Fedora disconnection?

Gian Paolo Mureddu gmureddu at prodigy.net.mx
Tue Jul 29 02:35:02 UTC 2008

Jeff Spaleta escribió:
> On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 2:45 PM, Gian Paolo Mureddu
> <gmureddu at prodigy.net.mx> wrote:
>> There has been a heated discussion over several threads in
>> www.fedoraforum.org about how disconnected some users feel from the
>> development team, as well as a general "lack of direction" in Fedora's
>> leadership. The latest of these discussions started about an article (posted
>> a few months back here in the marketing list) about PackageKit and from
>> there it spanned a rather heated discussion about Fedora and a perceived
>> increasing developers<-->users gap.

I just saw your reply, sorry for the late response.

> What exactly do the people who feel disconnected want?  Will they be
> content just knowing that their opinions are heard? Communication is a
> project wide stumbling block. Developers get frustrated at just trying
> to talk among themselves, we certainly aren't going to require that
> all the developers try to track general user discussion lists and
> forums. We can probably do a better job at communication, on a number
> of fronts but such effort can only go so far.  Rambling complaint
> threads on a forum or even the mailing list are just going to get
> ignored by the vast majority of people. Letting users pretend that
> participating in these sorts of long discussion amongst themselves
> will result in developer action is a disservice to everyone.

This poses an excellent question, one which answer I have not been able 
to properly put into words. Generally speaking it would seem as if an 
important number of users (or would be users) see Fedora as the mythical 
Hydra... A huge body (the community) with lots and lots of heads 
(projects) that sort of feel disconnected to one another; i.e. there 
still lacks a bit of cohesion. That is what I have been able to deduce 
after having participating in many more discussions that I care to 
remember about _what_ Fedora really is. The message here seems to be 
clear: The project home page seems to not be as successful as we might 
have thought once in regards to telling people (especially new users) 
what Fedora is all about... Sure for old timers the simple words "Fedora 
is a community driven project around a community...." etc, etc, may tell 
us exactly what it is, but it would seem as if many new comers are 
having a hard time grasping and understanding even the basic philosophy 
of Fedora.

> Or is the an unspoken expectation in the discontented userbase that
> popular userbase opinion is suppose to drive the direction of the
> project?  Let me dispel that right now. Popular userbase opinion will
> not control the direction of any technology development that
> individual contributors want to use.  That is not going to change.
> Here's the deal. Fundamentally Fedora runs on the power of its
> contributor-base... not its userbase.  If there are group of users who
> feel they are not being served, they have the ability to organize and
> get involved as contributors. We could do a better job of encouraging
> those sorts of users to grow into contributors.

I know that about Fedora, and I know there are several levels at which 
users may contribute back to the project, the point is that this very 
message doesn't seem to be *reaching* the users. Common complaints include:

* Scarcity of information available in the Wiki, by this I mean that not 
all the concepts seem (from user input) to be being covered.
* Dispersion of information. Another common complaint is that there 
seems to be a lot of different "sites" covering all the different 
aspects of the distro, but there is lacking a central site which may 
explain (to a certain simple degree) what these other aspects *do* (I 
know we have some information regarding this in the Wiki, maybe it is 
not as exposed as it should? Maybe directly in the Overview section or 
link to a new page with information about projects and what they are?).

> So knowing what should be done, really comes down to knowing what the
> discontented users are expecting.
> -jef

Exactly. Which is why I've thought about a liaison of sorts 
(Ambassador[s]) for the forums on-line community and Fedora-proper. It 
will take some investigating to find-out what do these users really 
expect... Which could in turn give place to have better means for 
feedback from users, not necessarily from this particular "arm" of the 

I myself some times have resented a sorts of careless attitude towards 
simple users from some community members. As if some 
contributors/developers/management/etc people really couldn't care less 
about who uses Fedora or what their opinions are. I know that isn't 
necessarily the case, but (besides myself) some other users have stated 
they've felt some kind of hostility in the official channels of 
communication. I know addressing individuals is not practical and a 
waste, and that's why Fedora moves in clusters of people with common 

Like Paul suggests, maybe it would be a good time to conduct a usability 
study among Fedora users?  I understand that Fedora advances through its 
contributors, but it's supported by its users.

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