Reflections On Respect

Before I go on, a few clarifications. Firstly, this blog post represents the views of me, myself, and I, and not the views of Canonical or the Ubuntu project. Secondly, throughout this blog entry when I say “community” I am referring to the wider Open Source and Free Software community, and not the Ubuntu community specifically.

The last week has been pretty intense. Many of you will have seen the discussion surrounding OpenRespect and the different write-ups, comments, and views expressed about it. While I expected OpenRespect to get some attention, I never expected the sheer level of attention it has received, and today I have been reflecting on it all and wanted to share some conclusions.

While I feel OpenRespect has raised some important points and people have shared some constructive feedback, I have made some mistakes, and I have always believed that mistakes deserve sincere apologies. I started OpenRespect with the best intentions and out of a love for our community and maintaining pleasant and healthy discourse, but honesty goes both ways, both in intent, and in putting your hands up when you screw the pooch and get something wrong. Let me re-cap the story so far.

The Back Story

Over the last few years I have been picking up on increasing levels of snarky, unconstructively critical, bickering and name-calling in our community; this is not just people having different views — differences in opinion and views are how we grow and learn — I am instead referring to the conduct in which these views are expressed. In addition to this, many community members would talk to me about this conduct and how it makes their Open Source and Free Software experience less enjoyable. Over the years I have also been privy to people who have left our community because they were tired of this conduct; good hackers and good contributors who just didn’t want to put up with back-biting any more.

Over the years I have taken a pretty calm approach to all of this, and I have always tried to be a calming voice to others who have experienced this disrespectful conduct and felt exasperated by it. I have tried to reassure these folks that when this snarky, unconstructively critical bickering is in full swing, just try and remember the bigger mission and importance of bringing freedom to people. My response has often been “there are good and bad days in the revolution” to help them focus on the bigger picture that we are all working towards. We are all doing great work here, in whichever way we choose to contribute to our wider Open Source and Free Software community.

But as time went on I had become more and more conflicted over all of this. I love this community. I have seen some of the most wonderful acts of human decency and sharing happen in our in community. I have seen countless people volunteer time away from their families and friends to help participate in something they care about. As far as I am concerned where people contribute doesnt matter, be it Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuSE, GNOME, KDE, Linux…wherever…the point is that they feel a personal sense of empowerment that ultimately benefits the project they choose to join. I would then find it heartbreaking that these good people with the best intentions would get riled in disrespectful conduct from others, some of whom would offer little other than commentary from the peanut gallery.

I have always felt a personal sense that I need to do something about this. I appreciate and understand that I am seen as a leader in some parts of the community, and I believe that leaders have a responsibility and often have an increased chance at bringing change in dealing with risks to the health of our community. The challenge is that this is not a tractable problem: it is not something we can make a blueprint for, agree on some work items, and fix. It is a cultural problem, so how do we resolve it?

An Idea Of What To Do

A little while back I shared some of these concerns about these issues and that I was conflicted about what I could do to help. My initial idea was inspired by the Ubuntu Code Of Conduct to write a statement that reminds us all of some of the common elements in polite discourse and discussion. The Ubuntu Code Of Conduct has been a surprisingly effective tool in setting expectations around conduct in Ubuntu, and the majority of discussions in the Ubuntu community do indeed respect the attributes of the Code Of Conduct.

I shared this idea of a statement with two friends of mine who are also leaders in other projects, Stefano Zacchiroli the current Debian Project Leader and Jared K. Smith the current Fedora Project Leader, and I mentioned this in my original blog entry:

“Over the last two or three weeks I have been kicking around the idea of putting together some kind of statement, inspired by the Ubuntu Code Of Conduct, that many of us could put our names behind. In fact, I registered openrespect.org and started putting together a draft. I shared this idea with Stefano Zacchiroli the current Debian Project Leader and Jared K. Smith the current Fedora Project Leader, two guys who I have unending levels of respect in their viewpoints. They thought it was a pretty good idea to have a statement, and were happy to participate”.

