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:

From http://lists.debian.org/debian-powerpc/2003/debian-powerpc-200312/msg00072.html:

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.