[maemo-community] My Perception of the Maemo/MeeGo Community

From: Craig Woodward woody at rochester.rr.com
Date: Tue Aug 16 06:26:09 EEST 2011

We've had several interesting and lively discussions on t.m.o.  I've never interpreted what you've said there as mean-spirited.  And even when we've disagreed there has always been a level of civility.  I'd like to think we've actually been in agreement on several topics, and had good reasons for seeing things differently when we've not been directly in alignment.  Please consider that as you read the following.  And consider that I'm telling you this not as an "attack", but as a concern that something is happening here that we may all need to look at in order to prevent this exact problem from repeating itself in the future.

Let me state clearly: When I first read your reply, I did a double take.  I even went to t.m.o. to verify that the registered email matched the user account, assuming someone was using your name.  This reply was probably *the most offensive reply* I've read on this mailing list (though not on t.m.o... that's a separate bar to hit, out in orbit at this point).

You may not have intended it as such, and in fact I'm betting you were not intentionally writing to berate or belittle the OPs opinion.  He did clearly state it as an opinion, which others may not share.  I don't know if it's a perception issue, a language difference, a cultural divide (I'm from the US also), or some combination of wording or structure.  But your initial reply came across to me as an attack, both in form and in tone.  The follow-up seems even have a bit of a childish "it's you, not me" edge or attitude, which I've never seen you evoke on t.m.o. or on this list in the past.

If you truly can re-read your comments and not see how it could be interpreted as being hostile, it more proves the original point; That there's some type of communication issue here that merits review.

    *-=<{[ AS TO THE TOPIC OF THIS THREAD ]}>=-*

I too was originally put off by a few posters on t.m.o. when I initially joined.  There was a consensus among the older members that the N900 was unworthy of it's place in the N700/800 line and of the OS it bore.  There was also some resentment against Nokia/Maemo for unfinished work ("Fixed in Freemantle"), that was often misdirected against "noobs" and new, optimistic N900 owners.  New N900 owners were very much seen not as a flood of new people to invite and encourage to participate, but as a horde of the "unwashed" to be weeded through to find the few pearls amoung the swine.

You may recall a rather long spat I had with Gerbic when I first joined t.m.o. a couple years back.  I definitely got a "Who are you?" and a series of "Don't you know who I am?" type replies.  But then I'd just shelled out a good deal of money and time to get my mits on what I saw as the best device I'd ever owned, and was not about to let a small handful of kill-joys demote it (or me) before it had a chance to bloom.  Others turned tail and left, or worse, soured on the experience and left negative feedback and reviews.  (Or remained just to throw vinegar...)

When I first went to the MeeGo forums, I found it clunky and awkward to navigate.  There wasn't much there (it was early after all), but the few "members" that were there seemed to all have the same negative attitudes I found when I first came to t.m.o.  I decided to sit out for a bit and see if things improved later.  It wasn't even booting on the N900 at that stage, and I didn't have the time to devote to a new hardware project.  A few months later, many of the MeeGo folks showed up on t.m.o. and started (for the most part) talking down Maemo.  They promoted the idea (subtly at first) that developers should cross-develop for MeeGo on the N900, or drop developing for Maemo entirely in favor of MeeGo.  You may recall there was a rather long debate on t.m.o. about weather MeeGo should be posted about there.  That ultimately ended with the small band of pro-MeeGo people (including the OP) leaving, after essentially saying Meego for the N900 wasn't for "common" people (in less polite wording), and confirming they were really only there to try to pull developers away from Maemo and into MeeGo.

Together with reading the MeeGo forums as recently as a month or so ago, I have to say, I've found it to have a *very* negative and anti-user bent.  In fact, the feel I got was that if you're not already in the "MeeGo circle", and can code an app from scratch for MeeGo with 0 help from the people on the forum, you're essentially a waste of time and not invited to play in their reindeer games.  Understand, I've been in the open-source community a long time.  (You'll find my college address from RIT in several bits of code all over the internet back to pre-web times, including Linux, FreeBSD, and XOrg code, dating back to the early 90s.)  By far, I've found the MeeGo crowd to be one of the least inviting development circles I've encountered in many, many years.

I do have to say though, that I disagree in general with the OPs views on t.m.o. and in particular the council.  In general, I've found both (with a couple of minor exceptions) to be very inviting.  I've also found many go out of their way to provide thanks and information to those seeking it there.  I've done the same, and to try to act as a voice of reason and moderation when it's been needed.  And yes, I've gotten in a pissing match or two... we're all human.  But I'd like to think my general contributions have be positive ones.

Overall, I can see how the OP may have gotten the impression he did based on his experiences there.  It only takes a few bad grapes to spoil a single bottle of wine.  And if you assume the whole batch is bad from that, especially if there are a few bad bottles, who's to blame?  All I can say to that is, my view doesn't line up with his and invite him to look again. Perhaps even offering a slightly more "guided" path, like the threads for Modrana, or FFM, or h.e.n., where there's more good than bad.

Make no mistake though, there is something going on here, right now, in this series of replies.  Not acknowledging it, or brushing it off, will not help the situation.  Attacking (or defending) a feeling with another is not helpful, and is what I suspect is happening here.  Like many things, if you ignore it, it will go away.  In this case the "it" we're talking about are potential developers, helpers, users, and community members.  If we lose those, why are we even here?


---- "Randall Arnold" <texrat at ovi.com> wrote: 

>From: Michael Cronenworth <mike at cchtml.com>
>To: maemo-community at maemo.org
>Sent: Sunday, August 14, 2011 2:45 AM
>Subject: Re: My Perception of the Maemo/MeeGo Community
>On 08/13/2011 02:40 PM, Randall Arnold wrote:

>> It's unfortunate you felt led to insult the community at large for actions of an unrepresentative few. That works against solving any problems you perceive. I urge you to rethink your approach and conclusions. Broad accusations hurt more than help.
>These two paragraphs highlight why I made my original e-mail. Your reply is an attempt to attack me. I never "insulted" anyone. The adjectives I used were earned.

That remark says everything.  For one, some of your comments were indeed insulting, and I didn't come close to "attacking" you.  Instead, I suggested that your own attitude and approach *may* play a part in the problems you allege.  If you see that as an attack, then that explains your misguided perception of the community.

Good luck with your future endeavors, where ever they lead you.


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