Later in that blog entry I mentioned that I felt less and less comfortable putting the statement I had prepared online and in an official capacity as a specific project, and so shared the statement in the blog entry instead. Shortly after there was a series of public and private comments in support of the idea, as well as some feedback and criticisms.

In a fit of inspiration, and feeling that this positive feedback may suggest that I may be able to help with this non-tractable problem, and knowing full well that I didn’t have much time to go through a more lengthy back and forth process with Stefano and Jared to get a text that represents the full community (which would likely result in ire from others who were not involved who disagree with the statement anyway), I put the statement (with a few suggestions from others from original blog entry) up on openrespect.org and announced it. I made it clear that the the statement was my take on respect.

Since then there has been multiple articles in the press, blog entries, and lots of comments, and a really divided mix of opinion on OpenRespect. Many have expressed that they feel OpenRespect is an important and worthwhile effort, and many have criticized it for various reasons.

Some of the criticisms I think have been reasonable, and some less so, and while I have sought to clarify areas of concern, some of these clarifications have been either missed or some cases ignored. Before I go on, I want to tend to these criticisms and set the record straight:

  • you said Stefano and Jared supported the idea, but you didn’t consult their input” – I screwed up here, and I certainly could have handled this much better. While I specified that Stefano and Jared were supportive of the idea of a statement, which they were, my mentioning this in the blog entry (as quoted above) inferred their support for a statement that they were not involved in the production of. I have apologized to both Stefano and Jared about this, and I want to offer my sincerest public apologies too. I didn’t mean to infer they supported the statement, but instead the idea, but I appreciate that it didn’t come across that way. I am an idiot sometimes, and this is a good example.
  • you are doing this because Canonical wants to shield Ubuntu of criticism” – let me be 100% clear about this: neither Canonical, the Ubuntu Community Council, the Ubuntu Technical Board, Mark Shuttleworth, Jane Silber, my manager, nor any other entity inside Canonical or Ubuntu asked me to work on OpenRespect, and I have not sought to suggest that it is a product of either Canonical or Ubuntu. I don’t deny that some of the disrespectful criticism that I have seen leveled at Canonical and Ubuntu will have partially inspired OpenRespect, but it is not designed for Ubuntu and Canonical; the real inspiration is the disrespectful discourse I have seen throughout the wider Open Source and Free Software community.
  • you hypocrite! LugRadio was disrespectful!” – I can understand how some may say this, but there are few thoughts here. Firstly, when we did LugRadio, we were all younger, stupider, and we bathed all of our content in LugRadio in satirical and entertainment value. At the time we ruffled some feathers, and that was part of the appeal of the show, but sometimes we did inadvertently take it too to far. Sometimes we were disrespectful, and frankly, sometimes we were also inadvertently assholes. We never set out to be assholes, but we did set out to be edgy in a satirical way, but we sometimes went too far and I apologize for that. But you know what, we all grow and mature in different parts of our lives. The Jono Bacon in LugRadio and the Jono Bacon today are two different people. My growth in my career, getting older, getting married, and just understanding the world and reflecting on my previous experiences, have all helped to mature me, and I know this has happened to the other LugRadio presenters too.

I hope this tends to main criticisms applied to OpenRespect. I am sure others will find further faults and disagreements in the project, and I am happy to deal with them where I can.

Moving Forward

So where do we stand today after all the articles, the blogs, the comments, and the opinion? I still believe this is an important problem for us to solve. In my 12 years in Open Source and Free Software I have found it the most rewarding and invigorating time of my life, and I get so pumped up when I see people join our community and feel that incredible sense of empowerment and excitement. I remember when I first got involved feeling this intoxicating sense of opportunity that I could contribute to almost any part of our community, and even if I didn’t possess the skills to do, there were always people who were kind enough to help me learn. When I started I knew nothing about Linux or Operating Systems, all I knew was that this community thing was cool and maybe, just maybe, I could help make a difference too.

