15 Aug 2003 chipx86   » (Journeyer)

Trouble Users

Sometimes I think and wonder why we develop these projects. We may all have these reasons.. We do it for ourselves, we have an itch to scratch, we want to further open source/free software, etc.. How often does a person say they do it for the users?

It's really great when we get a "Thank you" from a user, and on most projects, yeah, they come. They're very appreciated, and it makes my day. The problem, however, are the trouble users, and these are the vocal ones. Working on Gaim, we get more than our fair share of these users. They're the ones who threaten us, insult us, yell at us, etc. for not having their bug fixed right away, for being a little late on a release, or who knows what other reason.

It's these users that make me contemplate quitting the projects. That's unfortunate, since I love what I do, but sometimes these types of users get to be overwhelming.

Now, it's one thing to have annoying trouble users that just complain, but insults? This is something I'm seeing far too much. One guy took our former lead developer's screen name awhile back for who knows what reason. He had a method for suspending it, and now, because I was busy and said to forward his patch to another Gaim developer, he's threatened me with the same. Why? Why would a user sink so low for something he's even trying to contribute to, and why should I have to take it?

Someone told me what he's now saying to his trouble users. Something along the lines of "We're doing this on our own time without pay. If you want to complain and don't want to help fix the problem, sit down, shut up, and say thank you." It's not a bad attitude, imho, when addressed to those users who do nothing but complain. Unfortunately, it doesn't always seem to help the situation much, as those types of users are very vocal and sometimes choose to spread around lies or insults about the project.

I think it's too bad that these users are giving all of the good users a bad name, and I think it's about time that we get the point across that developers and supportive users no longer want to deal with or hear from these problem users.

So, is there anything that we can do about such users? Is it this bad for other projects, or being an IM client, is Gaim more of an exception? I'd be interested to know.

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