Reducing Community Bickering

Registered by Jono Bacon

Based on the results of the Ubuntu Community Survey ( a common area of de-motivation is with community members often bickering about Ubuntu and it's focus and direction. Many felt like this was frustrating because many of those who bicker contribute little.

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Manny (opinion):
*More data?
We need to treat this topic carefully. This has potential to become controversial, since there is still not enough data.

The survey results are very interesting and outline multiple problems and frustrations within the community (Like "The lack of transparency" or "Bureaucracy"), not just bickering.

We need to know first, if actually improving those problems will start lowering the need to complain for many..

What exactly are these people bickering about? Does part of the user population feel the same way? are their reasons valid? Or they even been listened by the developers and corresponding projects in a fair manner?

What are we doing to fix the issues? If we are, then is the majority being notified that we are working to improve the situation?

(also, is important not to confuse bickering with constructive criticism.)

And those who are complaining (also bickering?) about the bickering, who are they and how are they being affected?

And if possible, what can be done to reach a conscientious that could help reduce the complaints from the two groups/parties and maybe benefit them as equally as possible?

Every user counts, specially if they are from the "early adopters" group. These are the ones that will always show more interest, loyalty and contribute more than the rest of the "generic" consumer population (whom actually end up complaining in mass, demand more, contribute less and since they have little or no loyalty, don't care and just go elsewhere. Usually back to msft or apple...). But these are the "users" we are aiming for (in our 200M goal) so we will need to prepare and have a system in place that can scale well. And this system is not to ignore the demands or send them to the trash bin, but actually gain as much feedback as possible and mold the future of ubuntu based on that. Thanks.


Cheesehead: Seems like a lot of mileage is possible by retreading our old college notes:

- (Bickering) The different types of personalities, the different styles of communication and how they lead to misunderstanding.

- (Feeling excluded) Different perspectives of different stakeholders.

- (Both) MPT said it best about basic disagreements: "It's not about being right, it's about getting the software changed." Fundamental disagreements can be moderated, facilitated, or simply negotiated. But most bickering I have seen are not about misunderstandings, not disagreements

- (Both) The limitations of each communication channel or venue. For example, the lack of nonverbal cues in e-mail, or the cultural limitations/complications of written humor. Reading unintended emotion into hastily-written text causes a lot of simple misunderstandings. Writing the hasty text also introduces problems!

- (Both) The need for explicit emotional validation as well as data communication in IRC and other mostly-written relationships. That's a teachable/learnable skill. It can be *hard* to see a perspective based on only one paragraph of e-mail. But it's easier if the writer has used basic etiquette to respect you as a person with a busy life.

- (Both) The role of the Code of Conduct. Patience and Respect.

** As a community we have to keep two things in mind:
cprofitt (thoughts)
1. We all volunteer and likely believe that the positions we support are valid and good; on the flip side people we disagree with likely believe the same to be true about their position.

2. When 'debating' a solution we all must guard against ad hominem attacks that make the discussion personal

I truly think this is addressed in the code of conduct, but perhaps folks forget 'how to think' of others when discussing problems and solutions. People need to find the common ground.


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