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Re: The prevailing Debian culture

On Fri, Aug 20, 2004 at 11:04:42AM -0700, Carla Schroder wrote:
> 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 all for getting rid of abusive elements.  I'm just not comfortable
giving people the shaft left and right because they act like a troll.  That
will almost certainly stifle a lot of useful conversation as well for fear
of being given the same treatment.

> > > 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.

I've got several examples where the "Debian Culture" has been to attempt to
rein in abusive people.  Several have been on this list.  Another one was on
d-private, and it's long and ongoing.

I think you're forgetting that loudmouthed twits look very impressive in
their regalia of ignorance, and that the several people all telling them to
FOAD isn't quite so noticable.

> 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?

Do I really have to answer that?  I'd hope not by now.
> I have yet to meet anyone who is so wonderful and gifted and indispensible 
> that they can be excused from showing common courtesy.

Elmo?  <grin>

> > 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!"  :)  

The comments of some of the women on this list have been taken that way, and
not just by people who want to find fault with this list.  After so much
hand-waving about how perception is reality, I hope you see the problem.

> 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.

s/fundamental/essential/ and I'd agree with you.

- Matt

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