On Dec 19, 2007 1:58 PM, Olivier Galibert <galibert(a)pobox.com> wrote:
So there are two steps there, find out what the new system can
actually do, and how it can be configured to do it. Of course, having
the main maintainer taking questions trying to answer that as personal
attacks on his work is not making the task easy.
I don't think I'd single one person out in the thread. Mailinglists
are tough mediums to work in for..passionate discussions.
We lose a lot of human communication cues as to tone and intent
without vocal or facial expressions. The asynchronous nature also
hampers emotional flow of the discussion. Not to mention problematic
culturalism and slang expressions which babelfish or google translate
doesn't handle all that well.
Here are the basic rules of thumb I work by in mailinglist threads.
1) When a thread gets to 50+ posts with over a dozen participants I
don't expect anyone to keep up with specifically who has said what.
There will be bleed over from one post to another in how responses are
handled. If there's a lot of activity in the thread, I absolutely
expect to have my arguments and my tone to be confused with someone
else's at some point. Just like I don't expect to keep everyone's
opinions separated correctly even if gmail does color code people for
2) Passion is easily confused as aggression in a mailinglist, and as a
result I tend to be more deliberate in tone and verbosity as the
importance of the post and scope of the audience increases. While I
might be able to get away with something like "you are smoking crack"
or "did you mom drop you on your head when you were a baby" in a
face-to-face meeting at FudCon as an initial volley into a technical
conversation, I'm certainly not going to be able to do it in a
mailinglist without some sort of momentum sucking backlash due to my
3) Generally if I read it like it was a personal attack aimed at me,
then I know there's been a miscommunication at some point prior, and
we need to backtrack a little bit and try to clear that up. Other
than in a rare few cases, I find that messages which read as personal
attacks are actual redirected misunderstandings or frustrations which
if aren't resolved will continue to silently sabotage any constructive
dialog. I'm not going to waste time trying to convince the other
person not to launch any more attacks, or try to blame them for being
rude. The conversations off the rails at the point, and making the bad
behavior the focus of the conversation only makes everyone defensive
and less likely to want to continue talking about the original topic.
-jef"isnt there something mpd like that is gst based out there to play