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Re: Personality traits of (Debian) developers

On 9/25/07, gregor herrmann <gregor+debian@comodo.priv.at> wrote:
On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 17:19:24 +0100, Martin F. Krafft wrote:

> > Also there is a long literature on hacking which notes the
> > semi-obessive traits of hackers, which I would say also pertains
> > to DD's. Turkle and Levy are two folks that come to mind.
> I guess the same could be said about Benkler: I am not talking about
> motivation, not about why a DD does what he does, but rather why
> s/he would do change the way s/he is doing something.

Good point, I think "personality traits" and "motivation" are two
different things.

I agree but they are related. What motivates you  and what you are motivated by also can reveals  aspects of personality traits.  But I agree it is useful to still differentiate them.

But what Levy and Turkle (especially Turkle) address are personality types of people who work with computers though I get why you are trying to stick just to DD's Martin.

As a general remark:
I'm a bit surprised about the idea of "traits" as predictors for
behaviour because during my years at university (late '80s and early
'90s) things as "personality theories" where considered obsolete and
deprecated for some two or three decades (at least in political
science and management theory, the psychologists and sociologists
where lagging behind and were still using theories from the '50s or
something :-)).

I had the same reaction. Personality used to also be a bit topic in anthropology but it fell out of favor in the 1950-60s and has never really come back. I think this is so, in part, because with any social activity or profession you tend to have many types of personality "types" that are represented.

There is a good literature in sociology and anthropology, however, that stresses how participation in professions, inculcates similar visions of right and wrong, etiquettes, and norms... I can recommend a few pieces if you are interested in taking up that angle.

Another thing that strikes me as an important factor is when and when people decide to work really hard on Debian. It seems like certain sociological/structural conditions aid: being in school, not having children etc may help explain time commitments, at least (again this does not quite get at what you are getting at but may be helpful) and then other factors, namely burnout (as discussed by Joy in Debconf this year) also help explain how and when and why people retreat.

These are more sociological attributes than psychological but... maybe they will be of some aid Martin!



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