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Andover News, the sequel: A Well Braziered Bryar 145

Posted by Hemos
from the andover-part-deux-II dept.
knarf writes "

About a week ago I posted a rebuttal to a column by Jack Bryar as published in Andover News to this forum." Click below for the full text from knarf-it's not pretty what happened - and check out the follow-up from Jack Bryar, as a cautionary mea culpa.


[From knarf]

Unfortunately, the original header I included with the message was edited out. In this header I stated that the author of the column had already received a copy of the message. A couple of minutes later someone suggested that people mail my rebuttal to Jack Bryar.

Well, they did, it now seems. And they did many more things. Like send insulting messages, flood his mailbox with repeating messages, and other kindergarten-tricks.

In his current column, Jack Bryar apologizes for the errors he made when writing that column. He also points out the difference between the readers of /. and Linux Today. I originally learned about Jack's first column from Linux Today, as did many others. Like me, some of them took up the issue with the author by correcting his errors and explaining the intricacies of the free software model(s).

Then my article arrived on /.

Hell broke loose. I quote Jack Bryar's current column:

After the "/." posting I got letters that began "hey sh**head go f*** yourself with the money you?re taking from Microsoft! What drugs are you on?" (Way too much coffee, actually). One writer, running out of invective finally sputtered that I was another Jesse Berst! (Somebody should be deeply insulted). After reading these things for a while I became convinced that I could make a fortune distributing a good Linux-compatible spell checker.

Folks, ranting and yelling is not taken as a proof of intelligence by most people. This is supposed to be a forum for "nerds", people with above-average intelligence. Let's make sure we do not spoil the reputation of the free software community by behaving like we just graduated from kindergarten then...

And if in doubt, just query your copy of the Jargon file. Look up the description of `Hacker Speech Style' and draw your own conclusions.

Frank de Lange

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Andover News, the sequel: A Well Braziered Bryar

Comments Filter:
  • And what, pray tell, was actually gained by that tragic lack of discipline and style? Oh, yeah, you showed him! I'll bet he'll be appropriately meek and approving of Linux all the rest of his days. (Oh, sorry, GNU/Linux. Don't hit.)

    Thugs.

    What will actually happen when the children pull out their little code pop-guns and fire away at grownups is that everyone will see that they are children. The guy who made a mistake will act like a real person and own up to it, and the wee tykes launching smurf attacks will rant and attempt to defend their actions. And all the rest of the grownups will make a quick connection: Linux = freaks. Thanks awfully. I like Linux, and admire what the community is trying to do. But I truly hope this doesn't mean I have to be on your side. The enemy of my enemy may still be a childish prick.

    If you're going to attack using computers over something like this, at least have the decency to do it well. Write your own tools. Check your spelling. The zealots here weren't just out of line, they were tacky and graceless. C'mon, forging only *part* of your email and personal info on a mailbomb attack? Pay attention! How tough would it have been to just plug in a random loop through the most popular firstnames over at babynames.com? If a group I'm a member of has to be labelled as a bunch of rude bastards, I'd prefer that we were at least rude bastards with style. You can't defend your OS with a display of poor computing skills.

    I'm not complaining about the enthusiasm. The choice to break the law or act irresponsibly is between you and whatever God will have you. But at least show enough pride to make it worth it.

    -reemul
  • by Aleatoric (10021) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @06:10PM (#1847199)
    In every society or community, there are always those that seem to be unable to express themselves without the use of childish behaviour, invective, or just out and out disrespect for others.

    There are also those who defend this behaviour under the auspices of free speech, and that it is wrong to arbitrarily silence them, and they're right.

    The solution, as I see it, is not to restrict or remove those opinions, but to demonstrate (by our example) that these members of our society are immature (like children), and just like children everywhere, most will grow out of it with time.

    We do this by presenting our own views in a mature, objective manner. We do this by demonstrating that these opinions are the minority opinions, regardless of how many times they are repeated. In cases like the one described here, we should make a point to contact the author / poster in question, letting them know by our example that there *are* adults in this community, whether or not we agree with the posted position.

    The simple fact of the matter is that you get back what you give. If you flame, you will be flamed in return. By expressing ourselves in a vitriolic and immature manner, we are essentially saying to those we are trying to reach that we aren't worth listening to, and any position we have, however valid, will consequently be ignored.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've sent a lot of mail to journalists who have written bad articles, and this guy is the first one who has come back with a good response. Face it - he may not have his technical facts straight, but he handled the fallout with a lot more class than the slashdot community did.
  • Arrgh, I meant Linux - not Linux. Eeek.
  • Oh, for Glub's sake!

    I meant LINUS, not LINUX.

    Must ... not ... type ... X!
  • That seems pretty civil by today's standards; there wasn't even an off-hand reference to the purity (or lack thereof) of the other guy's mother.

    ----

  • Perhaps persons should be rated in various categories, [...]

    I think the idea takes a nosedive here... Any time people start getting put into arbitrary categories ('geek', 'suit', 'PHB') no matter how accurate they may be, bad things happen. It's discrimination.

    I do think it's very inturiging to think of having posters pre-screened by lots of others, but there would be some big assumptions:
    One would be that the masses are correct (and based on windows usage, they're not).

    Another would be that what other people consider good, i do. I'm happy to say i don't consider this true of myself now; I enjoy evolving my own taste in things. (perhaps a way around it would be to have adjectives like slashdot's and have them assigned rather than just numbers. A user could then say they wanted 'funny' rather than 'insightful' posts or whatever (obviously it would take lots more words and a complicated system that understood their interrelation).

    It would definitely have to be optional.
  • Idea:

    Open Source + Sensibility = Open Sense

    How about a web site where one email can be formed and culled from the cream of all arguments and distilled down to what a majority would like to send?

    Have a registration area where people of Open Sensibility can gather and suggest bullet items that can come to a vote with no anonymous ones. Have a core group that have to vote before any email can leave from the announcement area. That one email could serve as the voice of an entire group.

    All someone needs to do is register this domain and start writing the backend process to form topic, references areas, bullet items collection, voting systems (like moderators here on /.) and you could have a very loose framework for a group voice that is unified.

    It would seem that a reasoned and sense filled email would lend more cred and be easier to handle than 4000 emails bombs.

    Also, an area where headers and example flame could be placed for public view could be used to regulate from within and deny access to membership within the opensense community.

    Someone has probably thought of this before but I just wanted to throw it out and see who is interested in such a concept.

    Feel free to poke at the flaws in this idea

    Still... its just a thought... :)

    "You cannot uncook Mushoo pork once is has been cooked" -- wiseman

  • I mean, its classic propaganda.

    There's enough *truth* in what he's saying to warrant our belief, but how are we to know that it was nearly as bad as he's saying?

    I mean, it's a pretty good argument against the Linux community, isn't it ... so how do we know he's not just smearing the OSS community?
  • I love this idea. Who of all people has shown more restraint, more dispassion, more level-headedness [when it comes to Linux] than Linus himself? I remember reading his response to the whole KDE/Gnome issue, and was astounded by how reasonable and impartial he was. And then, I realized, I myself had picked up a few of the strong feelings aired out in /. discussions.

    Needless to say, it was a very enlightening moment.

    Linus is not a zealot, but a true engineer. I, for one, can only hope to someday become as down-to-earth dispassionate as he has shown all along.
  • Posted by d106ene5:

    We live in a big bad society. If you can't deal with flamers, lamers, assholes, and mouthpieces, you better start sucking on a revolver. It only gets tougher from her on in.
  • Posted by d106ene5:

    I love all of this talk about "what needs to be done" about free speech.

