03:04:37

ask if you can DM them and what you'd like to DM them about


But… I’d have to do that via a DM too, right?


I mean, I understand that assuming the use of it isn’t egregious, people are unlikely to complain, but a blanket “no unsolicited DMs” seems pretty wide. I do get the difficulty with drawing the line otherwise, and that a blanket ban is easier to enforce.


I think it's more along the lines of clearly unwelcome and blind dm’ing


Ok, sounds good. I’ll be careful if the need does come up.


I'm trying to find the official wording. But it's not meant to be burdensome, just to prevent spam. I think communication by regular members is quite common


Yeah, it’s definitely common. But technically all my DM conversations here have started with someone sending an unsolicited DM. But I’ll make sure I stick to the spirit rather than the letter of the law.


Yeah it's no bid deal. I think the word “unsolicited” is doing a lot of work and also respects some kind of general understanding about what messages are allowed or not.

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I wonder if 'no unwanted DM' is more appropriate As adjectives the difference between unsolicited and unwanted. is that unsolicited is not requested, welcome or invited while unwanted is not wanted, welcome or acceptable. I am open to other community members contacting me via direct message for relevant topics. Many people do DM me about community aspects working in Clojure or about the Practicalli work I create. The only unwanted DM I received was from a recruiter who had sent me something irrelevant (which I reported here)


Unwanted is better, I agree. Though, I think it is hard to capture this in one word. In the spirit of what @cfleming is describing here maybe it is better expressed with a few more words: > When contacting someone via direct message, please consider if your contact could be in any way unwanted. Regard each DM address as having the sign ”No advertising, please”. As a member you are encouraged to report to the admins if you get messages you deem as unwanted. Misuse of the DM function is grounds for immediate banning from this Slack.


I never had problems asking in public someone if I can DM them.


It totally depends on nature of the issue you want to discuss/ask in DM. There is not always a context in which to ask.


That was just why I said it, if there is not a context, perhaps it's worth first creating that context publicly, then if there is interest, taking it into private?


It is often not about taking something private. An example. A while ago @cfleming contacted me via DM to just ask a thing he thought I might know the answer to, us being editor tool smiths both. I can't for the life of me see how he could have first ”created a context publicly” for that question. Nor do I see why he should. It was perfectly appropriate to just DM me and ask. Having rules in place that makes people hesitate to take contact in such a situation is not good at all. I get these kinds of DMs often. I'd say maybe 100 people have sent me messages out of the blue. Only once was it of the unwanted kind and it was from a spammer that had contacted lots of people.


although that's not exactly what I had in mind, I would say that "us being editor tool smiths both" is already enough context


Oh, well, then I guess we are agreeing.

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But for example, if I do have some work that needs doing and I have someone in mind (which has happened, I’ve contracted various people at various times to work on specialised parts of Cursive), I don’t want to ask them in #clojure if I can DM them about some work.


If you have someone in mind, doesn't that also signal that you have shared history, established context?


No. Here’s an example. A long time ago, I hired Nicola Mometto to make me a fork of Clojure for Cursive. I had never interacted with Nicola previously, but he was the person who was clearly the most active in the community writing issues for Clojure, and also providing high-quality patches for the most complicated areas of the Clojure compiler. I knew who he was, and he probably knew who I was too, but I don’t think we had directly interacted. He was probably not the only candidate, but in my mind was clearly the front runner. He was also a student at the time, and I thought he’d probably appreciate being paid for at least some of the work he was doing. I can’t remember if Clojurians was a thing back then, and I reached out to him via email anyway since I had his address from the mailing list, but these days it would be natural to want to do that from here, and lots of more recent community members don’t post to the mailing list. That’s clearly an unsolicited DM offering work. Unsolicited DMs from e.g. recruiters offering work are out of bounds here, but in my mind this was different because I was very specifically reaching out to Nicola because of what I knew about his specialised skills. It’s entirely possible that I might want to do that again with someone I’ve not interacted with, e.g. someone who has developed something specific with ClojureScript or Datomic that I don’t have experience with, or something like that. I’ve also considered getting one of the people in the Clojure world making training material to develop a Clojure beginners course that works with the IntelliJ educational edition - I know some of them personally, but not all of them. All those people would probably appreciate an offer to do some work which is a) hopefully interesting and b) specifically offered to them because they have specialised knowledge or experience.


I don't know, it does look like to me that there was a lot of shared public context there.


Otoh, it also looks unhealthy, excluding others who you know less about. 🙂


It worked out well for me 🤷


Often what works out for the individual is not the best for everyone, not saying this is the case here.


and let's face it, you had to go quite far from our current situation to find that example, it's not even about Slack


My point is that if I were to do the same again today, a DM on Slack is how I would do it.


Do you feel like I am not getting your point?




