Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Forums and the Open Source Community

I know it's been awhile since I last posted; but, due to recent events, I've been rather reluctant to contribute anything online lately. My reluctance is so great, that I'm going to go all hypocritical and post about it ;).

Regarding forums, I have now decided to lovingly analogize them to a community of caged monkeys whose members fulfill one of three roles: attention-seeker, shit-flinger or cock-stroker. I know this analogy is a bit harsh--on the monkeys--but bear with me.

The workings of a forum basically go something like this. A monkey in the cage decides he wants attention; and monkeys either throw their feces at the attention-seeking primate or line up to stroke up their genitalia. If a monkey is foolish enough to do anything different than the three sacred actions, then all caged monkeys proceed to throw feces at the foolish monkey. Yes, that's a nicer analogy of how forums--and to a more general extent--the open source community works.

I have spent less than two months on internet forums with an intention of contributing to two communities that SEEMED like their members would have a higher appreciation of information and those who attempt to introduce information to the community. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • I have made less than 100 posts on both forums.
  • I have never made a personal attack on anyone in any of my posts.
  • My only intention was to introduce my point of view to the community, which I backed with verifiable observations, arguments and information. I have little interest in stating personal opinions in matters that are easily quantified (which represent the only topics I posted about)
To date
  • I have been called an array of inappropriate names from more than one person on more than one topic.
  • I have had a forum DEVELOPER expose private information about someone CLOSE to me, when they couldn't win a current argument with ME.
  • I have had threatening hate-mail sent to me.
  • I recieved an apology from the head of the project (associated with one of the forums) for the above two items.
All this isn't even that upsetting to me. What gets to me is that these communities profess to be comprised of intelligentsia; but they have no desire to learn whatsoever. The fact is, I never got the impression that one of my posts was fully read by any other community member; let alone fully understood. It seems people respond to the first five words in a post and nothing more. The reading comprehension is abysmal and attention-span for understanding arguments is nothing short of frightening. These people are supposed to be fairly intelligent and they can scarcely formulate a coherent thought, let alone form an effective communication.

This is why a forum is a cage full of male, shit-flinging, cock-stroking monkeys. Sorry, there is no place for women in these things. The ones who fling shit, KNOW they have more knowledge about EVERYTHING than everyone else; the cock-strokers are the ones who are stupid enough to blindly believe the shit-flingers. I was one of the stupid monkeys that tried to be different; then I got tempted to becoming a shit-flinger when I was bombarded with shit... but fortunately, I got out of the cage before reducing myself that far.

Unfortunately, my impression of the open-source community has also been severely degraded due to some of these recent events. Myself and a few programmers whom I respect personally won't contribute to open-source and for good reason. The main reason is that the biggest impetus to become an open-source developer happens when a programmer doesn't feel that he gets the respect they deserve at work. I.e. a pissed-off peon becomes determined to gain some position of authority so their TRUE genius gains PROPER acknowledgment. With the exception of ONE open-source developer, all other developers I have encountered profess to be seekeres of information but don't honestly believe that anyone knows more about them about ANYTHING. It's a demeanor that is both obnoxious and frustrating to deal with, and I'm done with it. Oh and god forbid if you are a female, just forget being able to contribute to the open-source community. Period. There is a reason why there are no women in open source: they are never taken seriously regardless of credientials or skill. Really open source is reserved for sexually-frustrated males, who are stuck in the depths of academic mediocrity but KNOW they are just a little bit smarter than everyone else.

Yes, yes... of course there are some exceptions to this; i.e. there are some people in the open-source community who are what they proclaim to be. But it seems like these people eventually get out of open-source--for the reasons I've just listed--or keep a VERY low profile in a project. In short, their presence isn't strong enough in open-source to change the above generalities.

I love the concept of open-source; but I will not deal with the open-source community. I am all about open-source COMPANIES. The fact is, every open-source project hits a plateau in development; i.e. where the egos of the developers involved reach a state of en passe and thus a direction forward can not be agreed upon for the project. So either a flame-war ensues and the project dies or a company comes in and buys the project out. Look for yourself, no open-source project that isn't managed by some company ever grows beyond a certain point. We have the developer egos to thank for that.

This is also causing a schism between the developers and the users they are supposedly developing software for. Linux is suffering because it is being designed for essentially other developers. This issue has even gotten slashdot attention recently. A good case in point, there are virtually NO female artists for Linux; and look at the state of the UI on most Linux systems. I'm sorry, I love Linux but the UIs on a Linux system are NOTHING compared to Macs (and I hate Macs). What is really funny, is that the UI design team for Apple is mostly female. Of course, the open-source devs of Linux know more about UI design than the people at Apple... sure... I'll buy that once I can extract this monkey out of my arse.

As for me, I have my own projects I am working on in regards to coding. I have rethought whether or not I will make these projects open once they are complete. Frankly, I am not interested in getting some arsehole teenager fucking with code--that he THINKS he understands--only to convolute the direction I have for the project. No thanks. I also don't want to become some jack-hole like the people over at Compiz who refuse to take patches to code that ACTUALLY make it work better. No, honestly, I think I'll keep my projects closed and let developers come on board if they want that position and have convinced me they genuinely have something to contribute. I.e. a REAL meritocracy, not nepotism masquerading as such... *cough* KERNEL DEVS! *cough*