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Re: Fedora disconnection?

Jeff Spaleta escribió:
On Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 2:45 PM, Gian Paolo Mureddu
<gmureddu 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.


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 community.

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 interests.

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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