[sf-lug] bad netiquette [Was]license count != software popularity (Re: [Balug-Talk] Open Source less popular than Free Software)

Christian Einfeldt einfeldt at gmail.com
Fri Sep 28 18:06:30 PDT 2007


I am wondering what the best method is for speaking with several lists at
once on a topic that is of some time urgency.  For example, in my work as a
volunteer level one sys admin at our local public middle school in SF, I
find that I am frequently in over my head, and occasionally I need help in
solving a problem that is negatively affecting a teacher's ability to use
FOSS in their classrooms.  These teachers are largely tech phobic, and they
assume that any problem we encounter with FOSS is some evidence of the fact
that if its free (as in beer), then it must suck.

It is my hope to achieve positive "brand" association for the specific FOSS
apps we are using and FOSS in general.  But it's sort of as if we are like
Ginger Rogers to Microsoft's Fred Astaire -- we must do everything that
Microsoft does, except backwards and in heels.  If problems appear with
Microsofts, simple end users like our teachers will grumble, but go right on
purchasing Microsoft products.  If FOSS products exhibit similar
shortcomings, they click their tongues and say, oh, that stuff is free, you
get what you pay for.

In other words, I am saying that there are aspects to my situation that
might warrant multiple posting, but I wanted to get some perspective from
others.  I am mostly working way above my skill level in my work at the
school, and yet with the cooperation of this list and others and with help
from lots of people who have visited the school and helped out, we have a
relatively nicely working thin client lab and about 15 PClinuxOS boxes
scattered throughout a few classrooms.  We have been there for going on our
third year now, and last year we graduated a class of 50 eighth graders who
spent far more time in class with OOo than Microsoft Office.  The kids are
familiar with Linux and accept it.  We are actually reaching hundreds of
newbies with FOSS and achieving positive FOSS "brand" recognition.  IMHO,
that achievement is worth an occasional multiple post.

So I have a couple of questions:

1)  Assuming that I and others like users occasionally have a time crunch
for solving a problem, what is the best way to get support from multiple
lists for the same or similar question?

2)  Could the members here who are admins on this or other lists please
explain why it is troublesome for admins when someone:
      a) submits a post with two lists' addresses in the same email?
      b) posts the same question to two or more lists in separate emails?

With regard to a) above, I can see that the problem is having members hit
the "reply all" button, but I'm just not understanding how this creates a
problem for the admins *assuming* that it is not a wide-spread practice.  It
would seem to me that, in most cases, there will be, at most, one or two
replies, and so the traffic is not too bad, again so long as the practice is
not wide-spread.

With regard to a) and b) above, I can see that users of both pinged lists
have the incovenience of reading the subject header and maybe the first line
or two of the same email twice, but that also does not seem like a problem
*assuming* that the practice is not wide-spread.

In other words, it seems as if there is occasionally a justification for
either cross-posting or multiple posting, but I wanted to see what more
experience posters and admins had to say about the subject.

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