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Debian and Politeness


I just wanted to move here an issue that arises now and then in
Debian. That is, politeness and friendliness vs. technical competence.
Quite a few people in the Free Software world seem to think -wrongly,
in my opinion- that both things are opposed, and that a technical
competent person won't care whether the environment is friendy or
aggressive because they're just, well, technically competent.
Moreover, I have the impression that for some people the issue of
friendlyness might be a nice add-on, but nothing really important.
Something that can be put aside when something else is more important,
from their point of view.

Free Software is about meritocracy and elitism, or at least it
pretends to be. It's true that some people are more competent in some
areas, and have more knowledge than others, but it's often quite easy
to turn that technical elitism into a more global elitism, and ending
up thinking that some people just won't add any value to the project,
and that's plainly wrong in my opinion. There's one slogan from
LinuxChix that I love, that states "be polite, be friendly". I think
it perfectly describes two things that any open community should have,
at least, try to have.

If we want to have a healthy community, and if we want to attract
other people that could add value to the project, we will have to be
able to keep a welcoming and friendly environment. I don't see how
having that should make us technically inferior or anything like that,
right the opposite.

I don't want to start a flame, and I'm not sure if I'm doing right by
opening this debate here, but I thought that maybe other people might
have something to say, or wanted to add their point of view to the


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