27 Feb 2002 Cardinal   » (Journeyer)

It feels funny to say, but I've been using and advocating the use of Debian for well over six years now. Its distinction as a completely volunteer-driven distro is something I find very appealing, and I have a lot of respect for the people that make that possible.

This is much more than merely the hundreds of developers across the world, this includes QA people, documenters, translators, advocates, and donators of bandwitdh and hardware. And it includes bug reporters.

So, when the behavior of some developers in this bug report comes to my attention, I get fairly pissed off.

Now, I'm not dilluted enough to think that just because evrybody's contributing to a greater good means that they'll get alone or be civil to one another in the process. Quite the contrary, some developer lists are home to some of the fiercest arguments I've seen. It pretty much goes with the territory that anyone who cares enough to donate their time to Debian has some pretty string feelings about how they think Debian's future should look, and won't hesitate to defend their views. I can appreciate that. However, there are forums where some degree of etiquitte is required. I consider a bug database to be one such forum.

One of the core ideas behind the success of free software projects is peer review. More eyeballs, and all that stuff mbp was recently talking about in his diary. When we talk about having more eyeballs, some of those are the eyes of other developers reviewing code. But most of them are the eyes of users submitting bug reports. This is what sets us apart from the properitary world. A user see something they think isn't working right, or something they simply think could be better, and they have the means to tell the developers. And they get a response. That response is a voice from somebody who has the authority to represent that project publically.

Put another way, developers who respond to Debian bug reports are representing Debian, all of it, in their words. Users are told that their report has been seen, and a problem they reported fixed, or a suggestion they've made noted for consideration. And, if the response is a good one, the user is thanked for their time to fill out the report.

So, now that I've rambled for several paragraphs about what I think things should be like, allow me to be somewhat crass.

Daniel Stone, your response to that bug report was utter bullshit. I'm disgusted that you had the nerve to reply to someone who was volunteering their time to try to make Debian a little better in their eyes with such behavior. Now, perhaps I'm being too harsh, or perhaps you were trying to be funny in some odd teenage way that escapes me. But I think, in the future, you should take a moment of pause before corrosponding with bug reporters in the future. Think about how your actions will be viewed by the person on the other end of the message, and the people observing from afar. People like me, who have a lot of pride in what Debian has grown into, and don't like seeing this kind of shit from someone who is supposed to feel the same way.

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