I don't know what's going on

drhowarddrfine

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I remarked to a friend, a couple of weeks ago, that there were a lot of questions being asked on Stack Overflow by new people that are not allowed and I spent far more and too much time helping to get them removed (as one with moderator privileges). I also told him I noticed a lot of new people seem to be here on this forum--some making rather quirky comments and statements I've never seen before. He told me to go look at the dung heap of reddit (a place I NEVER go to) where I see, not only more comments from people trying out FreeBSD for the first time, outrageous statements about it. Interestingly a lot of comments, on the FreeBSD subreddit, from people who, at the same time, state they never use FreeBSD but then make technical statements about it as if they are experts.

So one of my biggest fears has always been the rise in popularity of FreeBSD as it attracts more people from the Linux crowd wanting to play their games and cause they're bored with distro hopping and want to try something new. Because they used Linux in the past for their game playing they are now experts on "computers and stuff" and try to educate us on how things are supposed to work--often just like Linux.

Due to this large influx of new users on Stack Overflow, the site has really become a dumpster fire. I believe it's due to their "be nice" policy; particularly when it comes to new users. This has come back to bite them as many of us no longer comment on why we remove questions and answers and leave some alone--because we don't want to deal with the backlash from users and higher ups on SO who then complain we're being unreasonable and mean. (The worst comments I get from a rules violator is, "Rules were made to be broken!")

This is an unsettling observation I've made and I'm only pointing it out. Possibly due to my ending my businesses and having more time to notice such things instead of reading quickly and moving on.
 

Zirias

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I left stack overflow long time ago, cause obviously, this "be nice" got out of hands in a way that giving correct information to anyone isn't the most important objective any more.

As for FreeBSD: Just ignore the nonsense. My initial motivation to drop Linux in favor of FreeBSD was indeed the trouble I had with systemd, but I quickly found other things I liked better the way FreeBSD does them. So, if anyone thinks FreeBSD should do things more like Linux does them, there's a simple question to ask: Why not just use Linux? I mean, there's a reason different systems exist, just pick the one you prefer…
 

scottro

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You (drhowarddrfine) and I disagree on this, respectfully, at least on my part. (Judging from the responses so far, not just the good doctor). I think that if one gets aggravated by newcomer questions, one can just ignore them. (I'm talking about this forum), and that greater popularity will help rather than hurt. I really think that one reason many hardware and software vendors began taking Linux seriously, thereby increasing not only the userbase, but also the amount of developers that spent time with it, was due to Ubuntu's ease of use, and the welcoming of newcomers to their forums, rather than telling them, Read the manual.

I know, from many of your posts, including the one on this thread, that you think this is a bad thing, I think that these forums aren't so busy that it would take that much effort to just ignore such posts--you can usually judge by the title of HELP me plz!!! and similar.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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scottro My comment is not about newcomer posts. My comment is about the quality of posts and the quantity that seem to be appearing here and elsewhere.
 

Crivens

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Yes, quality has gone down for some time. This may come from the newcommers being socialised in some rougher place. The attitude in Linux channels/blogs/... drove me away from there. Also the way they develop their code...

In the end, what does the oak care about the hogs rubbing it?

It is complicated. Do we need to edit postings to improve them? No time. But sloppy questions raise sloppy answers, and that pulls down the norm further. So as long as people don't want to improve themselves, we have a problem. It's not only redit, it is more. But as long as there is street credit in being offendet and complaining, instead of shutting up and improving stuff/themselves, this will continue.
 

Mjölnir

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I remarked to a friend, a couple of weeks ago, that there were a lot of questions being asked on Stack Overflow by new people that are not allowed [...]
Do you mean these people are not allowed (for whatever reason, doesn't matter) or the questions are inappropriate & thus not allowed?
I also told him I noticed a lot of new people seem to be here on this forum--some making rather quirky comments and statements I've never seen before. He told me to go look at the dung heap of reddit (a place I NEVER go to) where I see, not only more comments from people trying out FreeBSD for the first time, outrageous statements about it.
You or some tech admin may be able to trace back their origin, i.e. country, or whether they're behind a tor(1) router. Then if most of them are from a certain country, it could have to do with political events, e.g. US: Trumpists searching for a safe OS to use for their communication, RUS: s/Trump/Navalny/, etc.pp.

It could be a campaign of some arbitrary organisation for whatever reason, economical or political and whatnot; many people in South-East Asia are well educated in English, and you can buy their service to do whatever you want them to do in the internet, for a cheap price in our view. Online AI translators have recently improved remarkably.