I love this community and I love this sense of empowerment, and it really pains me when I see the snarky, unconstructively critical, bickering and name-calling. I want everyone, irrespective of which project they join, to have the best possible experience with our community. This is why I have taken an interest in sharing my experiences in my writings and book, and encouraging community leaders to get together at an event I and some friends organize each year. No-one gets a monopoly on community, and we can all share and learn together to make it better for everyone.

OpenRespect was an effort forged with the best intentions in the world of encouraging us all to have polite, constructive and respectful discussions. As I have said before, I never want to dissuade the act of sharing disagreements and sharing different opinions and approaches, but I do believe that all discussion and debate should be on a firm footing of respect and polite discussion.

Now, maybe OpenRespect is not the best solution to the problem, some would argue it isn’t, and some would argue that just a statement is ineffective anyway. I am not suggesting OpenRespect is the only solution to the problem, and I would love to hear other tractable suggestions for how we can improve and avoid disrespectful conduct. A good example came from Jef Spaleta who suggested maybe we need a set of suggestions or guide for how people express concerns or criticism of decisions or policies in a project in a way that is respectful and constructive. I think this is a wonderful idea.

As I wrap this War And Peace sized collection of personal blatherings I do believe that this is still an important problem for us to solve, and we all have the ability to contribute to making our community a cordial and pleasant place by just being cordial and pleasant ourselves. Sure, there will always be trolls, but those people often get bored and move on eventually. Some of us will also get things wrong sometimes and accidentally take things too far, I am as guilty as anyone for doing this, but those experiences are always a good opportunity to apologize and move on. Unfortunately I am back in the position I was at the start of this story: I feel a need and a responsibility to do something to help out, but I am not sure what to do.

Finally, I want to again apologize to Stefano and Jared for idiocy on my part, and to also thank everyone who did participate with respect and constructive feedback in the discussions surrounding this topic.

  • http://www.blimundus.be/ Blimundus

    I don’t think you addressed Bradley’s comment that “I think the wording of the current statement on OpenRespect.org seems to indicate people should accept anyone else’s choice as equally moral.”

    I believe that this criticism was more fundamental than the criticism you did address, about trying to shield canonical/ubuntu.

    While I personally do not believe this is a question of morality, I do agree with Bradley that some positions are inherently better than other positions. Obviously, we need to respect both the people expressing the positions we believe are better and the people expressing the positions we believe are worse, and I believe that that is your main point.

    Nevertheless, I can see why Bradley believes openrespect is too relativistic.

  • http://www.janstedehouder.nl Jan Stedehouder

    Great post Jono. We all err sometimes, we were all young and less-thoughtful at times, but we all can learn and continue as constructive as possible. Just as in the previous post you do address a problem that is present in more than one FOSS-community and that is driving away people who love to do more (but simply don’t have the agressive personality that sometimes seems prerequisite for participation). I’m sorry that people questioned the underlying intentions, but I’m even more sorry that something like Open Respect is needed.

  • http://www.janstedehouder.nl Jan Stedehouder

    Of course Bradley is entitled to consider software freedom as morally better than everything else. Personally I believe that Open Respect is allowing software freedom activists to hold that position, while allowing others the freedom (and respect) to have different opinions. I won’t mind open discussions about it, but I do mind (as has happened to me) to be accused of being morally corrupt because of not sharing that opinion. In that sense Open Respect is addressing a fundamental issue.

  • http://alecthegeek.wordpress.com/ Alec The Geek

    Great idea — all for it. Good luck

    Once question. How do we “respectfully” deal with

    a) Trolls

    b) People who insist on revisiting old decisions, claim a conspiracy theory etc etc (i.e. time wasters in a totally passive and friendly fashion). When you point out the errors you get accused of being disrespectful.

    There is a line somewhere, who do we enforce it respectfully?

