[clug] Ethics & etiquette

Bryan Kilgallin bryan at netspeed.com.au
Tue Jan 27 05:09:06 MST 2015

Thanks, Scott:

> It's only my opinion - but Hacker ethics is the basis of most mailing lists run by the FOSS community:-
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ethic#The_hacker_ethics   (consider the nature of this list and it's infrastructure).

I have bookmarked and begun looking at your references.

The philosophical topic of ethics reminds me of a consultant's anecdote 
about a boardroom. The corporate mission, he said, was a list of 
motherhood statements displayed in the foyer--which the committee 
members couldn't remember!

> With this (and other) mailing lists - it's expected that posters understand the appropriate netiquette. It's not unreasonable that you don't - and you wouldn't be the first to wonder why there isn't a published "terms of use"
> (http://lists.samba.org/archive/linux/2004-July/011462.html) - I can think of several reasons why that's not the case, but I don't know the actual reasons.

This can lead into a psychological game.

{He then recalled that ever since early childhood he had looked for 
similar injustices, received them with delight and exploited them with 
the same vigor. In many of the cases he recounted, he had forgotten the 
actual provocation, but remembered in great detail the course of the 
ensuing battle.}


> Here are a couple of guides for very large, long-standing mailing
> lists that deal on a daily basis with a very wide range of complex and
> often contentious subjects:-
> http://linux.sgms-centre.com/misc/netiquette.php

This seems to list "don'ts".

> https://wiki.debian.org/DebianMailingLists

I read that plain text was recommended.

Perhaps someone here might clarify the technical requirements of this 
mailing list. And also confirm any recommended quotation style etc.

>> Important differences are that it's unmoderated, no one is required 
>> to answer anyone else (freedom - see the previously referenced Hacker 
>> Ethics for expansion), and that includes the freedom to limit our 
>> exposure i.e. we are free to use any name we like, we are free to 
>> never answer any questions, we are also free to find the perceived 
>> behavior of others frustrating (hopefully while being aware of all 
>> the permutations).

Whereas I was more used to moderated discussions. However, there can be 
an advantage to not being excluded when the Führer is miffed!

>> We are not free to invade the personal space of others without 
>> consequences - even if we run an open-house (tolerance and respect 
>> for others is aspired to - as is understanding that we are not all 
>> the same or equal).

What is, and is not acceptable here, I am not entirely clear upon.

> Tricky stuff this loosely collective/collaborative techno-anarchy (and I mean anarchy in the sense of not-abrogating responsibility rather than blowing things up) - if that's the best description of "how" it works.

I have sometimes been surprised by expressions of sensitivities!

> If some don't have the time or motivation to give milk, cookies and hugs to every new-comer who demands answer, one reason may be that they've long forgotten how to ride a bike so find explaining what seems to them as "common sense" when they have little free time and considerable experience of disappointment  resulting from investing time in helping new-comers only to see them wander off in search of the next shiny thing (Dear intertubes, please do my homework for me" is a common, gentler reaction).

On a psychometric test for Asperger syndrome, I have scored autistically 
low in empathy!

Yes, I remember as a technician on an ANU field trip, students' chorus 
of "What's the answer, Sir?".

It may be enough to recognise that at this stage I do not need a 
technical understanding of some coding concern.

> Please forgive us if 'we' don't measure up to your expectations.

{Pressuring oneself to achieve unrealistic goals inevitably sets the 
person up for disappointment.}


> If you have more questions - please search the web for
> "how to ask smart questions first" it will be a good guide to
> eliciting answers to those questions from others on the list (as I've
> greatly exceeded my weekly time budget for the list).

I assume that people here are primarily interested in technology. But I 
suppose you mean something like the following.

{Before asking a technical question by e-mail, or in a newsgroup, or on 
a website chat board, do the following:


    Try to find an answer by searching the archives of the forum you
    plan to post to.


    Try to find an answer by searching the Web.


    Try to find an answer by reading the manual.


    Try to find an answer by reading a FAQ.


    Try to find an answer by inspection or experimentation.


    Try to find an answer by asking a skilled friend.


    If you're a programmer, try to find an answer by reading the source



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