I probably am 180 degrees off on this. I recognize that there are a number of people here that are much more knowledgable than I am in so many different ways and since I really only hit four or five forums unless I have a specific issue I'm trying to track down, I miss a lot of other discussions that occur here. I've always found moodle.org to be a place I can come for help, to answer questions, and in the process, expand my own knowledge. I certainly don't get involved in many of the discussions, nor do I typically read them. I tend to get more and more involved just before and just after major Moodle updates as I'm working to get our installs ready to go. I contribute in the forums, in the docs, and in the tracker, nearly all of it in a technical aspect and none of which to any great extent but I've managed to get some modicum of respect for it here and in the circles where I work.
I don't tend to get involved in much else here. I don't have the time, inclination, or energy for it. I have a full-time job that includes WAY more than just Moodle, and I come here to Moodle to relax a bit and give back to a community that has given me so much. I have plenty of people that IM, email, or phone me for advice and I freely give it to them if possible. I've had some people ask if I'm interested in doing some Moodle consultation, but I've always turned it down while offering to help out a bit for free if and as I can. (Although I guess I should disclose that we're hosting a MoodleMoot in June that we're charging for - but at $99 per person for two days, we're not going to see a profit out of it, just hoping to cover costs!)
There are a number of PHMs that are doing exactly this same thing, that have no affiliation with a Moodle Partner
, and probably never will, but are just in this to try to help out and do something to give back. We do this because we enjoy it. We might get rated well for it, we might not. We might get a reply thanking us for this, we might not. As John Isner said, it's very haphazard but I've always thought Martin D. and Helen used some judgment in determining who really deserves to be a PHM and I hope they continue to do so, rather than just relying upon a script that looks at the ratings.
I don't know the whole story behind what's going on between Steve and Martin D. I don't claim to. I don't really care. What I do know is that Steve has had a problem with Martin D and how the Moodle Partners are set up. Recently, it seems that Steve has extended that problem to PHMs, and has made several statements to the effect that we exist to support Moodle Partners and foster business, and since Moodle Partners are evil, so are we.
Maybe what he's saying has got some validity. Whether he was right or wrong, he had the right to say it and was able to do so. I have seen Martin D. defend Steve on this. But when he indiscriminately acted, with no care for the damage he was doing, he went from being the guy standing on a soapbox on the street corner espousing his beliefs to all that cared to listen, to the drunk man screaming on the same street corner in the middle of the night. Such a thing is not tolerated in society and it should not be tolerated here, and Martin D had every right, no - he had the responsibility - to act upon it.
As I stated, Steve gave PHMs one star, and non-PHMs seven, no matter what the content was. In some cases those ratings may have been deserved, but not in others - and how would someone know if they only went by the rating? I know that this is the argument he was trying to make. I understand that and I'm pretty sure I know what he was trying to do. However, by deciding to do this and then acting upon that thought, he became a 'silly rater' - whether or not some of those ratings were actually silly. There's a whole entire conversation going on about ratings - some think they're not necessary and can be taken advantage of, while others think that they are a helpful way to show a user that is looking for reliable advice to know that the advice actually is helpful. One of the things that could happen when you have ratings, and when you designate a user as knowledgeable based on their ratings, is that someone could take advantage of that to purposely lower or raise another user's reputation. It appears to me that this is the point Steve was trying to make, but he convoluted it by including his problems with the Moodle Partners system. Steve acted upon this. If you're going to have a rating system, then you must include a way to deal with users that continually use inappropriate ratings. Guess what? Martin D. acted upon this.
When I posted about the ratings, I did not know that Martin D. had done more than remove Steve's ability to rate. I see that he's done far more than that now. I also see that Steve has apologized to me, and I accept his apology. That doesn't change the fact that his actions were inappropriate and he was punished as a result of that. I do hope that Steve is able to realize that there is a difference between words and actions, and that there is a line between them. I very much respect the Steve that is helpful and provides very insightful and astute solutions to the questions that are asked and I wish we had more of that.
That said, I now end the longest post I've ever made on moodle.org that didn't have any code in it.