    If you want to make yourself look like an ass and send this guy a nasty note over linux of all things, as long as you don't break the law go for it. It's a free country.

    If you want to send him a reasoned response, thats great too. By time you're done writing it, he'll have a procmail filter set up and you'll be in /dev/null before he ever sees it.

    The open source movement is turning into a classic elitist/intellectual movement - popular at first, then a small group supresses the freedoms of most everyone else in order to serve their aims. See Russia, 1917, or, Germany, 1933.
  • Honestly, you should advocate it, but do so intelligently. I entered a workplace where the fellow geeks thought Linux was just a bunch of rabid k-rad speaking idiots, spouting filthy language like Mr. Bryar describes and how Bill Gates is Satan himself molesting then murdering goats during the night (maybe that's an exageration...).

    Anyway, after talking intelligently, with mostly proper English describing what Linux does well (or doesn't do so well), many now have a healthy respect for it, even if they may never actually use it. Speaking well (and typing well, re-read and spell check what you write!) goes a long way to getting a point across. Inserting profanity all over the place only makes you look like an uneducated bafoon. People will most likely not even read anything else you have to say.

  • Years ago, as USENET was threatening to dissolve in chaos for the first time, an old ARPAnaut told me that what was happening was the "Four-Sigma Effect." It's a statistical fact, he said, that as a population grows, it becomes more and more likely to contain members more than four standard deviations (i.e. "sigma") from the mean. And it is these individuals (the technical term was "kooks") who yell the loudest, longest, and most frequently, leading to the mistaken impression that the whole population has taken a turn for the worse.

    Of course, the net provides a wonderful way for kooky folks to find each other (to either join forces or do battle), so an amplification phenomenon occurs, enhancing the basic four-sigma effect.

    My point is that this is just a normal aspect of Linux's and Slashdot's popularity. There are now millions and millions of folks on the Linux bandwagon, so it should be of no surprise that a few riders enjoy throwing rocks. The rest of us have to be careful not to let them speak for us, and maybe encourage them to ride elsewhere.

    -Ed
  • Three points (not entirely on-topic) in response:

    1) I honestly don't mean to advocate people being abusive with each other. We should be respectful to each other -- period. But not because it'll make people like Linux.

    2) If the abusive email came from Linus, ESR, and RHS then it perhaps would reflect on the OS community.
    It didn't however and it won't.

    3) Bill Gates doesn't have a stellar reputation but Microsoft is widely accepted by the mainstream.

  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @04:46PM (#1847217) Homepage
    When the wingnuts start to show up at your party, it's tempting to call it a night. It's getting so I don't really talk about Linux at all with most people, except in the most hedged tones ("oh, I run a few operating systems - NT, Linux, BSD - they all do some things well," blah blah) for fear of being associated with rabid fanatics.

    Most of you probably agree with me, that the lunatics are just sadly life-deficient hangers-on who just stumbled across Linux as jihad-material. I have despaired of them ever calming down, however - they are here to stay, and for the sake of my reputation as someone who is NOT a wingnut, it forces me to disassociate.

    The fact that almost no one likes Microsoft as enthusiastically as they like Linux is almost a blessing for Microsoft, because their advocates largely end up coming across as reasoned, equitable, and balanced.

    Oy.
  • ...that he said that could make a fortune by selling a Linux-compatible spell checker. Wait a sec? Sell a spell-checker in the land of free software? Naaaaa......

  • by mastagee (26015) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @04:55PM (#1847219)
    my god
    that's the last time he'll write something bad about the open source community

    a small minority of people who regularly read /. think that it is a good thing to attack their enemies thru email.

    not a good idea, especially if you're looking for acceptance by the mass media. if corporations get the impression that the linux crew is a bunch of little kids ready to email bomb, smurf, crack, and generally attack all that oppose, (some have already made this assumption) they're never going to seriously consider using it.

    of course the people that are doing these things might not want the software to be publically accepted. they like being different and "more advanced" by running a minority o/s. running papasmurf doesnt make you more advanced -- it makes you a script kiddie.

    if you're gonna flame someone, at least have the decency to include some arguement in your flame instead of "fuck"ing the hell out of them.

  • On the one hand, I agree about the loonies, but if you think there are not plenty of loony and rude windows advocates out there, you have not looked! For a recent example, all the ranting about id releasing Quake 3 Arena Test for the Mac, then Linux, and then Win32. The howels and whining and slurs agains non windows platforms was astounding.

    It is merely that on windows, they are dwarfed by the masses who think Word is an OS.
  • by Skyshadow (508) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @05:00PM (#1847221) Homepage
    The classy way this guy handled this whole situation only makes me feel more embarrassed about how he was treated.

    One of the major bogus sides of the expansion of Linux is that it's not really a community anymore. We've gone from a small town feeling to a large city, complete with all the nuts, gomers and unsupervised 10 year-olds that come with it.

    Personally, I think something needs to be done to curb this sort of ridiculous behaviour before any sense of community is lost and we start to really alienate the people that we're trying to attract -- businesses, media and developers.

    The problem is, what can be done? Well, I believe it's time to start shutting out the troublemakers. Everyone can still have free speech, but we're not obligated to listen to them or provide them with a forum or encouragement. As much as I'd hate to say it, /. is going to have to be the first place to change (it's the most popular Linux-related website, and therefore attracts the most goons; you don't see this sort of thing at Linux Today).

    Does this mean more moderation? Probably; maybe even banning the IPs of some of the worse offenders, or some other form of punishment. We need to tell the trolls and the flamers that we don't want them because they're effectively ruining it for everyone.

    In an ideal world, everyone would be mature, rational and adhere to the Advocacy FAQ. But its not going to happen. I guess my main concern is that in a year I will switch jobs and suggest Linux to my boss, who will answer back, "No, we don't want to get involved with those kind of people."

    ----

  • It always disappoints me when i hear of unix users trading their rationality for religious fervor.

    and i'm not saying that religious fervor will hurt the "linux movement" like many others; i don't really care much about the linux movement. i just think that as computer scientists, technicians, hobbyists, etc etc you have to remember that a particular piece of software or hardware is just a tool. once you lose your objectivity and become emotionally attached, you will become limited in your computing endeavors. i don't want to think of the hours and money that i have lost just because "i _had_ to do task X on operating system Y with Z software".

    i also have a theory that the flamers and psychos on slashdot are experiencing serious deficiencies in terms of their social lives. if mail bombing unsuspecting journalists on your free time isn't a hint that you need to get out more, i don't know what is. god help us.

    keep your cool and keep it impersonal - you will have everything to gain.

    cheers,

    mani
  • I agree 100%; this seems to be the latest in a emerging trend. This sort of rabid fanaticism has its place (professional sports is the only example that comes to mind), but in a software revolution like this one it really hurts.

    I don't want my boss to think I like Linux because I'm just another "Anything But Microsoft" whiner. That's the increasing impression among the uninitiated, however, because of some of these flamers and wannabes.

    PS: I just got a Linux box into our NT-only shop. Off topic, but I'm so happy that I won't be getting 3AM pages to restart IIS anymore that I just had to tell somebody....

