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Subject: Hostility on this list :-(
From: Robert Tweed (robert_at_killingmoon.com)
Date: 2002-08-15


This post is just a rant, inspired by the fact that a lot of people are immediately saying "show me the code" or similar, whenever anyone posts a suggestion here. Now, I can understand that no-one wants drawn out threads about stuff that is never going to happen, but I think that the primary purpose of this list should be to encourage the free flow of these ideas, and to discuss design and engineering problems *before* writing any code.

I personally am *not* going to contribute any code to this project at any time in the near future. I'm a competent programmer/designer and can offer ideas, but I just don't have time to set up a development environment or write any code for Rockbox just now. Therefore, if anyone tells me to show them the code, they won't get any, because I am not writing any code just now. However, if anyone needs some creative ideas to solve a difficult problem, I just may be able to help.

I thought I'd just say what I am thinking at the moment, because lately this list seems to be getting more and more hostile for some reason. I think this may turn away a lot of people who would otherwise be making a useful contribution here, even if they are not submitting any code. I mean, there are probably a few non-programmers here with good ideas about UI design, but they aren't about to implement those ideas by themselves.

If people want to talk about design issues, they should be allowed to talk about them *as design issues*. For instance, the thread about directory and filename structures is basically about UI design. If people want to discuss those ideas until they can come up with a UI feature that works, I think that is a good thing. If people make stupid suggestions they should be told that those suggestions are stupid.

However, everyone should not merely be encouraged to create an optional add-on, which is most likely badly designed, adding unneccessary weight and obfuscation to the program. We should be trying to make good design decisions as well as writing solid code; and the people that do one will not necessarily be the same people that do the other. If everyone that has commented on directory structures adds an optional module for viewing directories, we'll just have a confusing sprawl that takes up precious bytes when a single, simple system might have satisfied everyone.

Maybe we'll even come up with a UI feature that becomes standard on all MP3 players because of its ingenuity? We probably won't see any useful innovation like that if people aren't allowed to discuss their ideas, and everyone is expected to just implement every random thought that pops into their head.

- Robert



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