Resolving conflict in technical debates in an ideal world

Daniel Holbach daniel.holbach at
Thu Sep 4 10:15:23 BST 2008

Hash: SHA1

Stefan Lesicnik schrieb:
> I agree that some form of a conference call between those involved is
> a great way to address issues, but also poses some difficulties.
> Getting all interested parties to attend at a certain time for
> instance.  

I agree, finding a suitable meeting time is a problem in almost all more
direct forms of communication. Still I think if it's all about finding a
solution to a problem you care about, it will be possible to find a good
meeting time, even if you have to stay up late or get up early.

> Email is also a good way to think about things before you
> say them, potentially avoiding things said in the heat of the moment,
> which could cause more issues (although i guess are sometimes better
> said than unsaid and thought).

The reason why I suggest making use calls to more directly interact is
that you can convey much more than the thoughts you have. You can hear
out small nuances in the voice of the participants, you get much more of
an impression who is speaking and how they mean what they say. It's far
easier, in a call, to avoid misunderstandings by asking for a
clarification early. This can very early avoid heated arguments by
having everybody "on the same page".

Also keeping focus is a huge problem on mailing lists. You will often
find how a small detail attracts all the attention and produce
discussions of several pages length. If you set a time limit in a call,
you can much more easily insist on getting back to a solution to the
problem at hand.

In addition to that the whole experience is feeling much closer to each
other. I'm sure that in a lot of cases a very few one-hour calls might
have a much more lasting effect than heated debates on mailing lists
that go on for several days. Laughing about a joke together on the phone
can relax a tense situation and bring people closer together. Figuring
out a solution in short time together is much more likely to give
everybody the feeling of "we achieved something together" and enable the
participants to figure out problems together in the future.

> I've used skype conference call stuff (yes, i know skype is an evil
> propriety protocol). Maybe empathy / ekiga will offer us something?

Yes, I've used Skype successfully before and still use it. It does what
I want it to do, but a solution that seamlessly works on AMD64 etc etc
would be nice.

Somebody told me that offers a few "chat rooms", but they're
"free for all" so you'd dial in and try out the room and find somebody
else in there already. The same might happen to you when you finally
found a free room.

Have a nice day,
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