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Re: The prevailing Debian culture

On Wed, 2004-08-18 at 20:12, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> [Caution: words not minced.]


> On Wed, Aug 18, 2004 at 07:16:29PM +1000, Jenn Vesperman wrote:

> > There are ways to have confrontation and challenge group-think without
> > being flamefesty or painful to read.
> Indeed.  Note that Manoj said nothing about insults or flamefests.  Don't
> read things in that aren't there.  Confronting the established mode of
> thought doesn't imply being abusive.  But attempts to comprehensively remove
> the abusive elements *may*, if not done carefully, remove the open
> communication and critical thinking which has helped us so much.

Ah. Manoj did touch on flamewars (or the preceding mail he was
responding to did, I don't remember), and (ahem), I found ambiguity in
the mail.

And I said nothing about not being careful.

> > I'm not saying 'stop doing things your way', I'm saying only 'ok, fine,
> > so a competition based culture works for you - please don't assume it
> > works for everyone'.
> But if competition actually works for Debian, *why* would we possibly want
> to change it?

That is up to you. I have some reasons, but you have to decide whether
those reasons are worth the change.

> I'm all for changing things that I think don't help us and
> which suppress useful contributions -- like abusive and idiotic behaviour --
> and flattening the learning curve where possible, but you will get the fight
> of your life out of me if you try to change the things that make Debian so
> good.

Not a problem. I don't like to fight, so I'm just as happy to go
somewhere else. I'm only here at all because Debian is actively reaching
out to consider whether a change needs to happen - and I'm assuming that
I can help something I find worthwhile, without having to fight.

And, frankly, that's part of why you might want to change. By using a
combative, competitive model, you're pushing good people away. Do you
want your model (exclusively), or do you want those people? Choose
wisely, you can't have both.

(You can have your combative/competitive model in a non-exclusive way,

> A large part of the Debian culture *works*, and works well, and the chances
> of producing a net gain from changing Debian's fundamental method of
> operation to obtain the contributions of a largely unknown group is small,
> and I'm certainly not about to sacrifice the Project to try it.

Noone's interested in sacrificing the Project, and we (ok, I, at least)
understand that you don't want to make a fundamental change.

As my original mail in this thread said: just be aware that a
competitive structure pushes some people away. If that's ok with you,
then fine - just please try not to say 'I don't know why more people
don't help', because you do. :)

> If you
> really want to try producing a Linux distribution with a fundamentally
> different outlook, I encourage you to try it.  It would make a very
> interesting study into the core requirements of a distributed volunteer
> software development project.  But Debian is not the place to try that.

I'm not interested in competing. I don't care to prove which way is
better. It's not part of my makeup.

Debian is Good Enough, and there are much more urgent needs out there
which don't have a Good Enough solution.

It's a totally different mindset, and one which I encourage you to
become aware of - because if you DO become aware of it, and learn how
people like me think, you can find ways to make minor modifications to
the Project and include us.

> I see the purpose of this group as being an aid to smoothing out some of the
> wrinkles in Debian to help more people contribute, not as a means of totally
> remaking the core of Debian.  The potential benefits just aren't worth the
> risk.

See my last paragraph above: become aware of the different mindset(s) of
non-competitive-by-nature people, and learn how to make those tweaks and
minor wrinkle-smoothings and we'll contribute. Don't, and while some of
us will, others won't.

I'm not asking for a total remake. Just an _awareness_ and a willingness
to make minor changes. You have the latter. I'm trying to help you get
the former.

Does that make more sense?

Jenn V.
    "Do you ever wonder if there's a whole section of geek culture 
        	you miss out on by being a geek?" - Dancer.
   My book 'Essential CVS': published by O'Reilly in June 2003.
jenn@anthill.echidna.id.au     http://anthill.echidna.id.au/~jenn/

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