[CentOS] Dangerous Software Raid instructions on Wiki

James B. Byrne byrnejb at harte-lyne.ca
Thu Aug 13 19:45:52 UTC 2009

REPLY-TO: <183c528b0908121238k33c407ah18e4762c48652de4 at mail.gmail.com>

On Wed, 12 Aug 2009 15:38:00 -0400
Brian Mathis <brian.mathis at gmail.com>

> It also helps to understand how people read instructions.  When
> they look at a page, they see {big blob of useless introduction
> text}, then they see "Step 1, do this".  They almost always go
> right to Step 1.
> I'd bet $100 that everyone reading this thread has done that more
> than once, recently.  It's not good enough to put the warnings so
> far separated from the actual commands.  You might have some
> feelings about how things *should* be done, but you don't get to
> make that decision for people, you just need to know it and work
> within it.

"Code Complete" has an entire section on why variables should only
be declared immediately before they are used.  This is essentially
the same issue in a different guise.

> As far as the replies here go, the first one insinuates that the
> person can't follow instructions, the second one calls the person
> dumb, and others say that the person is incompetent, and compares
> their intelligence to that of a bottle.  That IS rude and arrogant
> in my book, and your final sentence only continues with the
> passive-aggressive swiping that goes on too often in IT realms.

Well, I find that the real problem is more often the medium, not the
messenger.  The immediacy of E-Mail simply does not promote the
reflective approach required to create effective written
communication.  However, what can be compensated for by body
language when stated in person may project a brusque and
contemptuous tone in writing so that failing to take the necessary
time extracts its cost in needless upset and conflict.

There are a few other things that people should really consider
before they dash off their offhand remarks.  Firstly, it is unwise
to shout at ones watchman, for the next time they see something
suspicious then they may remember the first occasion and hold their
tongue. If somebody senses something is wrong then they should be
civilly treated when they bring it to our attention.  Even if their
concern is the result of their misapprehension this is a sign that
perhaps the information provided needs revisiting and revision.  I
doubt that anyone could reasonably hold up the documentation of most
software as exemplars of clarity and comprehensiveness.

Secondly, not all of us, I speculate that not even most of us, work
in large organisations.  In fact, I would venture to guess that most
people using CentOS are found in small shops or even sole
practitioner sites.  So, railing about how things should be run
given infinite resources and time simply of flies in the face of the
realities surrounding OSS utilisation and is completely useless.

Thirdly, the Net has a surfeit of nannies. If you are not yourself
going to deal with the issue raised then keep silent. If the 'signal
to noise' ratio is bothering you then at least withhold your own
contribution to the noise.

***          E-Mail is NOT a SECURE channel          ***
James B. Byrne                mailto:ByrneJB at Harte-Lyne.ca
Harte & Lyne Limited          http://www.harte-lyne.ca
9 Brockley Drive              vox: +1 905 561 1241
Hamilton, Ontario             fax: +1 905 561 0757
Canada  L8E 3C3

More information about the CentOS mailing list