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  • Victor Szalvay
    I have also been on various mailing lists over the past several years and have seen this exact same problems emerge and eventually kill off the list. I don t
    Message 1 of 40 , Dec 1, 2004
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      I have also been on various mailing lists over the past several years
      and have seen this exact same problems emerge and eventually kill off
      the list.

      I don't think this is a matter of elite, exploratory Scrum discussion,
      that was something that drew me to this list as an inquiring Scrum
      newbie/lurker; it was exciting to read heated discussions between the
      Scrum gurus. IMO, the issue has more to do with the quantity of
      off-topic posts and "inside discussions". Most people don't want to
      sift through dozens of mislabeled posts comprised of one line inside
      jokes or references only a very small group can identify with.

      Here are my recommendations:

      1) Descriptively label topics. Like patterns, a self-descriptive
      subject goes a long way. Topics like "scrum", "hi", or "agile" are so
      generic that filtering can't occur at the subject level. People not
      interested in esoteric discussions won't have to read them, same with
      newbie questions.

      2) Don't post a bunch of "inside" discussions. Take them off
      line--email your friends on this list, don't post for everyone to sift
      through. People get turned off and intimidated when there are inside
      jokes and wink-wink discussions referring to some OOPSLA conference in
      97' when Jimmy got drunk and sang karaoke through his lecture... etc.
      This creates an "inside culture" and tends to disenfranchise
      (especially) new readers since they have no idea what you're referring
      to. I understand this type of banter builds community, but frankly
      I've stopped reading this list daily because there has been too much
      of it.

      3) I agree that a robust newbie/faq/reference area should be created,
      and I thought this was going to happen on the new scrumalliance site.
      This will help people come up to speed on the terminology (at least
      "by the book Scrum"). BTW, I think we've handled answering newbie
      questions quite well. I can't remember a newbie post that took a
      beating for asking intro questions (btw, are there any intro
      questions? This is stuff is some complex, I'm beginning to doubt there
      are any "easy" questions).

      -- Victor Szalvay



      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Christian Edward Gruber
      <cgruber@i...> wrote:
      > Greetings all,
      >
      > I've been hanging around the OpenBSD mailing lists for years,
      and
      > this sort of issues is a massively recurring one there. And the
      answer
      > that group had was, "read the %&#*@$ FAQs and manual pages before
      > posting and then we won't abuse you for asking dumb questions" (and
      I'm
      > not exaggerating here). Three things have happened as a result.
      >
      > 1. With the exception of tangents on legal issues of software
      > development, the quality of the discussion is very very high, as
      far as
      > technical and design content, which, for most lists, is the point.
      >
      > 2. A culture of excellence has emerged, but with a large
      group of
      > intimidated people.
      >
      > 3. New users are initimidated, and tend to not post unless
      they're
      > brave, foolish, or have exhausted all documentation in their search
      for
      > an answer.
      >
      > This approach has worked for that group, especially since there
      are
      > alot of chickens among the intimidated folk, and I think that fact
      > sparked the whole snarky arrogance thing. Chickens in this case
      are
      > users who are not involved with adding features, but who request
      lots of
      > them. When you get chickens in with the pigs, the pigs get really
      > really irate. It shows up more in that forum, because the chickens
      > don't have the kind of power in an open-source project that they do
      when
      > they control budgets, so the pigs feel free to heap slop on the
      > chickens. What I would hate is for pigs to get intimidated in THIS
      > forum. On one hand, the intensity of the discussions, even about
      > nit-pickety details, can often lead to new plateaus of function
      and
      > awareness. "From the clash of differing opinions, the spark of
      truth
      > can shine". But this is also about empowerment, so we can't leave
      > people in the dust.
      >
      > So how do we deal with it? Well, I do think that a regularly
      > circulated FAQ would be valuable. I aknowledge the previous post
      that
      > mentioned the non-answerability of many frequently asked questions.

