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We are internet addicts and there is no way we can hide it. We live from 10 to 20 hours using our gadgets and jet mad when others ask us to stop and “enjoy the real world for a while”… This is OUR real world, why can’t people understand it?
Our social live, or some part of it, happens inside a screen, and we are uses to help because we learn from someone who also took part of his/her time to show us how special Fedora community is.
But every fairy tale has his dark side… What happens when people doesn’t understand that is not a requirement to be 24/7 waiting for someone who needs help? Problem is’t them… We are!
I can only use my experience as base for this: I have been using Fedora for about 5 years now and i was one of those who spend hours reading what people had to say because “there was a big chance to learn something from them”.
Most of the time that’s what happens… But when you are near 15 hours on IRC you become the person who give answers and knows who can provide them in case you don’t know what to reply.
Slowly, we create a dependency on people and they get used to see us Always on IRC/Mail_list/Whatever and we also delay meals and other activities because “we can give a short reply and will help”.
On an ideal world we could live that way, but truth is that we cannot because we have family, jobs and some of us are seeking to have a life outside the Box.
Now that we know that is our fault we need to consider what to do. People is already used to this behavier and new contributors have learn that this is the way things work… So is not weird to see someone mad if we are not online. So, what can we do?
1) Would be nice to tell them to go to… But we cannot.
We need to stablish limits. add that kind of info on your wiki user page or run a calendar that you can share with people. Let them know that your time is partialy dedicated to Fedora.
2) interact beyond the chat: people wont understand what you do outside Fedora if you don’t let them know.
I’m not asking to twit what are you doing at the bathroom or how many drinks you had… But a couple of daily/weekly facts about your non-robotic life may work.
3) help hem to learn what you know instead link them to everything:
Isn’t nice when someone ask you “hey, which is the Fedora site URL?” … Seriously….
If you’re an troll try with www.lmgtfy.com or simply point him/her how to Google it, how to contact other contributors, how to analize their problems… Don’t create a dependency on your shoulders. Create leaders, mentors and creative people.
4) You’re a community member… use that!
If you’re a developer and think on ideas to decreasse the dependency of new users, then do something (like ask.fedora), if you’re a designer or marketing team member then create a campaign (like we will with videos.fedora) or if you have anything in your head.. please, tell us. The only way to apply is to act, doesn’t matter if you only have 10min to explain us your ideas or you have 3 days to develop it.
5) if anything works… Turn arround and help the next one.
Is as hard as it sounds. However, we are a free-to-join community and everyday people comes and goes. It hurts, but that’s how it works.
What to expect?
People may not change or react to this in a while, however, people will change at the end. If we not start changing what we believe is not ok, we might get used to what is wrong. Make people Change is almost imposible, but we can all learn to adapt.
We need to stop showing how much we know everytime we can and start pushing people to learn and teach what they can do… Teach them how to fish with their own TCP/IP cables.
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