    ----

  • If he can't manage to separate out a few nuts from the reasonable people.. that's his problem. If he uses that as a basis for his article, he's accurately portraying that there *are* nuts out there who attack people who say bad things about linux. This is one of the inherint features/bugs of linux/open source... it should be portrayed accurately... after all, we're not afraid of the truth.... :-)
  • No, this is a good forum for discussing things like the flaws in a ZD article, or Microsoft sponsored tests touted as impartial. I for one, (I'm sure there's more in the 500,000 hits a day) can discuss things rationally. I eve learn things from the discussions on Slashdot. Collectively we can point out inaccuracies, and then maybe send an email (not 500,000,000) educating the author in things they may not fully know, pointing out resources where he can learn more (Slashdot would be a good place for these people to learn about geekhood, but with the idiots our message gets lost).

  • Wondered what would happen if 15 year old lamer gets shown that the veil of anonymity on the net is wafer thin?

    http://www.planetcrap.com/929372550/

    It's an interesting thread. And Open Source related to boot. Go nuts.

  • You know, there's a reason nobody's suggested a WWRMSD bracelet. The sooner he figures that out, the sooner he's likely to garner support for the Hurd.

    Just a thought. Not that I don't hold his programming ability and ethics in the highest possible regard.
  • Oh, be utterly real. You clearly couldn't find a clue if you were covered with clue musk in a clue field in the middle of clue mating season. Not only have you flaunted Godwin's Law, but the idea that a community may want to moderate its self-representation using consensus is NOT censorship. Or has someone here suggested jailing you for your exercise of your God-given right to be the clueless twit you are?
  • Why try to hide what the linux/OS community really is? So there are some angry puppies out there.
    There are angry puppies everywhere. Who will we
    kid pretending to be saints?

    If industry/mainstream doesn't accept us on our technical merit, they will remain that far behind us.

  • We live in a big bad society. If you can't deal with flamers, lamers, assholes, and mouthpieces, you better start sucking on a revolver. It only gets tougher from her on in.

    A meaningless argument.

    The whole point of the society we like to think we live in is mutal respect and obligation, ie:

    I have the right not to be murdered in my bed.

    In return, I am expected not to murder anybody else in there bed.

    As above, so below. Nobody deserves to be mailbombed or harrased - you need to learn to handle the responsiblity of co-existing with people you disagree with. This is the price you pay for not being harassed yourself.

    Easy, non?

    And please, people - lose the numeric characters in your handle. Do you really think that's going to protect you from the all-grepping Hand of The Man?

  • I don't understand why every time it is suggested
    that perhaps the cause of Linux is better served
    by a bit of restraint and maturity someone feels
    the need to haul out "freedom of speech" as a
    defense for acting like an eight-year old.

    Yes, you have the right to say whatever you
    like... and we have the right to ask you to
    stop behaving like a jerk and embarrasing the
    rest of us.






  • 1) I honestly don't mean to advocate people being abusive with each other. We should be respectful to each other -- period. But not because it'll make people like Linux. Civility seems to be lacking from our society these days. We could do with a good deal more of it.

    However, being civil doesn't have anything to do with "making" people like Linux. The way to do that is to present people with facts. There is a good chance those facts will bring them around. If not, then at least they've made an informed decission. But at the same time, it doesn't matter how many facts you have if you deliver your argument while beating the person over the head with a club. The finer points will be missed. All the person will think of is "Hey... this jerk is hitting me over the head". The facts will be lost on them. That is why one should refrain from base harrassment to "support" Linux.

    2) If the abusive email came from Linus, ESR, and RHS then it perhaps would reflect on the OS community.
    It didn't however and it won't.

    You're sitting on a park bench when up walks a Lucranian tourist (fake nationality... I hope). The Lucranian begins to whizz on the bench you're currently occupying and when you voice protest, he spits at you. That wasn't the Lucranian President or any other kind of official. But you now have a rather negative view of Lucranians.

    Linus, ESR, and RMS do not a community make. The OSS community consists of them... other coders... advocates... users... everyone who wants to identify themselves with OSS. When one of us behaves is a certain manner (especially negatively) it reflects on our community.

    3) Bill Gates doesn't have a stellar reputation but Microsoft is widely accepted by the mainstream.

    Bill Gates doesn't have a good reputation? You've been hanging out in the wrong circles. Bill has donated some rather large chunks of cash towards charrity. MS has also put a nice chunk of funding towards research progects that don't nessecarily fall under the MS umbrella. Bill Gates is seen amoung buisness circles as a pretty astounding success. Microsoft is a business role model.

    Sure, techheads generally don't like Bill and MS. But then... Bill doesn't have to be liked to get business.

    He's got a whole slew of folks who are used to being professionally pleasant. They're hand picked and trained to listen to business and provide them with solutions.... and even more importantly, a warm fuzzy feeling of security in a cold, alien world of technology. Enter... the Marketing department.

    OSS has their community. We have just as many knowlegable people as they do. We have a pretty darned good base of code, technology, and future developments. But that's it. We depend on each other. If an unanointed walks amoung us and we dive on him with piranha-like frenzy... his buds aren't likely to follow. Nobody jumps into hostile waters without good reason.

    And before we get too carried away, everyone has their pack of rabid jackels. It's just that, unlike us, the MS house has that team of Marketeers with their flashy comforting pamphlets and their soothing promises "...well, WE won't alienate you like those other guys will."

  • I mean, it's a pretty good argument against the Linux community, isn't it ... so how do we know he's not just smearing the OSS community?

    Without some kind of formal investigation? You don't. However, as the saying goes: Do not multiply entities needlessly. In an industry fizzing with conflict and discontent, he (the columnist) doesn't stand to gain much by fermenting dissent. I just can't see any Machievellian intent here - if you have information to the contrary, print and be damned.

  • So you got a mail bomb (a tiny one at that) and a few flaming emails.

    ...and the mail bomb(s) and flames proved what point, exactly?

    The author, upon being on the receiving end of pure harrassment suddenly went "Oh! I get it! I wrote an article full of errors!" Devine intervention via email. Suddenly the truth sprung from nothingness... he then went out to preach the Goodness that is OSS.

    Not for a second did the author say to himself "man... I say something these jerks don't want to hear and they go ballistic. Their cause must be on shaky ground if they behave this desperately."

  • of course the people that are doing these things might not want the software to be publically accepted. they like being different and "more advanced" by running a minority o/s. running papasmurf doesnt make you more advanced -- it makes you a script kiddie

    Im the exact opposite, I am concerned about linux becoming popular just because it brings more people like the above (script kiddies, 31337 h4x0r5) into the community (lowers the quality of the linux user gene pool so to speak).
  • I don't understand why every time it is suggested that perhaps the cause of Linux is better served by a bit of restraint and maturity someone feels the need to haul out "freedom of speech" as a defense for acting like an eight-year old.

    Quite so.

    Freedom Of Speech != Freedom Is Speech

    Words have power. With power comes responsibilty.

    And no, this isn't the "yelling 'fire' in a crowded room" argument.


  • Why try to hide what the linux/OS community really is?

    It's not a matter of hiding who we are. OSS is not just about "it's not Microsoft". But that seems to be the message getting out there. We should be avoiding that.

    If it takes breaking ourselves of an apparently unhealthy obsession... so be it.

  • Posted by d106ene5:

    What makes you think everyone who has an opinion to express is part of your "community"? Who the hell is "the community"? What a ridiculous crock.

    There is no community. Speak for yourself.
  • Posted by d106ene5:

    Yes, freedom of speech means a few rotten apples.

    I prefer that to having some "community" tell me what I can or cannot write or say.

    When you write a stupid flame mail, you represent yourself. No one else. No "community".

