[CentOS] A request from the CentOS Project

Thu Apr 19 00:28:22 UTC 2012
Larry Martell <larry.martell at gmail.com>

On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 9:26 AM, Johnny Hughes <johnny at centos.org> wrote:
> The CentOS Project seems to be having a problem within some of our
> community interactive areas that we need to address.
> As most of you know, the project provides CentOS software free of charge
> and we also provide community areas like a Wiki, Mailing Lists, IRC
> Channels and Fora for our users to interact with one another and allow
> the CentOS community to provide support for each other.
> There are some companies out there that provide paid CentOS support, but
> for the most part our users utilize community areas to get support for
> CentOS.
> That brings us to our problem ... some members of the community in the
> areas provided by the CentOS Project are rude to users who are coming in
> for help. This happens much more often than it should.
> These complaints are not coming from newbies ... I would expect that to
> happen. The complaints are coming from people who are very knowledgeable
> in the open source community and who are involved in other open source
> projects.
> Taking that into account, I would like to ask the following from all the
> people who frequent the CentOS Project's community areas (Wiki, Mailing
> Lists, Fora, and especially the IRC Channels). I ask that each of you
> who answer questions there to try and look at it from the other person's
> point of view and try to be polite. Treat other people like you would
> like to be treated when interacting with them.
> There is a time and a place for telling someone what you think of them
> and their question. Believe me ... I am speaking from much experience
> here :P … but there is also a time and a place for at least trying to be
> polite first.
> Please try to think of the community areas of the CentOS Project as you
> would think of your front porch, front yard, or the park by your house
> where you take your children to play. Try to interact with the people as
> you would if they asked you a question face to face in those settings.
> Be courteous and use proper etiquette to make your points and if someone
> will not listen to reason then we (the CentOS Project) have moderators
> in all the community areas who can try to help in that situation.
> Sometimes users can be very inconsiderate when asking for help,
> especially users who are new to open source. They can sometimes seem to
> project themselves as entitled to support from free community venues in
> a manner that would lead you to believe they think they are paying a
> million dollars for a support contract. In those situations, those users
> do need to understand that there are paid alternatives where they can
> treat the workers like hired help … but that in a community setting
> their actions are not considered appropriate. In those situations,
> please contact the applicable moderators that the CentOS Project has in
> place and we can help to resolve the issues. I have no problem reminding
> people that there are paid alternatives to CentOS if they want an
> service level agreement type of relationship with the vendor ... but
> lets let that be handled by the people that the Project has in place in
> our community areas.
> Lets try to keep the vitriol to a minimum on both sides and work as a
> group to make the community areas of the CentOS Project as quality a
> place to be as the software we all love and use.

I think this classic from 1996 (author unknown) needs to be resurrected.

Welcome to the Internet.

No one here likes you.

We're going to offend, insult, abuse, and belittle the living hell out
of you. And when you rail against us with "FUCK YOU YOU GEEK WIMP
SKATER GOTH LOSER PUNK FAG BITCH!1!!", we smile to ourselves. We laugh
at you because you don't get it. Then we turn up the heat, hoping to
draw more entertainment from your irrational fuming.

We will judge you, and we will find you unworthy. It is a trial by
fire, and we won't even think about turning down the flames until you
finally understand.

Some of you are smart enough to realize that, when you go online, it's
like entering a foreign country ... and you know better than to
ignorantly fuck with the locals. You take the time to listen and think
before speaking. You learn, and by learning are gladly welcomed.

For some of you, it takes a while, then one day it all dawns on you -
you get it, and are welcomed into the fold.

Some of you give up, and we breathe a sigh of relief - we didn't want
you here anyway. And some of you just never get it. The offensively
clueless have a special place in our hearts - as objects of ridicule.
We don't like you, but we do love you.

