Blunt Tools (was: cgf does not want private email about cygwin)

Ken Collins
Mon Jun 25 10:35:00 GMT 2001

> <crotchety old voice> Back when I first started using cygwin, I *LURKED* 
> on the mailing list for six months before my first post, because I 
> wanted to understand what I could about cygwin before bothering the 
> experts: Mumit, Chris, DJ, Geoff, Earnie, et al with my uninformed 
> questions.</crotchety old voice>  In the interim, Mumit took a compete 
> year off -- totally dropped cygwin and was completely incommunicado.  He 
> eventually returned (hallelujah).  Geoff is gone.  DJ is (almost 
> entirely) gone.  Fortunately, others have since stepped up to the plate: 
> Corinna, Larry, me, Robert, others.

For what it's worth, I've been using cygwin off-and-on since about '98, and
I've only now decided to delurk :)

If the tone of the list sours, it discourages people from contributing and
easing the load. I'm certainly reluctant to ask questions or get involved
in discussions that would involve me further in the code.  

If it's really that bad, the core should set up a moderated low-traffic
list. Newbies and people getting up to speed like myself need a place to
ask stupid questions. The 3133+ could drop in when they're in the mood.

I was surprised that the general cygwin list is this "strict", given that
there are the developers and apps lists for the more dedicated.

> There are basically only two ways to modify the behavior of a group: 
> codified rules or social mores.  It's very difficult to enforce codified 
> rules on an open mailing list, so the only way to modify the behavior of 
> a group -- in this case, newbies -- is to project disapproval of the 
> undesired behavior.  So far, those expressions of disapproval have been 
> fairly mild.  Earnie's one-liner "google" responses are classic.  They 
> say, "here's the answer to your question, but don't you feel silly now 
> in wasting my time and bandwidth when you could've done this simple 
> search?"  (And better, it doesn't take him much time to compose those 
> responses) Larry has a great way of gently pointing a newbie in the 
> right direction (giving a hint as to where the desired information could 
> be found -- e.g. "grep the sources for "IPv6")  but not doing ALL of the 
> newbies' work for them.

I find the non-answers annoying, personally. It's like taking a class where
the prof answers every question with "look it up in the book." I don't
enjoy seeing other people shamed. I just want to learn about cygwin.

> Personally, I'm in favor of shunning: if somebody continually wastes 

I'm in favor of that as well. It cuts down on traffic, there aren't public
lashings, and bad threads die fast. It also cuts back on the "pardon my
ignorance" preambles necessary when posting to a hostile list. 

Ken Collins

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