    Maybe Slashdot should form a soviet, er, committee for approved opinions regarding linux.
  • My mother suggested the same thing, but my personal experience has shown me that it was bad advice. If you ignore people who cause trouble, especially the ones who do it by attacking you in some way, they learn that they can get away with it, so they continue. That doesn't mean you retaliate, but you have to at least call them on it.
  • If you see an article full of inaccuracies about Linux on linuxtoday or /., you know that the guy's going to get flamed, right?

    So, send him an e-mail that starts by saying :

    "I apologize on behalf of the Linux community for the idiots who are flaming you right now. Hopefully they will someday mature.

    However, there *were* several errors, however unintentional, in your article. They were..."

    At the very least, you'll show the writer not everybody in the Linux community thinks "pine" is for feeding flames.

  • Yes, freedom of speech means a few rotten apples.

    Ah. That makes amilbombs, ad hominem attacks and puerile behaviour perfectly OK then. I'm glad you're here to remind us, alphanumeric person.

    I prefer that to having some "community" tell me what I can or cannot write or say.

    It's a free internet. However, what goes around comes around - virtual karma, in this case.

    When you write a stupid flame mail, you represent yourself. No one else. No "community".

    When it's just you? Sure. Whem it's LOTS of people, each claiming to represent the whole - absolutely not.

    The moral majortiy isn't, you recall.

    Maybe Slashdot should form a soviet, er, committee for approved opinions regarding linux.

    A valid point, in as much nobody wants a Stalinist Slashdot. Equal important is the rejection of muddy thinking.
  • Please send one unit of "Linux Community" soonest.

    "Linux Community" is an abstraction made up of smart articulate people, dumb inarticulate people and many, many more shades of gray, or whatever PC color you wish to choose.

    Why don't you start a group like "Society of Linuxians Against Pretty Petty Email Replies" (SLAPPER!!)

    Whenever a journalist is in distress, you may send him a cooperativly developed missive that will cut him with your (joint) rapier like wit while still within the bounds of dignified decorum.

    There is a strong temptation in journalism to typecast and polorize, however. So don't be suprised if your reasoned response is overlooked (or just buried) in favor of Larry the Lip's pornographic turn of phrase. It's and old, old trick "THESE are the kind of scum that are opposing ME! ME! the inventor of the Internet!" Totally ignoring all the reasoned and valid comments.

    Businesses have used several operating systems put together by some very young, nonconformist folks.
    Why! Because it made them money, or they thought it would!

    Why are IBM and many other companies putting money behind Linux? See above. And no potty mouth ranting is going to scare them away from the gold.

    Hey, they have been toe to toe with the Justice Department for TEN YEARS!(in IBM's case) and beat them to a draw (Peace with honor, anyone?)

    These flamers are probably just young converts that don't know that much about it. Like, ya know, they are for peace, ya know, and like Linux, ya know.

    Peas, Love, Linux!
  • There was some work on a spelling checker that took into acount keyboard layout which we were looking at for GNOME. It would be perfect for Raster style mistakes. I don't know what came of it, or if it is still being developed though.
  • But the problem is that the majority of Linux users seem to be rabidly anti-Microsoft. Even in the cases where a piece of Microsoft software is technically superior to a piece of Free Software, they refuse to accept it, blithely insisting that anything Microsoft must be utterly bad and full of bugs. That doesn't come across as sounding like a person who is very intelligent. Heck, lots of people I know refuse to by Microsoft's hardware, which is some of the best hardware on the market, because they refuse to believe that a company that made something as crappy as Visual BASIC could possibly make a decent joystick.
  • Does this mean more moderation? Probably; maybe even banning the IPs of some of the worse offenders, or some other form of punishment. We need to tell the trolls and the flamers that we don't want them because they're effectively ruining it for everyone.

    But what gets classed as a flame or troll? When I've posted messages either a) pointing out mistakes in knee-jerk anti-Microsoft reactions or b) pointing out that my NT web box has sat up for over a year, without a reboot, some little Linux zealot marks it as a troll, whereas I consider it a factual statement. It's not like I'm even a Microsoft only junkie, we're running Linux for some stuff at work, even Sun boxes (although Netscape web server code bites in my opinion).

    So who moderates the moderators?

  • Not to mention a distinct lack of support for a WWESRD bracelet...
  • I've been reading stuff here for quite a while (since sometime last summer, I think) and in my opinion, the number of dumb, off-topic (think "FIRST POST!!!" and "(GNOME, KDE, Enlightenment) is (ugly, stupid, a memory hog, bloated)!!!") seem to actually have decreased, and intelligent discussion seems to have increased.

    On the other hand, this is all based on my subjective opinion of what consitutes intelligent discussion, and my (somewhat faded) memories of what Slashdot was like pre-moderation.

  • ESR can flame with the best of them, but I very much doubt that he'd employ childish tactics like that.

  • Since I didn't see any suggestions in the other threads that would make any practical differencereal change in behavior for the better, here are a couple of things "we" (Rob) could do to cut down the number of times Slashdot is made to look stupid by a bunch of immature children:

    1) Develop a "complaint" folder that people who've been flamed by /. folk can send copies of the flame mail to for "our" action. (Copies of such flame mail could also be added to such a database by others "observing" the exchange...)

    2) Encourage moderators to pick up extra moderator points (or free gifts ) by taking some time and going through the "flame mail folder" and basically voting on whether each piece of mail is so lacking in redeeming social value as to constitute an "offense" against /. (the moderators would get more points/better gifts based on the number of mails they review yea/nay, not how many emails they vote as "guilty")

    3) For people guilty of such "offenses" (as "voted" by their "peers"), an escalating set of punishments could include:

    A) "flagging" those accounts people on /. which are the source of this stuff with some sort of "banner" that no one would want to have associated with them ... Like any time that person posts on /., their posting is bracked with bold letters "A POSTING FROM AN IMMATURE JERK" or ? ... This would tend to reduce their participation in /. and hopefully make them think twice before they decide to "punish" someone else...

    B) after a certain # of "offenses"... block the offender from /. altogether, and post all known identifying information about them in a "hall of shame" some where...

    While there are ways to try to mask your identity when flaming someone to try to avoid punishment on /., that masking can often be penetrated, especially by people and software as powereful as we have here. Besides, forcing "bad" /. "members" to go through the extra work of becoming so annonymous we can't track them, may slow them down enough that they think better of "flaming".

    I'm sure that if he's read this, Rob has already got the code written in his head to implement all this ()!

    When he implements this, we can continue to become one of the most successful experiments in self moderating, yet remarkably free information flows around. If we don't do something, the "slashdot effect" could become an expletive...

    Steve
  • I think the time has come for the vast majority of us who believe in that quaint, old fashioned concept known as "good manners" to stand up to the jerks, in a non threatening way, of course. Maybe a quick email here and there (don't take criticism public) saying something like 'I know you probably didn't mean to, but your tone was a bit rude..." and pointing out the fact that good manners are simply a more effiecient way of changing behaviors and beliefs than vitriolic rants.

    A good idea in theory. Unfortunately, however, at least a small minority of these people would just flame you back and go on as before. Yes, some of them would get the message and stop it, but my guess is that a lot of people that go in for that sort of stuff couldn't care less if you or I or every other person in the world thinks that what they did was wrong.

