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Mailing List Guidelines for RIPE Working Group Chairs

Publication date:
13 Jul 2021
  • Mirjam Kühne
  • Brian Nisbet
  • Oliver Payne
PDF (154.6 KB)


The authors would like to thank everyone who provided input and feedback.

Implementing the Code of Conduct

One of the responsibilities of the working group chair is to guide mailing list discussions while ensuring that the RIPE Code of Conduct is effectively applied on the mailing list they are responsible for. For most mailing lists, this is not a great concern as discussions tend to be civil and within scope for the working group. However, breaches of the code of conduct can occur so the guidelines below provide suggestions on how a working group chair can effectively apply the code of conduct from small infractions to serious violations.

Something small happens on the mailing list:
  • If discussion on the list becomes heated, then a general mail reminding people of the Code of Conduct and general good conduct is the first step.
  • If it's "just" one or two people, or one person is a repeat minor offender, then the WG chair sends individual emails. These emails will generally be very polite, thanking the person for their contribution but suggesting their approach is not the right one, or that their language isn't great.
  • The WG chair may also send an email to the mailing list to make it clear that the Co-Chairs have noticed and are taking action.
Individual Continues to Breach the Code of Conduct in Minor Ways:
  • The WG chair sends a more pointed email including a clear warning that any further action will lead to moderation.
  • The WG chair may include a request for an apology or other public action.
Major Breach (first or repeat):
  • Very pointed email with either clear warning that any further action will result in moderation or direct placement into moderation.
  • Explanation of why and what that person will need to do to leave moderation, i.e. apology and/or consistent demonstration of better behaviour;
  • Depending on the nature of the breach this may be a direct ban, but even in those cases moderation is more likely, at least to allow for a conversation to take place.
Continued Breaches:
  • It is unlikely at this point that the person in question will ever leave moderation, or if they do, they'll absolutely need to have shown major reform;
  • If the mails being sent to moderation continue to be bad then there'll be a final warning, followed by banning;
  • Banning would include any other email addresses they send from, of course.

It is important to keep the list informed about any breach of the Code of Conduct and any action the WG chairs took.
For example: is recommended that the RIPE WG chairs and the (future) RIPE Code of Conduct Team cooperate, and where necessary, reach a mutual decision about any actions.

More information about placing someone in moderation or banning them from the list can be found below.

Moderating Mailing Lists

The RIPE NCC, in its role as Secretariat for the RIPE community, provides a mailing list for each Working Group. The software used is Mailman.

Each Working Group has two lists, one for general discussion for the Working Group, and another Chair-only list for people to contact the chairs of the Working Group.

The default setting for the mailing lists is that all subscribers can post freely to the list without moderation. People who are not subscribed receive an automatic response to inform them their mail will not be sent to the list and they should subscribe if they want to post. However, the Chairs of a Working Group have a duty to ensure that conversations on the list are compliant with the Code of Conduct.

People who continually fail to follow the Code of Conduct can be placed under moderation, at the request of the Chairs, which the RIPE NCC will provide support for:

Moderation Type 1:
  • The RIPE NCC will give the Chairs access to the Mailman admin interface, after which they can log in and perform the following tasks without any assistance from the RIPE NCC:
  • Placing an email address under moderation
  • Approving/Denying posts which are awaiting moderation
  • Placing the entire list under emergency moderation
  • The RIPE NCC will assist the Chairs in familiarising themselves with Mailman, ensuring that they are comfortable with the tool before the handover is complete. Mailman is a widely used and well-documented tool.
Moderation Type 2:
  • The RIPE NCC will place a specific email address under moderation as requested by the Chairs. Every time that email address posts to the list, their post will require manual moderation before it can go through.
  • The RIPE NCC will ask for a decision from the Chairs for each moderated post, and after receiving a response will process the moderation request within RIPE NCC working hours.
  • This workflow of moderation is unpreferred, due the back and forth of messages between the RIPE NCC and the Chairs, a considerable amount of latency is introduced, possibly delaying the progression of an ongoing discussion on the list.