[sf-lug] Edward Janne's Final Questionnaire for Cultural Anthropology

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Aug 3 23:02:36 PDT 2009

Quoting Jesse Zbikowski (embeddedlinuxguy at gmail.com):

> I just wanted to make a couple of points in defense of two of the main
> voices.  First I think it would be a misunderstanding to think that Mr
> Moen intended to belittle anyone or had any mean intent in his
> remarks.

Indeed so.  Thank you.

The way one logically _might_ have expressed any mean, or at least
callous, intent would, in fact, have been to _ignore_ the survey.  I
assume everyone who attempted to engage with Edward's questions could
have, instead, spent the same amount of time elsewhere on matters more
immediately beneficial personally.  Respondents gave freely of their
time and effort because they gave a damn.

In the future, if anyone else is inclined to close such an initiative
out with the words "I now see that I was wrong and that you simply do
not want me here", rather than "thank you for your time and trouble",
then please let me know in advance:  I'll be glad to ignore your
project, saving your time and mine.

> Second I think any criticism about the validity of Mr Janne's program
> of research on this list, to the effect that he was asking questions
> here out of laziness instead of finding the answers himself, is wide
> of the mark.  Indeed Mr Janne made it clear that he was not interested
> in the "real" answers to his questions in any absolute sense, but
> merely in how some of us might respond.

I was well aware of that intention.  My point was that asking incredibly
vague, so-open-ended-as-to-resemble-a-Rorschach-test questions in a
technical context is quite annoying, especially when those rather
half-assed questions were riddled with inadvertant bogus fundamental
assumptions.  So, evidently, we were supposed to compose long
explanations, gently correcting his assumptions and explaining
everything to him.  

And for what?  To help him with his school homework, when all is said
and done.  

For someone studying cultural anthropology and visiting LUGs for that
purpose, Edward basically did nothing before dropping a bunch of
half-baked questions on SF-LUG.  I'd have hoped that such a person would
have at least skim-read "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", which is _the_ 
cultural-anthropological piece on the subject, but it's obvious Edward
didn't.  I'll also bet that he didn't crack open the Linux User Group
HOWTO, but I wouldn't have expected him to find that on his own.

(I mention the latter work in part because that's one of the places that
I've painstakingly attempted to address, among other things, some of the
_sorts_ of questions Edward was grinding out.)

Anyway, if Edward doesn't want fundamental assumptions of his homework
questions to be fair game for critical commentary, he shouldn't post
them to public mailing lists:  Continuing the point _you_ made, if he
doesn't want to see the resulting feedback, he's free to killfile it.

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