      > However, one can answer unanswerable questions with a context,
      rather
      > than a fact. Ken does this in class. I heard more "it depends"
      answers
      > to questions in the CSM training than in any other class I've been
      in.
      > I started thinking it was aversion therapy, but in truth, I think I
      get
      > it. We're controlling complex processes, and there are no single
      right
      > answers. However, in a FAQ, we can (since this whole web-thingy is
      so
      > linkable) put references to anecdotes that are instructive, or
      examples
      > of people solving that problem, and keep re-iterating the mantra:
      "Your
      > context may vary - use your intuition, your awareness of your
      > circumstance, and learn."
      >
      > As for nit-pickety detailed tangents, I agree, these can
      probably
      > be curtailed after a certain depth. If some less shy person can
      pipe up
      > when it gets rediculous and say "take it offline, bubs" then we can
      keep
      > the list leaner.
      > Calling "SCRUM" could also work.
      >
      > Lastly, for those who are shy or retiring on lists like this,
      or
      > intimidated... we're all human. There are no "sages" here. Having
      > spent time with expert technical lists, or with other high-falutin'
      > academic mailing lists with triple-Ph.D.s on it, I can assure you
      that
      > we/they all make stupid mistakes, we/they all have prejudices.
      Even
      > experts are limited by their experiences unless their minds are
      open. A
      > new practitioner might have fresh insights that their newness and
      > openness will give them. So to the shy ones, please say something.
      If
      > you have a view, please don't feel like you can't share it.
      Sometimes
      > it will be brililant beyond the boundaries of those with more
      > experience. Sometimes it'll be embarassingly obvious. Sometimes,
      > others will learn something. A moderator would be useful here in
      cases
      > where people are shamed for offering an innocent observation or
      asking a
      > naive question.
      >
      > regards,
      > Christian.
      >
      > Dawn wrote:
      >
      > >Okay.
      > >
      > >My name is Dawn Bauleke, and I'm a lurker. (Hi, Dawn!)
      > >
      > >I attended the San Jose class and heck YES I'm intimidated by the
      list - mainly because so many are the contributors I have read,
      perused the sites of, marveled at the knowledge of, but have not (yet)
      MET. But you just called me on it, so here I am, answering.
      > >
      > >[snip]
      > >
      > >Having said that, now I'm going to retreat into the lurker's alley
      for awhile more...
      > >
      > >~dawn~
      > >
      > >
      >
      > --
      >
      --------------------------------------------------
      -----------------------
      > Christian E. Gruber President, Israfil Consulting Services
      Corp.
      > (905) 640-1119 (office) cgruber@i...
      > (416) 930-6023 (cell)
      http://www.israfil.net
    • Gary F
      ... A number of people have mentioned the confusion and balkanization that would result from multiple forums. I disagree. Confusion as to the appropriate
      Message 40 of 40 , Dec 7, 2004
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        --- Dawn <dawn@...> wrote:

        >
        > Dividing into multiple forums as was suggested does feel unnatural
        > and, as
        > somebody pointed out, would result in confusion as to what list would
        > give
        > the best experience. AND would result in a lot of good information

        A number of people have mentioned the confusion and balkanization that
        would result from multiple forums. I disagree.

        Confusion as to the appropriate forum is essentially the same problem
        as with confusion as to what keyword to put into the subject. People
        who are using the keywords as filters are in the same situation as
        people who only subscribe to a subset of the lists/forums.

        The (bad) balkanization problem is a result of both divisions that
        aren't well defined and the technology. Mailing lists and news groups
        are particularly prone to this problem, but other online forums can
        reduce or even eliminate the problem. Many bboards allow discussions
        to be moved from one forum (really a subforum) to another.

        Personally, my favorite is the Propsero technology, use by many
        services and available at DelphiForums for individuals and groups.
        See, for example, Inifinite Loops (general programming discussion) at
        http://forums.delphiforums.com/infinite_loops/messages or the About
        Linux forum at http://forums.about.com/ab-linux/messages .

        My point is that these are all problems that can be solved. To borrow
        from Ken Schwaber's first exercise at the Scrum class, we should be
        looking at this issue from the "yes, and..." perspective, not the "yes,
        but ..." perspective.

        Gary





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