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Re: List/IRC climate issues (was: What do you want to learn?)

On Wed, Aug 04, 2004 at 04:11:09PM +1000, Jenn Vesperman wrote:
> On Wed, 2004-08-04 at 09:47, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> > On Tue, Aug 03, 2004 at 09:54:23AM -0700, Akkana Peck wrote:
> > > somewhat interested in documentation.  Like Carla, I've been daunted
> > > by what I've heard about the NM process, and also by difficulty in
> > 
> > What have you heard about the NM process that makes it daunting?  You find
> > a Debian Developer (DD) who advocates you, an Application Manager (AM) asks
> > you questions, then writes a report saying you're clueful and should get an
> > account.
> Actually, finding an advocate itself is daunting. :/

Do you mean that getting involved in Debian in some way is daunting?  Or
that approaching a Debian Developer you have done work with and who knows
your abilities is daunting?

They have very different causes and resolutions.

> I've heard friends report enough bad experiences on public lists,
> channels, etc, that I've just never joined them.

Idiots happen.  In Debian as much as anywhere else.

> I therefore assume that
> I'm not known to anyone in the Debian community, and would be
> approaching people as a stranger to them.

You would be amazed at where you get known.  I have been approached by
people I have never met before at my University asking if I was the same
Matthew Palmer who was a Debian developer.  Twice, even.

> Nor do I know anyone in the Debian community (or more accurately, I
> don't know that I know anyone in it), so I wouldn't be choosing someone
> with any foreknowledge of how working with them would be.

I think you're approaching this at the wrong end of the process, then.  NM
advocacy is supposed to be a DD who knows you and your work thinks you're
ready, and advocates you.  In other words, you've got to have done something
already *before* you get advocated.  Hence you'll already know a DD before
you go look for an advocate.

If that's not documented somewhere, I need to go and fix the d-mentors FAQ.

As far as finding something to do, well, you need to work that out on your
own.  What do you want to do?  There's not a lot of point in giving someone
an @debian.org account if they're not going to do anything.  You can do
nothing without being a DD.  Find something to get involved with.

I'll make an offer: if you tell me what you want to do for Debian (in fairly
general terms will do, just so I've got some idea) I will describe how you
can go about doing that without leaving yourself a target for the
small-minded bigots who inhabit the darker corners of our little world. 
That offer applies to anyone on this list -- if you tell me how you want to
help, I'll point you to resources and friendly people who will help, to the
absolute best of my ability.

> This is how one or two idiots who aren't told to shut up cause a whole
> community to lose/not gain women, by the way.
> If you get those idiots making women feel unwelcome at the entry point
> to your community, and noone slaps them down, the women go find
> something else to do - and tell each other.

I'm sure we lose not just women by doing that, but what would you like done? 
Censure them for one idiotic outburst?  Two?  Three strikes and you're out? 
Things don't work like that.  In most cases, we *can't* effectively censor
someone -- there's too many trivial ways around any block we might want to
construct.  Furthermore, we don't *want* to do that in most cases --
trolls happen, and we laugh, ignore, flame back, whatever, and move on. 
Playing net.cop is no fun.

Shouting down idiots doesn't work often, either -- they just work harder at
being annoying.  d-women has seen that with the nasty krooger-troll.  If
there'd been one quick "You're an idiot, go away" message, that would have
been the end of it, and he probably would have gone away.  Instead, there
were a great many messages from him and others, which has since erupted in
another forum.

> Take me for an example (though I may be a biased example). I use and
> sysadmin Debian. Linuxchix runs on a Debian server, has done since I
> took over.
> Every time I've heard things about #debian or the debian mailing lists,
> it's been some LinuxChick (usually a competent, take-no-nonsense sort of
> person) coming onto our IRC channel and sighing that '$generic_idiot is
> raising hell again. I wish someone that he'd listen to would shut him
> up.'

Problem number 1: there is often *nobody* that $generic_idiot would listen
to.  Even someone who is normally on s/h/it's side would be ignored if they
tried to tell s/h/it to shut up.  From personal experience, banning them
doesn't help, either -- if they really want, they can easily route their
message in some other manner to get it through.

> My response is 'do you only want people who check you out despite having
> heard bad reports, or would you like to have good reports?'

I would actually prefer people who checked us out regardless of reports,
good, bad, or otherwise, and didn't rely on second-hand knowledge.  It's
easy to get a false report (whether it be falsely good or falsely bad)
through no fault of one's own.  Even easier to have one small but vocal
sub-group create a bad impression.  And there is basically nothing that
anyone can do about them.  Ignoring them makes it look as though we support
them, shouting at them makes them shout louder (the arms race of noisy
wankers), and banning them will, sooner or later, kill the community.

Basic survival skill, in Debian, online, and in larger life: ignore anyone
who annoys you.  They can only get to you if you let them.

- Matt

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