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An open letter to the BC Linux & Unix membership...and a few observations..!


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#1 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 03:16 PM

Evening, all.

 

I'm sticking my neck out here, as a relative newcomer to BC.....and I'll like as not get castigated for my efforts, but; what I want to put into words does, I feel, need saying.

 

In response to my own post here:-

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/637331/best-linux-distro-for-dell-inspiron-1721/?p=4170040

 

...and as a follow-up to Al1000's response, here:-

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/597428/maintaining-continuity-of-support-topics/?p=4170146

 

...I just feel it may be time for a wee bit of 'stock-taking', if you like.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Where, precisely, do we, as a 'gang' here in the Linux & Unix sub-forum, want to see our forum heading?

 

I've belonged, in one form or another, to so many forums and bulletin-boards over the last 25 years. They've covered a wide range of subject matter, and have, for the most part, formed an enjoyable part of my social life.

 

But one thing I've noticed repeat itself again & again.

 

Newcomers, coming to many of these 'meeting-places for like minds', find one of two things.

 

Either they get the 'cold shoulder' from long-established regulars (who appear to consider their own high post ratings as proof against any form of staff action), or:-

 

The community overwhelms them with so much information & feedback that it's a case of 'Whoa; gotta step back here, or I'll drown...' (Not really, but y'all know what I mean.)

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

My own time in the Linux community has been a case in point. I didn't ease into the Linux way of doing things, or go for a dual-boot. Oh, no. I'd had 20-odd years of struggling with Windoze in one form or another; I wiped XP off the drive, shredded the install disc, downloaded an ISO, burnt it, and dived in.....head-first.

 

I started off with Ubuntu, and joined the Ubuntu Forums. A very knowledgeable bunch, but with a decidedly 'stand-offish' attitude toward newcomers. You always felt as though, like Lewis Carroll's Alice,  you were running hard merely to stand still. One or two individuals went out of their way to try and be friendly.....but the staff were the worst. Too heavy-handed by far, and acting as though secure in their own private fiefdom. You always felt afraid to speak your mind. Rules, rules (and still more rules.) Jeez. Rules are necessary to try and find a natural balance between anarchy & behaving like sheep, but....well. There has to be a balance.

 

I joined the TinyCore Forum. My God! It was like a throwback to the early days of Linux, with the geeks snarling 'RTFM!' at every opportunity. I didn't stay long.

 

And then the Murga-Linux Puppy Forums. What a difference. The friendliest bunch of lads'n'lasses it's been my pleasure to encounter for a very long time. I've had so much help from them this last couple of years, it's only been natural to want to return the favour. And so I do what I can.....

 

Which brings me to BC. I've been made to feel very welcome; Al, in particular, being a fellow Puppy-user, knew of me from the Puppy Forums anyway.....which helped. In fact, this has become like a 'home from home' for me; I split my time equally between the two Fora. I don't, perhaps, join in to quite the extent I could do, but that's because my 'area of expertise' (as it were) doesn't overlap that much with the vast majority of you who run 'mainstream' distros. But I contribute what I'm able to, when I'm able to do so.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The main thrust of this missive is simply this. It's obviously taken quite a bit of effort to bring this forum of ours to the point at which it stands today. It can stand on its own merits, especially given that this is primarily a website for help with Windows problems. We all know that many Windows users view Linux with distrust, if not outright suspicion.

 

We want the Linux & Unix sub-forum to not only be a welcoming place (which it is), but one where complete beginners feel they can return, again & again, without encountering information overload.....and also feel they can themselves contribute in their turn. Every one of us needs to help foster that 'vision', if we can. I for one would like to think that I could return here in, say, 10-15 years from now, and be proud to see what it has become. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but I would like to see it..!