    By way of analogy, look at the idiots that make and spread virii and worms - everybody (else) condems them, the authorities actually hunt them down and prosecute them, and still they do it. Why? Because that's how they get their kicks, and they're not about to let anyone spoil their fun. The same applies to the lame-brain mail-bombers; that's how they try to get their point across, and no-one is going to stop them from being heard.

    At best, you'll probably just be ignored; at worst, you'll be flamed/mail-bombed yourself.

    Tim
  • There has to be ways to defend OS's. Microsoft pay big dollars to people to spread FUD ( Mindcraft survey anyone ? ). If the Linux community doesn't make it unpleasant to write grossly incorrect disinformation uncomfortable occasionally then it will suffer.

    Imagine also, a similar article about NT that said equally dismissive things and was equally independent of the facts. Microsoft would sue, not just send a few juvenile emails.

    The one thing is, this guy actually deserves a great deal of credit for his admission of error. He admitted that he wrote something that was bad. I'll check his column once in a while from now.
  • ...he did say distribute but when he mentioned fortune and spell checker in the same sentence and coupled with some of his earlier errors, I wrongly assumed that was what he was thinking. Besides, no one would think that giving away a spell checker and then providing service for it would generate a "fortune" , would they? heheheheh. How much service does a spell checker need?
  • Frankly, most flames aren't worth the paper they're printed on. While personal assaults never
    really win arguments, I'm constantly amazed by
    professional writers who get teary-eyed over email. The internet is a public place. You can say anything you want in public, but don't be surprised when get a response.

    I'm still of the mind that the internet is really just a cleverly constructed Eliza program.

    internet> Why do you feel the internet is a cleverly constructed Eliza program?
  • C'mon people...this isn't right.

    This isn't directed at Linux advocates or anyone else in particular. If this letter is for you, well, you know who you are.

    They are everywhere, IIRC, Douglas Adams (a Mac advocate) once referred to some of his Mac-loving kin as "blithering zealots". Perfect. That is exactly the description of many Linux/MS/Mac/BeOS/OS/2 etc. ad nauseum "advocates". The funny thing is...most of the "blithering zealots" don't have a clue.

    "Blah, blah, blah...use FooOS," they say.

    "Why?" BarOS user says.

    "Because anyone who doesn't use FooOS is lame," blithering zealot intellegently replies.

    I've been around, in communication with other savvy, bleeding edge computer users, for quite a while now. It's always the same. There seems to be this "blithering zealot" gene. Without exception, there is always someone who will find something (anything!) and cling to it religiously without anything intellegent to back it up.

    For those who fit the above description, this message is for you.

    Stop it. If you find yourself:

    1. NEVER installing a different OS because, "FooOS is better".
    2. Flaming anyone who likes another OS better.
    3. Flaming anyone.
    4. Bashing MS (or any other software company) in response to an article about Linux....

    You may have a problem. Step back and think, because you are just like the people you say you hate. "MS lemmings" is a rich term I've heard a lot. Well, ask yourself this: If FooOS started to suck...for whatever reason, are you past the point where you can objectively say, "Wow...FooOS has started to suck. Maybe I should start to look for something new." ?
    Or, better yet, "Wow...FooOS has started to suck. Maybe I should work to fix it."

    There is a pattern that I've noticed, and it involves most (almost all) zealots going down with their chosen sinking ship, just like they say their "opponents" are.

    Wow...this turned from what I originally intended (an honest to god open letter) to more of a rant. I appologize for that. But IMHO, what I said needed to be said, so I'll leave it at that.

    I appologize for the spelling errors that are probably scattered about in this.

    Casey
  • I type as I would speak to you in person.

    I don't, and I can see why most people don't either. On IRC (and in other forms of textual communications) I've had lengthy (sometimes heated) discussions about religion, programming languages, operating systems, computers, music, and a variety of other things. In real life, you don't have these sorts of conversations, because when they start getting heated, somebody will start cutting off other people in mid-sentence, people begin yelling, etc. On IRC, assuming you don't have ops and kick/ban the person, each of you has to let the other person finish his sentence, since you have no way of cutting him off or yelling over him.

    Plus, there's the fact that I'd never have a heated discussion about religion with a random person I'd never met before in real life. On IRC, it's completely possible, because we're discussing the issues - who the other person is, and whether I've met them or not, is irrelevant.
  • It's nice to see enthusiasm, BUT...

    These screamy platform advocates remind me of the comp.sys.mac[..].advocacy morons, or even the sad remnants still clinging to the corpse of the (once great) Amiga.

    I don't particularly want to be associated with people whose arguments stretch about as far as "YOU SUXXX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".

    Admittedly, the mass media needs to get a major clue infusion too, but then that's nothing new. Telling one's arse from a hole in the ground never was the strong suit of the Jesse Bersts of this world..

    Sadly, morons are ?(and have been) flowing onto linux as a platform for a while. Too many of them use it as a psychological crutch and something to worship. these people would be no loss if they vanished tommorow, since they don't contribute anything. Quite the reverse; they spend hours flaming poor saps in a functionally illiterate manner, and then go on to annoy the hell out of ordinary users by demanding "How can I get X driver for my FarEastTech GrandPants AGP of is??!!!!!?!?!" very loudly. They're a pain.

    However, we're a victim of our own sucess in that respect. Everything that becomes popular does, due to the law of averages, attract a lot of noisy idiots. Because they're so vocal, it sounds like there's a whole lot of them, rather than the good old bell curve, which is closer to the truth..

    End of ramble.. :)



  • Yes, you have the right to say whatever you
    like... and we have the right to ask you to
    stop behaving like a jerk and embarrasing the
    rest of us.


    Nobody ever said you can't complain about them, just that you can't stop them. You are free to complain all you want, and they are free to ignore you all they want.
  • Ah. That makes amilbombs, ad hominem attacks and puerile behaviour perfectly OK then. I'm glad you're here to remind us, alphanumeric person.

    Hmm, "alphanumeric person" seems like somewhat of an ad hominem attack...or was that intended irony?

    When it's just you? Sure. Whem it's LOTS of people, each claiming to represent the whole - absolutely not.

    Then each of those people represent themselves. If they happen to all be Open Source advocates, then it shows that a significant percentage of Open Source advocates really are somewhat on the insane side. You can't tell these people "no I don't want you on my side anymore," because I doubt they will go away. You just have to realize that a significant portion of you cause is made up of insane lunatics.

    A valid point, in as much nobody wants a Stalinist Slashdot. Equal important is the rejection of muddy thinking.

    And who defines "muddy thinking"? I personally consider a lot of what Linus says to be "muddy thinking," so should it be rejected? Hmm...
  • "I apologize on behalf of the Linux community...

    And what exactly gives you, Mr. Random Linux User, the right to speak on behalf of the entire "Linux community," any more than Mr. Random Flamer has that right?
  • I'm not in high school, but I'm sure a lot of Linux advocates are. I don't care what someone's 'nick' is, or what they put in their documentation. I worship Linus Torvalds and Future Crew, because they can write good code, and I curse Microsoft because they screw everything up too much...

    Oh, and I read the column, but I don't agree that the 'slashdot community' should admit to wrongdoing. *I* didn't do anything wrong. Here you are confusing the actions of individuals with that of a group. The 'slashdot community' isn't very organized, but we are, each of us, responsible for our own actions. And this could very well be the work of a "rotten few", but unfortunately users come in a sort of pyramid. At the top, there are the gods, the developers. Below that, you have the speakers, the well-known activists, the kernel hackers, the people who write major applications. Then you have the early adherents, the sysadmins, the people who write small applications... eventually you get to the newbies, and there are a *lot* more of them than there are of the rest of us.

