civil discussion on fedora lists

Matthew Miller mattdm at
Fri Oct 17 18:31:57 UTC 2014

On Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 06:24:03PM +0200, Ralf Corsepius wrote:
> >Everyone: please remember the code of conduct here, and advance the
> >conversation in a productive way or take it elsewhere. Thank you.
> Well, then please explain, how you expect people to express
> fundamental disagreement with somebody's rationale, if one thinks a
> person's/party's rationale is irrational and non-applicable?

When you find yourself thinking that, it's probably time to step back and
pause for a bit. Our basic assumption should be that everyone collaborating
here is a rational person with intelligent input. You can take a fresh look
and re-read what is being said. If you feel like a point being made still
doesn't make sense, one option is to simply not respond. But if you do want
to continue, again, start from the assumption that the other person means

You can say something like "I'm not sure I understand the point you are
making. Particularly, I don't see how __________ follows. Can you explain
that in more depth?"

And conversely, if you feel like your position isn't being listened to, try
"I guess I'm not making myself very clear. Let me try to restate.... Does
this make more sense?"

You don't need to agree in the end, but you can get a better understanding,
and unlike a back-and-forth email jousting match, it can be helpful for
people reading along as well.

In both cases, if you've tried and it's not getting anywhere, consider
whether it's valuable to keep going. What will be accomplished? It might be
better to just move on to something else, or, if a big decision is at stake,
present your case in a different forum. (A concrete, reasoned proposal to
FESCo, for example.)

Constructive discussion even when we disagree is fundamental to the Fedora
approach — it is our Friends foundation. We do an awesome job of living up
to it in many aspects of the project, and it's time to try a lot harder on
the mailing lists, too.

Matthew Miller
<mattdm at>
Fedora Project Leader

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