You will get mad. You will tell us to go to hell, and call us "nerds"
and "geeks". Don't bother ... we already know exactly what we are.
And, much like the way hardcore rap has co-opted the word "nigger",
turning an insult around on itself to become a semiserious badge of
honor, so have we done.

"How dare you! I used to beat the crap out of punks like you in high
school/college!" You may have owned the playing field because you were
an athlete. You may have owned the student council because you were
more popular. You may have owned the hallways and sidewalks because
you were big and intimidating. Well, welcome to our world.

Things like athleticism, popularity, and physical prowess mean nothing
here. We place no value on them ... or what car you drive, the size of
your bank account, what you do for a living or where you went to

Allow us to introduce you to the concept of a "meritocracy" - the
closest thing to a form of self-government we have. In The United
Meritocratic nation-states of the Internet, those who can do, rule.
Those who wish to rule, learn. Everyone else watches from the stands.

You may posses everything in the off-line world. We don't care. You
come to the Internet penniless, lacking the only thing of real value
here: knowledge.

"Who cares? The Internet isn't real anyway!" This attitude is
universally unacceptable. The Internet is real. Real people live
behind those handles and screen names. Real machines allow it to
exist. It's real enough to change government policy, real enough to
feed the world's hungry, and even, for some of us, real enough to earn
us a paycheck. Using your own definition, how "real" is your job? Your
stock portfolio? Your political party? What is the meaning of "real",

Do I sound arrogant? Sure ... to you. Because you probably don't get it yet.

If you insist on staying, then, at the very least, follow this advice:

1) No one, ESPECIALLY YOU, will make any law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of
the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a
redress of grievances.

2) Use your brain before ever putting fingers to keys.

3) Do you want a picture of you getting anally raped by Bill Clinton
while you're performing oral sex on a cow saved to hundreds of
thousands of people's hard drives? No? Then don't put your fucking
picture on the Internet. We can, will, and probably already HAVE
altered it in awful ways. Expect it to show up on an equally offensive

4) Realize that you are never, EVER going to get that, or any other,
offensive web page taken down. Those of us who run those sites LIVE to
piss off people like you. Those of us who don't run those sites
sometimes visit them just to read the hatemail from fools like you.

5) Oh, you say you're going to a lawyer? Be prepared for us to giggle
with girlish delight, and for your lawyer to laugh in your face after
he explains current copyright and parody law.

6) The Web is not the Internet. Stop referring to it that way.

7) We have already received the e-mail you are about to forward to us. Shut up.

8) Don't reply to spam. You are not going to be "unsubscribed".

9) Don't ever use the term "cyberspace" (only William Gibson gets to
say that, and even he hasn't really used it for two or three books
now). Likewise, you prove yourself a marketing-hype victim if you ever
use the term "surfing".

10) With one or two notable exceptions, chat rooms will not get you laid.

11) It's a hoax, not a virus warning.

12) The internet is made up of thousands of computers, all connected
but owned by different people. Learn how to use *your* computer before
attempting to connect it to someone else's.

13) The first person who offers to help you is really just trying to
fuck with you for entertainment. So is the second. And the third. And

14) Never insult someone who's been active in any group longer than
you have. You may as well paint a damn target on your back.

15) Never get comfortable and arrogant behind your supposed mask of
anonymity. Don't be surprised when your name, address, and home phone
number get thrown back in your smug face. Hell, some of us will
snail-mail you a printed satellite photograph of your house to drive
the point home. Realize that you are powerless if this happens ...
it's all public information, and information is our stock and trade.

16) No one thinks you are as cool as you think you are.

17) You aren't going to win any argument that you start.

18) If you're on AOL, don't worry about anything I've said here.
You're already a fucking laughing stock, and there's no hope for you.

19) If you can't take a joke, immediately sell your computer to
someone who can. RIGHT NOW.

Pissed off? It's the TRUTH, not these words, that hurts your feelings.
Don't ever even pretend like I've gone & hurt them.

We don't like you. We don't want you here. We never will. Save us all
the trouble and go away.