Cooling the heated discussion

November 27, 2007

I’ll just try to make no link to others’ blogs, and cite no name.

First of all : an election is a time to discuss. And discussion can get heated. Don’t ask people to shut up or retract. Democracy is all about letting people speak…

Contrary to what someone proposed, fists are for beasts. This was a very wrong proposition!

Insults are wrong and rude. Even if they end by “:” and an explanation why.

I really don’t like the form of the starting post, but I agree with the point.

I have contributed to ekiga since a long time. I have read planet gnome since a long time. Most of my open source work was behind the scene, playing with the code, I was only visible on #ekiga and #gnomefr.

Then earlier this year (as a teacher I count years from august-september…), I decided it would probably worth it making myself more publicly known. I added #gnome-hackers to my auto-joined channels. I decided to request an @gnome.org mail address, created a blog on blogs.gnome.org… and tried to get added to the planet to join the choir (end of august).

And this is where things were tricky : how does one get added to that community planet? One name. Let’s ask. No answer. Let’s try to get him on irc. Hard : the earth isn’t flat and we don’t live on the same side. I’m told my blog is just opened, I should blog some time, then I’ll get added. One the one hand, it makes sense — on the other while the blog is new, I am not.

Refresh planet.gnome.org next morning : eh, some guy just got added : he just blogged once six months earlier and his second post, “Thanks” is on the planet. And he doesn’t seem to be a long-time gnomer.

I’m not saying adding him was wrong : being a welcoming community is important. But
why does a oldie like me have to go through a longer process?

Ooohhh… someone complains about planet.gnome on the foundation list… the board takes notice of the problem, puts out a politically-correct statement : things will move. My blog gets added end of october.

Did I mention my first post on the foundation-list was to complain loudly about proposing to extend the term of the *current* board by six months?

I get the impression that the community is broken in two camps (“broken” fits) :

  • friends, which don’t see the problem, because for them the answers are always fast and timely ;
  • the others, which do see the problem

That being said, I do want to acknowledge that we want to get help from everyone. Kicking someone out is just wrong.

There isn’t just a person problem : there’s an organisation problem. Nobody should have been able to get a nepotist grip on anything in the first place. Hell, would I have done better !?

Years ago, when Damien decided to give me access to the then-cvs of then-gnomemeeting, it took a very long time. This very year, when Damien & myself decided Mathias needed access to the now-svn of now-ekiga, it took a very long time during which he had to go through us to get his work in — I so feared we would lose him on that!

To have a blog on blogs.gnome.org, you first need to get an @gnome.org alias, for which you first have to … for which you first have to… In case you don’t know, we french coined the “bureaucratie” word which got “bureaucracy” the other side of the Channel and beyond : I can tell you for sure this is one!

On the other hand, something didn’t look right in wormux. I got the svn sources, made a patch, uploaded it to gna! For this, I had to create an account there : five minutes. The developpers committed, but kept the bug open because there were other similar things that could be done elsewhere. Eh, I know how to do that! Second patch. I get proposed an svn account to commit myself [Yes, after only two patches, but they were both ready-to-commit, and I was known as an ekiga developper already : that helps 😉 ] (discussion translated from french) :

  • Eh guys, you should commit right now, the patch will get rotten before I…
  • If you upload your ssh key, then you’re one hour away from committing — sorry, it’s a cron we can’t go faster.
  • !!!!!!!!!

I committed within an hour after I uploaded my ssh key. Gasp.

I hope I managed to write something higher than some of the things I have read on the gnome planet those last hours!

12 Responses to “Cooling the heated discussion”

  1. fraggle Says:

    So people aren’t allowed to tell people to shut up or retract? Who are you to tell people what they can or can’t say!

  2. thebluesgnr Says:

    The thing is, the planet is a module that has a maintainer just like every other GNOME module. The problem is that it’s much harder to reject a “patch” for Planet GNOME, as people could read it as them being rejected from the GNOME project, which is not true at all.

    It’s a tricky issue to solve, really. But given Jeff’s history in GNOME I fully expect it to be better in the future (it already is, actually).

    Murrayc’s comment *was* actually a personal attack, and even worse, it was loaded with hatred. I don’t think Jeff’s shortcomings as planet maintainer are worth that, but many people seem to be jumping on the bandwagon anyway.

    The admin issue is completely separate from Jeff as far as I know. It’s indeed a problem that needs to be fixed, but I don’t agree that people are driven away if they don’t get an SVN account timely. By the time you’ve earned the trust to be given an account you possibly have some commitment to GNOME already; not having the account created right after someone asked for it is nothing more than an annoyance fixed with a little wait, or at least in my experience.

  3. Snark Says:

    Fraggle : point taken 😉

    thebluesgnr : the point of the last part of my post is precisely to explain that Jeff isn’t that bad a man, and that the organization itself has problems, and I list other examples of things which just don’t get right. And having to push each and every good patch through someone else even if said someone basically doesn’t even read them anymore is worse than an annoyance, and we’re not discussing a small wait, but a very long wait!

    Scott : I don’t get what you meant at all, but that didn’t look like a comment to disapprove or mark as spam 😉

  4. Daniel Says:

    I think Scott refers to “I hope I managed to write something higher than some of the things I have read on the gnome planet those last hours!”

  5. Jeff Walden Says:

    I’m pretty sure the fists suggestion was a joke. 😉 Note the snarky “(I won’t be running for the GNOME board)” at the end of that post. 🙂

  6. Vax Says:

    I think Scott meant:

    “I hope I managed to write something higher than some of the things I have read on the gnome planet those last hours!”

    “Yes, you did.”

  7. Sean Says:

    “Contrary to what someone proposed, fists are for beasts.”

    You’re right. Real men use swords. 🙂

  8. Kalle Vahlman Says:

    If you’d started with “Years ago”, left the first section full of negative remarks out and ended with “I think we should concentrate working on bringing the same easiness to GNOME contributions”, I’d say you would have seemed far superior in both constructive criticism and ensuring the health of the community than all the other posts combined.

    As it stands, you only got points for trying.

  9. Snark Says:

    K.V., I couldn’t leave the negative remarks out : there are people who never were annoyed, and don’t really believe Murray. I had to witness that I had seen this.

    I wanted to point out that Jeff isn’t all-bad : I still want him to have a hand in gnome, if he wants to : it would be a shame to turn someone away.

    I wanted to point out that Jeff isn’t all-that-is-bad-in-gnome either : there are structural issues which make it hard to join in.

  10. naisioxerloro Says:

    Hi.
    Good design, who make it?

  11. Snark Says:

    Which design ? I’m using a base thingie.


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