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Danack/ Secret

Last active Sep 18, 2021
What would you like to do?
users are annoying

Reduce burden of correcting user expectations

There is an increasing problem with end-users of Open Source projects having expectations for support that are appropriate for commercial software projects, not for stuff done for free.

I think part of the problem comes the way that the Github interface makes the whole site feel like it belongs to the end-user. It's not at all obvious that when you are on a repo that belongs to someone else, you are 'on their turf' and should behave differently to how you do 'at home'.

One example of this is when people open an issue, they think they are creating something that 'belongs to them' and get annoyed if the issue is closed without their problem being resolved.

I'm not going to link to any of the drama I've seen, but some examples are:

"I do not need to convince anyone that this is worth implementing to keep this ticket open. It is whoever wants to close this who needs to explain why this would be invalid."

"Closing a ticket means that the reported issue is solved; it does not merely express that someone chose not to fix it."

"Thanks, but issues are closed when they are solved. It is OK not to intend to solve all issues, you can just leave the tickets as they are."

"A ticket is not closed just because a developer does not intend to work on it."

Currently, each individual open source project has to explain to every new user who expects their issues to belong to the user, that actually the Github issue tracker is there for the benefit of the project, and doesn't belong to the user.

This is emotionally tiring, as every maintainer has to figure how to do this individually, and it often results in abusive language from the end-user as from the end-users perspective, the maintainer is acting in an unexpected manner.

It would make life easier for open source projects, if there was an official Github page that listed a set of expectations including:

  • The issue tracker is for the benefit of the project. Even though you as an individual user might want an issue left open, projects are going to handle issues in their own best interest.

  • If one of your issues is closed, opening another issue immediately is an annoying thing to do.

  • Some variant of words written by Rich Hickey "As a user of something open source you are not thereby entitled to anything at all. You are not entitled to contribute. You are not entitled to features. You are not entitled to the attention of others. You are not entitled to having value attached to your complaints. You are not entitled to this explanation."

It wouldn't stop the end-user behaviour, but it would reduce the burden on open source maintainers, as they wouldn't have to make the arguments themselves, they can just point to the official Github guidelines.

cheers Dan Ack

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