On Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 9:53 AM, Kushal Das <kushaldas(a)gmail.com> wrote:
Just wondering if promoting other distributions (in this case Ubuntu)
in public events should be considered as a conflict of interest? This
case the same person holds ambassador position in Fedora and similar
kind of position in Ubuntu too.
How I see it, promotions can take multiple forms - at times, you're
doing a full-fledged talk at a conference, another time you're just
answering questions by curious newbies at a small-scale nearby event
over a snack. Assuming you're representing Fedora Project, a talk
normally means you're going to be speaking about Fedora for most of
it. That's direct promotion - something people expected you to do
anyway at a Fedora talk. What seems to me as being more effective is
when you're promoting it when you weren't expected to - you know, like
at a personal choice discussion. That's the interesting bit to study.
Often, when I'm done speaking at a FLOSS-oriented event about Fedora,
the question I'm asked is, "Why Fedora and why not Ubuntu?" - or a
variant of that. Note that this is a different question from "Why do
*you* use/promote Fedora and not Ubuntu".
Answering the second question is easy. They're asking about *my*
opinion, so I can talk about what works for me, without worrying about
whether I have crossed boundaries of promotion so much that I'm now
demoting the other. It's my opinion after all.
Answering the first is tricky, more so if you're representing a
community. You want to highlight the distribution you just did a talk
about (or you're generally known for talking about), but here you are
comparing it with another distribution, which when you look at from
the curious person's perspective, offers a reasonable set of similar
features, shares principles, and probably has an intersecting
community. The route I like to take is to first talk about the
features I know that Fedorans are proud of, objectively. e.g. the four
F's, communication with upstream, remixing capability, and some of the
generic software Fedorans have had a significant role in driving. I
_never_ say "Ubuntu doesn't have this", because for one, I don't
really know, and two, it seems like demoting another competitor. And
then (shh, don't tell anyone, ok?), I move the conversation to "Why I
use Fedora" - which is probably a different set of reasons for
Why am I bringing this up?
Several times, there will be a troll in the crowd who wants to argue
that something about Fedora I mentioned is present in their favorite
(non Fedora) distribution, or how "Fedora copied this from Windows" or
"You can game on Windows but you can't on Fedora". If I were to join
that argument, it's going to be a mess - I'm only advocating why I
support Fedora, not why everyone should, so why is the troll picking
on me? In those scenarios, it helps when someone from each of those
communities is present and speaks about why that kind of analogy isn't
fair and mostly wrong.
That's why, I feel that ambassadors across communities don't always
have to be a negative phenomenon. But such an ambassador really needs
to know what he/she is talking about, and the art of promoting the
right thing at the right time. You can be an ambassador for Ubuntu and
Fedora, sure; but you can't be always talking about why Ubuntu is the
"best" distribution (or even Fedora, for that matter).
Thanks! Sorry about the long one!