Hi, general comments:

The tone of the GIMP mailing list has improved dramatically over the
years (long time lurker here) and I would assert that it is generally
very reasonable.

However, language barriers can cause problems and special care should
be taken when this is obviously the case.  Also, it's easy to slip
into "bad habits" that may just require a bit of extra self-control.

To that end, spending 10 minutes on email is simply a waste of time.
Terse is acceptable (even preferrable to long and meandering) and
needn't be rude.  I suggest an internal triage, where appropriate:
(a) Is it worth my time to reply?  Can anyone else answer this?  (b)
Is my response genuinely helpful?  (c) Can I mitigate a problem by

For the email that instigated this, I found it to be unfriendly as
well.  The conversation basically went: "What language do you use?",
"Figure it out yourself."  I would say this fails my little triage
test.  If you think the question is foolish, treat it like the lunatic
ranting on the corner:  walk as far away as possible.  Alternately, be
concise, but helpful: "It's written in C.  You can get the source from
...  -or- Just search for 'GIMP source code'."  The goal would be to
encourage the requestor to work forward, not to dissuade them from
doing so.

Triage test (c) is simply damage control:  If someone gets a rude
message, a polite response from someone else gives people another
place to focus.

There is a video called "How Open Source Projects Susvive Poisonous
People" available on Google Video from a couple Subversion folks:


It's an hour long but is generally interesting.  There are some
valuable points not just from a "how to be friendly" perspective
(which isn't always the answer, either) but also "how to keep a
project on track".  The section from 30:00-45:00 is probably most

And a FAQ would certainly be helpful.

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