2010-11-10

Peeved off board member

Dear Fedora Community

Why is it that for 4 months, I kept asking "How are things going?" and people kept saying "Everythings fine.. heck things seem to be mellow?" And once the release is done every problem that could have been dealt with in the last 4 months comes out of the wood work with "Oh my god the sky is falling intensity."

To quote Matt Domsch as he said it better than me:

And this is my concern with the Fedora Community today. Rather than
assume good intentions and put the best construction on everything, it
seems that people actively _want_ to be offended (even when no offence
was intended), people _want_ to look for hidden agendas and
conspiracies (even when none such exist), people _want_ to find a
reason to be argumentative rather than constructive, and, IMHO, people
want to be armchair quarterbacks, suggesting how things should be
done, rather than actively being the agent that _does_ it.

I've never seen anyone, in any office or role, actively set out to
destroy the Community, or other individuals' involvement, or ramrod
some unspecified corporate agenda down the throats of contributors.
I've only seen people _who actually do stuff_ run for office with the
best of intentions, only to get tired of the above when _doing stuff_
seems to hack people off at every turn. Maybe that's why so many of
our long-standing contributors are finding other ways to spend their
time now.

I am seriously really tired of it. If you really have a problem do something beyond arm chair bossing:
  1. Find a part of the project and make it better.
  2. Find people who agree with you and make a remix that shows how things should be done.
  3. Find or create a project that better fits your needs.

I say this as someone who has done all of the above at various points in my life. It is not as hard and scary as people make it out to be.

5 comments:

Jeremy said...

Honestly, this is one of the many things which ended up with me feeling significantly burned out dealing with the Fedora community.

Máirín said...

It's mailing lists. They need to be eradicated. They are optimized for heightening drama and for rewarding bad behavior.

Smooge said...

I don't think it is just mailing lists.. IRC, forums, all allow for bad behaviour because all social queues and consequences are removed.

I don't know what the answer is, but at this point I think that we have to realize that the limitations of online interactions just make politeness, respect etc harder.

gregdek said...

Maybe it's time to starve those conversations instead of feeding them. Start parallel conversations that are more interesting and more focused on actionable stuff.

There's plenty of good stuff to accomplish in Fedora-land. Pick a subproject and lead it passionately. People will follow, if for no other reason than to have an escape from the drama. :)

mschwendt said...

It's a "people problem". A problem of how some people use the various communication channels and whether these people value feedback at all. Mailing lists are just one place where it's possible to create a flood of messages in short time ("threads of doom"), if there is at least one person who continues to respond very quickly over a period of several hours. Only few people seem to be able to handle the mail traffic, unfortunately more often than not with no final outcome.