    I only really started learning about UNIX in 1994 or so, before then I was doomed to reimplement it on DOS (I wrote commands that worked like 'which' and 'df' and 'du', in Pascal, actually)... I found out about Linux in 1995, and only really started using it in 1996 or so... However, I'd consider myself to be a longtime veteran when I look at the people in the community now... this is that pyramid effect at work.

    I read slashdot before we had user accounts, so my user # is 1020. I guess that makes me part of this community for a long time. :) I see by your number that you're in the thirty-thousands or so, which shows how many accounts we must have now...

    I'm sure there are a lot of newbies out there, but judging by their experience, I'm sure I'd consider most of them to be pretty low on the pyramid... The problem is trying to explain this to who they flame, because we can't train them all. Most of them will learn eventually, on their own, but by then there will be far more of them. This is the same thing that happened to the emulator scene, and it practically crumbled under the weight of the d00dZ who wanted their RoMz.

    Also, the columnist didn't really fess up, all he said was that he had gotten *one* fact wrong, and exaggerated the rest, and he portrayed Linux/Open Source advocates as either raving lunatic crackers or flaky activists, which I think most of us aren't. Therefore, I'm not sorry he got flamed. Maybe I would be if he tried to revise his article to make it more accurate... Even if I didn't agree with his opinion, I could at least respect him if he got his facts right and tried to have an original thought or two.
  • He makes a good point about spell checkers. It's not only the flaming idiots who need them either. I can think of a certain story poster who misspells more than his share of headlines on slashdot. If we're talking about "making the 'Linux community' look bad," repeated obvious errors in story headlines on slashdot are a lot more noticeable than some juvenile comments and flames.

  • Did I miss something, or did Jack forget to respond to the rebuttals?

    Sure, we, the Slashdot front, can be rude at times in our postings. But THAT'S OUR RIGHT AS READERS, RIGHT ??

    It's interesting to me that he chose to attack the user base of LinuxOS as opposed to attacking ONE individual (who, nevermind that he had legitimate criticisms).



  • not everything that Microsoft has done is bad. They've actually come up with some good things believe it or not


    Like what?
  • by Trepidity (597)
    I got one particularly amusing set of these missives from someone I'll call "Eric." Every five minutes Eric would post what was essentially the same email. He'd change his last name on each posting, but not his first name or his email address. Clever fella that Eric.

    I wonder if that could be a certain Eric we know...
  • Personally, next time a link to an anti-[Linux|Open Source|Redhat] is posted on /., I'm going to be tempted to fire up my mailreader and write them a polite apology for the mails that are undoubtedly above and below mine in their mailbox.

    "Don't mind the morons and the script kiddies - 14-year olds are a pain in the bum whether or not they can even spell Linux..."
  • A good idea in theory. Unfortunately, however, at least a small minority of these people would just flame you back and go on as before. Yes, some of them would get the message and stop it, but my guess is that a lot of people that go in for that sort of stuff couldn't care less if you or I or every other person in the world thinks that what they did was wrong.

    Very true. In the "old" days I noticed the same trend on IRC. Some people would just run around on channels and stir up a stink just for the joy of it. If we tried to tell them the error of their ways they just got worse - their intent was to piss people off, and us trying to convice them not to was taken by them as a proof that they had accomplished their goal.

    I'm not saying that all flamers are like that, but some are. I don't know of any way that we as a community can do anything effectively to stop them giving Linux a bad name.
  • I don't think you're stomping on free speech... This is a private forum, generously sponsored by Rob. If these fanatics wish to rant and rave, there are plenty of public places for them to do it. If we are indeed a community, we have the same power as any other community, to shun people we find damaging to us. Of course, there is the off chance that these disgruntled wanna-bes will go shoot up the local high school, because we gave them bad flashbacks. Tragic.

    Geek-grrl in training
    "The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working."
  • Oh, this is priceless!
    .signature file material for sure.
    Bravo!
  • Anyone else notice at the end of the article, he claims:

    (Note: This article, like many of the others before it, was composed using an Open Source software product)

    Which open source product? Microsoft Word 97, using Save to HTML? The text of his article badly needs the Demoroniser... it's full of lots of question marks in place of apostrophies.

    Just because he didn't pay for it doesn't mean it's free software or open source software.

  • Whether or not he deserved it is irrelevant. He gets several hours of inconvenience, reading through badly written and incoherent emails. We get a couple more years of obscurity, because people like you make the rest of us look incompentent. Try and focus on the larger scheme of things here. It is not about this childish concept of lashing out at any perceived threat, it is about supporting your community, and overcoming though competence rather than crass force.

    Geek-grrl in training
    "DEATH TO FANATICS!"
  • Yes, being rude is your right as a reader. Many stupid things are your right. That doesn't mean you have to excercise those rights. If he's made errors, you get your message across better by politely but clearly outlining what they were and why they were errors. You don't have to pussyfoot around it, but coming across as polite and articulate and rational is better than coming across as an idiot.

    And if you absolutely must flame someone, at least be creative about it. I'm sorry but I would frankly be embarrassed to have to admit that "You ****head!" was the best I could come up with. In fact I wouldn't admit it, I'd either come up with something better or forget the whole matter.

  • Slashdot should stop posting Microsoft flamebait. Flaws in IIS are one thing, but uninformed ZDnet articles and Mindcraft tests seem to serve the sole purpose of attracting the less, err, rational Linux users.

  • > Does this mean more moderation? Probably; maybe > even banning the IPs of some
    > of the worse offenders, or some other form of
    > punishment. We need to tell the trolls
    > and the flamers that we don't want them because > they're effectively ruining it for everyone.

    I agree, "First!" type people should not be allowed to post. But even if you could find a decent way of preventing that, there's nothing stopping them from reasing the article and flaming the guy...

  • ...We even have them in the mainframe community! Certainly Apple, OS/2, and MS-Windows have their share... as well as others I fear to mention. :)

    For a journalist to post a factually incorrect, borderline slanderous article about virtually any widely used OS is to invite something similar to what Mr. Bryar experienced -- the difference being more a matter of scale and timing than anything else.

    I think much of the "problem" here has much to do with the concentration of enthusiasts around such sites as /. and LT. An article goes up on /. and, suddenly, we all know about it.

    Well, I'd like to advise all the careless journalists of the world, whatever they write about: get used to a networked and weblog-stratified world. /. is merely the leading edge.
  • "...that he said that could make a fortune by selling a Linux-compatible spell checker. Wait a sec? Sell a spell-checker in the land of free software? Naaaaa...... "

    What's not funny is that you're one of the ones he was writing about. He didn't say "sell," he said "distribute." Work on those reading skills, son. The effort will repay itself.

    mp


  • Your Boston Tea Party analogy is really flawed. We're not trying to drive people who use Windows (or in any way criticize Linux) back to England; we're trying to get them over to our way of thinking by demonstrating that our way of doing things is neat and effective and overall better.

    Look at the OSS movement more as a guerrilla war; we have to develop a superior product against the onslaught of an overwhelming foe who can change standards as fast as Bill changes his shorts. We need to win people over to our way of thinking, not run in and burn their villages and shoot their grandmothers.

    This sort of sh*t alienates potential users, backers, business allies and developers. Call it a war if you insist, but this isn't the way to win. Instead, we should politely provide information, demonstrate that we can connect with people (a collective sense of humor would be a good place to start) and respect other peoples' opinions, even if they don't agree with us.

