Do you really want developers to be on this list was (Re: Very bad status of hardware (especially wifi) support in ubuntu, due to the too many accumulated regressions)

Bruce Miller bruce at
Wed Nov 12 03:38:16 UTC 2008

----- Original Message ----
From: Scott Kitterman <ubuntu at>
To: ubuntu-devel-discuss at
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 1:48:20 PM
Subject: Re: Do you really want developers to be on this list was (Re: Very bad status of hardware (especially wifi) support in ubuntu, due to the too many accumulated regressions)

On Tuesday 11 November 2008 10:47, Luke L wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 10:03 PM, Martin Owens <doctormo at> wrote:
> >> This list was created to give users a way to discuss Ubuntu development
> >> with developers.  Comments like "I was just joking about you having to
> >> know anything" make the decision to unsubscribe easy.  I'm seriously
> >> considering it myself.
> >
> > It should remain, developers should remain. Developers are never going
> > to get away from users who want to bitch, greater layers between the
> > developers and users just breeds users who resent and don't understand
> > developers and developers who don't understand (none programmer)user
> > needs. Very Bad.
> >
> > So on one side I think that list moderators or peers should be very
> > prompt in telling the wrong sorts of emails where to go, perhaps with a
> > standard template which explains the rules and a little checkbox by the
> > offence.
> >
> > On the other hand, list members should try not to bait the trolls. I've
> > caught myself being suckered in too, so I know it's not easy. But why
> > reward the wrong sort of emails with any response other than a boiler
> > plait 'Your being rude' email?
> On a practical note, it isn't as if this ML is getting flooded with
> hundreds of messages of traffic a day. For those who could benefit
> from the technical discussions and user input, I don't see why someone
> would disconnect themselves from that for the reason of saving
> themselves 15 minutes a day. As long as there are "signals", the
> "noise" should be dealt with and ultimately set aside.
Whether you see the reason for it or not, I guarantee you that fewer and fewer 
developers are subscribed to this list.  The general reason is not 'too many 
messages' it's to much rudeness.  

Users on this list have a choice.  Concerns can be raised in a way that is 
constructive, helpful, and brings us together or they can be raised in a 
divisive way.  

Offlist someone mentioned the example of kdvi brought up on this list a few 
months ago.  Based on that user's request, I looked into the validity of 
their concern and found it had merit.  As a result, I invested probably a 
dozen hours of my free time to repackage kdvi in a way that would work on 

Developers who are here do try to listen.  It's up to you to chose how you 
decided to engage them in discussion.

Scott K

This message is meant to promote the cause of peace, although the rest of this paragraph might just make all sides equally angry with me. I have much sympathy for developers (especially the unpaid ones) who devote time and skill to a project and who have to suffer high levels of noise and even unreasonable criticism and intemperate language in mailing lists. However, I hope also that developers will manage to understand how frustration at being unable to solve problems through regular channels can drive people to escalate problems in not always the most productive ways.

If it gives anyone some consolation, I will assure you that, having spent an entire professional career in my country's diplomatic service, flame wars just as bad as any here have been known to break out in e-mail discussions among foreign ministry colleagues. Is there any need to repeat the well-known tales about e-mail being an impersonal medium, something written gives the other person something to brood over, etc, etc? The problem is that, by its nature, flame wars will break out in e-mail and no number of Acceptable Use Policies nor exhortations to good behaviour will change that unhappy fact of human behaviour.

It is a given that any face-to-face meeting of people needs someone to chair it, with a firm hand, if necessary, when the it slips off-topic (or worse). Until we have computers that can design better (better, not necessarily bigger) people, electronic discussions are invariably subject to the same stresses.

My local LUG came up with a scheme which struck me as very sensible to have a couple of monitors who kept an eye on our mailing list, sought to deal in private e-mail with people who got too fired up, but who also had authority "to name and shame" and ultimately to ban repeat offenders from the list for whatever time the offence made appropriate.

The current president of the LUG is a professor from the Department of Mathematics whom I first met over 20 years ago and only a half-dozen times since. This incident will give me an excuse to re-establish contact, especially now that, at age 58, I have gone back to school full-time at his university, but not in his Department.

I will post again on this list, when I have some detailed ideas to offer.

Bruce Miller
Bruce Miller, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
bruce at; (613) 745-1151

Traduttore traditore
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