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Re: The prevailing Debian culture

On Wednesday 18 August 2004 3:12 am, Matthew Palmer wrote:

> 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.
> 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.

Mathew, I've read and re-read your posts and links, and given this a lot of 
thought. The difficult part is those abusive elements have a 
disproportionately negative impact. They are not contributing any critical 
thinking or useful ideas. There is no such thing as a rational dialog with 
people of this ilk, because their goal is not to engage in any kind of 
constructive communication. It's all about disruption, pointless arguing, and 
attention-getting at any cost. 

> > 
> > 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?  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.

Agreed- competition is good. Abusive and idiotic behaviour is not, and it 
seems that part of the "Debian culture" is tolerating abusive and idiotic 
behavior. Don't you think it's unfair to the people who are helpful, and 
useful, and who really contribute to the project, to force them to put up 
with that lot? And I think it damages Debian, because you lose good people 
who can find plenty of projects that are not infested with trolls and various 
other destructive idiots.

I have yet to meet anyone who is so wonderful and gifted and indispensible 
that they can be excused from showing common courtesy.

> 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. 

I don't see anyone proposing changing the fundamental Debian culture. It would 
be extremely cheeky to even consider it! "Hi, I'm new here, and I want to be 
part of your club, but first you have to completely change everything!"  :)  
Unless you consider the abusive elements to be the fundamental part of 
Debian, and I don't believe that's what you said. That's the grotty bit that 
spoils it for so many people.

> 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.

Right-o.  I don't think remaking Debian has even been suggested. I think it's 
safe to say that there are a lot of folks, such as the ones who posted in 
this thread, who like Debian and want to support it without having to deal 
with constant attacks from idiots, trolls, and flamers. It is pretty bad- I'm 
involved in a lot of online communities, and Debian is definitely the worst 
of the lot. I don't know what makes it such an attractive home for fuckwits; 
in my ideal world, that is the only thing that would change. And I'll bet you 
money that if they magically disappeared, Debian would get even better.

Carla Schroder
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