Improving the list climate [was Re: Fwd: Fedora Weekly News 228]

Kwan Lowe kwan at
Fri Jun 4 19:38:55 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 9:43 AM, Patrick O'Callaghan
<pocallaghan at> wrote:
> It's always tempting to propose radical solutions when some unusual
> event occurs (see most responses to terrorist incidents for a real-world
> parallel).

I have to agree with this. Having used mailing lists, forums, Usenet,
BBSs and other discussion tools for over two decades, I've seen
exactly this. I've seen arguments start because one person's humor is
lost on another. There was virtual dust up once when someone's random
fortune cookie signature offended someone else who thought it was
directed at him. Not much can be done about it.. Maybe we can get
everyone together a room and duke it out or drink beer one day :)..


> My advice is to leave well alone. What I would do however is make some
> key aspects of the Guidelines a little more upfront when people
> subscribe. I don't mean simply a pointer to the complete Guidelines, but
> a *brief* list of the top points directly summarized in the confirmation
> message.

I know that's been tried on other lists... Not sure how many people
read the subscribe confirmations though.. I think that lots of
behaviour will just have to be tolerated..

In other places (paid support mostly), there's a standard checklist
and FAQ. Often, users are sent to the FAQ or knowledge base even when
the problem is not addressed there, but by always talking about the
FAQ and knowledge base, it gains credence and does get better. I find
it hilarious when responses get the "lmgtfy" link though :)

The difference, IMHO, is that such a system works for paid support. On
this list, we sort of expect at least a cursory attempt to solve
problems before resorting to posting on the list. Many people don't do
this and see the list as their personal IT help line. That does cause
resentment that sometimes boils over into the comments. Add the fact
that some folks are more thin-skinned than they should be on a global
forum, and it's a wonder that stuff like this doesn't happen more
often. :/

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