    ----

  • Yeah, script kiddies, do your thing. Become the new Linux Gestapo - anyone who says Linux isnt the best thing ever, go get 'em. Mailbomb them, break in to their firewall, and leave worms everywhere. That will teach them; they'll never say anything bad about Linux again.

    Not.

    Ackbar, is this really what you want? This goes right against the whole notion of free speech, doesn't it? Or can I say anything I want, as long as it doesn't interfere with the planned Linux World Domination?
  • Let's see you say "Just deal with it" the next time you're mailbombed back into the stone age.

    ----

  • Oh, I don't know. My dear mother always suggested that it I ignore people who intentially try to start trouble, they'll go away. It's worked for me in real life; it's worth a shot here.

    We just need to communicate that some people aren't welcome in our community until they're ready to act like adults. I know people will say I'm stomping on free speech and ask who I am to judge, but we must to something before this brand of fanaticism damages Linux's and OSS's credibility any further.

    ----

  • We as a community really need to stop worshiping Linux. Yes, Linux is a good OS, but you know what, it's not the best OS. There is no single best OS, and as long as people keep innovating, that will always be the case. Yes Windows has problems, but not everything that Microsoft has done is bad. They've actually come up with some good things believe it or not.



    Hmm...my point...can't we just all get along?
    The whole idea behind Linux is freedom, but
    if we as a community squash anyone who doesn't agree with our opinions or is misinformed about the facts, we're making Linux that much more worthless.



    So please, before you hit the send key next time,
    think about what you're saying.


    Deepak Saxena
    Project Director, Linux Demo Day '99

  • Yep, the generally rancorous tone of "linux advocacy" is repugnant. Although I'm not shy about claiming linux as my OS, and I did have an article about it published in the local newspaper last year -- nonetheless, I never advocate it. I tell people that it's a good OS, and why I like it but I never recommend it. I don't want to be in any way associated with the all-too-often moronic crowd of "linux advocates."

    mp
  • Cool keybord, or is that franchised?
  • We as a community really need to stop worshiping Linux. Yes, Linux is a good OS, but you know what, it's not the best OS. There is no single best OS, and as long as people keep innovating, that will always be the case.

    I agree with this. Rather than promote a single OS, the important thing to do is to promote open standards and protocols. This allows for the selection of the best operating system for a specific task without having to worry about proprietary and "extended" protocols.
  • Then they can't tell anyone that their OS sucks anymore, so they will have to find something else that's so much better than Linux, and those of us who are still using Linux will be the victims.

    Or maybe they have grown up by then.

    Don't hate the media, become the media.

  • > Work on those reading skills, son. The effort will repay itself.

    Well he's got a point - unless Bryar can come up
    with a way to nuke every copy of the free(speech)
    spellcheckers out there, and find a faster distribution
    channel than ftp://your.local.sunsite/, he's
    never going to pay for that Z3. Not through
    distributing spellcheckers anyway.

    K.
    -
    How come there's an "open source" entry in the
  • >Heck, lots of people I know refuse to by Microsoft's hardware, which >is some of the best hardware on the market,

    Bullshit. A lot of people refuse to buy Mircosoft hardware because it's cheaply made and overpriced. Are you seriously sugesting that that the Microsoft mice are better than the ones made by Logitech for instance? I've yet to see a Microsoft joystick that is better designed than my Nintedo 3d1 PC joystick. Yes, Nintendo designed a joystick for use with the PC.

    As for the response to the article, well the person who wrote it got exactly what he devserved, just as NATO gave the Serbia what it deserved. What people like yourself are going to have to accept is the old days of "computer journalism" where a person could write the kind of article slamming something, submit it to a magazine and escape the results of their actions is over with. If a reporter wants to avoid the kind of fallout that people like yourself are bitching about, then he had better damn well be sure of his facts before posting the damn thing in the first place. There's a well-know term for the kind of article that Bryar submitted to Andover News. It's called yellow journalism.
  • If he could make a spell checker that can figgure out what I mean with some of my worse mispellings (I'm not talking about teh->the I'm taking about worse things. speaking of teh though, can it figgure out I intentially mispelled that) he can make a fortune. I know there are 100 or so people reading this who are willing to donate to the cause of getting me a good spell checker.

    Too bad if any exist they are not really workable.

  • The smart people aren't the ones that have to be afraid of the moderators.
    At least .. not in my definition of smart. If you're smart, you think before you write, therefor, you're comments are thought out and well supported with arguments. In this way, smart people think about what they want to say, and they know that what they write won't be moderated down, because it's reasonable and makes sense.

    The NOT smart people, who press reply and start flaming away without any proper arguments. THOSE are the ones that need to worry about what happens to their comments ... of course I can imagine that those people don't think about that either and just flame away anyway.

    I'm an administrator on a chat-site and I know the way people can react on things they don't like.
    Most people will indeed instantly get out the "big guns" (mailbomb, any kind of DoS attack, flame, whatever) .. I've had my share of death threats by people from the other side of the ocean (which shows again that people don't think before they write ... it's very unlikely they will really take all that effort to come to here to kill me ..)

    Hmm .. all this rambling .. Let's summarise:
    The moderation system won't drive off smart people it will maybe even attract more smart people and get them to post comments, because they know that their comments won't get lost in a sea of flames due to the filtering that's possible on the comments .. I've got my filter on 2, which gives me only the really interesting stuff.


    --
  • Science fiction author Larry Niven, that is. Jerry Pournelle is fond of quoting it, and I've heard Niven himself say it a time or two:

    "There is no cause so noble that it will not attract fuggheads."

    Linux advocacy proves to be no exception.
  • How about a web site where one email can be formed and culled from the cream of all arguments and distilled down to what a majority would like to send?


    While this makes the most sense from the point of view of conveying the most relevant information and eliminating redundancy, in practice all this would accomplish in the short-term is to make the signal-to-noise ratio that much worse. Instead of 100 polite emails and 10,000 flames, the authour gets 1 polite email and 10,000 flames.


    The loophole is that if the 1 email is from a well-respected entity whose opinions carry weight, it would be useful. Open Sense, if implemented, could eventually gain such weight. However, it won't have such weight when first implemented - this would be a medium-term effect at best, long-term at worst.


    OTOH, those of us who write sensible letters could always post to both. That would give the best of both worlds.


    As a side idea - it might be a good idea for someone who _does_ carry weight - for instance, Linus - to write a letter to the publisher that both states that the flamers do not represent his views (possibly apologizing), and then politely taking issue with the inaccurate points presented in the article. This might actually accomplish something.


    Going to the publisher helps in that the article's authour is probably just ignoring all Linux-related emails. Coming from Linus or another noteworthy and level-headed developer/advocate would give it the credibility to get read.


    In any event, if you do get Open Sense off the ground, please let me know. I'd be happy to contribute.

  • >my god
    >that's the last time he'll write something bad >about the open source community

    Or anything at all...
    Thats the problem, if we want advocacy we need to nice to those who do it (EVEN IF THEY ARE WRONG). Otherwise they go off and talk about other stuff.
  • by Skyshadow (508) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @05:37PM (#1847318) Homepage
    WWLD (What Would Linus Do?)

    This about it; can you see Linus flaming the hell out of someone for forgetting to mention that Linux runs on SPARC? No way! So, the next time you're tempted to mail out some giant foul-mouthed tirade against someone who has issues with the OSS movement, ask yourself: WWLD?

