Call it frustration, call it justified anger, call it whining, but I finally had enough of the response I and other new list members have been getting on the Debian lists. Being a new list member, you don't exactly want to alienate everyone, particularly when you need their assistance if you're ever going to come up to speed.
I reached a point shortly after my previous post where the risk of being alienated was outweighed by the state of things on the list. So, I posted the following:
To the list at large,
I have been working on getting a Debian install up on my system for ~ 2 weeks now, and I find myself dreading when I have to post a question, because getting an answer on these lists can be pretty daunting. When you do get an answer, it is often a sparse reply indicating "you're not doing it right" or "you're using the wrong thing". Well - yeah, I guess so, or I wouldn't be having the problems I am having.
Seriously, folks, when you have new folks coming to a list, it's because they are deciding to give it a go with the Linux distro you favor. It's a good thing. And of the newbie posts I have seen on here, I have yet to come across one of those arm-flailing things like you see on Red Hat, PHP, or MySQL lists like "HELP! my l334 skillz lack!!!!!". I know that sort of thing is way annoying.
I would like to thank Harvey Ussery and point to one of his recent posts, "Re: About SPAM.." on December 2, 2003 as a great example of not alienating new folks. It's not a fault of Bart Koppe's, the original poster, that the receipt of SPAM bothers him. Hell, it bothers me, too. I accidentally replied to a post this weekend with my new, private email address that I had just changed - it's not even subscribed to the list. Bam, two hours later my Sven spam has doubled. Responses like "10-15 mails a day is at the low end" and "That's past now; you have got to get yourself a new one if you want to get rid of the spam mails" only alienate people.
The LinuxWorld article highlighted in Slashdot today
I awaited some flames for that one, but was pleasantly surprised if none came. It was a fairly decent thread; click on the link above to follow it.