There’s been Yet Another Thread™ on the problems in the community this week. It started well as a discussion on the nature of ‘constructive criticism’, and went downhill fast. (Including some lovely practical demonstrations of destructive criticism.)
For myself, I had to face up to my own Pollyanna-ism. Someone complained the Nokia had produced an advert mentioning the Ovistore and BBC iPlayer. And far from wanting to complain that neither is here (the Ovi store still shows ‘coming soon’) I promptly took that to mean that iPlayer is coming too. Which got me very excited indeed.
Any attempt to draw ‘types’ of a community always falls into characatures. But I’m still going to do it. I’m hoping that a bit of reflecting on who we’ve got will help us find ways of making community run more smoothly – or perhaps t be accurate making t.m.o run more smoothly. So who are ‘Maemo’?
These are the people who’ve been with Maemo for a long time. They’ve worked hard. They understand how Community is supposed to function with genuine mutual support. They have patience with newcomers, and get quietly on with their projects regardless of the noise levels. They want Maemo to be successful for itself, not just because it provides what they want. They are the real heart of Maemo. Nothing I can say can begin to express how overwhelmingly decent these people are Note: I have found levels of generosity and support there to shame some corners of the religious community!
The Longstanding disgruntled
Close to saints, these are the people who have had to watch as their beloved community has changed out of all recognition, and something which they have cherished and nurtured for years has suddenly become ‘kewl’ with a whole new bunch of people who don’t seem to appreciate it at all. Many are struggling to feel that they belong at all especially those who have stuck with the older tablets and not gone down the n900 route – often because the hardware changes means the new device doesn’t meet their needs. There are hopes and plans for structural changes that will make maemo.org more navigable if you only want to see threads about older devices: they can’t come too soon.
The New Coders
There are people who have come into the Maemo fold now because for the first time n900’s hardware meets their need – clever people who can do great things with the code once they get their heads around it. They have simply settled down and dug in. Along with them are the slightly less experienced who are cheerfully navigating their way around the complexities without fear. Good, contributing new members.
The stupid but enthusiastic
I include myself in this group! People who have a range of skills they are willing to throw into the mix but sadly code isn’t one of them. But there are designers, community workers, and people like me who can’t do much except cheer from the sidelines. Even my small input has been enthusiastically received and accepted. Maemo is one of the most ‘catholic’ communities I have ever met (in the original sense – not the religious one!)
These are the people who are generally pleased with their device, but they have reservations. They are happy to be positive when appropriate, but can easily be dragged into the negative and destructive threads. Their concerns are generally valid – they highlight weaknesses in the firmware, design and process – the delayed opening of Ovistore being a case in point. They make excellent bug-reporters.
Most of the Disappointed are people who expected n900 to be something it’s not, and wasn’t meant to be. At least, not at first release. For those who read inaccurate specs, I feel sorry (there were some – GSMArena were wrong for a few weeks, and they’re usually one of the most reliable). But many simply didn’t do their homework and now blame the device. I guess I’ve always been flexible about the feature set – there are a few things I’d like to have but none are such a big deal they’re worth bitching about.
The shiny shiny kids
Like any new expensive device, n900 has landed in the hands of a number of people who sadly have more money than maturity. These are the people who are constantly demanding the next thing, the shiny apps, the latest game. They bought this device because it was new, shiny, super-duper. They happily declare their willingness to pay for whatever they want money no object. The idea that what they want isn’t there, and no amount of shouting, bawling or stamping their feet will bring it doesn’t seem to sink in. Think of the posting equivalent of a kid throwing a tantrum in a supermarket: “I want more apps now!” “I want Ovi store now!” “I want the firmware update now!” Or maybe Verrucca Salt
Running close to The Enthusiasts, these people are in constant danger of being branded ‘fan-bois’ (unless they’re fan-gurlz). With a tendency to overlook things like slipped dates, slow bug-fixing and poor customer service, they focus on the positive just a tad too much. Nothing is that perfect.
And finally, there are the trolls
Every community gets a few – the people who just love t wind folks up. They don’t care what sort of garbage they spout – indeed, the more ludicrous and inaccurate the better. It raises people’s blood-pressure more effectively. In a community which prides itself on openness and freedom of speech, these people are perhaps the most difficult to deal with. Not least as the disgruntled, the disappointed and the shiny shiny kids are only too glad to have any arena to look at the negatives.
So that’s us. We are maemo.
Who have I missed out?
- So if ‘we are maemo’ who are we?