    Man, I should have some wrist bands made up; I'd make a mint.

    ----

  • If he can't manage to separate out a few nuts from the reasonable people.. that's his problem.

    Did you actually ready the column?

    It hardly sounds like the work of a "rotten few". This sort of thing seems to go on far to often. It seems that a significant number of Linux advocates lose sight of the fact that with freedom comes responsibility. Be responsible for your actions, kids. He (the columnist) 'fessed up when he did a Bad Thing. So should the slashdot "community".

    And anyone who uses numerals in their "nick", or ever writes software with the word "Greetz to:" in the docs should be thourougly minced. High school is over, people.

  • by Fizgig (16368) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @05:40PM (#1847322)
    I'm sure the post on Linuxtoday (where I first read it) was more hits to this guy's online column than he had ever seen before. I'm sure he also got more feedback than he had ever gotten before. Then Slashdot was probably another order of magnitude more hits for his column. Combine this with the fact that this was probably the most error-ridden piece he's ever written before, and it's not surprising that he was treated this way. I'm not saying it's right. In fact, shame on you guys (you know who you are)! But if he had written something sexist and inaccurate that somehow got into the hands of several tens of thousands of feminists, what's he expect? Say something that's an opinion that people disagree with, you'll get some flack. Say something wrong and you'll get a lot. That * /. = bad news for him. He wrote an incorrect story and it was viewed by lots of people who disagree with him. Surely he realizes that a lot of us read it, dismissed it, and went on with our lives and that the people who flamed him are not in the majority (or I'm sure mail.andover.net or whatever would have died a quick death)
  • by Fizgig (16368)
    Hmmm, that feminist sentence makes no sense. s/[feminist setence]/[something really, really clever]/
  • by grappler (14976) on Wednesday June 16, 1999 @05:43PM (#1847324) Homepage
    By simply not focusing so much on Microsoft. I say don't post MS related stories on slashdot unless they really are newsworthy. And don't post them on LinuxToday unless they are related in some way to Linux.

    This would take away forums that seem to be used mainly to stir anti-ms feelings and (sometimes subtely) encourage flaming.

    If we all just back away from talking about MS all the time, several good things will result:

    1. We will continue to grow for the same reasons we always did: not worring about marketshare, deadlines, acceptance, etc. These things will come in time if you produce good software. These have always been touted as the linux community's greatest strengths. Let's keep it that way.

    2. We will attract people that are interested in free software instead of people that want to feel cool or 3L1te or just hate microsoft. Without a place to read and post anti-ms stuff those people will lose interest and leave. I say good riddance.

    Bottom line - it's not out of the control of the leaders in this meritocracy. An example can be set, and would be followed.

  • In the me-too department: I share the feeling of shame at having the name of "Slashdot" associated with agressive flaming. I was so embarassed (because I really like Slashdot and visit several times a day -- I even post from time to time what I think I have something of value to contribute) that I posted onto the apologia at Andover very clearly in my own name, identifying myself as a Slashdot reader and expressing my personal shame.

    In the "off topic" department, I sometime wonder if the growth of the electronic community will eventually increase or decrease civility. I rember reading David Brin's Earth in the late 80s. We had USENET by then, the Web wasn't in existence (except maybe at CERN) and the word Internet meant something to only a handful of us. In that novel, Brin imagined a global network that everyone had access to. (This stuff was very incidental to the story, BTW). Each person had a credibility rating. You would read messages filtering by credibility. I think the Slashdot moderation figure is a very primitive form of this.

    What if access to the net was denied to no one, but every other participant on the net could adjust one persons credibility by one point once and only once? (What if this could be applied to sub nets and addresses at the IP level, but I get ahead of myself). What if we could put the real flamethrowers in Coventry (as we used to say)?

    Everyone if free to be as abusive as they want, but they would be heard by fewer and fewer people as their credibility fell.

    Perhaps persons should be rated in various categories, or a standard system eveloped to build this into a new kind of HTML compatible nntp? I'm not really suggesting anything seriously here, but the issue is real.

    In some ways, despite all the evils of television, it has brought a certain increased sophistication to distant and disparate places (and also a certain lack of sophistication as well, but I don't want to go too far down that tangent right now).

    The net can do the same, only more so.

    Whatever. I'm a programmer by vocation and avocation, so I always seek a technological solution.

    For now, I hope that each of us who feels proud to be a part of something Big and Important (open source, free software, the Internet, free speech, individuality) and who gives vent to that through fourums like Slashdot will take a little time to (gently) remind some of our more rambunctious fellow travellers what it means to be civilized.

  • These stories remind me of the (Apple) EvangeList a few years ago. Somebody writes an article with some (or a lot or none) errors about MacOS, gets loads of hate mail, writes another column complaining about it.
    My thinking then which I still think is accurate:
    • People who go berserk over an operating system need to get a life
    • Trying to explain to them that their priorities are misplaced is hopeless
    • It seems like a lot of journalists think that the fact that they got a binful of immature hate mail completely negates the inaccuracies, falsehoods and ignorance in what they wrote in the first place.

    EvangeListas, remember when the guy from Wired wrote that net access with a PowerMac and a T1 is slower than with a 386 and a 9600 baud modem? And then proceeded to defend that as a factually correct statement? After all, he got tons of stupid mail; therefore he must have been correct...

  • by spun (1352)

    The Linux scene has changed a lot in the past year. That's not to say that there weren't crazed fanatics here before, but I do think the ratio has chnaged. Now that Linux is 'cool' and 'alternative' (a brief digression: did you ever notice that by the time anything is called alternative, it isn't, really?) More and more folks are using it because it makes them feel superior.

    When someone attacks Linux, these people feel it as a personal insult. After all, if they are only cool because they use a cool OS, what does it mean when someone says the OS sucks? It means they suck.

    All in all, though, I am proud of our community. Don't let the insecure, vocal minority of jerks blind you to the fact that a lot of smart, polite, reasonable, and downright nice people use Linux. I see it every day, here, in my user's group, in the newsgroups & mailing lists, and of course, on the ftp sites where the code lives: people helping each other out, sharing what they know with no thought of profit.

    I think the time has come for the vast majority of us who believe in that quaint, old fashioned concept known as "good manners" to stand up to the jerks, in a non threatening way, of course. Maybe a quick email here and there (don't take criticism public) saying something like 'I know you probably didn't mean to, but your tone was a bit rude..." and pointing out the fact that good manners are simply a more effiecient way of changing behaviors and beliefs than vitriolic rants.

  • Good grief. Is it just me or does this sound more like an IRC war than a discussion? Hanging out on IRC changed drastically after the internet went mainstream. You always had your schmucks, but after tens of thousands of IRC clients started showing up, we ended up with a lot more schmucks. I have always had a hard time grasping the concept of saying things in text that you would never have the balls to say in real life in front of a person. I type as I would speak to you in person.

    Rioting and mob mentality is understandable IMHO if tanks and soldiers are rolling down Main Street USA, but not when somebody says something dumb. Had he said he was going to rape the mothers of all RedHat investors, fine, attack. But he didnt.

    If I went full force after every dumb comment made to me in person, there would be a lot less dumb comment makers in the world, and I'd be in prison *grin*.

    One last thought: Ever notice that the religious nuts who run up to your car screaming about hell while holding a fistful of pamphlets hold a LOT less credibility than the preacher sitting quietly in a church doing his thing? Not that I'm a religious man, but heh, it's a thought.

    I'll shaddup now, but damn people, relax.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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