    (or do I need to read the Art of Community?)

  • http://www.squidjam.net Ricardo Francés

    I’d like to think that there are reasons why people chose not to carefully read what you said then other than a general lack of respect towards what you had to say.

    Do we really need the general lack of self restraint, politeness and empathy towards one another to drive our ideas and speak our minds? Those who propose we grow “thicker skins” and feel a sense of entitlement to “say whatever they want to say” sadly don’t begin to understand the true meaning of being free. Liberty does not derive from making others away with harsh words, but rather by expressing with intelligence.

    And it’s not like what you wrote said “detractors will be shot on sight”. What you (and all of us, who do believe in respect and politeness) ask is simply being mindful of the other. Why should we bitterly fight amongst our own ranks, diluting any effort towards getting more people to understand our ideals?

    There was no mistake in taking the first step towards having an open and frank conversation on a subject that is of big importance to our survival (the free movement in general).

    I’m afraid, dear friend, this is what those brave enough to speak their minds have in store. But bear in mind that this step is a good step, a much needed step.

    Is there a solution? There must be, but whatever the course this discourse is going to take, the path will not be an easy one, that much I can assure you.

    I urge you not to abandon your ideals over the words of those who are eroding our efforts. Stay the course, we will prevail.

  • http://www.squidjam.net Ricardo Francés

    Should a proposition be utterly dismissed when brought up in a discussion by insulting the one who brought it up?

    Should our passions consume our intelligence and degrade us to territorial beasts when opposing a proposition?

    Of course you are entitled to an opinion and you are more than invited to oppose what you deem wrong. But you’d do a great service to the point you are trying to make if you were to remain civil, polite and respectful. And, IMHO, this is what openrespect is proposing.

  • mpt

    I wouldn’t otherwise bring it up, but using “inferred” and “infer” when you seem to mean their opposites, “implied” and “imply”, makes this post quite a bit harder to understand.

    As for the Declaration itself, I think its biggest problem is in asserting that “people who are united in creating software, content, and culture that is freely available” are “united” at all, or that they constitute a “community” of any sort. No doubt some of them do collaborate in ways that could be called a “community”, but if so, there are thousands of those communities, not one, and almost all overlaps between those communities are accidental.

    Also, many people contribute to open-source software and other works for reasons that have nothing to do with community. For example, because they’re paid to, or because building on an existing open-source project is cheaper than starting from scratch.

    The Web is littered with forgotten manifestos. A more effective way of improving respect, amongst these kinds of project generally, might be to hone a very short template — three, four sentences — that they can adapt, translate, and copy into their own mailing list pages, forums, and so on. Less “Declaration”, more “Be excellent to each other”. Possible inspiration: http://credibility.stanford.edu/captology/notebook/archives.new/2006/01/a_small_phrase.html

  • http://www.pthane.co.uk Phil Thane

    I love the fact we can have these discussions in the open. When I worked for a proprietary software company, and voiced my opinion in the press about some aspect of the industry we were involved in it very rapidly involved lawyers and a career change.

    Keep it constructive and respect those you disagree with at the moment. Who knows, on the next issue you might be on the same side, and why not?

  • Nick Mailer

    “Respect is sharing opinions so a mutual understanding of principles is understood, but then giving others the freedom to pursue their own paths without fear of persecution by those who have made different decisions or have different definitions of freedom and openness”. So we should give fascists and genocidalists the freedom to pursue their own paths without fear of persecution by those who have made “different decisions”. This is the problem with any “why can’t we just all get along” cuddliness. It tries to antialias dirty little ethical edges which simply cannot be antialiased. When people believe things strongly, it is sometimes ethically reprehensible to “agree to disagree”. This is where OpenRespect fails, in that it prioritises smooth relationships above ethics. If I have to make the choice to be ethically principled but socially rude (and sometimes this is a choice that is simply binary, however wishfully fuzzy one might be) then I will choose ethical principles over meek conformity to polite norms.

