[CentOS] Reducing the deleterious effects of ego related issues on the list: growing up individually.

William L. Maltby BillsCentOS at triad.rr.com
Mon Nov 7 21:23:21 UTC 2005


I *suggest* that little or no reply to this is warranted. It's just the
statements of an old fart trying to make a (slightly) better environment
for all of us. These thoughts are offered for consideration and use as
you see fit. For some, "Hey, that'll work for me too" is the hoped for
result. No discussion is intended or warranted, IMO.

If you recognize yourself in here, so what? I have no problem with it,
you shouldn't. If you are obnoxious, have too little ego to withstand
reasonable well-intentioned community-spirited criticism, ... have
myriad other issues and believe I am referring to *you*; your problem,
not mine. I may be referring to you, but why should you care? If you get
embroiled in some of the negative activities exampled below with good
intentions, I understand completely and do not unduly condemn you for
your efforts.

If the person that removed others from the list because their attitude
was not to the liking of the powers-that-be wants to remove me too, go
for it. It won't bother me. This place is no prize, in real-life terms.

Nevertheless, ...

I've not been a list member long, but I've sen enough to make me wonder
if I want to stay here (save your snide self-serving comments, they
waste bandwidth and have 0 useful product other than to your own ego).

I recently was the *potential* victim of one of those threads that
begins with a simple query, gets some alternatives discussed and
descends into a folks-defending-ego thread. Not having a victim
mentality, ego issues or need to walk on water in the eyes of anyone, I
avoided the trap. But the thread started to go that way regardless. I
like to feel that my behavior contributed to its early death.

*All* of this is unnecessary and childish.

Example: as minor background to lend credence to a possibility that had
been proposed, I mentioned that I had worked on UNIX systems since way
back when. Not waving my ego or trying to denigrate anyone else's POV or
credentials, just supporting an assertion that there had been a time
when things had been done a certain way. And questioning if it was not
still so. Since I was discussing a solution conflicting with one posed
by a knowledgeable participant, it seemed to appropriate to set the
stage with an "I've worked on *IX since ..." clause.

One did not interpret it as intended and chose to come flapping his
background, degrees and experience . *But* he also provided some
valuable education to me surrounding the topic. His need to "out
credential" me (easily done since I have none) caused me no aggravation
whatsoever. Wasted a few lines worth of reading time, but no big deal to

*I* had no problem with the (somewhat) inappropriate nature of his
response and did nothing more than thank him for taking the time and
educating me on some of the conventions in place in the Linux (*IX?)
community today.

I *propose* that this should be the normal response to certain perceived
objectionable behavior, as a courtesy to the rest of the list. Why?

Selfishness. I get tired of <DEL> <DEL> <DEL> ... on the crap that
follows. *If* there was any chance that one's objectionable behavior
would be improved by pointing out various transgressions and/or lapses
in etiquette, I say go for it. But there are certain individuals for
which we know this effort to be a complete waste of time and energy. So
why do it? Discrimination is needed. A good starting point may be "If I
say this, *might* the person see it as a positive suggestion, as

Anyway, this was the (potential) end of the thread... but nooooo.
Someone else has to jump in. Don't misunderstand, I *completely*
understand the emotional impetus, some of the history causing that
impetus and think the interjection was not unreasonable and I know it
was well-intentioned (for which I thank you). But part of the maturity
we need on the list is to consider not only our on ego-centric needs to
"stand up for ourselves and others", but the "personalities" of (and
possible effects on) various list participants.

To put it in a slightly humorous vein (I know this is not allowed and I
will *never* let that issue die completely, but...)

When you have an urge to reply to one who has demonstrated a persecution
complex (justified or not), one who must always be right (and who may in
actuality probably very often be so), one who can not see the harsh
unforgiving nature of his relationship with others, one who is paranoid
(aren't all sysadmins? Being paranoid does not mean they are *not* out
to get you. There is a reason that a well known acronym is BOFH.), ...


The Rasmussen(?) trees might be applied to your endeavor (  :-)  )

If the reward is nothing more than the egotistical satisfaction of
telling that SOB where to get off

    let the damn issue slide.

If the reward seems minimal or unlikely to materialize at all,

    let the damn issue slide.

If the adverse results seem very likely and/or *probably* significant,
such that the perceived reward is not justified,

    let the damn issue slide.

Additional considerations. Don't let someone else's problems become
yours (ours, mine). *He* has ego issues? Not *my* problem and will not
become so. He's paranoid? *I'm* not and will not become so. *He* is
grating, intolerant, has tunnel-vision... pick the pejorative trait of
the day... *not* (my/your/our) problem,

    let the damn issue slide.

I thought the LFS crew was overly contentious. But considering the much
higher level of activity, it was the garden of Eden compared to this

*Some* of this is because there is nothing (that I have seen yet) that
highlights or establishes the standards of behavior that the list
expects. So far I have seen only an arbitrary removal of certain
participants because one individual got irked and had the power to
remove folks' privileges. Not a good way to run a community effort, IMO.

Some of the dissension occurs over misinformation. It would be nice if
everything posted was 100% complete and accurate. Can't be so.
Corrections will be posted. I'm wrong! =:-0 So what! I have an ego that
can withstand that condemnation. I suggest you go to a Dollar General or
some such and purchase one for yourself. The strength of community
knowledge lies in quantity as well as quality. Postings should not be
discouraged for fear of condemnation resulting from erroneous
information. Anal retentive types that insist only 100% complete and
accurate information should appear are doing a disservice to the
community. It denies the community the benefits of the interactions that
can result.

I feel no obligation to force you into believing I'm right. I offer what
I have, right wrong or indifferent. I will *not* argue back and forth
about its correctness if the issue can't be discussed rationally among
*friends*. Do with it what you will. Someone thinks it's wrong-headed?
Carve the crap out of it. Slice me, dice me, anyway you want to. Not an
issue. I care not if your information is right or wrong. Google is
your/my/our friend (one of many) in dispute resolution proceedings and
the results need not be published if it will engender on-list wars.
Open, tolerant discussions benefit all, except the terminally insecure
(we used to call them a**hole engineers - because they always believed
they were getting it there or were intent on giving it to another there
and spent inordinate amounts of energy covering it - CYA).

I *can* and *do* learn from everyone regardless of right/wrong.
Maximization of learning through community knowledge and experience
*demands* that incorrect information postings be expected and tolerated
(kindness and consideration of responses to such are needed by all

And LFS folks even permitted and appreciated humor. A *big* plus
compared to here (don't bother to say it).

Anyway, that's all I wanted to offer. Take it any way you prefer. Flames
off-list handled as I see fit, on-list shows what kind of a jerk you are
to waste everyone's time.

This posting *may* not be a waste, based on my subjective observations.

Bill Maltby
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