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Re: FAQ on debian newcomer list

On Wednesday 11 January 2006 01:39 am, David Kirchner wrote:
> On 1/10/06, kamaraju kusumanchi <raju.mailinglists@gmail.com> wrote:
> > I would appreciate any feedback/corrections/suggestions etc., (however
> > trivial you think they are) on the following FAQ on debian-user. The
> > final corrected version will be uploaded to
> > http://people.cornell.edu/pages/kk288/du-guidelines.html . I am posting
> > the initial version for your kind consideration.
> >
> > Thanks in advance
> > raju
> I think there should also be something addressing the underlying
> problem(s). It seems to me that the main reason people want a
> debian-newcomers list is because they don't want to see so many newbie
> questions come along on this list. The actual problem is that the
> system is not quite newbie-proof.

I think that's a good point.  This list is not a good place for a newbie.  
While there are a lot of helpful people here, there are some intolerant or 
overly literally minded people who feel everyone should think like they do 
and can be quite abrupt and even nasty to people that ask questions they, as 
a Debian admin with years of experience, consider dumb.

I see this as just a symptom of the larger problem you see everywhere in the 
world: intolerance of those who think differently, may have different skill 
sets, or may need different (or more) help than others do.

But the idea of a newbie-proof system reveals a nasty prejudice against those 
wanting to get involved and to learn, but don't have the skills yet.

Maybe the solution would be not to create a debian-newbie list, but to create 
a debian-advanced-user list, so those that are going to be judgemental or 
ugly to newbies can stay on that list.  Just the name would be enough to 
discourage most newbies from trying that list, whether the focus was on only 
really advanced topics or not.

My personal belief is that it is important for any group to welcome newcomers 
and willingly help them get used to the groups ways and styles, otherwise the 
group won't grow, but will shrink through attrition.

> We, the experienced, ought to try and improve the processes and the
> documentation, which would lead to less newbie frustration.


No.  +10.

> There's certainly a limit to how much you can document and hand-hold a
> user, but we're not even close to that point yet.

That is true -- and telling people to RTFM when they are likely not sure what 
manual to read, or where it is, or even how to understand a manual written by 
programmers for programmers and administrators is not an easy way to get rid 
of the problem, but a way to either push people away or to ensure the problem 
continues.  (A good answer will at least help some people when they search or 
Google for it.)


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