Re: Why mailing-lists? Usenet have been invented, I hear. ;-)
>>>>> "David" == David Pastern <email@example.com> writes:
> You guys are goddamn rude. If this is linux helpfulness at it's
> best god help linux and open source. To quote three dead trolls
> in a baggie' every os sucks.mp3:
I didn't notice it too bad... It's been worse.
> of linux developers, so it's not going to change. I'll make a
> parallel here: take for instance a photography club. You get
> newbies all the time. You don't see experienced members of the
> photography club in my example back stabbing. Or being rude.
> Or being unhelpful. They help each other become better at the
> hobby they have chosen to pursue. Linux and open source is not
> just a o/s etc. It's a hobby. Treat it like one and have some
> respect for other users. Offer a helping hand - it's polite and
> it's good PR. If you guys want to persist in elitist attitudes,
> fine. In ten years time linux will be dead, open source will be
> dead and people will remember it all as "god they were rude
> elitist bastards".
Perhaps. And I think people do try. I've just been in a private
conversation with someone who posted on this list. He'd had some bad
expriences, and it showed. But I decided that I was going to reply to
this person anyways, because I knew I could help him. Perhaps my
replies were a bit terse, but then his discription of the problem was
a bit terse. He replied with a slightly less that happy e-mail. I
tried again, stating that "I AM HERE TO HELP" and asked for the
information that I needed. That changed everything, and we're finally
getting somewhere on his problem.
However, I don't think that your analogy is completely true for what
happens here. Linux is a hobby for some, and an obsession for others,
and a job for others. And it's a matter of time. People don't want
to be solving problems over and over again. Also, the set of problems
involved with Linux is MUCH, MUCH bigger than say photography. Yes,
photography is creative, but I think the variables are much more under
control. And if things go wrong, there's nothing left to bite in
later. If things go wrong under your OS, you're still dealing with it
later/forever. Thus the much bigger emotions involved.
> Technically linux is more advanced than Microsoft Windows. And
> yes that does mean a more 'advanced' user is required. And some
> elbow grease too. Fine. Most reasonablly PC literate users are
> prepared to put in some effort on their own part. I'll take one
> more point as an example:
Sorry to hear about your bad expriences. But like you've said, Linux
is a hobby. People hack things together on their own free time. They
don't get all the help that the major software/hardware companies get
to make things work. Specs, etc. So things are bound to be just,
kinda working. Plus, since the operating system allows you much more
control than others (or we could be talking distributions), there are
many other things that could be affecting the problem that people
don't know about. Thus dealing with problem becomes VERY difficult.
It's a fact that I deal with. I post to the debian mailing list and
wait. Often, I don't get any reply. If I don't, I know I've done 2
things. I haven't stated the problem clearly enough, which leads me
to mosting a message again, with more information that I think would
be relevent (This is skill that needs to be learnt. Thus your
"elbow-grease". Or, nobodies encountered the problem that I have.
Which I usually just wait a little longer, because eventually someone
encounters the problem and it gets fixed. The longest time I've had
to deal with a problem... About 2 weeks. But I track unstable, so
it's always changing.
> This is all about atttitude, and quite plainly, the attitude of
> most experienced linux users SUCKS. Badly. I'll tell you know
> - for every 5 people that try linux, 3 walk away from it for
> these exact reasons. Imagine how many people linux/open source
> is losing due to poor attitude. If you don't believe me ask
> newbies for their opinion on this subject. Most are too scared
> to admit it, so they keep their mouths shut. Some are
> outspoken, like myself.
Elitism is going to happen. The developers know SO much more than the
average user that it becomes hard to talk to them. They forget that
there are things that the average user doesn't know. Plus sometimes
certain questions do get dealt with on an average of twice a month,
with the same answer. But the user screams, "I TRIED THAT, I DOESN'T
WORK". After a while, it is hard to give the user the benifit of the
doubt. And since we can't sit at the user's computer to fix the
problem, we just either ignore them, or tell the to do the same thing
Note, I'm not a developer. I just lurk on this list trying to help
out. But I think I'm starting to understand what some of the
developers feel, and why they react the way they do... "OverFiend"
comes to mind... ^_^
So I say to users, "Help yourselves". Use Google. Practice your data
mining skills. /usr/share/doc is your friend. "info" is your
friend. Yes, "man" is difficult, but sometimes, it's your friend.
Linux Documentation Project is your friend. There are lot of other
tutorial information out there on the web for linux. Read them.
Learn about how things work. Read configuration files.
When posting to the mailing list, include configuration files,
log/error outputs, a link to a screen shot, what you've tried (be as
specific as possible), your machine type, relevant (that you think)
packages/software you have installed and their version numbers, any
special requirements that prevent other solutions from working, and
anything else that you think is relevant. Also, most importantly, a
good header that summarized your problem.
Keep an open mind. Maybe you did make a stupid mistake (like not
logging out and back in again). Do it, and then reply to give the
result. As people who help, and since we can't be on your machine, we
have to remove everything that is impossible to find the solution.
After you get a solution, post the solution to the mailing list, or
even on a website. That makes things easier, since the next time you
help someone with the same problem, you can just point them to it, and
that saves everyone's time.
So maybe there is a need to change everyones attitudes, but I think
the newbies also need to change their attitudes a little too.