From: David Chart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat May 11 2002 - 15:39:03 EDT
Dom asked me to forward this for him.
Firstly, I must point out to you that the overwhelming majority of free
software projects are not democracies; rather they are meritocracies. For
those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means that more weight or
consideration is given to certain individuals, because they have
contributed more to the advancement of the project. This does not mean that
your voice is worthless, but it does mean that it is given much less
consideration than, say, Martin's or mine. Much as you'd like to believe in
"one person, one vote", it isn't how things operate here, nor is it how
things should operate.
Meritocracies are good things, especially in the free software community
where we don't get paid, we don't have a direct 'manager', and where the
groups of people tend to be distributed over various different continents.
If a user like David had told Linus Torvalds (linux's creator), to "get his
act together", Linus would be well within his right to flame the hell out
of that user. If Alan Cox had an issue with Linus, more people would
notice, and rightly so, because Alan is basically second-in-command and has
done innumerable good things to help foster the Linux community. But I
The moral of this story: rudeness toward volunteers is unacceptable. If you
want a volunteer to help you, be nice to them. David was not nice, and got
not only what he deserved, but also several answers to his problem. He
should've just eaten his "humble pie" and cut his losses.
As for your bug, do as David Chart said and file it in bugzilla. If it is
invalid, we will close it as invalid. If there is a real problem, it won't
be forgotten and will be looked at eventually. This is the only 100%
failproof way of getting your problem addressed.
As for anger management, have you ever gotten really mad at someone and
gone running? Punched a pillow? Drank? We all deal with our frustrations in
different ways, and in the end, what we do tends to lessen our
frustrations. I was mad at David. I flamed him. I felt better. It's hard to
argue against that.
Was it the best decision for the AbiWord community? Probably not, but
contrary to your belief, it might have had some seriously good
reprocussions. Was it the best decision for me? Probably.
David Thompson is free to rant and rave all he wants. He can complain about
his problems. We as developers are free to respond to them, ignore them, or
get sick and tired of hearing them. There are *many* tools on the internet
that could've solved his problem for them, had he simply looked. Something
(whether it be laziness, newness to the community, or something else)
stopped him from doing so. He decided to lash out and in the process, bit
off more than he could chew.
Our expectations page shows that we don't want to be *bugged* by the
community. We do, however, want to help foster a strong and educated
community. We are *all* willing to help those persons who ask us kindly for
favors and help. This is not bugging, this is polite discussion. Bugging is
saying "come on get your act together and fscking help me". This is rude,
and there is no place for it in the AbiSource community or any other, as
far as I'm concerned. You're asking for a piece of the most valuable thing
in the world - someone's time. If you're polite about it, you might get
some of it. If you're not, well, shite happens. We're all human, with
emotions, just like you. Don't tread on them, and we'll be more inclined to
As maintainer, I am responsible for managing the developers, coding stuff,
doing press releases, and helping out users where I can. There's no mention
of being a "nice guy, no matter what" in that job description. Again, if
you're nice to us, we're nice back. If you're rude to us, you get what you
People do benefit from flames. Sometimes it's the "wakeup call" that is so
dreadfully needed as was the case here. People need to be taught lessons,
and some of those lessons are hard ones. I needed to feel less mad about
the situation, and I did by responding to David. Now please grow up, get
out of this new-age hippie mindset, and learn how the world operates. This
isn't utopia, but it very well could be closer to it if people learned some
respect and politeness. The world owes you nothing, Mr. Baretta. If you go
around being nice to people, you find out that you're generally getting
more help than you think you deserve.
And finally, please stop calling me Mr. Lachowicz.
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