I fix computers for a large number of people and a lot of these are
interested in using Photoshop or lighter-weight versions of the same,
but they want all the hard work of "fixing up" a photo to be done for
them instantly in software and they do not want a learning curve with
this. They want a magic solution. Let the computer and the software do
the heavy lifting is their motto.
With some of these people -- the ones who are more willing to learn new
stuff -- I suggest they use Gimp. I download the Windows version for
them and install it and make sure that they have Gimp help, too. I also
recommend they buy Akkana Peck's book. I think she wrote the book in a
very helpful spirit using a format, and with examples, that are exactly
right for many of my customers.
But I never suggest that these same customers join this mailing list. If
I do, most or all of them will instantly be burned at stake for the
crime of their posting styles. These are often older retired people who
are very sensitive and innocent. And they will not be able to accept
being lectured for their posting styles. The customer may then associate
their treatment on this list with me as a service provider, and they
might just think of me as showing poor manners. I do not want to take
that risk, because I sell my services. I go to these people's homes, and
often meet their family members, and they are just ordinary people on
limited budgets who want to use their computers and a concept that a
computer can think for them.
I notice that the commercial product forums don't have this issue very
much -- other list users don't flame based on posting styles, and the
list moderators try hard to get the question being asked answered. They
really do welcome new users and beginners. They really want use of their
product to expand. A user forum for a commercial, paid product is often
a much more pleasant experience for the user for that reason.
This very thing is one of the biggest roadblocks I see with adoption of
open source software. Given the choice of a user forum for a paid
product that treats the customer with respect and courtesy, and a
similar forum for open source software that often severely punishes
participation if you don't conform to a set of stylistic conventions,
where do you think the customer is going to head? That's right, the paid
product and the courtesy and respect.
In the same way, suppose a customer is given the choice of a polite,
respectful, smiling me as a technician and a different technician who
makes often rude and biting remarks and requires conformity to a
particular style. Which technician is likely to make more money? Me. The
other tech can stay rude, and without business, too.
Increasing your product adoption is all about providing top service and
support to go with it -- and with a smile.
On 01/18/2010 09:53 AM, Robert L Cochran wrote:
> I top post.
> I don't think it helps to beat on people for their posting styles. It
> helps simply to respond to the issue under discussion.
> On 01/17/2010 11:13 PM, Patrick Horgan wrote:
>> Have you ever noticed that people's progress in using, supporting,
>> writing bug reports for, and sometimes even developing for, writing
>> documentation for, or translating for open source software is paralleled
>> by their progress from top-posting to bottom posting to interlinear
>> posting, to intelligent elision with interlinear posting? I see it on
>> the gimp, and on other lists all the time.
>> Beginners don't know what top posting is. They don't understand that
>> there's no business to bitch too about open source software. They don't
>> understand how few people keep open software going. They're completely
>> ignorant about our culture. They don't know how happy people will be if
>> they write intelligent bugs, or offer to make documentation better.
>> They don't understand that the people providing support for them are
>> potentially them.
>> I guess the point is that it's easy to be annoyed by an ignorant
>> beginner, (definitely speaking from experience), and they make
>> themselves even more annoying by top posting when responding to
>> messages, not knowing that it looks like they are deliberately making it
>> harder to follow the conversation. If we kindly educate them instead of
>> attacking them, (and when appropriate, privately, instead of
>> embarrassing them publicly on the list), we might over time convert some
>> of them to useful human beings.
>> I really like the way Sven invites people to contribute. For people not
>> used to open source it's startling, and sometimes his invitation to be
>> part of the solution is mistaken for an unwillingness to help. They've
>> got this strange sense of learned helplessness. Even though few of
>> those invited will ever contribute, some do, and some of those who don't
>> contribute right away, have been started thinking about it by Sven and
>> eventually will contribute. On the lilypond list, it's Graham the
>> curmudgeon that keeps inviting people. It works.
>> If instead we attack them, we make of ourselves boors, and drive away
>> people that might have been of great help eventually. Some of those
>> driven away are lurkers not even involved in the communication. I know
>> that some have more patience than others, but if you can't stand
>> beginners acting like beginners, it's only necessary to ignore them.
>> One of my favorite proverbs is, "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace,
>> is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of
>> understanding", or the more modern proverb "Better to be thought a fool
>> than to open your mouth and remove all doubt";)
>> People that are going to insist on being idiots go away pretty quickly
>> if ignored. I know people that have been around for years already know
>> all this, but there might be one or two on this list who need a gentle
>> Best regards,
>> Gimp-user mailing list
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