I also feel like we’re getting pretty far off the topic here, and in the main discussion I think everyone has landed on an agreement that would allow something like that anyway, so it’s moot at this point.


> Unwanted is better, I agree. I really disagree on that one. We really don’t want a rule that requires users to read people’s minds and successfully predict what they’ll want or not want, across cultural barriers and neurodiversity. I think something like “unsolicited commercial DMs” gets us closer, although it still doesn’t solve @cfleming’s original case (‘if I had some work that needed doing, and I had someone in mind who would be a good fit for it’). “Unsolicited commercial DMs to strangers”? Still not great, and getting pretty wordy. But “unwanted” puts people in an unreasonable position IMO.


How about: > When contacting someone via direct message, please regard each DM address as having the sign ”No advertising, please”. As a member you are encouraged to report to the admins if you get messages you deem as inappropriate. Misuse of the DM function is grounds for immediate banning from this Slack.


Seems fairly reasonable. As an alternative: it's a word that sounds a bit old-fashioned these days, but what about something like 'no soliciting' or 'no soliciting of strangers'? The latter is to rule out cases where eg I contact a former co-worker by PM to invite them to come apply to my current employer, which seems like something it's reasonable for users to do.

Cora (she/her)14:04:04

it goes beyond just advertising, though. I get weird demands on me via DM, people trying to "get to know me" (why me when we've never spoken? you can maybe guess), relationship/sexual advances (not on this slack though), etc. Only the last is strictly prohibited. I know this isn't the specific issue we're trying to address here but I'd love if etiquette also addressed these issues.

Cora (she/her)15:04:29

like if permission is not requested in public then just state your purpose right away or something? ugh. maybe this is derailing but it overlaps

Cora (she/her)15:04:58

I do like @pez's proposal


I can only imagine how unpleasant that is, and it sucks that you're experiencing that. I just worry that there's not a way to rule that out that doesn't rule out a lot of normal, positive community activities as well, or else mandate people successfully predicting how the recipient will respond (other than a 'no sexual harassment' policy to at least cover the cases where it crosses the line).

Cora (she/her)15:04:04

I mean I DM without asking permission, myself


It's just a normal thing to do. 😃

Cora (she/her)15:04:37

I can't think of an obvious way to make etiquette exclude the things I brought up other than for the obvious category of sexual harassment

Cora (she/her)15:04:57

so maybe let's just address the commercial one for now?

Cora (she/her)15:04:51

sorry, I feel like I'm derailing this and feel bad about it.


I didn’t think so — it’s really helpful to bring up a wide variety of cases to consider!

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Cora (she/her)17:04:59

it kind of ended the discussion and derailed it, it seems. I'm glad the perspective is helpful


FWIW, to me it seemed more like the conversation came around to a place where everyone had voiced their perspective and it felt like there was general agreement that it’s a hard problem and that we would come up with something imperfect but adequate 🙂. I had zero sense that you had derailed it.


The rationales behind my proposal are these: • DM is a great tool, enriching our experiences, it should not be that we are discouraged to do it • It is better to try show a wanted behaviour than an unwanted (I'm a father of five, and have learnt this all to slowly) • It should be clear that I risk being reported if I approach someone in an inappropriate way • It should be clear that I am supposed to inform about being approached in an inappropriate way

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What you're discussing here sounds like a problem that has been solved by many communities before. Or at least, such attempts have been made many times. I haven't tried to study it, but my observations in other communities are: • Overfitting the rules doesn't work • People that break the rules will break them either way - you can't magically fix mental gymnastics that makes someone decide that an inappropriate message is absolutely fine and according to all the possible rules So it sounds to me like a vague ("inappropriate messages") but actionable ("don't hesitate to contact admins") rule is the way to go. It has potential of making some people unhappy, but only those that will be sending inappropriate DMs in the first place.

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Cora (she/her)15:04:17

sounds fine to me

Cora (she/her)17:04:47

I like the "When Something Happens" from the LGBTQ in Tech slack

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I agree that overspecifying is (hopefully?) not necessary, and I agree with p-himik that lawyering the rules to the nth degree will probably not prevent the people who are actually abusing the rules in one way or another. The work solicitation is tricky, because I think that in many cases it’s appropriate and probably wanted and useful, but obviously random recruiter spam is not. @corasaurus-hex Don’t worry about derailing, it’s definitely relevant and another case we should think about. Again, it’s a case which seems like it should be easy to define what we don’t want, but I’m sure it’s not and there must be endless grey areas of creepiness. I like that “When Something Happens” section too, it sucks that it’s the recipient that ends up having to do the initial confrontation but that’s probably unavoidable, especially in DMs.

Cora (she/her)22:04:21

it really is shades of grey, but I think the recipient doing the confrontation/deflection first is fine as long as there's a way to escalate if they don't feel comfortable with it or if the person doesn't respect you saying no

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