    Indeed, many enormities of the 20th century could have been averted if a sufficient number of people hadn’t spent so much time being “respectful”.

  • http://www.blimundus.be/ Blimundus

    To clarify my earlier post: I believe that the openrespect declaration is too relativistic, not because of the respectful behaviour it promotes, but because this respectful behaviour is stated to be the result of a “shared belief in openness, regardless of the definition of open”. This is a contradiction. Maybe a better approach would be to promote a “shared belief in respect, regardless of your definition of open”…

  • Malaria

    “I made it clear that the the statement was my take on respect.”

    This is the main problem for me. If you just wanted to express your opinion about what openrespect is, you would have been better to publish it just on your blog, not on a special website which makes it sounds like the official statement of what respect in FLOSS should be.

    I agree that the idea of this statement was a really great idea, but I fail to understand why you want to manage it yourself.

    Basically, for me openrespect have to be managed by the community (with a mailing list, a wiki…) not just by one of its members. And you already said that you don’t have much time to manage this, so just let some trustful volunteers manage the whole community process with you.

  • http://www.janstedehouder.nl Jan Stedehouder

    What is there to manage that requires a wiki or mailing list, and what do these tools have to do with either being a community or not? There was a first draft on this website, then a second (more final) one on it’s own website. I can imagine putting this second draft on something like co-ment where everyone can add his/her amendments. But then, who can decide which amendments to accept or reject?

  • http://kiwinc.itgo.com/ian/TechBlog.html Ian Weisser

    Other large organizations with lots of young people from different backgrounds -universities, armed services, some corporations- face the same problems of fractiousness.

    They deal with the problem by developing rules, cultures, and common experiences, just as Ubuntu has.

    But the successful ones also make an effort to train their leaders to work effectively and inclusively.

    Ubuntu needs that kind of training to grow more effective project leaders and LoCo leaders.

  • http://bit.ly/aVfv7i Telic

    Jono Bacon says, “This is why I have taken an interest in sharing my experiences in my writings and book …”

    Hence your OpenRespect Guides link to a new site that sells your book.

    Purely for convenience, or for stocking stuffers as Christmas is nigh?

    ;)

  • disrespectful

    It doesn’t matter if you were asked to work on OpenRespect or not. A steady paycheck from a cushy job is usually enough to make one see one’s employer’s point of view.

  • http://twitter.com/tjbarber09 Thomas J. Barber

    Hey Jono, I’m all for OpenRespect. I really love it and I’m sending the link around to some other leaders of a project we’re working on. Thanks so much for your great work in the FLOSS community.

    Sir_Konrad on FreeNode

  • Malaria

    For me, you can’t draft and get feedback about this kind of “universal” thing efficiently on a blog.

    It’s obvious that the current openrespect statement is far from perfect (just read some comments, many are not so stupid).

    Improvements to the current statement should just be drafted on a public wiki page and debated on a public mailing list owned by some representatives of the free world.

    Something that wants and needs to be agreed by as much persons as possible across the FLOSS community (to be useful) shouldn’t be decided by one member + 4 days of “feedback” on a blog.

    Am I the only one to think like this?

  • http://www.squidjam.net Ricardo Francés

    Your perception on what open means derives from your own experience in openness. That is, your perception belongs to you and, rightfully so, will differ in many aspects from what I (or many others) perceive. The point of all this being that the openrespect document should not be taken as the means to achieve consensus or convergence on what open means, but rather to keep the discussion between different views civilized and open, because, the moment someone decides to take out respect from the discussion, that’s the moment when all we talk about renders itself meaningless. I want those who “oppose” our views on what open means to discuss with us, but only if this discussion is respectful.

  • bram

    I understand why you wanted to get this out quickly and did not consult with other leaders, but I do think this is really what it needs.

