Benjamin A. Okopnik
ben at linuxgazette.net
Mon Jan 23 07:11:35 MSK 2006
On Sun, Jan 22, 2006 at 08:45:29AM -0800, Rick Moen wrote:
> Now, I have no special powers of interpretation, being just the bit
> janitor around here, but, going by the wording provided, that sounds just
> about precisely the same as Mikkel's attitude to me -- or, perhaps a
> little more charitably, Mikkel's take on things is an inevitable and
> obvious consequence of our assuming the role Jay claims is our intent.
There's overlap between the two universes if drawn broadly enough, yes.
In practice, I think that Jay's and Mikkel's attitudes would act
somewhat like matter and anti-matter on contact (but I'm betting on Jay
being quicker with the middle finger.)
As Jay mentions in a later email, it's a metaphor; extending one too far
beyond the situation in which it was used will usually produce absurd
results. I agree that portrtaying TAG as a tech support department would
have large negative consequences - which is a great demonstration of why
some of the exchanges here should not see the light of day. People who
read only that statement and none of the preceding (or following)
exchanges could indeed take it as a descriptive statement - and we'd
have to use our curmudgeoning skills more often than we do.
> My point in "Yes, precisely. Let's fix that" was that it is absolutly
> NOT our intent. It would mean we'd not just _get_ the Mikkels of the
> world, but also deserve and invite them.
> Thus my point.
The problem is, the solution you proposed was not acceptable to a number
of other folks here - for what seem to them to be good, sound reasons.
In addition, there's yet another consideration: Mailbag and TAG are a
part of LG - and that part would become essentially redundant if our
archives were just another public list. Heather and Thomas plus whoever
is helping them on a given month spend a large batch of their time
sorting all the incoming for signal-to-noise, and do their best to
maximize the signal. How would the addition of noise benefit anyone? I
believe that their hard work is worth recognition and respect; it
certainly deserves more than just being gratuitously tossed on the heap.
> > Bull-headed ignorance is a law unto itself
> Quite. You can't prevent the Mikkels of the world from behaving like
> shitheads -- but you _can_ keep firmly in mind that you're a technical
> _community_, not a friggin' free-of-charge technical support queue, and
> then act accordingly.
Indeed. When I write a response to any Mikkels that show up, I keep this
very firmly in mind: I'm writing to an audience much broader than one,
reiterating the rules of the game as well as providing technical help
for those who could use it. Otherwise, why the hell would I bother? The
'd' key on my keyboard works perfectly well, and it's a lot easier and
faster to ignore their blithering.
> The logic of technical communities revolves around the key "Why are we
> here?" question. Of course, it is in our case primarily to publish a
> magazine (a _community_ magazine), but secondarily it is also to
> participate _in_ that technical community. Which in turn means that
> we're happiest about questions and answers carried out in manners that
> assist thousands of people going forward, and therefore about public
> questions and answers much more than private ones.
> Since you raised _that_ question again, I am giving the same answer,
> because the same logic still applies.
And I believe that we participate in that community, and serve it -
largely by refining signal out of the noise. The TAG-and-Mailbag folks
do that with the mail; I and the proofing crew do it with the articles.
Sure, we *could* give up LG and just become a list; however, I believe
that the Linux community is better served by LG than Yet Another List.
> > [TAG FAQ:] the very people that need it the most are the ones who are
> > least likely to read it.
> You've seen Moen's Law of Documentation, right? ;->
[grin] Rick, it completely fails to surprise me that your Laws are
usually right in line with my own beliefs; I recall reading them and
cheering - more than once, over the years. It pleases me no end that
there _is_ a Rick Moen on the Net, and that he's put his brain to damn
good use over time: I've shortcut many a long and complex explanation by
saying "look, just go to (e.g.)
http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/faq/index.php?page=crybaby and all will be
made clear to you."
* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://linuxgazette.net *
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