Re: Revitalizing the Urban Center of GNOME

What would help the problem a lot is if debates go more into specific
sublists instead of going onto desktop-devel. One of the main reasons
for this is that for many sub-projects the relevant maintainers are not
on the relevant lists. I find it kinda pathetic for instance that
someone who proclaims himself Lord of the Theme is either not subscribed
to or at least have never posted to the gnome-themes list, and through
that is forcing theme discussions onto desktop-devel. Similar problems
for other sub-projects, which together collate into desktop-devel
getting flooded.

Maintainers actually being part of the subproject they pretend to
maintain instead of screaming murder on 'global' lists would do more for
this problem I think than lots of 'shut up' messages sent to desktop-
devel or gnome-hackers.


On Thu, 2005-02-17 at 00:09 -0500, Seth Nickell wrote:
> >You have every right to ask for an off-topic discussion to go off
> list, 
> > but you have no right to recommend people not reply to him, and you have
> > no right to say the way he wants to make a proposal is "useless". Its
> > his time to use as he pleases.
> > 
> > If he puts forth something that looks like "dogs breakfast", then you
> > can dismiss it on more valid grounds than that you personally don't like
> > his methodology. Some people work differently than you Jeff. You should
> > find more constructive ways of deal with them then telling them to shove
> > off.
> Jeff was certainly curt, and perhaps should have been gentler in making
> the point, but he's probably right too. In his judgment (and mine too,
> fwiw) that thread was doomed to produce very little impact, a lot of
> noise.
> Something GNOME enthusiasts on this list often seem to forget is that
> its *not* just their time. When you send a message to a mailing list,
> you are asking for everyone to spend some time on it. When you start a
> thread that will draw lots of replies, you are, unwittingly or not,
> asking for everyone on the list (including hackers) to spend lots of
> time. 
> I define the GNOME enthusiast community as: those who are actively
> involved with and interested in GNOME but have NOT contributed large
> quantities of code, translation or documentation (there are several
> exceptional cases, for example Jeff himself, but not a lot). We need
> enthusiasts and should value them! It provides a source of excitement,
> sociability, feedback on how we're doing in different areas, and
> sometimes even new ideas. 
> But right now, the lists have become driven by the enthusiast community
> to the extent that hackers have gone into hiding. A good thread on
> desktop-devel-list *should* be predominantly (75% or more, say, as a
> totally arbitrary number) posts by core GNOME hackers related to that
> area. Look at a thread now.... probably 90% of the posts are by
> enthusiasts. That's taking "being in touch with the community" a little
> too far to the point that its hard to get work done ;-)
> For example, most of the people actually writing code that will be in
> the next GNOME release have probably been actively deleting every
> message to this theme thread! Its not because they don't care, its
> because they don't want to take the time away from working on gnome to
> wade through all the noise. And they shouldn't have to.
> Compared to its peak as a lively discourse among the hackers doing core
> contributions to the gnome codebase, desktop-devel-list is almost a dead
> list in terms of "useful things accomplished". Part of the problem is a
> *very* high noise level, and also very annoying persistent threads of
> the bike shed variety.
> Something people only relatively recently involved in GNOME (last couple
> years) wonder is about the relative silence / non-responsiveness of core
> hackers. It seems like desktop-devel-list, despite all the traffic, has
> very few people who are getting something done (see usability gnome org
> for an even worse example of this that is even more my fault). That the
> lists we (core hackers) used to haunt have become a tangle of weeds is
> one of the major factors driving this. 
> As community leaders in GNOME, one of our jobs is to shepherd the lists
> so they do not become exceedingly noisy (and scare away important hacker
> to hacker traffic). But we have largely abdicated this responsibility in
> the last couple years. markmc tried to fight the tide about a year ago,
> but eventually gave up. Its hard *because* we're actually very nice
> people, and thus none of us want to be the list nazi. But its also very
> important to have this sort of pruning to be a healthy community.
> We've been talking about this a lot lately in s33kret cabal discussions.
> That we feel the need to have these private circles is part of the
> problem! Nobody, even those of us involved in the cabal (and especially
> not Jeff who is an outspoken supporter of openness and inclusion), want
> this sort of private exclusionary construct.
> So what's the point?
> 1) Desktop-devel-list, #gnome-hackers, etc have been drowned by a deluge
> of well meaning (and healthy, when found in moderation) enthusiast
> involvement.
> 2) The loss of effective communication channels has had a major negative
> impact on the amount and pace of GNOME development. Esp. development
> across the whole desktop (as opposed to in-module development where
> there's a relevant specialized list).
> 3) If the enthusiast community wants to help GNOME, they need to be
> understanding as we try curtail (primarily socially, by asking people to
> show restraint) how freely they post / chat on IRC about whatever comes
> to their head. We *do* want community input, but with such a torrent, we
> end up shutting our ears, not hearing any of it, not hearing eachother,
> stop hacking, and gnome dies. 
> I know it will be painful: some of you who are accustomed to posting a
> few (or even more) times a day and that has to change. Please understand
> this is for the health of GNOME: If you are quieter, hackers will be
> louder. I am very apologetic we haven't been good at reinforcing this as
> a community norm all along. Its always more painful to have to go
> through a transition, esp. one in which your voice gets quieter, than to
> integrate with an existing set of social norms. But do not fear, we WILL
> hear the enthusiast community voice, in fact, we will hear it better
> when we aren't stopping up our ears because its so loud. ;-)
> No disrespect intended,
> -Seth
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> desktop-devel-list gnome org

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