Shlomi Fish ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:
> Actually I also think it was too rude. Let's analyze it:
> 1. You didn't say "hi".

Oh, come on. A lot of the mails on mailinglists don't include a greeting
if quoting something. I've never perceived that as *rude*.

> 2. You phrased it as a question that implied the original poster should have 
> thought abuot it himself, instead of giving an answer.

Oh, come on again. It is not unusual to formulate a suggestion in terms
of a question. To pose this as rude is IMHO blown way out of proportion.

I really don't get why this discussion sparked from this specific mail.
Please also keep in mind that most of us are *not* native speakers and
discussing stuff in this linguistic nuances is probably a wasted effort.

> However, I believe Alpár's and Joao commentary was induced by the general 
> trend of treating people on this list (and potential future contributors) 
> rudely or impatiently. I've noticed this general trend here too after someone 
> made me more aware of it.

Funny, my impression is, that it got better in the last few months.

> I believe the GIMP could have been much better off today, if it weren't for 
> all the antagonism that the developers' have created. I mean, sure after 
> Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis left the project and most of the other 
> original developers left to work on GNOME, very few developers were left. But 
> since then the community of FOSS developers grew by leaps and bounds, and 
> there shouldn't have been any problem finding much more potential developers 
> than we have today. There are plenty of fish in the sea.

I am concerned that this might not be exactly true. I don't have
specific numbers, but my impression is, that it is way harder to sort
the wheat from the chaff nowadays. In the beginning of the GIMP the
people who a) found the GIMP, b) bothered to subscribe to the
mailinglist, c) expressed interest in contributing generally already
were enthusiasts about free software. They used stuff like e.g.
slackware to convince their boxes to boot into linux. They were editing
textfiles to get an internet connection. They had a thorough
understanding of their system. This is no longer the case today. I mean,
I am teaching stuff at the CS department of our universities and there
really are students here who never did any programming and/or are
annoyed if they have to. I mean, WTF?

Granted, the pool became bigger, but the amount of fish in it did not
increase in the same proportion. And there are a lot more projects
fishing around in there.

I am not sure if this is a fair description, I probably sound a little
bit like a grumpy old man. Not sure what to do about this though...  :)

> Let's look at Inkscape for a counter example. They have been around
> for a much shorter time than the GIMP, but have made remarkable
> progress, because the atomosphere they have is much better. If they
> could do it, why can't we? Only because we reject potential
> developers.

I believe that "reject" is the wrong word here, because it implies that
we'd do this on purpose which is in general not true. We do have a habit
of expecting a lot from patches (look at the number of iterations some
patches go in bugzilla) but in general I believe that even the original
patch author will agree that the result is way better than what was
originally submitted. We also have the habit of expecting more than
half-baked ideas when someone comes up with an idea and sometimes ideas
are probed a lot before a developer admits that it might be a good idea.

I guess that these intentions do not always make it through to the
person presenting the idea and they take it as a hostile attitude of the
gimp developers (sometimes even "threatening" us with switching to other
applications). This is the area where we probably can improve things
a lot by being more careful with the language. However, the probing in
itself is necessary and important for the quality of the Gimp.

[and regarding inkscape - I like the project a lot and I don't mean them
any harm, but they lost me as a contributor even before I tried to
communicate with them - 430 source files in a single directory is a good
way to do this, hopefully they will improve there.]

About your suggestions:
> 1. Create a page with some FAQs and canned responses in both HTML and plain 
> text formats. I volunteer to prepare and maintain this page. I also get sick 
> of reading more "You should change the name of the GIMP, it is an insult in 
> English", "When is CMYK/16-bit/whatever support coming?", etc. questions, but 
> I believe we can at least answer them politely.

Please add "I will switch to [whatever]" to that list...

> 2. Have a system of self-moderation. Let the messages of developers with a 
> tendency to be rude and untactful pass through a small forward 
> of "friendliness experts" for approval and correction. IF the experts are 
> unhappy, they'll tell the senders to edit them and re-send them.
> Note that I'm not necessarily suggesting we force it down the developers' 
> throat, although it may not be a bad idea either.

I think it is a bad idea. We do have to be careful that Gimp stays fun
for ourselves. Putting ourselves in a self-surveillance-corset is a
great way to kill the fun IMHO.
> 3.
[snipped - that was IMO not necessary]
> 4. Otherwise have the developers pay attention and try to be as hopsitable, 
> friendly and tactful as possible. Reading the Producing OSS book would be a 
> good start.

I might give it a shot.


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