 

If many Linux communities have one common failing, it's that of scaring newcomers off by piling in like it's a free-for-all. Far be it from me to dampen anyone's enthusiasm, but please, boys & girls, do let OPs have a chance to decide what they want to do, in their own time, when they're good & ready. Don't scare them off, and let's make our advice as constructive, and more to the point, relevant, as we possibly can. It doesn't make sense to keep adding advice to a thread from a newcomer when that individual hasn't replied for perhaps weeks; you get a sense of when folks have decided they've had enough.

 

That failing can only be corrected by the membership itself. They're the only ones that can 'make or break' that forum, since without the membership, it won't have a reason to exist. Think about it.

 

(They're just the same over at the Puppy Forums; a disreputable, scruffy bunch of hooligans, half of them.....but by God, I do love 'em! There are some extremely shy, yet incredibly talented individuals over there; they'll often come up with some brilliant ideas, yet don't want any credit for it. Unreal. I do shake my head in despair, though, sometimes.....especially when the 'herd' prepares to charge!)

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Anyway, that's about it from me. ('Thank God', I hear you cry with one voice..!) :lol:

 

Anyone who feels the same as me about this, that's great. For those of you who feel the 'pipsqueak' needs putting firmly in his place, please form an orderly queue.....

 

Thanks for bearing with me!!

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 30 January 2017 - 08:12 AM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

KXhaWqy.gifFQ8nrJ3.gif

 

 


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#2 Animal

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 03:32 PM

All I can say is..........

srcstc.gif

I alluded to as much here. Back when we started the efforts of bringing this forum back form the dead.

But it bears repeating, especially by the members who are more active in the forum. Hearing from peers is more effective in my opinion. I for one thank you for stating this.

EDIT: And Pinned (at least temporarily)

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#3 NickAu

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 03:42 PM

 

In response to my own post here:-

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/637331/best-linux-distro-for-dell-inspiron-1721/?p=4170040

 

...and as a follow-up to Al1000's response, here:-

 

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/597428/maintaining-continuity-of-support-topics/?p=4170146

 

...I just feel it may be time for a wee bit of 'stock-taking', if you like.

 

Spot on.

 

It seems that there are a few members that feel they just must reply in the threads. And they call their off topic replies " future proofing "


Edited by NickAu, 30 January 2017 - 05:14 PM.


#4 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:03 PM

7bpJQ5a.gif

 

D'accord.

 

I'm not 'brown-nosing', or 'butt-licking' here; I just felt it needed to be said. I've seen too many forums that I've enjoyed belonging to heading down this very same road. Having used the 'net nearly since its inception, I've seen a lot of stuff change, much of it for the better.

 

Human nature, however, doesn't.....  :mellow:

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 29 January 2017 - 05:41 PM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

KXhaWqy.gifFQ8nrJ3.gif

 

 


#5 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 06:16 PM

An excellent post Mike, and it doesn't just apply in the Linux section !

 

I worked under a manager once whose favourite expression was 'KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid'. It's capable of very wide application. Yes some problems require complex cures but most can be broken down into simple steps and there are many users on BC who don't have the knowledge for more than one step at a time.

 

And as for getting the post count up, the technical help forums are not the place for that - all it does is create confusion.

 

Chris Cosgrove


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#6 Condobloke

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:59 PM

From https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/597428/maintaining-continuity-of-support-topics/#entry4170146

 

(Credit AI1000 Global Moderator)

 

...1) Support topics. These are topics in which the OP asks for help or advice. It is these topics in which we ask members to ensure that any response you make is entirely relevant, that it contributes value to the topic, is concise and to the point.

 

 

 

2) Non-support topics These are all other topics. If a member starts a topic to discuss Puppy Linux for example, then it is perfectly acceptable to discuss anything to do with Puppy Linux in the topic. This would include comparisons of Puppy to other distros, hardware that Puppy runs on, software for Puppy, etc. Similarly, if a member starts a topic to discuss a laptop, then it is perfectly acceptable to compare it to other laptops, and to discuss hardware and software for laptops etc

 

 

Support topics.

 

We all know about this problem....and we are all guilty.... of "digressing"

 

Easy to do.

