An Unknown Indian

Thoughts of a FOSS enthusiast

The bane of mailing lists

Posted by Balachandran on February 24, 2008

       Hello follks, back after sometime, i wish to put up a post on the difficulties and insults faced by newbies on mailing lists. I am myself part of quite a few lists and I have seen a lot of newbies being very harshly treated in the lists. Especially on GNU/Linux user groups, i often find experts often asking newbies either to RTFM or openly criticising their lack of knowledge in a particular subject. GLUGs apart, this mentality of experienced people is prevalent in open source project development lists as well.

Unless people change their attitudes towards new comers, it will be really hard to find more people shifting to GNU/Linux. Even realy interested people stop talking on the mailing lists due to fear of being admonished. I sincerely hope that in future, the list admins, moderators and the experienced people on the list have more faith on newbies and help them out, even if it is a very basic question that they post. I certainly do agree that not all experienced people are like that, There are certainly a few really nice people ot there.
Another issue to be noted is that, there quite a few people out there on the Internet who are ready to contribute to FOSS projects, but dont know how to. Instead of discouraging those people by mocking at their lack of knowledge, they should be properly mentored and guided. Only then the  community will grow. The FOSS world needs more developers for developing more software utilities that the community and society are in need of.

I sincerely hope that the people concerned give up their haughty egoistic nature and start being more helpful and accommodative towards the newbies and in experienced.

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2 Responses to “The bane of mailing lists”

  1. saikrishbe said

    Hello bala,
    There can be only one reason, their impatience is due to their crunching time schedules. My humble advise for them is, please restrain from replying to those ‘silly’ mails from the newbies if they lack proper explanation or do ask for more info from them in an appropriate way. Instead, if they blow back at newbie/anyone, he/she deserves every right to hit back. But, to this the other ‘elders’ say, “kid grow-up”.
    Let them learn ethics before they learn anything else.

  2. sivaji said

    “.. a lot of newbies being very harshly treated in the lists “, i agree with this ,but try to take these things in positive way.
    some people use to criticize newbies for no reason . Dont stop from participating in mailing list for those buggies you can find a lot of good peoples also , if you stop then you will be the looooser

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