2010-05-07

At least they had a burning cloud to follow...

Ok in watching many of our Fedora conversations digress, I see a major issue is that everyone uses the same words but means them differently... and then we all get miffed at each other because how could anyone use a word any other way but how we mean it. It then becomes a long set of misunderstandings that only the people reading the lists from other organizations can laugh at. [Sorry for breaking the fourth wall here. Hi guys, you know who you are.]

Take for instance the word contributor. When we talk about everyone being a potential contributor, it means different things to a lot of people. From reading Ralf Corsepius's emails on it, it would seem to some people that contributor is a developer who knows how to package software. To read through Paul Frield's emails it would be that a contributor could just be someone who hands out Fedora DVD's to some friends and says "Try this." Vastly different definitions for the word, and if each does not realize what the other is talking about.. we end up with confusion where some feel we are forcing people who do not have the developer's mindset into becoming packagers and others feel we are driving off people who make substantial contributions by 'meeting and greeting' other users.

However, the very act of defining things causes a lot of problems. Definitions are personal identifications.. being told that we aren't using YOUR definition seems to get people even more riled up than not defining it at all. Look at all the turmoil on defining what Fedora means. "You can't do that." say some people, because well they are afraid their definition will be thrown out and it is better to just put off anything like that til later.

So for 7 years we have basically wandered around in the wilderness knowing which direction we could go but never agreeing on which way it is. I only hope it doesn't take us another 33 years to get there.
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