 

Much, much, harder to alter the mindset to the point where we sweep aside the 'competitive urge' to show we know more than the other guy.....yet in doing so we lose the sense of relevancy, the reply lacks value for the topic and the point wanders off into another realm....

 

 

Non Support Topics  ...do not present the same dramas.....members can waffle on to their hearts content, within some seriously wide bounds of reason.

 

uggestion.....is this a golden opportunity to establish the scenario that exists in Windows 10..?....

10eh4xx.jpg

 

And....if the figures are any indication, perhaps it is also time that Linux had its own section....separated from mac and dos/pda

 

 

2wnxvnm.jpg

 

 

 

 

Non Support Topics  ...do not present the same dramas.....members can waffle on to their hearts content, within some seriously wide bounds of reason.

 

 

Condobloke.

 

 

 

 


Condobloke ...Outback Australian  fed up with Windows antics...??....LINUX IS THE ANSWER....I USE LINUX MINT 18.3  EXCLUSIVELY.

“A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. Rose Kennedy

 GcnI1aH.jpg

 

 


#7 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 08:13 PM

Hey, Condobloke.

 

Hell, man, I'm not painting myself as whiter-than-white here; I'm as guilty as the rest of us in this respect.  :P

 

But because I enjoy the atmosphere of the L & U sub-forum here, I really would hate to see it 'go to the dogs'.....if you take my meaning..!

 

I just think we need to perhaps put a wee bit more thought into what we're doing on occasion; I've seen several 'noobs', during the 8 months or so that I've been here, put in a brief appearance.....never to be heard from again. And in almost every case, it's been as a result of (admittedly well-intentioned) information overload... 

 

It's been happening, around the web, for nearly a quarter of a century that I'm aware of; I don't for one moment suppose it'll change overnight. 'Leopards' & 'spots' spring to mind here.....

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 30 January 2017 - 05:18 AM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

KXhaWqy.gifFQ8nrJ3.gif

 

 


#8 DeimosChaos

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 09:16 PM

 
The community overwhelms them with so much information & feedback that it's a case of 'Whoa; gotta step back here, or I'll drown...' (Not really, but y'all know what I mean.)

.......
 
If many Linux communities have one common failing, it's that of scaring newcomers off by piling in like it's a free-for-all. Far be it from me to dampen anyone's enthusiasm, but please, boys & girls, do let OPs have a chance to decide what they want to do, in their own time, when they're good & ready. Don't scare them off, and let's make our advice as constructive, and more to the point, relevant, as we possibly can. It doesn't make sense to keep adding advice to a thread from a newcomer when that individual hasn't replied for perhaps weeks; you get a sense of when folks have decided they've had enough.
 


Absolutely spot on! I haven't posted a whole lot lately, outside life has been busy as of late, but I take a look around most days. I see a lot of topics where the OP posts a question then we all post an entire page before he/she even replies. I avoid even posting in these topics because it doesn't make sense to. We don't want to over whelm a new user of Linux with a bunch questions or differing opinions before they have a chance to reply back.

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#9 Condobloke

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 09:40 PM

@ Mike....nor am I painting myself whiter..etc etc....some of my rants in the then windows 10 forum I am sure caused some of the mods and admin more than a few grey hairs !!......if I didnt fill a page, i was seriously7 out of touch !!

 

And......that brings me to my Suggestion in post #6 (https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/638620/an-open-letter-to-the-bc-linux-unix-membershipand-a-few-observations/#entry4170367)

 

Do you have an opinion on this?....anyone care to venture an opinion...????....come on now this cant be the BC i know and love...no one with a thing to say !!!???

 

 

 

 

 

 

edit: spelling


Edited by Condobloke, 29 January 2017 - 09:41 PM.

Condobloke ...Outback Australian  fed up with Windows antics...??....LINUX IS THE ANSWER....I USE LINUX MINT 18.3  EXCLUSIVELY.

