17 July 2008

"... I've got a bad feeling about this"

said Han to the Wookie.

When my aged mother starts asking about blogs, and how she can start using one, it is probably time to do a trial run for a while. But it doesn't mean I have to like it.

I am pretty non-emotional when participating in, and chan-op'ing in the #centos IRC channel at: irc.freenode.org. But we do get the same questions, day after day, by people who either won't read, or won't take the time to do anything more than leech the channel for a quick answer. Once fed their answer without having had to go through the process of learning the skills to dig an answer out, they promptly disappear ... until the next random problem happens to them.

All the expected resources of a mature FOSS project are there; and signs are posted as to channel expectations: a /topic banner, a web page specific to the IRC channel, a wiki, a forum, documentation, a bug tracker, man pages and .... Release Notes. But it is easier to burden an entire channel of several hundred people, than to look for the answer first. Classic 'tragedy of the commons'.

Sadly, even some channel regulars feed such bad behaviour, and so encourage it. It is just like leaving food open on the counters, not washing dishes, and then being surprised that roaches appear.

Don't even get me started on people seeking, and channel participants giving, answers on software we do not ship. I'm sure I'll see a writing prompt on that soon enough.

I think I'll go get a coffee. Dark roast, no cream, no sugar, and a large portion please.