Last not least the pandemic urges many to stay at home, thus internet usage has risen. It could simply be this: people urged to stay @home, going a little bit crazy after months of lockdown. Eventually, we're 95% apes, i.e. we're gregarious animals. Limiting our social contacts for such a long time does harm to our psyche, that's for sure. Including myself here; I'm dead beat after ~4 month.
So one of my biggest fears has always been the rise in popularity of FreeBSD as it attracts more people from the Linux crowd wanting to play their games and cause they're bored with distro hopping and want to try something new. Because they used Linux in the past for their game playing they are now experts on "computers and stuff" and try to educate us on how things are supposed to work--often just like Linux.
I agree to scottro: FreeBSD will benefit from more users much more than they can do any harm. You don't have to be afraid. They can't vote on the election for the FreeBSD core team. Let's just disagree on this & go on...
This is an unsettling observation I've made and I'm only pointing it out.
Yes, that's interesting. Thx.
 

Mjölnir

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The last point I mentioned seems the most likely one to me. Just take this simple calculation: #of people in lockdown worldwide = several hundred (x) million, maybe even more than a billion? If only 0.001‰ of these freaks visit your forum, that's a quite respectable number = x (several hundred).
 

kpedersen

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drhowarddrfine, I see what you are saying and do notice similar. I believe it will only get worse too as Windows pulls away into the cloud and Linux regresses, we likely will see more interested beginners entering the FreeBSD space which is positive in many ways.
Unfortunately, many will carry a certain level of expectation and privilege with them which they have experienced from commercial support in both Windows and (to a large extent) Linux. The best thing we can do is remind them of why are seeking alternatives in the first place. What I often try (although I always end up coming across as a bitter old man!) is to convince them to give the "FreeBSD way" a go first. I.e a common one is that many are obsessed with Docker because they don't even know Jails exists. If they found Jails first, they would likely be extremely obsessed with that instead.

Forums, discord and reddit will be hit the hardest due to the low barrier of entry. If this becomes too much, I would recommend then falling back to the mailing lists and IRC to escape it. Those generally don't attract the "glitz and glamor" of web browser services. I don't think they ever will either so we should be safe ;)

From what I have seen recently is that there might be this implicit idea that "more users means that the OS will get better faster". I don't believe this to be true. It will certainly change faster but will not necessarily get better. Looking to the past, user-friendly operating systems usually have the shortest lifespans. NT actually revived and saved Windows by bringing in many UNIX designs and *reducing* user-friendlyness.
An alternative / research OS (which FreeBSD is) should not necessarily be made to be easy. It should be made to be correct. Otherwise what goals is it really trying to achieve? There should also be very few compromises on this or over time it will just become a mess.

As an aside, I think how the OpenBSD reddit community deals with these ideas of "improving user-friendlyness" is quite effective: Reddit: r/openbsd/comments/lq4dd7/cinnamon_on_openbsd/
It does encourage users to get involved rather than "leave it to the developers". I actually find this to be more productive than directly saying no, or having some quiet porting hidden behind the scenes.
 

shkhln

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reddit (a place I NEVER go to)
I can't think of one reason to suspect you of this.

As an aside, I think how the OpenBSD reddit community deals with these ideas of "improving user-friendlyness" is quite effective: Reddit: r/openbsd/comments/lq4dd7/cinnamon_on_openbsd/
It does encourage users to get involved rather than "leave it to the developers". I actually find this to be more productive than directly saying no, or having some quiet porting hidden behind the scenes.
Yes, this is a very effective counter-trolling tactic. Just saying something along the lines of "please help me test this patch" is already enough to make most people vanish without a trace.
 

kpedersen

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Heh, yep. Everyone wants to be the client / project manager. No-one wants to be the schmuck applying diffs!
 

Snurg

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Sorry for posting, don't know whether it is relevant/appropriate/desirable. tl;dr

Before seeing this thread, I noticed something I found unusual that there were actual attempts to assist a TrueNAS user with his hardware problem, and I thought more about it when reading what drhowarddrfine and others said here. I want to make clear that I have no intention to criticize anybody, just want to say that I noticed and felt that unusual and it made me instantly ask myself, is this good or bad, without knowing an answer.

My subjective personal impression is that recently there is a tendency, in the course of attempting to offend nobody, people become more and more afraid of insisting to accept things one could call sort of "red lines" (in this case the outlined boundaries of the forums).
Maybe there should be less leniency against rule breaking... if I remember correctly there was a time threads like the one mentioned above got closed immediately, and nobody had objections against that, as everybody is aware that this is one of the things that keep the discussion quality here high...

