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OK Debian Linux PowerPC mailing list, it’s like this…

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 is a pretty damning summary of several key behaviors in open source that alienate newcomers. Please try to remember that you, too, were just learning this stuff at one time. We want to join you in the effort; we are not spending hours trying to learn something just so we can bug you on the list.

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.


1 thought on “OK Debian Linux PowerPC mailing list, it’s like this…”

  1. This story got me by surprise..
    Mostly because i found this link by accident..
    Thanks for putting up the problem. I’m a member of more different mailinglists, so i quite now how to comunicate. Also i have enough experience to install debian on a ‘normal’ pc. I mean, i’m not a geek at all, but not really a newbie to debian. Wich confronted me on the list was indeed that e-mail “10-15 mails a day is at low end”
    Mostly i hated the sentence “That’s past now; you have got to get yourself a new one if you want to get rid of the spam mails.” I mean, stupid or not, i used my ‘normal’ e-mail from my own first e-mail server, so at least it was quite disturbing to have to dish that one 🙁 Presumebly the other mailinglists are or protected (then less friendly to the public, i mean, i rather have the less protected in the end!) or smaller (the max/msp mailinglist is also open).

    I left the mailinglist because i indeed dished that e-mail i used. I didn’t come back mostly because i didn’t have time to concentrate on installing debian on my mac anymore.
    Therebye i can get my head arround the problem anyway without the help of the debian-ppc list, even though david pye from the list gave me some crucial help then.

    I read the thread according to the post you did above, and dispite the more friendly responses from some, a response like “Try to keep in mind that lots of people on this list post on their spare time, and often lack time…” is over arrogant. It’s obvious that people in the list post in their spare time, and yes, ‘time is runnning’ 😉 It’s not correct of the poster to put himself up as the experienced professional man who takes some of his precious time to help the little newbie. The newbie is one who will be able to help others soon, is what i like to think, later the newbie will be less newbie, and giving time back to the proffesional by helping a new newbie.
    That’s one of the basic idees and ideals of a list..
    Well, sorry i let myself go 😉 Just like to thank for standing up for more social communications. People who do are needed these days..!



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