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Re: GSoC application deadline passed

From: olafBuddenhagen
Subject: Re: GSoC application deadline passed
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 18:44:14 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.17+20080114 (2008-01-14)


On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 08:38:14AM -0600, Michael Heath wrote:

> People had their reasons or lack of motivation for contributing or
> participating.

But motivation enough for complaining about my lovely little mail? :-)

> A responsible person would (at least in the future) choose the logical
> route of trying to change these reasons or properly motivate people to
> contribute. You, apparently, chose the other option of trying to
> instigate some kind of bizarre guilt trip.

I tried my best to motivate those people before. The effect was what I
described in that mail: Zero :-(

> People have NO obligation to contribute to this or any other open
> source project. Stop being so completely rude by implying that they
> are somehow horribly inferior to you because they opted to not
> participate in this.

I didn't imply any kind of inferiority. I wonder why you think so?

> Your sarcasm attempted to be a slap in the face to everyone subscribed
> to this list, when many people on the list are very far from deserving
> of that.

No, not everyone. I'm surprised that you af all feel compelled to
comment on this. I wouldn't consider casual lurkers a part of the
"community" I was addressing there. Do you think otherwise?

As for sarcasm, that was supposed to make it sound less negative. Irony
usually does that. Seems I failed. Tough shit.

> What does it show potential new developers, those newly interested,
> when they subscribe to the list and see you belittling people for not
> participating this, when they were only given 4 days notice?

Well, for the sake of bystanders like you, let me explain the situation
a bit.

What you may no be aware of is that those people this was chiefly
addressed at, were hanging out on IRC, and learned about this stuff much
earlier. (The 4-days-mail was really mostly a reminder.) In fact, I
contacted most of them personally, both on IRC and in email.

What you may also not be aware of is that I invested a lot of time and
effort into this. Writing these drafts, especially the project list,
alltogether cost me the good part of each day over the period of about a
week. If that work is wasted because certain people do not feel the
inclination to spend maybe half an hour on further fleshing out
descriptions most of which I already wrote, or at least contributing a
couple of remarks, I think I have good reason to feel a bit pissed off.

But maybe you are right. Maybe it was silly of me to assume that just
because certain people consider themselfs part of the community, claim
to care about the Hurd; because there is a chance to bring this project
forward at comparatively little effort; and because I invested a
considerable amount of time in preparing it -- that just because of
that, certain people would consider it worthwhile to spend half an hour
or so on helping. Stupid me.

> This behavior is entirely the reason why the Hurd project is
> unpopular, underdeveloped, and dieing.

Sorry, this is bullshit.

This "community" certainly has a lot of problems -- this episode shows
it more clearly than ever. But it's certainly not lack of friendliness.

In fact, I wish it were so. I wish some friendlyness would help make a
project successful. But that's not the way things work.

Did you know that a couple of years ago someone did a comparision of
communities in various free software projects, and the result was that
the Hurd community was presented as the model example for friendlyness?

And what good did it bring? People who come along, enjoy the friendly
attention they get, and then move on to other things, having contributed
nothing, just wasted some of the few real developer's time. Thanks a

Actually my impression is that the opposite is true; that flamewars are
necessary to ever get anything moving, and to sort out people who are
not serious about the project. That being unfriendly is an essential
indigent in most volunteer projects. Take a look at OpenBSD.

Maybe that's because some kind of strong feelings are necessary for
volunteers to get moving -- and sadly a flamewar is more likely to
create strong feelings than any amount of friendlyness.

This is a sad realisation. I do not mean to encourage unfriendlyness, or
even to defend it. I just don't buy your claim that it has anything to
do with the problems of the Hurd project.

To be honest, I consider it rather presumptuous for you to tell us how
we should behave or not behave.

> You belittle or ignore all newcomers, and imply (though a nice mixture
> of sarcasm, rudeness, and silence) that they are incredibly stupid
> people unworthy of your time or conversation if they are unable to
> behave or think in exactly the way your expected them to.

That's not true. We do very well give notice to newcomers, if they are
actually contributing anything. In fact, the most active people nowadays
came in rather recetly -- they were newcomers themselfs not long ago.

Actually we usually spend just as much time on newcomers, even when we
know up front that they will contribute nothing. Maybe this is part of
our failing -- not concentrating enough on the really useful people.

(Oh, by the way, before you accuse me of arrogance: I consider my own
person mostly useless myself.)


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