As an aside, I think how the OpenBSD reddit community deals with these ideas of "improving user-friendlyness" is quite effective: Reddit: r/openbsd/comments/lq4dd7/cinnamon_on_openbsd/
It does encourage users to get involved rather than "leave it to the developers". I actually find this to be more productive than directly saying no, or having some quiet porting hidden behind the scenes.

My personal opinion (and wish) is that the FreeBSD focus stays on "server", with half-officially supporting desktop usage on 90+% (i.e. all except the most exotic) of PC hardware without claiming (and to be judged as) to be a "desktop OS".
My impression is that latter is being mostly one by non-core developers, dedicated volunteers.

And I feel many in the community have the desire to find ways to more loosely collaborately contributing in form of "community projects" , in ways not putting demands on the developers mentioned above.
Imho it is never bad to research ways how to encourage how this could be made work out, in the BSD spirit, without fragmenting.
(I mean, I'd find better if things like FuryBSD, GhostBSD and WhateverBSD were packages and not "distros"... I hope you can understand me here...)
 

Jose

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Heh, yep. Everyone wants to be the client / project manager. No-one wants to be the schmuck applying diffs!
How many times have you been buttonholed at a party with "I have this idea for a website..." They're ideas people. You get to do the work. And be quiet about it.
 

Mjölnir

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Heh, yep. Everyone wants to be the client / project manager. No-one wants to be the schmuck applying diffs!
In memoriam DesktopBSD.net... Can't find in https://web.archive.org/ what I wanted to show. The project was dead, and the website showed a list like: What do you want to be: *project manager, *coodinator, *translator, *software engineer (IIRC this was the last on the list ;) ),... and it had a prepared list of tasks to be done: *do this, *do that,... ; anyone willing to chime in had to put himself in a completely preconfigured scheme. Maybe there was even a calendar with timelines, don't remember exactly. If that was not meant ironically, then it's clear why the project died...
Smurf, on that TrueNAS user: IMHO it's perfectly ok to be helpful; that thread was closed the same moment when it was clear that an incompatibility would prevent the native FreeBSD solution. Nothing wrong with that IMHO. Another example: FuryBSD claimed to be native FreeBSD under the hood. IIUC there was an issue that it's forum was attacked, it was practically unusable. Then why not help users seeking help? Had we pushed them off here, they would be gone off BSD. Now they're here anyway.
 

Beastie7

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So one of my biggest fears has always been the rise in popularity of FreeBSD as it attracts more people from the Linux crowd wanting to play their games and cause they're bored with distro hopping and want to try something new. Because they used Linux in the past for their game playing they are now experts on "computers and stuff" and try to educate us on how things are supposed to work--often just like Linux.

This post reminds me of Walt Kowalski from Gran Torino. XD FreeBSD is one community centered around a common set of values; which I'm sure the committers/Foundation uphold. Popularity will only bring more eyes and brains. It's not going to change them on a whim. If they're not aware of these values and ideals; put them through thought re-orientation. Teach them about the blessings of Father Beastie.
 

Trihexagonal

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So one of my biggest fears has always been the rise in popularity of FreeBSD as it attracts more people from the Linux crowd wanting to play their games and cause they're bored with distro hopping and want to try something new. Because they used Linux in the past for their game playing they are now experts on "computers and stuff" and try to educate us on how things are supposed to work--often just like Linux.
I thought I detected game in play by unfounded comments made, so I changed it on them to see their reaction. I'm not much fun to play with and try to keep it that way for them as part of mine.
 

PMc

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A few comments on that:
I get from Your intro that You seem to be a moderator on that stack-overflow thing.

My observation of that SO is that it does not produce quality info, but reputation: just like people on YT strive to boost followers, on SO they try to boost reputation by delivering populism. While SO may originally have intended to produce quality info, this does not really work.

The process that content quality degrades alongside with more popularity was always observed on the net - at least since AoL went Internet in some 199X.

Also, you can't fight idiots: they first bring you down to their level, and then beat you there due to experience.

Furthermore, when I started with FreeBSD, we did so in a local user-group with weekly meetings. I do not think that purely online communication can work at all in the long run. Online communication can improve content quality (because doing a writeup undisturbed on your own gives optimal focusing), but that requires disciplined actors really engaged in the matter. Doing communication for another purpose (like social interaction, advocacy, proving oneself is right, etc.) will destroy that quality and have the opposite effect, because the natural social regulation of these impulses does not happen online and cannot be substituted by moderation. (Just as you've been told: rules can be broken. But then again, the breaking of taboos is a delicate operation that would require subtle social balancing.)

