Update to the Community

Juan R. de Silva juan.r.d.silva at gmail.com
Wed May 30 23:12:55 UTC 2012

> People have different online habits. Those who began their Internet
> journey adopted one set of habits, largely informed by the norms of the
> then-popular Usenet community. Some of these habits probably had to do
> with the limited storage space and narrow bandwidth of the times.

While it mostly true that the mentioned habits originated in mentioned 
"then" realities, it is also true that these habits aimed usability, 
meaning the time spent on reading and responding in first place. And this 
is probably the main reason why these habits outlived their original 
constrains and successfully migrated to new realities.

Increased storage space and bandwidth do not mean people are ready to 
spend their personal time "fishing" for the actual poster's message 
between all HTML tags.

> Naturally, these people
> brought their behavior to the Internet when corporate networks and the
> Internet converged.

It might be very natural for them but it is not necessarily natural for 
the community they just joined. See for the main reason above.

IMHO, when people join a new to them community and look for assistance 
from its members, it seems to be also natural to respect time and efforts 
of those who they are expecting to provide such assistance.
> Personally, I straddle both worlds. But I don't think it's right to
> expect everyone to do that. Kvetching on lists about the "proper" way to
> format messages is likely not to result in the desired behavior changes.
> In fact, it comes across as elitist and alienating.

Well, first of all, it's not quite right to use words like "kvetching". 
This DOES "comes across as elitist and alienating".

If you read my post again you'd see that I just suggested that posting in 
HTML was actually the best way for "alienating" a significant portion of 
the community that is capable and would be willing to provide an 

And BTW isn't it true that the existent posting etiquette does suggests 
not HTML formatting as a PROPER one?

> If Windows 8 turns out to be the disaster that the prognosticators
> appear convinced it will be, a certain percentage of Windows exiles
> might find their way to Kubuntu. Some of these might also find their way
> to this email list. They will bring with them habits gained from years
> of doing things the Windows way. Are these habits in some manner wrong?
> No, of course not. They're just different.

With you permission, I would strongly disagree with you on this. 

Consider a simple example. People used to drive along the left hand road 
side in UK. Some of them comes to another country where cars move along 
right hand road side. Imagine now he/she would attempt to keep his/her 

Would it be "just different"? Or would it be wrong? 

You see, "just different" at times can be just wrong.

> We, then, are faced with a
> choice: we can either welcome them to the wonderful world that is
> community-driven free software, or we can drive them away. Let's not
> drive them away.

Agree with every single word.  

But let welcome them by helping to understand how Linux community in 
large lives and why it is for their own benefit to accept and to adapt to 
certain "habits" of this community. 

Yes, we can certainly "welcome" them by not letting them know about 
existence of a posting etiquette. But wouldn't it be wrong?  Wouldn't it 
mean alienating them instead?

Is it really the best way to welcome newcomers by slowly eroding the 
community etiquette.

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