[Mailman-Users] Non-User Friendly Program

Amanda arandall at auntminnie.com
Tue Jul 10 21:51:01 CEST 2001

(For the French-impaired, a rough translation of Alexa-Francesca's
message: "I do not at all appreciate the tone that you use to write to
me, nor that of your colleague Mr Roger B.A. Klorese. ...  Now, I
would greatly appreciate that you discuss this message with one of
your superiors and ask him whether you or Mr Klorese have any right to
speak to me as you do. Thanks in advance for your kindness...")

Ms. Karliev,

With all due respect, you seem to be missing the point. It is not
these people's job to provide technical support to you or anyone, and
they have no *obligation* to help you (or anyone else) whatsoever. Any
help one person gives to another on this list is out of personal
kindness and a voluntary willingness to share information. The name of
this mailing list is "Mailman-Users." That means you're talking to
other people who *use* the program. Rather like yourself - or rather,
like you would be doing if you grasped the concepts in question.

This group is not comprised of, oh, say, employees of Mailman, Inc.
Some of the folks on this list are directly or indirectly responsible
for the various portions of code that comprise the program Mailman.
They, however, are not obligated or contracted to help you, either.

There is no superior to whom to report, except perhaps to God,
Goddess, the patron saint of programmers (whoever that is), or the
alpha entity of whatever religious belief system to which the various
parties of this list subscribe. I will, if you desire, make a copy of
this letter and burn it in reverent offering to the goddess
Persephone, a maiden who was by unfortunate circumstance made to
suffer half her life in the realm of Hades. (Or was it the realm of
tech support? Is there a difference?) I'm sure that she will be
understanding of the "tone" in which my letter was written, and I
doubt there will be many karmic repercussions for my attempt to both
assist and educate you.

The information you will need to be successful in the use of this
program is out there, and many people have attempted to open the door
to that information for you; however, you will have to walk through
the door yourself. Nobody here is going to spoon-feed you. If that's
what you are seeking, I'm afraid you will need to look somewhere else.


Alexa-Francesca Karliev wrote:

>  Madame Amanda, Je n'apprécie pas du tout le ton que vous empruntez
> pour m'écrire, ni celui de votre collègue monsieur Roger B.A.
> Klorese d'ailleurs. [Dixit]How about "someone who can already
> administer a Linux or Unix system
> properly should have no trouble with the documentation, and anyone
> who
> can't do so shouldn't be managing a Mailman installation"?Roger B.A.
> Klorese
> Maintenant, j'apprécierais beaucoup que vous réacheminiez ce message
> à l'un de vos supérieurs et lui demandiez si vous êtes, vous et
> monsieur Klorese, bien en droit de me parler comme vous le
> faites. Vous remerciant à l'avance pour votre
> amabilité, Alexa-Francesca Karliev
>      ----- Original Message -----
>      From: Amanda
>      To: Alexa-Francesca Karliev
>      Cc: mailman-users at python.org
>      Sent: Monday, July 09, 2001 1:31 PM
>      Subject: Re: [Mailman-Users] Non-User Friendly Program
>       Alexa-Francesca,
>      In response to your email, I have a few suggestions for
>      you.
>      1) The first is rude and undignified, so I shall refrain
>      from sharing it, and try to offer you some tidbits that
>      will actually help you to understand a few very important
>      points.
>      2) Insulting the program and/or its users and/or
>      developers is going to get you a big fat zero. No,
>      actually it will probably get you some nasty email
>      responses. In fact, I would be willing to bet that you've
>      already gotten a few. Rules of common courtesy indicate
>      that good manners are nearly always requisite to getting
>      any assistance you might request. Paid technical-support
>      personnel will generally deal with a minimal amount of
>      abuse because ultimately the user of the product is the
>      one who puts bread on the support person's table. The
>      amount of abuse they will suffer for that end is still,
>      however, rather small. The folks who are a part of this
>      mailing list are not (so far as I am aware) paid to
>      provide support for this product and therefore have
>      absolutely no incentive to help someone else out, except
>      for the goodwill and kindness residing in their hearts.
>      That goodwill has a limit. Bend it too far, and folks are
>      more likely to tell you to take a flying leap than to
>      offer you any help. It might help to keep this in mind.
>      3) Welcome to the Linux world: Documentation, if exists at
>      all, is minimal, full of technical jargon, sometimes
>      outdated, and (unlike Windows software; and this is a
>      two-edged sword) assumes that you actually have a thorough
>      understanding of the operating system under which this
>      software runs. Frustrating? Yeah, sometimes. The Mailman
>      docs are better than most. If the stuff you're reading in
>      those instructions doesn't make any sense to you, then
>      some training is in order. Pick up a few good books on
>      Linux/UNIX in general, or your flavor of OS in particular.
>      Take a class at the community college. Read some tutorials
>      online. Enlist the help of a local friend or acquaintance
>      who can help you learn to navigate and manipulate your
>      operating system. Then come back and have another stab at
>      installing and using the wide range of software available
>      to you. Chances are, it'll make a lot more sense.
>      4) If all else fails, remind yourself of this simple fact:
>      You get what you pay for. The majority of stuff available
>      for download for UNIX/Linux systems is free. That doesn't
>      mean the software isn't good (okay, there are some that
>      really suck eggs, just like for any other operating
>      system) - but it does mean that there's a limit to what
>      you can expect. Some of the most awesome utilities out
>      there come with practically no documentation. Trade-off?
>      Perhaps. I personally would like to see the bar raised on
>      the average level of documentation provided with
>      Linux-stuff. But at the current time, the Linux world is
>      still full of propellerheads (myself included) and stuff
>      for Linux is written accordingly. If you're looking for
>      simple no-brainer software, Windows and Mac software
>      generally much better fits that description.
>      We now return you to your regularly scheduled
>      programming...
>      =)
>      Amanda
>      Alexa-Francesca Karliev wrote:
>     > Please be kind enought to e-mail me plain english
>     > instructions as to use your program. Thank you.
>     > Alexa-Francesca

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