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

Christopher Faylor
Mon Jun 25 12:24:00 GMT 2001

On Mon, Jun 25, 2001 at 02:19:27PM -0400, Ken Collins wrote:
>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. 

Actually, if this is the "Cygwin + Debian" mail, then the original poster
did not have a address.

>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.

And, how would you avoid this, the internet being what it is?  If the sender
has had any experience with the internet at all, he might actually be impressed
by the quantity and quality of responses that he received.  I just reread the
thread and it was remarkably helpful.

>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

Actually, there is a list of known bugs.  It's called the mailing list
archives. :-)

But, flippancy aside, I think you are still missing the point.  IMO, the
response to people who say "I am really tired and burned out from all
that I have to do" is not "Here's one more thing for you to do".

If you think that this is a good idea can I sign you up to manage this?
Seriously.  I am happy to provide you with access to the web page so
that you can maintain a list of known bugs.  I would expect that you
would be very proactive in keeping this list up to date so as not to
feed misinformation to the community.  You'll have to be in close
contact with all of the package maintainers so that you can get accurate
descriptions of bugs and bug work arounds.

I don't know.  It sounds like a big job to me, but I'm willing to provide
the facilities to anyone who wants to try it.  I won't be very happy,
however, if the result of such an effort is more confusion.

>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.

I've just searched the cygwin archives for rude responses to cron
questions.  I didn't see any.  So, I just don't buy the "I didn't even
bother" response.  Even if there was a list of bugs, how could you be
assured that it wasn't being updated as you were sending your message?
Then, I suppose the response would be "Did you even bother to check the
bug page????"

If you think it is important that the tone be different, then ignore
everyone else and use the tone that you think is appropriate.  If you
think that new users deserve long detailed explanations to questions,
then feel free to provide them.  If someone flames you for providing
details then forward me their message and I'll deal with that.  I won't
guarantee that I'll read every one of your detailed missives, though.
Hopefully, I won't need to.

>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 :)

Actually, the mailing lists are already listed in the FAQ.  Thanks, Egor!


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