On 8/3/11 12:35 PM, Stuart McGraw wrote:
On 08/02/2011 08:15 PM, James McKenzie wrote:
> On 8/1/11 11:46 PM, Ian Malone wrote:
>> Constructive criticism and suggestions are far more useful than just
>> enumerating grievances.
> Amen said the choir. Bellyaching about something you cannot change is
> not going to change it and might just dig the heels in of the developers
> more. I've been of that ilk for YEARS. If you have something to say,
> say it, but coat it with HONEY. Remember, the song in Mary Poppins "A
> Spoon Full of Sugar Make the Medicine Go Down"? That is what we should
> be doing. [...]
I certainly agree "Constructive criticism and suggestions
are far more useful than just enumerating grievances" but
don't think that means the latter are useless.
They may not be useless, but as
a developer I would find them offensive
and not pay much attention if the management has told me to 'go another
As to the honey part, I disagree. Developers and users
constitute a partnership and I don't think it is good to set
the smaller number of developers on a pedestal, approachable
only with circumspection and deference reminiscent of a
French commoner approaching the court of Louis XVI.
We already have done this. We
basically have alienated the developers
to the point that they don't even reply to legitimate bug reports. That
is a BAD place to be.
Both partners get pluses and minuses from the partnership.
Developers get bug reporting, bug fixes, and the ego strokes
from being developer of a widely used piece of software.
They may also get financial rewards in the form of consulting
or book contracts, or job offers. Users of course get to use
useful software for free.
I agree here. But we also have to remember the phrase
"Don't bite the
hand that feeds you." If the developers are doing this for 'free' then
we should be as gracious as we can when we find something offensive.
This has driven more free-lance developers to 'pay jobs' where they are
isolated from the 'common chaff' and don't have to listen to nor react
to the grumblings of the 'masses'. And much of Linux development is
done by ordinary people on their 'free time'. And many have found 'much
better' things to do with it.
If a developer needs deference as well, then they should
distribute their software under license terms that require
that. Or restrict its distribution to people they know will
not be critical.
No, we need to be critical, but not destructive. There is a fine
between the two. Complaining that feature 'A' does not work as
designed/intended is just fine. Keep it civil. However, complaining
that feature 'A' is a Piece of Foul-Smelling Dung that is not worthy of
being on Planet Earth is neither and does not win friends in the
development world. That is most of what is being said about Gnome3. It
works, that we all can agree on. It is NOT efficient, and most of us
can agree on that too. However, it does meet the needs of the target
audience and that is what is the crux of the matter. We, the 'all
knowing' want our Gnome2. Well we have to come up with a really good
business case as to why. Otherwise, the developers are going to put a
massive amount of energy into Gnome3 and Gnome2 will go by the wayside.
This is called 'Progress'. And it stinkith madly.
But if they want the benefits of widespread use, I think they
need to understand that those benefits are going to come with
some criticism as well as admiration and gratitude.
Again, criticism yes.
Slobbering at the mouth fanaticism no. Remember,
developers are PEOPLE first and foremost. I go back to my 'Honey'
statement. Read through it. This is how to give criticism per the
'Leadership Guide'. You point out what is good and right about the
product and then you state "But it really does not meet the requirements
of group XXX" and state what will meet their needs. We the knowing
don't need the features of Gnome3, but if you sit there and bad-mouth it
all day, the developers are just going to say 'They are Grumpy and THEY
WILL ADAPT to what we give them." Same was said for Windows95. Do we
still have, to this day, a command line interface? Yep, sure do and I
use it everyday. Why? Because a group of folks approached Redmond with
a 'really good reason to keep it'. And it stuck.
None of this should be taken as encouraging the dissing of
developers or their work (and certainly not blatantly insulting
or personal attacks), but rather discouraging the 10 times as
many "don't say that" responses that each of the former seem
Again, I agree. Constructive criticism, delivered honestly, is a good
thing. Dissing and bad-mouthing a product does nothing for you (well
you'll feel better until you realize that Fedora 17 is out and Gnome2 is
nowhere to be found) and definitely does not paint a good picture of you
in the development team's vision.
Again, like Mary Poppins said "A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine
go down." In other words, if we give the good as well as the bad, we
have a possible way of making things better. If we point out only the
bad, then things can only get worse. (And I've been there with this so
I have the Practical Experience badge to go with this.)