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

Ken Collins
Mon Jun 25 11:19:00 GMT 2001

> At the risk of sounding like a "me too" to Chuck's epistle, I'd like to 
> add my $.02 here as well (on a more serious note).  I too would say that
> there has been more curtness on this list but as Chuck points out, that's
> not rudeness.  It may be perceived that way but that doesn't make it so.  

Perception is at the heart of rudeness, and being curt is one of the prime
tools of rudeness. 

Someone was asking about examples, so here's one. A few days ago, the
Debian guy wrote about "porting" Debian to Cygwin and gets a one-liner back
suggesting he knows nothing about either Debian or Cygwin. He's got a
Debian email address, and even to someone like myself, who has never used
Debian, it's obvious that's he's just been imprecise in his phrasing. What
Debian really brings to the table is its packaging system, and he's
probably talking about that. 

The correct curt response would be something like "Which part of Debian are
you interested in porting?" Here's a guy who's obviously involved with
Debian to some degree, and he's going to go away with a bad but probably
fairly accurate impression of how much help he or the rest of the Debian
team is going to get in working with Cygwin. Other follow-up responses were
good, but the first one to hit the list will stick with him.

> The goal of this list is certainly not to offend folks.  The goal is to 
> empower the Cygwin community.  As Chris points out, certainly the list is 
> managing that to some degree, given the volume and scope of the inquiries.
> As in any community, the actions (or inactions) of some are going to 
> offend or rub some others wrong regardless of intent.  Hopefully, those
> situations are short-lived.  One only needs to look at the wealth of 
> effort that has gone into the email archives, even if one were to ignore
> (sacrilege!) the enormous contribution of Cygwin itself, to confirm that
> folks here have the community in mind.  Personally, I'd love to see that
> focus continue!  If we can get more people to try to answer some of the 
> "easy" questions themselves, we'll save some bandwidth, some time, and
> perhaps some frayed nerves! ;-)  

I wouldn't mind answering some of the easy questions, but I always feel
like I shouldn't bother since someone will post RTFM in short order. As for
the volume of questions, it should be taken in part as a indicator that the
project needs more institutional memory. For example, if there was a list
of known bugs linked from the Cygwin home page, it might cut back on repeat

It might also bring bugs forward more quickly. I noticed the problem with
cron several days before it was brought up, but I didn't want to post
anything for fear of getting a curt rejoinder. If I could see instantly
that it was not yet reported, and that I'm not missing anything in the
mailing list archives I might come forward in the future.

It takes a modest amount of effort to find the mailing list address and
subscribe. If people are willing to go to that effort before looking at
other sources first, there might be some problems in the docs or the way
they're presented. Or perhaps the mailing subscription info should be moved
into the FAQ and off the front page :)

Ken Collins

Want to unsubscribe from this list?
Check out:

More information about the Cygwin mailing list