    If you want this to have a real impact, I think you should get leaders of other big open source communities (beyond Fedora and Debian, who were now both barely involved). If that does not happen, this will always be seen as the Canonical/Ubuntu response to their critics by too many.

    If other leaders back this and have an input in this (which might mean you have to start this from scratch and have less control over it) people in other communities might be more inclined to take this more seriously, as it is backed by people they know and respect.

    And I think that rewriting and discussion among the various project leaders should happen behind closed doors.

  • http://www.squidjam.net Ricardo Francés

    Just to further clarify your stance on this issue, is Rush Limbaugh more right in his points of view just because of the way he has decided to express them? He certainly doesn’t seem to be much fond of keeping things respectful. Should we insult him to prove him wrong?

  • http://slashdot.org/~twitter/journal/217907 twitter

    You two protest too much. If you try to violate my software freedom, I’ll tell you that you are both wrong and immoral. If that should be too much for you to bear, you can try to respectfully justify the power you or someone else would like to wield over me and my neighbors. I doubt you will get anywhere new. Twenty years ago, Richard Stallman presented the main excuses invented by non free software owners for their power. The arguments are even less convincing today. Least convincing of all is a lot of complaining over well directed criticism, aka namecalling. Those who would like to remove freedom from the definition of Open are not going to get a lot of respect for their efforts. Don’t take it personally but freedom is the thing that makes free software work.

  • http://mairin.wordpress.com Máirín Duffy

    Jono, I have to agree with mpt here in his saying “the Web is littered with forgotten manifestos.”

    I have no idea if it really is the root of the problem, or even the most common scene of the crime, but I do think a lot of unnecessary nastiness happens on mailing lists, and maybe an actionable solution is to update how mailman works. (Yeh, blog comments can get ridiculous too) Maybe I’m too geeky in thinking a technical solution could be an answer, though. Anyway this was my thoughts, I need to work with Luke on it again.

    http://mairin.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/a-rich-web-interface-for-mailing-lists/

  • Greg

    The answer is simple and respectful. Ignore them.

  • anon

    tl;dr. You need to write shorter blogs dude, this is more like a book and you already wrote one :D

    But after reading at least half of what you blabbered, I think the problem many ppl have with this initiative is not really the idea itself. Showing more respect – good. Not sure if something like this will help but it’s a noble idea.

    But the timing – horrible… Just when your employer gets a huge amount of (often justified) criticism in the typical geek community way (straight-to-the-face, IOW rude, indeed not unlike ye olde podcast) you launch an initiative to be nicer to each other…

    Which makes it all sound like whining. “Oh they are mean to me let me tell them how it is supposed to be”

    Frankly my first thought when I read about it was “dude, get of your high horse and just suck it up” with a dutch saying boiling down to “who makes mistakes has to suffer the consequenses”. And “go tell your boss”.

    Anyway, your post provides some background – so I’ll think better of it now :D

  • http://www.aoirthoir.com Aoirthoir An Broc

    Good post Jono.

    First regarding LugRadio, please keep in mind that you had your chance to be immature and to grow up. As you mention during that process you weren’t trying to be disrespectful. Others better than you and I are going through the same process now.

    One question I have seen dodged, and even “turned” on me is when I have brought up the case of marginalization. I have stated plainly that when there mere act of complaining about some wrong is seen as disrespectful, then there is no way to respectfully bring the complaint. In these cases I believe the entire concept of openrespect is simply “the tone argument.”

    “Once question. How do we “respectfully” deal with

    a) Trolls”

    How about for starters stop refering to human beings with pejoratives like “troll”. Most of the time this label is used to shut down conversation with a person that disagrees with another. Rather than labeling, how about addressing the persons argument, explain why they are wrong, rather than resorting to the shortcut designed to stiffle conversation.

    Phil Thane, thank you. :D

    ” This is the problem with any “why can’t we just all get along” cuddliness. It tries to antialias dirty little ethical edges which simply cannot be antialiased. When people believe things strongly, it is sometimes ethically reprehensible to “agree to disagree”.”

