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From Henning Schmiedehausen <...@intermeta.de>
Subject Re: Netiquette: Is there an issue, and can we make the ASF more welcoming?
Date Mon, 08 Aug 2005 09:03:27 GMT
On Mon, 2005-08-08 at 17:36 +1000, David Crossley wrote:
> Jean T. Anderson wrote:
> > I'll post here what I've told Noel and others elsewhere.
> > 
> > At ApacheCon Eu two men who attended the Derby BOF said they don't like
> > to post to user lists because of the flame wars. One went further to say
> > that he doesn't always have the time to thoroughly research the
> > documentation and mail lists for a given topic. Both said they prefer to
> > seek out knowledgeable developers and ask their questions off-line.
> > 
> > My experience at Apache has been good, so I was surprised to hear two
> > users say they were reluctant to post to mail lists. They didn't say
> > which list(s) had flamed them.
> 
> I too find this to be unusual behaviour at Apache.
> At projects that i work with, people are respectful.

One should always be aware that the level of offense depends on many
things. For example, there are a lot of people that tell me, when they
met me in RL, that my mails sometimes sound very harsh because they
often contain only a single sentence or so, which people from some
culture groups consider offensive or rude because there is "leading in
paragraph" or "leading out paragraph". However, when you deal with loads
of mails every day, this simply costs time that most of us don't have. 

Other people consider it rude when they send you a personal question
about a project and just get an answer that says "please ask this
question on <xxx>-user@apache.org" because they feel that when they ask
a direct question to a developer, they also deserve a direct answer. But
this is the same thing as above. Most apache people can't (and I'm
pretty sure that people from the really busy projects like httpd, Tomcat
or Struts can even less) answer every direct question without pointing
to the mailing lists.

And then there are two special types of people: Those that barge in with
"Could you please give me a list of points why your project is
better/worse than <another project>? Please summarize in two paragraphs;
I need this till end of week" and those that ask questions that are
obviously answered in the documentation and FAQs over and over again.
Where it is obvious, that they don't bother reading the docs but
consider it the duty of the developers to answer their questions.

The first group feels offended when you tell them that you will not do
their "product selection paper / term paper / report to the boss" for
them and the second group feels offended when you point them at the docs
and say that they should read the docs first and then come back and ask
questions that are not answered there. 

So in the end: Yes. I'm pretty aware that there are people who sometimes
feel offended by answers done by developers and I must admit that I
probably did my fair share here. Sometimes people will feel offended no
matter what you write. However, IMHO getting an answer which is "please
see the manual at <URL>" is still better than just getting no answer at
all.

	Best regards
		Henning


-- 
Dipl.-Inf. (Univ.) Henning P. Schmiedehausen          INTERMETA GmbH
hps@intermeta.de        +49 9131 50 654 0   http://www.intermeta.de/

      RedHat Certified Engineer -- Jakarta Turbine Development
   Linux, Java, perl, Solaris -- Consulting, Training, Engineering

                     4 - 8 - 15 - 16 - 23 - 42


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