Doing something about signal:noise complaints

Andrew Sayers andrew-ubuntu-devel at
Thu Jan 22 11:19:04 UTC 2009

Hi all,

Ubuntu developers tend to complain about the ratio of signal to noise on
this list - that is, the percentage of posts that take up their time
without helping them to improve Ubuntu.  Many developers have apparently
unsubscribed from the list for that reason.  Grumbling developers are
never a good thing for a project, so I'd like to see what can be done
about it.

Having asked around on IRC, I get the impression that no-one really
knows enough about the issue to suggest a better solution - for example,
is it that there's too much noise, or not enough signal?  What types of
noise do people consider most objectionable?  What are the leading
causes of noise?

I'm open to better suggestions, but it seems to me the best way of
getting answers to the above questions is with a survey, so I've written
one up.  Hopefully the answers will let us have a more informed debate
about what to do next.

The current draft of the survey is at and will go live this time
tomorrow - there's still time to make changes if you have ideas.

If you're interested in improving the signal:noise ratio on this list,
please have a look at the draft survey and reply here, or reply directly
to me if you prefer.  If nobody objects to the survey going ahead, I'll
post again tomorrow asking people to fill the survey out properly.

	- Andrew

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