    As I have mentioned throughout this, even the mere act of disagreeing with some is seen as disrespectful. Then they will immediately accuse the disagree-er of disrespect. Experience has shown that others involved will often not examine the entire conversation, even when readily available online. But will rather jump on the bandwagon of accusation. Said it before, will say it again, when the mere act of making a complaint is seen as disrespectful, there is no way to respectfully disagree.

    “Should we insult him to prove him wrong?”

    Are you aware of how many view disagreeing with him as insulting him? So yes, you should insult him to prove him wrong. And by insult I don’t mean name calling, the use of pejoratives, shouting or screaming. I mean pointing out flaws in his arguments. Keep in mind a great many people view that simply act as insulting. And when they do, how can what one says be considered respectful?

    “They deal with the problem by developing rules, cultures, and common experiences, just as Ubuntu has.

    But the successful ones also make an effort to train their leaders to work effectively and inclusively.”

    Ubuntu doesn’t really have rules. They have an ambiguous CoC. Leaders will do things and then call to carpet others not of their cliques who do the very same things. When this is pointed out their response has actually been “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Meaning if they do something it doesn’t give anyone else the right to do it. This is why your statement about training leaders is so important.

  • http://www.squidjam.net Ricardo Francés

    Maybe the word I should have used should be “Offend” or “Affront” instead of “Insult” (given that in old english it only meant “to be obnoxious”).

    I will have to respectfully disagree with you on the subject that any disagreement constitutes an insult/offensive/affront.

    I don’t have to by be rude, insensitive or insolent to take my stance and defend my ideas. I shouldn’t have to resort to demeaning you or your idea as well. I should only state to the best of my abilities what I’m trying to convey knowing fully that this does not mean you will agree with me, but only that I have made myself clearer about it.

    So, no, we don’t need to insult Rush Limbaugh for his points of view. We have to prove him wrong. But we have to do so without sacrificing our dignity and our ideals in the process. Somewhere in our ideals, dignity and respect should be listed.

  • http://people.iola.dk/olau/ Ole Laursen

    If you’re really serious about this, I think you should spend some time with the data, trying to figure out why people react the way they do in those situations.

    If you can understand why they react that way, maybe you can do something to prevent that kind of situation from occurring so often. I think you’re going to have more luck with that than the other way round, trying to educate people who are angry.

    For instance, when interacting with people on the Ubuntu bug tracker I’ve personally felt the urge to flame people several times.

    In one example, I’ve reported a bug I know would be hard to fix. Indeed, what happened was that over time, it got closed several times, each time by a passer-by who didn’t even try to reproduce it, even though I spent some time writing a program to reproduce it easily. In other words, I invested pride and time in doing something I thought would help many Ubuntu users, and somebody with more Ubuntu power than me just threw my work away at a whim.

    I think they were well-meaning. I don’t think they even realized they where stomping on my toes. I think that’s the crux of the matter. Once you have power, you have to exert it carefully, because by the mere act of exerting it, you can really make people angry. Even rightfully angry.

    So in a nutshell, you would probably have less flaming in the bug tracker if you were better at teaching bug masters how to recognize and tackle sensitive matters.

    I think you can apply similar reasoning to the whole Unity brahouha.

  • http://www.aoirthoir.com Aoirthoir An Broc

    “I will have to respectfully disagree with you on the subject that any disagreement constitutes an insult/offensive/affront.”

    I’ve said before and I will emphasize again. When I say that disagreement is insulting, I am specifically talking about the belief of some when you disagree with them. So for instance quite a few Rush Limbaugh followers will consider any disagreement with his viewpoints as insulting to them. Quite a few people have considered it an insult when I tell them that their language (not them, their language) is ableist. Quite a few people get insulted when I roll my eyes and explain yet again that we Pagans don’t worship Satan or eat children.

