Sven Neumann wrote:

Perhaps we should ask ourselves then why the same questions are asked
over and over again. "that has been planned for some time now" is an
answer that shows that the question shouldn't have been asked in the
first place. Now, why is it asked then? That's the point we should
worry about. If questions that appear as badly researched turn up,
this is a clear sign that the information isn't easily available.

Every mailing list I subscribe to has this problem. People simply find it easier to ask a human expert on a mailing list than to search for answers in documentation. I'm not aware of any projects that don't have this problem. Sure it's not great - sure we'd prefer if people spent an hour researching a problem before they post - sure we'd like people to say more than "It crashed while I was using it" in their bug reports.

However, it seems to be a part of human nature to prefer to reach out
and ask someone than to do 'due diligance' before they do so.  We are
evolved to communicate - it's what makes us human.

This is ALWAYS going to happen and no amount of additional documentation
is going to make a significant dent in that.

The problem is in how people react to those kinds of requests.

On most of the lists that I participate in, people groan, roll their
eyes and then answer the question politely.  If you know the answer,
it takes about the same amount of typing to answer a simple question
as it does to flame the user and tell him to RTFM.  It doesn't really
increase your workload, it makes the user happier, it keeps the list
as a friendly, helpful place and life is good.

On this list, the reaction is invariably hostile.

The only reason to give a hostile and non-helpful response is because
you hope to change the behavior of the supplicant.  You will do that -
but it won't change him into someone who reads the manual next time.
It'll change him into someone who thinks the GIMP developers are a
bunch of anal primadonna's.

Gimp-developer is a HORRIBLE place to hang out and talk about GIMP - and
that's a VERY bad thing for attracting new developers.

Now that's something that we can try to change. The fact that
mailing-lists are a place for random flame-baits and sometimes harsh
words on the other hand is probably not going to change ever.

There are occasional harsh things happening on every mailing list - that's true - but this one (out of maybe a dozen I read) is by far the worst.

So IMO the things we need to consider are:
- how can we make gimp development more transparent?
- how can we publish short and long term plans and roadmaps?
- why is there no maintained user FAQ?
- why is the mailing-list archive not working?

I don't think any of those things are the issue.

 - how can we be more friendly/tolerant on this list?
 - why do so many threads descend so rapidly into hostility?

The second law of Frisbee throwing states: "Never precede any maneuver
by a comment more predictive than "Watch this!" turns out that
this also applies to writing Fragment Shaders.
Steve Baker                      (817)619-2657 (Vox/Vox-Mail)
L3Com/Link Simulation & Training (817)619-2466 (Fax)

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