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 firstname.lastname@example.org
, Christian Edward Gruber
> Greetings all,
> I've been hanging around the OpenBSD mailing lists for years,
> this sort of issues is a massively recurring one there. And the
> that group had was, "read the %*@$ FAQs and manual pages before
> posting and then we won't abuse you for asking dumb questions" (and
> 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
> technical and design content, which, for most lists, is the point.
> 2. A culture of excellence has emerged, but with a large
> intimidated people.
> 3. New users are initimidated, and tend to not post unless
> brave, foolish, or have exhausted all documentation in their search
> an answer.
> This approach has worked for that group, especially since there
> alot of chickens among the intimidated folk, and I think that fact
> sparked the whole snarky arrogance thing. Chickens in this case
> users who are not involved with adding features, but who request
> 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
> 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
> awareness. "From the clash of differing opinions, the spark of
> 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
> mentioned the non-answerability of many frequently asked questions.
> However, one can answer unanswerable questions with a context,
> than a fact. Ken does this in class. I heard more "it depends"
> to questions in the CSM training than in any other class I've been
> I started thinking it was aversion therapy, but in truth, I think I
> it. We're controlling complex processes, and there are no single
> answers. However, in a FAQ, we can (since this whole web-thingy is
> linkable) put references to anecdotes that are instructive, or
> of people solving that problem, and keep re-iterating the mantra:
> context may vary - use your intuition, your awareness of your
> circumstance, and learn."
> As for nit-pickety detailed tangents, I agree, these can
> be curtailed after a certain depth. If some less shy person can
> when it gets rediculous and say "take it offline, bubs" then we can
> the list leaner.
> 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. 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
> we/they all make stupid mistakes, we/they all have prejudices.
> experts are limited by their experiences unless their minds are
> new practitioner might have fresh insights that their newness and
> 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.
> 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
> where people are shamed for offering an innocent observation or
> naive question.
> 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
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.
> >Having said that, now I'm going to retreat into the lurker's alley
for awhile more...
> Christian E. Gruber President, Israfil Consulting Services
> (905) 640-1119 (office) cgruber@i...http://www.israfil.net
> (416) 930-6023 (cell)