- 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
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
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
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 email@example.com, Christian Edward Gruber
> Greetings all,and
> I've been hanging around the OpenBSD mailing lists for years,
> this sort of issues is a massively recurring one there. And theanswer
> that group had was, "read the %*@$ FAQs and manual pages beforeI'm
> posting and then we won't abuse you for asking dumb questions" (and
> not exaggerating here). Three things have happened as a result.far as
> 1. With the exception of tangents on legal issues of software
> development, the quality of the discussion is very very high, as
> technical and design content, which, for most lists, is the point.group of
> 2. A culture of excellence has emerged, but with a large
> intimidated people.they're
> 3. New users are initimidated, and tend to not post unless
> brave, foolish, or have exhausted all documentation in their searchfor
> an answer.are
> This approach has worked for that group, especially since there
> alot of chickens among the intimidated folk, and I think that factare
> sparked the whole snarky arrogance thing. Chickens in this case
> users who are not involved with adding features, but who requestlots of
> them. When you get chickens in with the pigs, the pigs get reallywhen
> 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
> they control budgets, so the pigs feel free to heap slop on theand
> 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
> awareness. "From the clash of differing opinions, the spark oftruth
> can shine". But this is also about empowerment, so we can't leavethat
> 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
> mentioned the non-answerability of many frequently asked questions.rather
> However, one can answer unanswerable questions with a context,
> 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 beenin.
> I started thinking it was aversion therapy, but in truth, I think Iget
> it. We're controlling complex processes, and there are no singleright
> answers. However, in a FAQ, we can (since this whole web-thingy isso
> linkable) put references to anecdotes that are instructive, orexamples
> of people solving that problem, and keep re-iterating the mantra:"Your
> context may vary - use your intuition, your awareness of yourprobably
> circumstance, and learn."
> As for nit-pickety detailed tangents, I agree, these can
> be curtailed after a certain depth. If some less shy person canpipe up
> when it gets rediculous and say "take it offline, bubs" then we cankeep
> the list leaner.or
> Calling "SCRUM" could also work.
> Lastly, for those who are shy or retiring on lists like this,
> intimidated... we're all human. There are no "sages" here. Havingthat
> 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
> we/they all make stupid mistakes, we/they all have prejudices.Even
> experts are limited by their experiences unless their minds areopen. A
> new practitioner might have fresh insights that their newness andIf
> openness will give them. So to the shy ones, please say something.
> 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 morecases
> experience. Sometimes it'll be embarassingly obvious. Sometimes,
> others will learn something. A moderator would be useful here in
> where people are shamed for offering an innocent observation orasking a
> naive question.list - mainly because so many are the contributors I have read,
> Dawn wrote:
> >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
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.
> >for awhile more...
> >Having said that, now I'm going to retreat into the lurker's alley
> Christian E. Gruber President, Israfil Consulting ServicesCorp.
> (905) 640-1119 (office) cgruber@i...http://www.israfil.net
> (416) 930-6023 (cell)
- --- Dawn <dawn@...> wrote:
>A number of people have mentioned the confusion and balkanization that
> Dividing into multiple forums as was suggested does feel unnatural
> and, as
> somebody pointed out, would result in confusion as to what list would
> the best experience. AND would result in a lot of good information
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.
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