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From Terry Ellison <>
Subject Dissatisfaction amongst the community admins, moderators and volunteers
Date Sun, 04 Sep 2011 11:31:58 GMT
A few days ago, I made the statement below and received a generally 
robust and unapologetic response.  I don't want to rehash this again, 
but this tipped the balance for me and I decided to finish off my work 
with Apache and hand over.  What has somewhat surprised me and this is 
the issue that I want to flag up the the PPMC in this note, is the 
volume and tone of the general responses that I received when I let the 
forums know of my decision to hand over and stand down.

In essence my concerns and fears seem to be shared by most of the NL 
admins, moderators and volunteers that staff the forums and do over 90% 
of the work to respond to end users.  Until this last week my views were 
probably at the more positive end of the spectrum.  If this happens then 
we aren't going to be left with any functioning forums, so I am starting 
to consider quite seriously why I am continuing to do this work at all.

Please consider taking active steps:

    * To realise that these people spend all of their pro-bono time
      working in the forum model and generally hate using email for
      anything other than 1-1 communication.  We need to have a mutually
      efficient way of working together.
    * To understand that the forums are a well oiled machine that are
      administered tightly and efficiently and have been for years. 
      Please understand how the system works and what its strengths and
      weakness are, before demanding changes.
    * Please don't demand, but provide rational explanations for the
      need to change and use sensible change management to change
      working policies and practices.
    * Reach out and consider how to work with people for whom English is
      a second language, who find it hard work to read a simple and well
      formatted document or post and who just cannot follow complex
      email threads that are a dozen levels deep and get completely
      mangled by some respondents:
          o Keep thread simple and maintain thread discipline
          o Try to give direct answers to direct questions
          o All participants configure their email clients to use
            "text/plain; format=flowed" encoding, as "text/plain" only
            can completely mangle nesting of reply content.

Of course the PPMC doesn't have to do any of this, but also please 
accept my parting advice that if you don't then you are effectively and 
knowingly killing the forums off.  At some point these people will have 
decide whether to stay and tough it out; to leave one-by-one; or to take 
this service elsewhere.

Regards Terry Ellison

On 01/09/11 23:02, Terry Ellison wrote:
> Quite honestly -- and I can only speak personally -- at the moment I 
> feel that I am caught between a rock and a hard place.  My work is 
> time consuming and the skills are different to the mainstream C++ 
> trained OOo developer, but they are also different to a pure 
> sysAdmin.  In some ways you need to be an expert in *both* these 
> worlds and to be able to integrate this expertise.  I am not talking 
> about enthusiastic newbie volunteers; I am talking about hacks who 
> have done this so many times that it's routine.  Again this only my 
> personal experience, but I feel that Apache is unwelcoming to 
> newcomers and this seems to be an endemic culture, albeit strongly 
> advocated by a few individuals.  It is intolerant and often outrightly 
> hostile to domains of expertise outside its comfort area -- even 
> though these may be more relevant to the work and Apache's wider 
> mission.  In short I am being asked to work long hours on technically 
> demanding tasks in a dysfunctional environment.  If I was being paid 
> to do what I am doing now, then I would be seriously thinking about 
> changing jobs -- and this is from a guy who spent 32 years working 
> with the same company working to get to its top technical tier -- and 
> also one who is now doing this work pro-bono

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