View Full Version : How do we fix this?

April 14th, 2007, 04:38 AM
Fellow Pennsylvanians,

Check out this article. This represents both what we have going for us as part of the Ubuntu Community as well as what we have to work to correct in the Linux community (moreso the open source extremists (or rabid purists?) rather than the Ubuntu Community I think).

This is a definite challenge. How do we change the linux and open source community to stop the "read the f****** manual mentality"? Ubuntu seems to have shed that, but as long as there are these impolite, unhelpful, sour, boors out there, then we have an immediate obstacle to fixing bug #1


The sad thing is that while I understand the open source argument, their approach is not consumer friendly. If you put the onus on the average user to be savvy enough to understand about whether manufacturers support open source or not, they will throw up their hands and horror and go with the path of least resistance. Windows will be their choice.

I'm curious to find out how everyone else here feels about this. I think that this is a long term "bug" that will only change as time passes and attitudes change.

We as a LoCo will continue to extend our hands to the average users to encourage them to move from Windows to Ubuntu. We will support them as they make the change and we will continue to support them and each other after they are true Ubunteros or Linux users in general.

I will now officially get off the soapbox and let someone else take the floor.


April 14th, 2007, 04:51 AM
Interesting read, both sides have decent arguments, obviously as part of this team I'm not one to jump on new users about asking noob questions because hey I was a noob a few month ago and still ask noob questions now and then. as for rtfm, I'm guilty of getting pissed (internally, i keep my customer service pin on) at people who don't even try to figure out their issues. I've given my share of "all you had to do was search.." or "it was in the wiki," but that also doesn't mean I don't post links to those documents/give a good explanation of what to do. Obviously fixing bug number 1 is more important, and as those users who convert become accustomed to oss, they'll learn our methods.

April 14th, 2007, 03:13 PM
I think that we have started to correct this by the establishment of this loco.

I personally feel that the issue is two sided. To help users learn how to use their computers, and to have ubuntu as that vehicle.

The start of the irc chat Wednesdays at 8:30 pm, and the use of this forum are ways that we can communicate with people looking for assistance.

It is incumbent upon us to become proficient with ubuntu, specifically its installation, in numerous hardware configurations. The first impression is usually a lasting one.

After that, it gets more tricky. I personally use ubuntu to learn about computers, programming, configurations, etc, and enjoy the challenges of figuring things out. Someone else may just want a desktop replacement that just works. I think that we need to know why a user is coming to ubuntu, and then target the assistance specifically to that user's needs. It is ok for someone NOT to learn command line commands, and to just use a gui to control their PC.
Teaching people the concepts, and allowing them to do for themselves will offer them a more rewarding experience. But regardless of our desires, we must remember to keep their experience at the fore front of our assistance.
Maybe they will want to go deeper, maybe not, but that is totally up to them.

Also, by members of this loco, when available, attending local user groups to promote ubuntu, this loco, the chat, etc. Not badmouthing other operating systems, but rather acknowledging them and showing what ubuntu has to offer. Despite our personal feelings, we are a much smaller minority then the already establised operating systems. I believe that we need to approach potential new users with a feeling of 'inclusion' rather than a perception of hard-core techo-geek exclusionists.

But it all starts with the installation. Without that we have nothing. Let's help them get ubuntu installed and just go from there.


April 16th, 2007, 03:54 AM
It is such a shame that there are so many people out there ready to flame people new to Linux. I can sort of understand it if you are a noob and start out with Gentoo or other distros that are a bit more challenging to install. Then if you are asking basic questions, the response should be to use a more user friendly Linux such as k/ubuntu. This guy was asking about k/ubuntu and getting flamed by idiots on Linux Today's web site. I like Digg as much as the next guy, but if people are having to go there for friendly support, then that is a problem! I think the ubuntu forums are the best place to go for Linux support. I read so many helpful how-to's on the forums here that I finally decided to switch to Ubuntu. I might not have if it had posters like this author ran into. It is also a shame that the article references Ubuntu Fanboys. sigh

Good article post.

April 17th, 2007, 10:25 PM
You're going to have flamers no matter what. There are school yard bullies even among the uber geek squad.

His article DID say that the idiots were in the minority. I take some comfort in that but if I had encountered that kind of hostility when I first started I would have probably told everyone where to go and what to do once they got there. I think the best move is to be preemptive. If you know someone is struggling, help them out or at least point them in the right direction. The smug know-it-alls may always be with us but we can make a difference by being the calm, helpful voice even when the question may seem stupid to us. Remember, we're all on different levels here.

Puppy fam
April 18th, 2007, 01:15 AM
Instead of a focus on being friendly, should we focus on fixing the problem? My idea is to do a little better documentation for new users. I started a thread in the Gutsy topic about my idea: here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=410298&highlight=beginner+guide). Also there is a thread here (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=410929) someone else started.

In my idea I think new users would get the help they would need without always going on-line for help,

This idea I don't think a single LoCo can do. But it is something to think about!

I don't know if this would help or not,
-Puppy fam

April 18th, 2007, 04:17 AM
Yes better documentation is important and should be a part of the Gutsy, but that is a different project. I encourage anyone who can to contribute to the documentation team. Our part of this "bug" is to provide friendly and competent support, as well as spreading the word from the only level we can -- the grassroots.

By providing an example, we can slowly cause the attitude to change (or at least minimize the impact of the trolls).

April 22nd, 2007, 01:25 PM
I think there are a few very important things LoCo teams like this one can do that purely internet outlets can't do as easily.

Connect with people on a personal level, letting them know they have a support structure through the LoCo team - they can come to us and we can provide a solution or send them to the proper outlet. People like knowing there is some sort of "support line" they can reach if they want personal help, and it's even better if it's people they have met.
Seek out friendly documentation and outlets for getting help and present people in real life with a list so they are less likely to bump into the unhelpful and sometimes hostile people out there if they "just google" for help. Perhaps some sort of pamphlet to give out at meetings and other events can be developed?
Teach people locally how to use the resources available to them - Forums, IRC, Mailing Lists; gloss over etiquette too so they are less likely to get flamed.
Be nice and put a friendly human face on Linux. There are still way too many stereotypes out there about Linux and Linux users. We want to show people that Linux users are normal people too.
Installfests (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoRunningInstallfests), I believe there has been talk about doing one?
Give out Ubuntu CDs. You certainly don't need a LoCo team for this, most of us have probably done this ourselves, but it's a local thing we can do and once we're an approved (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LoCoGettingApproved) team we can get free CDs (https://wiki.ubuntu.com/]LoCoGettingCds).
Treat everyone who comes equally. This may seem obvious, but LUGs often have a serious problem with this. They can sometimes be hostile to women and minorities. I didn't feel comfortable going to them until I had an established blurb about how much experience I have - that way I'd have a response when guys would look at me funny and asked if I "actually use Linux"

As far as the "rtfm" stuff goes, this is important. It takes time for people to learn how to find error messages and google for the appropriate things. Work hard to think back what it was like when you started out - my husband cruelly (grin) started me out with a RedHat 7.2 install with Enlightenment and no icons, I didn't even know how to open a menu to get something running!

I have found that the key is delivering answers at first, while also explaining (nicely) how you found the answer. "This is my problem" "Here is your solution, I found it by doing a Google search for.../asking in #ircchannel/searching the forums for/reading this specific part in the documentation" And if you get frustrated with a user asking so many questions and just want to scream "RTFM!" walk away from your computer :)