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Subject: Re: Apology, and a period of break.

Re: Apology, and a period of break.

From: Rafaël Carré <rafael.carre_at_gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 15:45:21 +0200

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On Sun, 21 Jun 2009 12:32:27 +0100
Antony Stone <Antony.Stone_at_rockbox.open.source.it> wrote:

> No-one expects one person to respond to all the posts on the list,
> but a generally friendlier response on the list (from everyone) to
> most of the questions would be appreciated by a far wider audience
> than just the one person who asked the question.

A detailed answer is something time consuming.

An answer to something already documented is something emotionally
consuming, and such questions do not make me want to be friendly.


> > Now that Paul has stepped away from the forums, don't expect the
> > rules to get relaxed. It's not going to happen.
>
> Has anyone "in charge" of these rules stopped recently to consider
> whether these rules are in the best interests of the Rockbox project,
> and the user / developer community as a whole?
>
> I'm familiar with many varied forums and mailing lists, and Rockbox
> is certainly the most extreme that I've come across in terms of
> telling people they've broken the rules, posted in the wrong way,
> asked the question in the wrong place, and basically, by all these
> things, generally pissing people off.
>
> Certainly, it's for the manager/s of a mailing list to decide what's
> acceptable behaviour and what isn't, but it is really best for the
> Rockbox project to be so picky (and clearly, in many people's
> opinion, petty) about dealing with the postings which appear on the
> lists?

Since rockbox is a community, I think this choice belongs to the
community as a whole, so to the people devoting time to the mailing
lists like Paul.

If you want to weight in the choice of these rules, the best solution
is to become a part of the community and give answers on the user list.

> I would be very surprised indeed if the Rockbox list maintainers (by
> which I mean the people who decide upon the rules for posting and
> responding to posts on the list) are not also members of other,
> similar, open source project lists, and I wonder whether they've
> compared their experiences between Rockbox and other communities, and
> really think that the Rockbox lists are better than those others, not
> in terms of whether people stick to the rules, but in terms of
> usefulness and encouragement to the people developing, using, and
> potentially improving the software being discussed on each list?

I am a developer of VLC media player (not really active anymore), and I
can provide a comparison.

VLC has both an user and a developers mailing list:

The developers mailing list is very active (1528 mails last month)

The users mailing list is not very active (87 mails last month).
Most developers don't read it, and the ones who read it don't answer to
most threads.

I can tell it's quite hard for the user community because unlike
Rockbox:

- - VLC is extremely popular and has hundreds of millions of downloads.
- - VLC is extremely poorly documented.
- - The developers community is quite small.


So as a user I would consider the rockbox project as a paradise:
- - Clean, complete, actively updated documentation
- - Some user support by mailing lists, forums, and IRC.
- - Communication with lot of developers.


> After all, what is Open Source all about? Obeying the rules, or
> helping to improve the software, helping others to use the software,
> and helping to encourage others to contribute to the software?

It's about what people want to do, i.e. spend their time doing user
support or not, contribute or not.

> > What's going to happen is a lot of people aren't going to get any
> > answers at all, because the rest of us just don't have the time and
> > energy that Paul has had in answering all those questions
> > tirelessly, and very often thanklessly.
>
> Let's see. I think there's also a possibility that if other people
> notice that a question has gone unanswered (and bear in mind that
> Paul was often remarkably quick at responding to postings, so we have
> no idea how many other people might have replied a few hours later if
> Paul hadn't done so already), then they may well step in where they
> hadn't done so before.

Well I hope some people will still want to read and answer the user
list (me for example)

> I also sincerely believe that if the lists were allowed to become a
> generally friendlier and more encouraging place to discuss Rockbox,
> the way it's used, and the ideas people have for ways in which it
> could be improved, then a number of people who haven't previously
> been known for their contribution to answering questions might start
> to come forward and help out.

Are you coming forward?

Sorry if you are already active on the user list, I only subscribed
recently.. I just mean that critics on the quality of Paul's work do
not really have a place.


He gave for free a lot of this time, that's a pretty big quality for a
work I think, and is enough for me to thank him.


When asking for a feature to be implemented, you will likely get a
"patch welcome", so for user support i would say "supporter welcome".

- --
Rafaël Carré
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Received on 2009-06-21


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