“A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. Rose Kennedy

 GcnI1aH.jpg

 

 


#10 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 05:15 AM

Hi, Brian.

 

Separate Support & Discussion sections, eh? Mm. Sounds like a good idea to me, but.....is the L & U sub-forum considered to be well enough supported, and attended, to warrant such a further division? That's one decision that would have to made a lot further up the food-chain than I can reach, that's for sure.

 

One for staff and Admin discussion, I think.....but I agree, at least we'd have a better sense of what's expected/permissible with specific threads due to location.

 

Yeah. Worth consideration, I feel.

 

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 30 January 2017 - 05:43 AM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

KXhaWqy.gifFQ8nrJ3.gif

 

 


#11 JohnC_21

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 09:53 AM

I think what Mike was suggesting in his original post can be summed up pretty well with this thread. "My Linux Experience". It starts out okay but ends up in complete disarray. As animal's last post of the thread said before it was locked, it's a thread that went so far off the rails anybody reading from start to finish wouldn't give it a chance.



#12 Al1000

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 02:03 PM

Many thanks for your post Mike, and I agree with the sentiments expressed so far; very well stated indeed.

Also in response to Condobloke:

The Linux & Unix forum is nowhere near as busy as the Windows 10 forum, yet, so I don't think a separate sub-forum for discussion could be justified. Also, a separate sub-forum would not prevent well-meaning members from piling into support topics with advice/requests for specs etc, which is the main issue at hand here.

From a staff perspective, moderators can only work within the rules and guidelines, so could not for example delete posts in a topic just because there are too many of them.

Therefore as Mike suggests, at the end of the day it is up to the "gang" (i.e. the growing but still relatively small number of people who post here on a regular basis), to post (and refrain from posting) in a manner that makes the forum a welcoming place for beginners to want to post in.

(As Chris says, this is applicable to other parts of Bleeping Computer too - but thanks again to Mike for raising the issue here WRT the Linux & Unix forum)

Edited by Al1000, 30 January 2017 - 02:13 PM.


#13 bob007

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 05:26 PM

Mike,

 

Agree with what you say...as a Newcomer myself I have also found Mods are very quick to issue warnings for minor things to new people as happened to me.  You can't expect people to be encouraged to return too often after this...can you.

 

Linux isn't easy especially coming from windows...I think many people forget this...so a friendly forum giving helpful advice is the only way to go or it's off to Google and Youtube.  



#14 Viper_Security

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 05:50 PM

I Agree, I sometimes feel like I'm "over-Explaining" (if you will). and to me that's terrible, because I love helping people, be it in IT or random situations.

 

 

A fairly new member posted a questions and received MANY replies. Many of which were saying the same thing or pretty close too. but the OP being new(ish) to Linux, I feel had, as mentioned "Information Overload" and didn't know we were all saying the same thing basically.

 

I personally feel terrible for "over informing" because that really confuses people. even at work sometimes I see them get a "Glazed" look in their eyes so I explain more simply. 


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#15 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 08:16 PM

I think what Mike was suggesting in his original post can be summed up pretty well with this thread. "My Linux Experience". It starts out okay but ends up in complete disarray. As animal's last post of the thread said before it was locked, it's a thread that went so far off the rails anybody reading from start to finish wouldn't give it a chance.

Umm.....yeah. Blimey.

 

31 pages??? Jeez, Louise.....!!

 

It's precisely the kind of thread that would be perfect for a 'Discussion' section; but, as we've heard from Al, it's not really on the cards yet (sorry, Brian!)

 

Yet from what I could see (I've only briefly skimmed through it), the OP made no effort to discourage the twists & turns of the conversation, did they? But it doesn't help anybody trying to glean a few nuggets of wisdom, further down the line.....maybe months, or even years later.

 

Perhaps Animal was right to eventually call a halt to proceedings when he did.

 

 

Mike. :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 30 January 2017 - 08:18 PM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

KXhaWqy.gifFQ8nrJ3.gif

 

 





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