Bill Jonas on Tue, 21 Dec 1999 17:57:41 -0500 (EST)

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Re: [Plug] what do people want out of plug talks

> > We never promised, as the other gentleman wished, that we
> > are a group of computer professionals (although some are and some aspire
> > be).
> Okay, stop here a moment.  Our goal is to have Linux taken seriously as a
> platform.  History shows that business has been the leader in the computer
> field for being taken seriously (think IBM and the PC).  If we want
> business to take Linux seriously, we need to contribute to giving it a
> professional appearance.
> And this, IMHO, is one of Linux's biggest weaknesses.  You don't impress
> people with an elitist attitude; it tends just to piss them off and just
> convince them that it's not worth their time.

No argument there.

> I'm sorry, but if I have a question and choice between a snide "RTFM" or
> an answer (and, hopefully how the answer was found), I'm going to pick the
> latter.

And so would I.  But I've hung out in #linuxhelp on the UnderNet (both to
receive and to give (as best I can)), and you wouldn't believe the number of
people that ask the simplest questions.  "How do I mount $DRIVE?"  I'll be
the first one to admit that the man pages aren't exactly the most enjoyable
reading, but there are plenty of walk-throughs and first-time-tours out
there.  On the other hand, if somebody says, "You know, I can't make sense
out of the man pages, can somebody help me with the syntax of the mount
command?" it makes a world of difference.  And then there are the people who
seem to expect the same level of service out of volunteers as out of paid
tech support personnel.  I've witnessed, more than once, somebody giving an
in-depth walkthrough of some configuration problem, and the person receiving
the help being whiny and unappreciative when the helper's patience has been

I go there because I *like* to help other people.  But I'll be dam^Hrned if
somebody's going to *insist* or *demand* that I perform $ACTION for them if
I'm volunteering, if they're not (directly or indirectly) paying my salary.

> I think the main thing to remember about the request is that this *is* a
> public forum (even though it's limited to subscribers), and one of the

Yes.  I've come to think of it as sort of a private little community.  But
the word "community" in and of itself implies a certain level of
"public-ness".  Of course, anybody is free to join; we are all aware of the
fact that this is *not* a "by invitation only" forum.  I'd lost sight of
that fact, and simply spoke as I would if I was in the company of a group of
close friends.

This changes nothing with regard to how I feel about the group; I'll just
keep in mind now the "silent majority", ie, the lurkers.

> members of that forum (or community) has asked that people just keep a
> handle the language.

I have agreed to respect that.

> Politeness and propriety have nothing to do with
> censorship.

Agreed.  I re-read my original my original post, and I got a little whacked
and started talking out of as^H^Hrear end.  I guess what the point was of
that particular part is that while no one can enforce standards of behavior
on the group (unless it becomes moderated), a request was made that we (as a
group; certain individuals, including myself, included) exercise some
restraint.  I will do so from here on out.

Apologies if the attempts at humor herein fell flat.


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