    In these cases, no matter how nicely, politely, no matter how many pleases or thanks yous or pardon me’s you make, no matter how much you approach them in private rather than making a public showing of their mis-step, no matter how much you emphasize you are speaking about an action and not their ideas, person, morals, or character, there are a great many who will consider, mere disagreement with them to be insulting to them.

    I personally do not consider disagreeing with me insulting. I want people to disagree with me and have their own minds, I mean Goddesses help us all if the rest of yens thought just like me. But my own personal opinion of the great need for different mindsets will not change the fact that there are too many who will baulk no disagreement with them. It is those, and only those persons whom I speak of when I say “merely disagreeing is an insult.”

    “I don’t have to by be rude, insensitive or insolent to take my stance and defend my ideas. “

    No you don’t. But for many persons, the mere act of disagreeing with their viewpoint is rude, insensitive and insolent.

    “I shouldn’t have to resort to demeaning you or your idea as well.” and…

    “So, no, we don’t need to insult Rush Limbaugh for his points of view. We have to prove him wrong. “

    Umm. There seems to be a great disconnect in what I keep saying in regards to OpenRespect. So I’ll quote myself:

    “And by insult I don’t mean name calling, the use of pejoratives, shouting or screaming. ****I mean pointing out flaws in his arguments****. —–>>>Keep in mind a great many people view that simply act as insulting.”

    What simple act? Disagreeing with another. Consider that even though in this simply case I have stated aplenty that I am talking not about approaching someone with harsh words and being considered rude. Rather merely approaching them is considered rude. And yet in each post, people respond as if I am advocating harsh words, pejoratives, name calling. I’m not. So for emphasis:

    I am saying that JUST DISAGREEING with someone is the act that is considered an insult, no matter how polite one is by social standards.

  • http://www.aoirthoir.com Aoirthoir An Broc

    “and somebody with more Ubuntu power than me just threw my work away at a whim.

    I think they were well-meaning.”

    I don’t. As someone with vision problems who has seen the differently abled cast aside and ignored when requests for even simple changes are made, and having watched them be told that their issue doesn’t really exist, I’d say there is an undercurrent to those closing bugs that are not fixed.

    “So in a nutshell, you would probably have less flaming in the bug tracker if you were better at teaching bug masters how to recognize and tackle sensitive matters.”

    Yup. It’s called actually listening to someone and not dismissing their complaint.

  • http://johnorford.blogspot.com john

    don’t let them get you down! keep up the good work!

  • http://www.thesilentmind.org.uk Larry

    There are no absolute answers in this arena, only degrees of imperfection. As long as most of the creatively engaged and involved are mostly happy then that is as good as it can get. To seek to go beyond that point is going to be overly compromising and will dilute the entire effort. But lots of Good Luck Jono – you have a good heart and a keen intelligence.

  • http://podcast.ubuntu-uk.org/2010/11/24/s03e21-the-pipers-price-mp3-low/ S03E21 – The Piper’s Price – MP3 LOW | Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo team

    [...] Respect the Bacon! [...]

  • http://podcast.ubuntu-uk.org/2010/11/24/s03e21-the-pipers-price-ogg-low/ S03E21 – The Piper’s Price – OGG LOW | Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo team

    [...] Respect the Bacon! [...]

  • http://podcast.ubuntu-uk.org/2010/11/24/s03e21-the-pipers-price-mp3-high/ S03E21 – The Piper’s Price – MP3 HIGH | Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo team

    [...] Respect the Bacon! [...]

  • http://podcast.ubuntu-uk.org/2010/11/24/s03e21-the-pipers-price-ogg-high/ S03E21 – The Piper’s Price – OGG HIGH | Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo team

    [...] Respect the Bacon! [...]

  • http://podcast.ubuntu-uk.org/2010/11/24/s03e21-the-pipers-price/ S03E21 – The Piper’s Price | Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo team

    [...] Respect the Bacon! [...]