Re: Control Center Behavior

On 18 Jul 2002, mike wrote:
> > (Let me also echo Seth's sentiment that we should in no way listen to
> > polls on ;-) The "real desktop market" by which I
> > mean the easiest 5% of Microsoft market share for us to claim, in
> > order to get started as an interesting desktop OS, is pretty much by
> > definition going to be _totally_ silent on _all_ of our forums. If you
> > know enough about computers to distinguish GNOME from the rest of the
> > OS, and post to a forum, you are not a typical desktop end user, _at
> > all_. End of story. Your needs/wants are going to be totally
> > different.)
> I am disturbed by this comment

You have every right to be, but I fail to see why you are. Noone is
discrediting users and supporters on In fact, I think
(and I think that many developers agree) that it's really cool(tm) that exists. It's what a healthy community needs.

What is criticized is only that arguments are used based on "XX percent in
this poll on thought solution C was better". Any person
knowledgeable about statistics and polls knows that polls with voluntary
votes will always have skewed results (i.e. can't safely be used to say
"this is what most of the population wants"), simply because they only
represent the part of the population that realized there was a vote,
knew where and how to vote, were able to vote, and made the decision
to vote.

In the case of polls on, I can think of a whole lot of
reasons why pollvoters are a not representative group:

*) They are users who most likely know what gnome is. I know many users
that didn't know or care what the name of the desktop environment is in
front of them, if they even knew what a desktop environment is. To them,
the machine is a "Linux", or perhaps "Sun" machine.
*) They obviously know that the site exists. I know many gnome users that
*) They visit and read the site. I know several gnome users who aren't
that interested that they want to read news all the time, or from this
particular site, even if they know it exists. Either they aren't
interested in this kind of news or they get their news from somewhere
*) I know many people that don't like to spend time voting in online
polls. They consider it a waste of time (I don't blame them for this,
given the usefulness of most polls).
*) To be able to vote, you must see the vote and realize it's a poll. It
may sound strange but news sites in general have so much banners and
advertisements and stuff that demand attention that it's easy to miss
stuff that aren't in your main viewing field.

> I think users are in ascending order
> developers
> 2.power users/testers
> 3.older gnome users
> gnome users
> 5.kde converts
> converts

Even if it should be this way, I think that not many want to have it this
way. A desktop aimed for developers of said desktop isn't a desktop for
the masses, it's a desktop for a *very* tiny niche. It's also a desktop
that will have large troubles attracting users to use said desktop.

> The forum on gnome desktop will get feedback from both ordinary gnome
> users AND 5 and 6

I think you are assuming waaay too much of desktop users. I find it hard
to believe that an employee at company XYZ (a company that uses Sun
machines for their desktop computers) will spend any significant amount of
time on, much less voting in polls. The company bought
the machine from Sun, he doesn't care what the desktop is or what the fan
sites of it are, he just wants it to work and if it doesn't he complains
to Sun, where they have a support contract and got the machine from. Not
any freaking fan site of a part of the operating system.

You can replace "Sun" in the above with any type of vendor that ships a
product that uses or can use GNOME as desktop environment.
If your almost new car breaks down or has something that you are very
disappointed with, you complain to your reseller or your vendor. You
usually don't go searching on the Internet to find the submanufacturer
that produced the faulty part of the car to see if they have an
independant fan site where you can vote for "don't make this part suck"
in a poll.

> So I see it as an important source of feedback, as to how gnome is
> working in practice. Not the only source, but certainly not to be
> dismissed out of hand

Noone is dismissing out of hand. It's just that people are blowing the
usefulness of this type of polls way out of proportion by stating that
they represent a large part of the users, when it's in reality a tiny
minority of an even tinier minority of the users of the GNOME desktop.


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