Moderation as such cannot help, because moderation is perceived as repression - and correctly so. What does help is social regulation: the violators of the rules need to experience themselves as misfits to a working group - which implies that a working group of people with common understandings is prerequisite.

Another important factor for aggravating rudeness and arrogance is the result of the global hate-your-next initiative termed 'pandemia' starting to become manifest - this will exponentially increase in near future.

Concluding: there probably will not be much other choice than just dump these groups and let them drown in their own stupidity, while instead putting more effort into smaller and more focused groups were it makes more sense to keep some remaining quality up.
 
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drhowarddrfine

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My observation of that SO is that it does not produce quality info, but reputation
There is quality info there, and it started out that way, but I noticed its downfall when it got noticed on reddit. Then there was a large influx of those type of people who just want "give me teh codez" type questions. Those who fought back against such things were then told to "be nice" and a large swath of us left. The "be nice" thing was, in part, brought on by the money SO started raking in and, of course, the more users and viewers you get, the more ad revenue you get. (SO gets money from other sources, too.)

So populism, as you called it, tore at the foundation. Social regulation, which is how the voting works there, falls apart because you there is infighting when you tell someone why you downvoted their question or answer. Then they downvote all your questions and answers just to get back at you (there is software to remedy that). Then there are some mods who publicly chastise you for following the rules as the rule breakers keep piling on in.

Now SO has a (I forgot what it's called) a separate "business class" private area you can pay to get into. But have all the higher up mods left the rest of the place making it weaker? I don't know.

I DO know that a lot of us have quit--given up. The only time I go there is a matter of habit in the morning as I drink my coffee but my heart isn't in it. My moves are more robotic and not helpful.

I've noticed this more, recently, because I've been doing some different things that have allowed me to step back and view from a different perspective, as I mentioned earlier. Not just on SO.
 

sidetone

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When they understand what bloat is, then their comments can mean something.

As long as the structure is there, more users can't harm the system. The base system of FreeBSD is really good. For ports, there needs to be a best practices, which is lacking for desktop ports. It has become much better has always been better than Linux distributions. There's still too much heavy desktop dependency integration with other ports that don't need it. I wish more users would move away from Gnome, KDE and XFCE to fully functional window managers that meet those needs.
 

Crivens

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PMc you are spot on with moderation. It is the job of each and every member of a group to police that group. People may join, change, and become valuable members. That can't happen when they get booted off by some perimeter guard. But we need inflow, or become extinct.

So the quality of this place also depends on you lot. Let this place not become some high school mean girls movie, as so many other places have become.
 

Mjölnir

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OT, but I'd like to comment on this:
As long as the structure is there, more users can't harm the system. The base system of FreeBSD is really good. For ports, there needs to be a best practices, which is lacking for desktop ports.
IMHO a major reason for this is the lack of maintainers. Far too many desktop ports do not even have one; i.e. the ports' (linux'ish) defaults apply with some minimal, general FreeBSD patches. I.e. Linuxisms & GNUisms sneak in. Some ports are maintained "quick & dirty"; I can not condemn this as long I do not take maintainership myself. Some guys take the responsibility for numerous ports, this limits the time they can spend on each one.
There's still too much heavy desktop dependency integration with other ports that don't need it.
Dito. Maintaining a port the "right" way seems to be quite a lot work, of which 95% is neither fun nor creative, but stupid routine tasks, like in any other job.
I wish more users would move away from Gnome, KDE and XFCE to fully functional window managers that meet those needs.
I'd love to move away from KDE - but there simply isn't any reasonable alternative that offers a similar set of features & intuitive ease of use. If you can point me to one, I'd be thankful.
 

CuatroTorres

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I was reading the thread and stopping, I felt out of place for being a newbie here.

I didn't come here looking for excellent moral behavior, but rather an alternative to Linux regressions, an alternative like it was previously for Windows. Your factual opinions seemed very interesting to me here and brought good reading, you're on the other side of the coin now. There just seems to be an aversion to new people trying to shake up "their" forum, their lifestyle. This also happens in some linux communities that tend to be an ivory tower, run by a few benevolent dictators. If it's the intention, you're doing well by keeping new users away.

Consider that some of us are not native English speakers and sometimes compare it with Linux to establish a starting point and understand the new scenario. Users, people, are not Gods of Olympus. Just have children and understand that not every day you wake up in the same spirit to serve them with a smile.

Hope I ain't part of, I didn't mean to be but diversity is welcome, sometimes it makes you leave your comfort zone and discover small hidden issues.

Rumi was mentioned here, I'll quote two people:

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. —Maya Angelou

Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible. —Richard P. Feynman


EDITED: some expressions to suit the language.
 
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